The three salad-eaters glanced up from their spacious table and Leona ducked behind her laptop. Their jaws churned as their gazes drifted over Leona’s hiding spot. They looked at each other worriedly, then returned to their conversation.
“Fascinating,” Leona muttered, making a note.
“Ladies,” murmured their leader, head lifting and nostrils flaring. “I think we should leave.”
The group stood on stiff legs, alert for danger. Around them, a café full of people cramped into single-person tables watched hungrily.
Leona crouched, heart thudding. With each shift of the group away from their chairs, her senses heightened, until she could see the lead herbivore’s pupils contract.
“Go,” he hissed.
Leona pounced. The herbivores scattered, whinnying in fear. Six other hunters leapt forward, but too late. Leona slammed her coffee mug onto the table and growled at the others.
They scrutinized the highly caffeinated ball of crazy and thought better of challenging her. With a few parting grunts and snarls, they slunk back to their one-person tables.
Leona’s hair fluffed proudly. She marked her new territory with a drop of coffee, then strutted off to collect her laptop and bag, thrilled to continue providing for her writing group as Team Tweak’s Table Hunter.
Marisa pulled the SUV into the parking lot, heading straight for the back, away from the other cars. She attempted a reverse park, surprising herself when she got it perfect on her first try. Feeling like she’d already accomplished something, she hurried into Team Tweak’s favourite café and instantly spotted Leona.
Leona, always the first to any meeting, looked up from her laptop with a smile.
Marisa squeezed between tables, holding her laptop and water bottle high so as not to make any enemies, and slid into the seat across from Leona. “What time did you get here?”
Leona bit her lip. “Um…”
“Uh oh. You were really early, weren’t you?”
Leona shrugged. “5:30.” It was 6:45.
“That’s so early!” Marisa straightened and scanned the immediate area, taking in the full tables of chatting teenagers and couples. “I feel like something just happened here. Something major.”
Leona clutched her coffee cup. “Nothing happened… I just grabbed us a table, that’s all.”
Marisa gave her a puzzled look, then nodded. “Alright. Now, what should I eat?” She took a sip from her water bottle. “I planned on trying the new autumn squash soup with my favourite Mediterranean sandwich, but this girl was talking about the mac and cheese on Twitter so I’m kind of craving that now…”
Gina pulled into the parking lot and rushed to snatch the only available parking spot in front of the café. Scored once again, she thought.
She breezed into the café, ogling the bakery goods on her way to the table where Leona and Marisa sat, their gazes fixed on their laptop screens.
“Hello!” Gina squeezed into a chair between them. “Who are we starting with?” she asked, hurrying to set up her laptop so that she could catch up to her speedy buddies.
Leona spun her computer around to display their new website. “Okay, Team Tweak. How about we start here?”