"Let me guess," the blonde haired man said, appraising the family of bears standing across the counter from him. He pointed at the Father Bear, or at least the one he assumed was the Father Bear, given the smart looking tie it had around its neck. "You want one that's too big, and too hot." He pointed at the Mother Bear, whose feminine eyelashes, lipstick and apron had given her away. "You want one that's too small and too cold." Finally he turned his index finger on the small bear standing between the Mama and the Papa, ostensibly Baby Bear. "And you want one that's juuuuuust right."
"Actually," the Papa Bear replied, "I'll have a low-fat, half-sweet Caramel Machiatto, she'll have a hazelnut flavored latte, and my son will have a Strawberry Italian Soda."
"Oh," the blonde haired man said, and called out the order to the dark haired girl working the coffee machines.
Andrew Weazle took the money the bears paid with, smiling as he threw the gold coins into the wooden chest beneath the cash register. They always reminded him of the Leprechaun gold and the journey to the Pole, and of Silke. He wondered how she was doing; it had been months since he'd seen her, and weeks since he'd had word of her. In the last letter that had been dropped off, (delivered by a group of prudish witches who were vacationing in their neck of the woods, wanting to celebrate the Spring solstice somewhere that didn't involve acts of wanton sex in fields of grain) she'd written of an increase in Wolves moving boldly through the Deep Dark Wood, and would be on patrol until further notice. She'd closed by saying she didn't know when she would have time to write next.
Big Bad Wolves and Deep Dark Woods. A little over a year ago, Andrew would have thought that good subject matter for a Master's Thesis, but in the year since he'd traded the coffee shop's night deposit for magic coffee beans, resulting in the growth of a massive magic tree which turned out to be a gateway to the World Tree, permitting travel between other universes, he'd been nearly killed a succubus who had made a clone-like replica of him; nearly killed by a contingent of rebel Leprechauns, traveled to the North Pole on a magic train, where he'd narrowly averted ecological disaster on several planes of existence.
Which was to say nothing of what had happened after he'd gotten home. None of it came close to the intensity of those first three months that the Tree had forced its presence into his life, but there was certainly never a dull moment at Magik Beans. The name of the shop, like the coffee beans that had grown the Tree overnight, was a gift from Father Christmas. Another reality he'd have scoffed at once. Knowing there really was a Santa had certainly made the past Christmas a lot more fun. He'd left out more than just cookies and milk. A thermos of a bold Christmas roast with a spicy taste to it along with a bag of 'Fireside' pipe tobacco. The old man had left Andrew the treasure chest in return; it would only open for Andrew or Lara, the dark-haired girl who was handing the finished coffees to the Three Bears.