Your father could be explained as many things, but the one word that would pop out the most and slip from people’s tongues would be the word ‘spontaneous.’ A word that tinkled quite sweetly in a person’s voice when spoken, and fit perfectly with the man that helped raise you. This honeyed four syllable sound can’t help but find its way to your mind as you stare at the keys in your hand with occasional, and disbelieving, glances up at the empty building before you. Dark and presumably dusty, it didn’t take up too much space on the busy street you currently resided, fitting quite nicely between a small bookstore and the curb.
The occasional passerby glances at your frozen and hunched form curiously, their knowledge deaf to your current confusion as you stare at the keys in your hand. Every so often your eyes will stray from the shiny keys lying on your palm to the relatively spacious and empty structure, an itch to draw your phone out of your warm pocket growing with each passing second before you give in, tapping the familiar name on the screen and holding up the speaker to your ear.
A few short rings keep you waiting before your father picks up. “Hello, sweetie!”
“Dad,” you answer monotonously. “Mind explaining?”
You can easily picture the sly smile he’s sure to have. “What ever do you mean?”
“Dad.” Shifting your weight to your other foot, a sigh escapes your lips as you remember the reason for your constant headaches. “What are you planning?”
“Why must every nice thing I do always seem suspicious to you?”
“Because sending your daughter a letter that simply has directions with mysterious keys to accompany them totally isn’t suspicious.” Pinching the bridge of your nose with a thumb and forefinger, you cringe as the keys jingle from the motion.
“Hey, you’re gonna like this surprise.” Hearing the creak of a chair bending back, you roll your eyes in anticipation. “I remember you saying how you were looking for a job.”
“I thought it strange, since you really don’t need it. It’s not like we’re hurting for money.” Your dad was the president of a quite successful company, which was the reason he traveled nearly all over the world, causing havoc each step of the way. He was good with business, but was a child in nearly everything else he did. You suspected that if he didn’t own the damn company himself, he would have been fired quite a long time ago. Or perhaps been kept, for all the outrageous and somehow successful ideas that always blossomed from his labyrinth of a mind. “But then I became proud. My baby girl wants to branch out and grow up! So I got to thinking.” Thinking was never good for the receiving end when it came to him. “Why not start up your own little business? Your birthday is right around the corner too. Perfect gift!”
“Dad.” Why did you have to be his daughter? “Dad, I go to college. I don’t have time to run a business.”
An exasperated sigh reaches your ear, a sigh you think should be coming from you, not him. “Okay, I suppose you won’t be the one running it, just the one managing it. I’ll be paying for all the bare utilities, while you take care of what happens inside it. Who to hire, what to stock, things like that.”
“Oh stop. This will be good for you, trust me. Just take a look around and let me know what you want to do with it, alright? Numbing your mind with stress and grades isn’t how to become successful, in life or with yourself.”
With a quick goodbye, you’re left with a silent phone in one hand and warm keys in the other. Sighing once more and feeling the pressure of a headache that’s sure to last, you find the key to the front door and push it in, a jingle from above causing a small jump from your form as a curse leaves your mouth.
Twirling the key ring around an index finger, you find the light switch and illuminate the inside, stifling a sneeze that tickles your nose as your movement kicks up settled dust. A counter on the far side of the wall sits in front of a door you assume leads to a back room fit for storage, and the cheap looking light above doesn’t help with the clinging gloom the place exudes. Running a finger across one of the abandoned wooden tables, a frown graces your lips as your digit pulls away with an impressive layer of dust, a disgusting line left on the surface.
“He really expects me to clean this up all by myself?” you ask in the silence, hearing not even an echo back. “He’s crazy.” Not something you didn’t know already, but it was always nice to remind yourself every once in a while of your unfortunate lineage.
While pondering over your father’s potential brain damage was always fun, a more prominent problem loomed in your face. He gave you no direction with the place. Just pushed keys into your hand and told you to basically have fun. Once the initial shock had worn off, another phone call had ensued, one where he explained how much money he would let you use to fix the place up before the final “allowance” was given and you’d start actually managing the place.
The fact he didn’t seem worried at all about the place possibly failing caused anxiety to birth butterflies in your twisted stomach, which in turn caused your pencil to tap rhythmically on a piece of paper as you budgeted all the money into something that could work, thankful for all your business classes you’d endured so far in your college career.
“I swear you have the eyes of someone who just witnessed the world end.”
Looking up from your scribbles, your red haired best friend takes a seat across from you on the picnic table, green eyes holding sympathy and amusement. Flora Whinter, a girl that had broken all odds and remained in all of your classes throughout elementary and middle school, and happened to be in at least two for each semester in high school. A girl with a smile that could rival the sun and a personality as hot as fire, you could never ask for a more loyal friend who loved nothing better than to tease you at every turn in your life.
Her laugh rings through the air as you give her your famous unamused look. “I have no idea what to do, Flora.”
Glancing at your paper, she simply shrugs and removes her backpack. “I’d say, getting it clean and presentable is the first step.”
"But what should I do with it?”
“What do you mean?”
“Make it a bookstore? A restaurant? Café?”
Pressing a delicate finger to her lips, a pause shows her thinking. “I’d like to see a café.” Giving a wink, she unzips her pack and drags out a heavy business book, flipping it open to the page with homework. “Sometimes I wish I had your father.”
“You’re lucky you don’t.” Sighing and throwing down your pencil, fingers run through your hair as you lean back. “Who gives their child a freaking empty building for their birthday?”
Another laugh escapes Flora. “Your dad, apparently. But this opens up so much in your life.” A pencil waves in your face before being set down. “You’ve been doing nothing but filling up your days with classes. Sometimes I wonder if you even sleep.” Flipping open a journal, she gives you a look. “And it seems I’m not the only one worried about your health. Besides, you were talking about looking for a job anyway.”
“But giving me a building? Really?”
“It’ll give you something else to do besides stress and think. And of course I’ll be helping you. So!” Clapping her hands together, her wide smile spells nothing but excitement. “We should start with hiring people to help clean up and get the place ready to be opened!”
Resting your head against the surface of the table, you ask, “But who is going to want to take a job like that?”
“You’d be surprised. After all, there are a lot of unfortunate monsters with no income.”
Monsters. A concept only in fairy tales until about a year ago when monsters of all shapes and sizes flooded out of Mt. Ebott, scaring the whole Earth’s populace to near death. Just like with anything they weren’t familiar with, humans as a whole took it quite hard, racism popping up almost immediately despite the agreements and laws implemented to make monster life easier on the surface. Frankly, it was disgusting to see monsters shamed for simply being what they were, but you were thankful there was at least some progress for their equality, even if it was slow, and as you ponder on this thought you’re suddenly a tad thankful for what you’ve been given.
If there was anything you enjoyed doing, it was helping others in need. And this abandoned building handed to you out of the blue could change the lives of many. Suddenly it didn’t seem like such a burden.
Reading each and every thought, Flora simply smiles and leans to pat your head. “There you go. It may be a lot of work, but isn’t this kind of how your dad started? And look at where he is now, donating thousands to charity and helping fight for monster rights. And you’ve always taken after him in that regard.”
That was true. Even as a small, shy child you had never hesitated to stand up for someone. But there was still one problem. “I have no idea what I’m doing though. I may be good with numbers, but I’ve never had to actually handle a real business. One wrong miscalculation and it could come tumbling down.”
With a nonchalant shrug, your friend just raises an eyebrow. “Guess we’ll just have to see, huh?” Drawing lead over a blank piece of paper, a hum escapes her chest. “So…we should create some flyers and hand them out to unsuspecting people. Creating an ad on the internet wouldn’t hurt either. What do you say?”
Waving a hand and groaning, you reply, “I say whatever. Go for it.”
Smiling, her next words never sounded more truthful. “I have a feeling I’m going to have a lot more fun with this than you will.”
|For more chapters of Coffee and Cream, click here!|
I hate these things. I'm so horrible when it comes to introducing myself.
I ramble too much.
I read, I write, I play games, I watch anime...basically I'm a nerd. And I study Japanese because I want to be a teacher.
I don't go outside much.
Editor and proofreader for Memory Trees.
I also have a serious love for Toudou Heisuke from the Hakuoki series. He is my soulmate who doesn't exist.
~"I'm not sure if Saito or Okita needed Chizuru more. But I'm pretty certain Chizuru needed Heisuke more."~
For all multi-chapter fanfictions:
-Coffee and Cream on-going.
-A Story Lost to Time and Space on-going