Oh, that's your clock... At the harsh sound, your eyes clench, unwilling to open, not wanting to give up sleep just yet.
Five more minutes couldn't hurt, right?
[[You're a responsible adult.->Guess I'll Wake Up]]Just as you make the decision to actually get up, you feel something fuzzy rubbing against your cheek, the something letting out a quiet purr. Seems somebody else wanted you to wake up too.
When your eyes open up, you see the familiar face of Ares staring down at you, his eyes wide. He blinks. You blink. He blinks again. You blink again. He purrs and licks your nose. You smile.
"Come here, you stupid cat." You coo at him, sitting up. He scrambles away from you, dashing down your front and jumping off the bed. You hear him dash through your cracked open bedroom door. With a sigh, you run a hand through your frazzled bed head, your other going to slap the alarm clock off. Time to get up.
You swing your feet over the edge of the bed, catching sight of [yourself]<FirstPass| in the mirror.(click: ?FirstPass)[ (replace: ?FirstPass)[your [face]<SecondPass| and [hair]<ThirdPass|] ]
(click: ?SecondPass)[ [The bags under your eyes are hard to miss, and... did you forget to take off some of your makeup last night?] ]
(click: ?ThirdPass)[ [God, is your hair really back down past your shoulders? You swear you got it cut last week. And those are definitely a couple of split ends there on your bangs...] ]
[[Time to clean yourself up->Bathroom]]You swing your bedroom door open to find Ares cleaning himself just outside of the door. He glances up at you, as if to say 'What're you lookin' at?'. You raise your brow at him, unimpressed, but he simply goes back to licking himself. Oh, he'll come running back to you eventually.
Which happens to be the moment you start moving again. Ares gets up and trots after you as you make your way to your tiny apartment's bathroom. As you push the door open, he prances in, hopping up onto the toilet to go back to preening himself.
"Well aren't you just the most vain little shit in the apartment?" You ask him. Ares disregards you entirely, wholly absorbed in licking a bit of fur on his paw. He's just lucky you love him.
With your piece said, you move to stand in front of the sink and do some damage control. That's definitely some foundation still on your cheek. Still not in the right place to cover the purple bags under your eyes. You yawn at the simple sight of it. God, you're dead tired. Still, work is work, and it's Thursday. One more day after this one and you can sleep until noon. And what a joyous day that'll be.
You grab a washcloth and, as the water in the sink starts to warm up, you stare at yourself. You almost forgot it was Thursday. Or rather, almost didn't remember. Everything seems to blend together nowadays. You try to look for the bright side in things, but lately... well, lately it's been a little hard. Still... things could get better. Right? Maybe you'll go on an adventure today.
[[Be real.->No Fun Today]]You snort. Yeah, an adventure, sure. Sure, a fancy pantsy adventure. On a work day. For a twenty three year old, grown ass woman. What is even up with you today?
From the toilet, Ares lets out a quiet purr, having relaxed into a position that makes him look like a loaf of bread. You start to laugh, stopping when a bit of toothpaste spit finds itself on the mirror. Whoops. Nothing a quick rub with the pad of your thumb can't fix. Ares cracks open an eye to watch you. You shoot him a fake glare.
Still, as you move to rinse your mouth, cool water washing over your tongue, your mind starts to wander. An adventure. It'd be nice to get a break from monotony, sure, but... what dumbass adventure would a normal, unassuming person like you even get up to?
[[A extraordinary regular day!->A Normal Life?]]
[[Unlucky adventure...->This is Gonna Suck]]As you brush your teeth, you find yourself cracking a stupid smile. Yeah, an adventure would certainly sound nice. It'd be fun to get away from the same old, same old of everyday life, even just for a single day.
From the toilet, Ares meowls, clearly perturbed by something. You glance over and cock an eyebrow at him. He stares at you for a moment before meowling again. The two of you share eye contact before he suddenly springs at you.
"Mmph! Mmrms!" You shout, nearly falling at the sudden impact. His claws dig into your thin shirt, pricking at your skin as he scrambles up to layer himself over your shoulders. You scowl at him through the mirror, though it quickly fades into an irritated smile when you hear him purring.
You roll your eyes and finish brushing your teeth. As you do, your mind drifts back to the whole 'adventure' thing that you find yourself unable to break away from. What kind of adventure awaits you today?...
[[Technological! One with robots and threats from space!->The Future Is Now]]
[[Magical! One with wizards and warlocks and ancient creatures!->Magic is Everything]]As you spit water into the sink, you suppose the most you could get would be a deviation from the regular crap that happens on the daily. It'd be nice to get some variation in your schedule once in a while, but you doubt that'd be the case. Just a few small things that shake things up. Yeah, you suppose that'd be fun.
Ares seems to agree with your thoughts, purring directly into your ear. You reach up to scritch him on the head. Welp, no point in wondering what today's gonna bring you. You've got a good feeling about today now, though, and your therapist said a good outlook is always key.
Still... you glance back in the mirror, staring at your tired, baggy eyes and choppy hair. You should... probably clean yourself up sometime. Perhaps that's what you'll do after work today, instead of coming straight home and passing out. A haircut... a nice warm meal from a quaint restaurant... a pint of ice cream and some funny YouTube videos... You know what? That sounds like a great idea.
[[First things first... breakfast.->GoodDay 1]]Ugh. You drop your toothbrush into its holder and stare at yourself in the mirror for a few moments. Jesus you look gross. You bring a hand up, prodding at the dark bags under your eyes. Dammit. You honestly just want to go back to bed, but you really shouldn't be using your last sick day so lightly. Still, after all the stupid 'adventure' thoughts, you're feeling really... weighed down.
A gross feeling of dread settles down onto you as you waste more time staring at yourself in the mirror. Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. You eventually turn away, clenching your jaw. Now you're in a terrible mood, in addition to being tired.
Ares lets out a trill, moving to rub against your head. You crack a tired smile, but even he can't lift your foul mood entirely. Still, today's just another day, and you can pass the hell out as soon as you get back from work... if you even make it that far...
[[Breakfast time.->BadDay1]]Yeah, (link-reveal: "you can see it now...
[//You'd head out of the apartment, and a swirling portal filled with all variety of blues would tear itself open. From within, a being of metal rather than skin. Shaped like a human, but with glowing eyes. Your eyes would widen in fear, and it would march up to you. Instead of smiting you with never before seen tech, it would speak in a synthetic voice.
"I'm looking for Penny Serrata." It would say.
"This is her." You'd reply...//]
Before you can get too into your daydream, Ares lets out a quiet huff into your ear, letting you know that he's hungry. You sigh, putting your toothbrush down. Your hand goes up, and Ares nuzzles it with a purr.
"Let's get you some food, big guy." You tell him.
[[Breakfast time.->SciFi Part 1]]A magical adventure... yeah... yeah, (link-reveal: "you can see it...
")[//"Penny!" Somebody would call your name as you're walking down the street. As you stop and turn around, you'd see him, an older gentleman, with a three piece suit and a cane. You'd turn left and right, because surely he's talking to somebody else? And yet he would approach you.
"Penny Serrata." He would wheeze out. "I've finally found you.
"Ah, sorry sir, I don't know you." You'd reply.
"Perhaps, but I know// you.//" And he would place a hand on your shoulder. "Penny, I need your help. Not many have the potential to control the Great Flame. But I sense it within you."
"The 'Great Flame'?" You'd ask.
"Yes." He would reply, lifting his cane. And then he would pull his hand off your shoulder, and a brilliant green flame would bloom in the palm of his hand. Your eyes would widen. "I have been seeking the Scion of Light for decades. And, now, I have found her..."//]
Before you get lost in your daydream, something sharp pricks into your shoulder. You yelp in surprise, turning your head to see Ares kneading your shoulder with his paws. You frown. Well, it was probably for the best. You need to prepare for work anyway.
[[Who's hungry?->Magic 1]]Double-click this passage to edit it.Double-click this passage to edit it.Breakfast is the same old, same old. A bowl of cereal and a glass of the juice of the week, apple juice this time. Ares scarfs down a bowl of his dry food, though you felt merciful this morning and gave him half a tin of wet food as well. He gets the other half for dinner.
Your (link_reveal:"phone buzzes.
")[When you check it, it looks like an email from your boss. You scroll through it while you slowly chew on a mouthful of mini wheats. Apparently, he wants you a few minutes early, because they're going to be training a new intern, but they need your help specifically. You roll your eyes and take a sip of juice. What the hell could they possibly need done with a new intern that only you can do? It better be good.]
You take a few moments to stare out of the glass sliding door next to the table, taking in the sight of both your empty ass balcony and the city beyond your apartment. Today... you want today to be a good day. A quiet //'chff'// sound catches your attention, and you quickly whip your head to the side to find Ares with his head an inch away from your milk filled cereal bowl.
"C'mere you little stinker. You already got something special this morning." You say as you grab him around the middle, hauling him off the table. He lets out a clearly unhappy sound, but you roll your eyes at him. The bowl and glass are quickly whisked away and you actually spend a few moments hand washing them instead of letting them sit in your sink for a couple days before throwing them in the dishwasher.
[[Let's get out of here.->GoodDay2]]Double-click this passage to edit it."And be good while I'm gone." You tell Ares as you finish putting on a bit of mascara. He doesn't reply from his spot curled up on your bed, so you just assume he understands. You make sure the collar of your shirt is aligned right. Okay, you look presentable. Good, good.
"Okay, I'm leaving. Love you." You say. Ares yawns and curls up on the foot of your bed. You smirk and blow him a kiss before grabbing your bag and heading out of your apartment.
Once outside on the street, the sun shines down on you, a gentle breeze ruffling your hair. You run your hand through it, adjusting what the breeze blew out of place. Okay. Okay. You're not feeling like garbage, so today is just like any other day. But now... now for the big question.
[[Or metro?->GoodDayRideTheRails1]]You jog to the bus stop, having noticed that you dawdled just a bit too much this morning in getting up. The stop isn't far, but you're still in a rush.
You arrive just as the last of the people waiting have piled onto the bus. The bus lurches forward slightly, and then jerks to a stop at your approach. You put a hand against the door frame, taking a moment to catch your breath. The bus driver offers you a smile when you look up, and you reciprocate.
And then (link-reveal: "you stick your hand into your pocket. ")[There's nothing there. You feel your stomach drop as you realize you don't have the change for bus fare. All you have is your ID, metro card, and debit card.]
[[Dammit.->GoodDayBus2]]You find yourself running, because you know that you're not gonna make it to the right tram if you don't. You hear the name of your tram called as you book it through the terminal. Your hands move quickly, withdrawing your metro card from your wallet as you run.
Through the turnstile and down the stairs, you feel the wind at your feet as you run. It playfully toussles your hair and ruffles your clothes as you go, though you don't have time to enjoy how it feels.
At the last possible second, you dart into the tram, the doors slipping shut behind you and nearly catching the back of your shirt. You wrap an arm around one of the poles in the center of the tram, leaning over to catch your breath.
[[You're not used to running.->GoodDayRideTheRails2]]Before you can get out of the bus, a hand lays itself on your shoulder.
"Thanks for holding the thing up, Penny." A familar voice says to you. You glance up to find your boss there, a smile on his face. "You're lookin' a little pale. Things good?"
"H-Hey Boss." You say. "I just... don't have bus fare."
"That's it? Don't worry about it, I'll cover it." He grins and pats you on the back, nudging you into the bus. You silently move in, blinking, as he hands fare for two to the bus driver. The two of you make your way into the bus and take a seat near the back.
"Uh..." You say once you two are seated. "Thanks, Boss."
"No worries." Your boss says. "And call me Richard. We're not at work." He smirks.
The two of you make small talk as the bus rumbles along, and you spend some time thinking about just how weird it is to interact with your boss like this.
[[Off to work.->GoodDayBus3]]Once at the office, you trot after Richard as he heads inside. He chatters to you about the recent merger, which kind of just flies over your head. Eventually, you reach his office, and he glances back at you once his hand makes contact with the door knob, and a surprised look crosses his face.
"Boss, the uh... email." You say.
He looks really confused for a brief moment before his face lights up. "Right! Right. The intern. How could I forget? Follow me." And then he does a 180 and starts walking. You once again follow closely as he heads to one of the lower offices.
Upon entry, you spy two figures. One is a fellow worker, Genevive, who offers you a curt wave. The other, you figure, is the intern. She's shorter than you, with a thick spattering of freckles across her tanned skin. Her eyes are a sharp honey brown, and her hair is done up in a thick braid. She seems to look irritable, though she does blink at you as you enter.
"Hello, Ms. Isome." Richard greets. "This is Penny Serrata. She'll be the one working with you. Unfortunately, I have some work to attend to, so I cannot supervise, but know that you'll be in good hands." And then he's gone. Leaving you alone with Genevive and the eerily quiet Ms. Isome.
[["Um... hello. I'm Penny."->GoodDayBus4]]The room is silent for a few seconds after you speak, the tension thick enough to grab out of the air. Ms. Isome blinks at you, looking irritated, then shoots Genevive a half-lidded stare.
"Oh, right!" Gevevive lets out a nervous laugh. "Penny! The reason we need your help is that... well, Marilyn here is mute. And since you're in HR and you know sign language, we figured..."
"...oh!" Your eyes light up and you turn to Ms. Isome. "Of course! Um... here." You smile and (link-reveal:"start to sign. ")[//"Hello Ms. Isome! I'm Penny Serrata. Do you prefer Marilyn?"//]
At your signing, Marilyn's anger seems to quickly drain out and, though she doesn't smile, her mood seems to improve significantly. She (link-reveal:"signs back. ")[//"Marilyn is fine."//]
Your smile grows. You (link-reveal:"sign. ")[//"Marilyn it is! I'll be showing you the ropes. Are you working in HR too?"//]
Marilyn (link-reveal:"replies ")[//"Yeah."//] She looks surprised.
[[This is going well!->GoodDayMarilyn1]]Double-click this passage to edit it.Apparently, you're panting really loud, because somebody taps you on the shoulder. It's a young woman, shorter than you, with tanned skin covered in a thick spattering of freckles. Her eyes are a sharp honey brown, and her hair is done up in a thick braid. She looks over you and then motions to the seat she was sitting in.
"Th... thanks..." You manage, eagerly plopping yourself down into the seat. She simply nods at you, and then looks away.
You take a moment to recover your voice and breath before you glance back up at her, still standing nearby. You wave at her and, when she looks at you, you speak up.
"I just... wanted to thank you for the seat again." You say. She nods. You nervously glance around and smile. "Um, I'm Penny Serrata. Can I... have your name?"
At your words, the woman stares at you, then shakes her head. You frown. "I... can't?" You ask her. She appears to grit her teeth, already looking exasperated with you. The young woman looks at you and raises a hand. Her fingers come to touch her thumb, and she open and closes her hand a few times before taking her thumb and running it across her neck. It takes you a moment.
[[You're so insensitive.->GoodDayRideTheRails3]]You're so stupid. You sign to her.
(click-append: "sign to her.") [ //"I am so sorry. That was really stupid of me. Is this better?"//]
The young woman looks surprised you know sign language and signs back.
(click-append: "signs back.") [ //"Forget it. This is better though, thanks. Oh, and my name is Marilyn Isome."//] She seems a bit embarrassed when she tells you her name.
You smile and respond.
(click-append:"respond.") [ //"Pleasure to meet you, Marilyn. Thank you for the seat."//]
She offers you a lame shrug and a reply.
(click-append:"a reply.") [ //"Don't worry about it. Felt like being nice today."//]
[[That went better than expected.->GoodDayRideTheRails4]]The two of you make pleasant conversation during the entire metro ride. You both figure out that you work at the same place, and together you deduce that Marilyn is the intern you're supposed to be training, likely because you're the only one at the office that has any sort of proficiency in sign language. Go figure.
You find yourself thinking about how easy it is to talk with Marilyn.
Upon arrival at your job, you tail Marilyn to where she's supposed to be meeting you, and the two of you chat until your boss shows up, surprised to see the two of you together already. He tells you what you need to be doing to train Marilyn and heads out, leaving you to your devices. Excellent.
[[Ain't nothin like a work day.->GoodDayMarilyn1]]