II.II The Morning After

Eremes strode with purpose as he made his way to the hotel's cafe lounge. It's breakfast time after all, and some of the cafe's most popular items would already be out of stock if he took his merry time to get there. Especially the Star Bagels..

Those sweet, juicy bagels.

Just the thought of them made his mouth water. The Green Star Cafe made them fresh every six in the morning and they only made fifty every day, making them a hot commodity for employees, guests, and tenants alike. He grimaced as he spared a glance at his wristwatch. It was almost seven in the morning. The hungry head just hoped he wasn't too late.

He opened the cafe doors, dignity almost being forgotten as he made a beeline for the bar where an assortment of pastries and delectables can be seen through the lit glass cabinet. The repairman can barely stop himself from sprinting across the cafe to the line as he saw the handful of people queuing up to place their order. With only a few more people at the line.. He can make it! He tapped his foot impatiently as the line grew shorter and shorter.

After a few short minutes, he finally reached the bar to place his order. He made it, hopefully. He greeted the cafe staff as he made his order.

"Uhm.. Do you have any Star Bagels left?" He asked with apprehension.

"I'm sorry sir, but we're sold out." The staff stated with a bit of dismay. "But there's always tomorrow's batch to look forward to." She said as she flashed him with a smile.

The disappointment that he was feeling cannot be described with mere words. 


"Sir? What would you like to order?"

"....One croissant and solo espresso please."


Eremes couldn't believe his luck since last night. 

First of all, the cell tower broke in the middle of a storm, then he had to console a suicidal tenant. Topping it all off, Mr. Basco nearly ripped him a new one all while leaving him with a nigh-impossible task of refurbishing the main auditorium...

And just now he didn't make it on time to order a Star Bagle! Curse that phone call for taking so long. Certainly, Lady Luck would give him a break today, right?

With food in tow, he tried to find an empty table to eat his breakfast in peace. The amount of planning he needed to do required his utmost attention.

The cafe was packed, as per usual for the morning rush. The smell of coffee filled the air as tables filled with patrons went about their morning routines. The head of maintenance found himself searching hard for an empty table, as most of the tenants were already awake during that time of day-

Eremes found himself pausing at the sight in front of him, a multitude of feelings welling up as what was either apprehension or envy welled up inside him. For lazily taking glances at him from across the cafe lounge was the girl from last night, holding a half-eaten bagel and looking a lot better since he last saw her that early morning. She was wearing a blue sweater and her hair was no longer flat from the water, now having a bit more volume since the last time he saw her. Athena was her name, if he recalled correctly. And judging from the glances the girl threw at him, he knew that she was struggling to recognize his face.  

Screw eating at the lounge, might as well eat at the office. He was a busy man today, can't afford to slack off, or get distracted with a girl. 

He immediately turned the other way in a weird attempt to avoid the girl. She was seated at the window just beside the door, a look of half-hearted concentration adorning her face. Should he-

Nope, he's not trusting his judgment there.

The repairman tried to avoid eye contact as he tried to pass her by. Perhaps she won't recognize him, and she's also clearly preoccupied with something if the laptop in front of her said anything. He can't afford to have a sit-down chat with Athena, not today.

He reached for the door as he made an att-

"I know it's you Mr. Repairman.

He heard Athena speak as he neared the exit. Hesitation grabbed hold of him as his hand was left hovering above the doorknob. Could he afford to do it? He's only got a week to accomplish the job order. He needed to get things moving immediately. 

"You're avoiding me, aren't you..." She spoke jokingly, though he found that hard to believe.

Eremes now looked at his would-be obstacle. She was still chewing on a half-eaten bagel, all while her other hand is typing furiously on a small silver laptop. The woman haven't even graced a glance unlike her previous attempts before. He removed himself from the exit door and slowly made his way to her table, unsure of what to say in response. It was true though, what she said. The repairman was on a tight schedule and he'd needed all the time he could spare just to make the deadline. 

"I- Uhh...."

"...Right. I forgot you can't think fast enough." She stated with a confident tinge in her tone.

"I resent that statement, Miss 'I want to jump off a building." Ouch. That came out wrong. 

Athena turned to him, showing her amused smile. He felt himself take a breath as he can't help but notice her beauty; her green eyes glinting with mischief, no longer red from crying. Her face was devoid of tear marks and was a lot less pale than before. Truly last night didn't do her justice. Though the bags under her eyes tell a different story-

"Are you just gonna gawk at me?" She asked, tilting her head with faux curiosity.

"...Oh! Sorry 'bout that." He replied sheepishly.

"I mean- I get if I'm disappointing to look at right now.." The woman in front of him stifled a yawn. "I haven't slept since last night." Athena replied, her tone suggesting that she didn't really care.

"You mean you haven't slept yet!?"

"Just know that I owe you an explanation or something." She chuckled as her hands continued to work on her keyboard.

"Thanks.. I guess? Wait, get some rest already." He chastised.

The sound of tapping keys ceased for a beat.

"I can't. Not yet.." The tired woman replied with finality in her voice.

With his previous goal of getting out of dodge and doing work forgotten, Eremes made to sit on the other side of her table, electing to eat breakfast with the nominal novelist. He took out his croissant and began chewing, though his mind was far from savoring the sweet taste of it, rather focusing on the thought of the enigmatic girl in front of him.

"Why not?" He asked.

"Don't you have a job to do? I need to focus." Athena spat back, clearly annoyed by his advance.

"Hey. I was just asking. No need to get angry." He chuckled.

Her hands stopped their frenetic pace. Eremes now sat face to face with a furious Athena, her emerald eyes wide with an anger men can't truly comprehend.

"You haven't seen. Me. Angry. Yet. Eremes." 

"Jeez Athena I'm sorry-"

"Go. Away...please.." What?

"...I'm behind schedule and I need to to make the deadline." Her tone exuded a panic that he's very familiar with. He may be dense but he can read the situation all to clear. 

She needs to get shit done

"And so do you. Don't think I didn't see you running around like a headless chicken just a few minutes ago." He paled, his daunting task now once again at the forefront of his mind. Guess he said that thought out loud. With his half-eaten breakfast in hand, he stood up from the table and made a last glance with the girl, their eyes meeting as they made their last greetings.

"Well, I guess I'll be off then." 

"See ya." She replied dismissively.

Eremes reluctantly left the typing woman to her devices, not really being able to fault Athena for her behavior. Quite frankly, he was being a bit rude, more so than normal now that he thought about it. Why? 

He turned the knob on the door, gentle chimes signaling his impending exit from the establishment. He stole one last look at her form, contemplating the events that just happened- 

"T..nk y.u..." Did he hear something? Is he hearing things now?

Eremes shook his head before finally leaving the premises.


"Thank you..." She mouthed at him, hoping that the man heard her before he left the cafe.

There's no way he heard you, you know?

No matter. Athena had other things to attend to anyway.

You just blew it big time, girly.

He's clearly busy if he left instead of being the nosy man that he is.

The novelist let out a big yawn before turning her focus back on her laptop. "Just a little bit more.." She muttered to herself.

Sleep you fool. You can write tomorrow morning.

Her fingers paused. Wasn't that a tempting thought.

Saving her work, Athena closed her laptop. She hasn't slept in over twenty-four hours now. Stifling another yawn, the novelist stretched her back, feeling some of her bones crack with relief. After one last stretch, she left the cafe lounge and made her way to her room. She could write in the morning. Her bed was practically calling her name at that point.

"...Sleeeep..." She found herself droning as the elevator signaled her arrival at her floor.

After a few more steps, she found herself in front of her door and welcomed herself inside.

See? I do care.

The sight of a disheveled bed shouldn't fill her with so much anticipation, especially since a good night's sleep had eluded her more times than she could count. But today?

Athena can't help but drop cold dead on to it. 

And thus she slept the day away. Leaving tomorrow's problems to her future self.


The tale continues...

Related Chapters

Latest Chapter