Chapter 15:

(Tristan) Does This Count As Theft?

Cafe Eris

I sat on the floor defeated, gathering the vase shards in a cloth until I heard Rika’s voice disappear. It feels weird to say but, I was kind of grateful that she spoke so loudly. Bookmark here

I placed the cloth with the glass pieces carefully in a corner of a box piled with other items, and other boxes on top of it. There’s no way anyone could find it here, cleaning all this would be a nightmare.Bookmark here

I shook the dust from my hands and clothes ready to trek my way back through all the doors and staircases and tunnels. At times like this I was grateful to be a design student with a good memory. And then I realized I almost forgot something very, very important. The other evidence.Bookmark here

I stared at the USB. It was sort of dubious the way it had been tucked away in a vase. But then again, maybe someone dropped it in there by accident and never managed to get it out. Definitely sounds like something that a bald eagle would do. Sounds like something I’d do by accident. Nope. I shook my head. The thought of comparing myself to that man gave me the creeps.Bookmark here

I needed to get back to my shift as soon as possible now that the coast was clear. If the eagle found out I’d been gone for this long, he’d probably cut my pay. Bookmark here

Oh, it. I grabbed the USB and shoved it in my back pocket. No one will notice it’s gone, no one probably even noticed it was there in the first place.Bookmark here

I retraced my steps to get back to the main floor. I had almost made it to the final staircase from Scanta’s office when I heard the footsteps of two people. Oh no.Bookmark here

Before I could go anywhere else, the bald eagle came face to face with me on the steps. He looked a little… on edge, more so than usual, and in a more serious way this time. But that was only for a moment. As soon as he saw me, he put on his usual smile. Bookmark here

Behind him was that DJ from the rave event two weeks ago, he looked pretty mad, or maybe that was just his face. Bookmark here

“What did you break?” said DJ McDizzle straight away.Bookmark here

I was taken aback, there’s no way anyone on the main floor heard that. “Sorry?” I replied, like I didn’t understand what he was talking about. I took drama in 9th grade, I can do this. C’mon Tristan, awaken your inner actor.Bookmark here

“I heard something shatter in the lower floors,” he said pointedly.Bookmark here

Shoot shoot shoot shoot. “Oh? You must have heard wrong.” No, he heard right. “I did move around alot of glassware so maybe you heard that rattling instead?” I responded innocently, hoping it would be enough.Bookmark here

McDizzle’s brows furrowed, “No. I think you are mistaken. I definitely heard something break.” He took a threatening step towards me, “Show us immedia-”Bookmark here

Scanta put his hand in front of the DJ cutting him off mid sentence. “Hey, it’s ok. Even if you did, I wouldn’t be mad. Half that stuff is ancient anyways,” he chuckled. “Anyways, it doesn't really matter. I got the text from Wabong, did you end up finding any tea?”Bookmark here

Relief rushed through me. “Nope, sorry. I tried.”Bookmark here

“Oh ok, no worries. I’ll put in an order to restock.”Bookmark here

He paused. “The storage room is quite messy isn’t it”. Bookmark here

“Oh yeah, I guess so. There’s lots of random stuff scattered throughout, it’s pretty cool though,” I said.Bookmark here

The air suddenly shifted. The bald eagle was still smiling but any trace of ease or his usual happy-go-lucky attitude had vanished.Bookmark here

“Did you find anything interesting?”Bookmark here

“Oh, um... The plates with the bird patterns on them are nice, they remind me of a set my great grandma had from when she was younger.”Bookmark here

His face relaxed a little. He slapped my shoulder and let out a laugh. “I see you appreciate antique tableware, how refreshing!”Bookmark here

The DJ behind him still looked slightly irritated. Bookmark here

“Alright, alright. Let’s head back upstairs everyone. I’m sure it’s been a tough day for you. Have some almond cake! Compliments from the owner.” The eagle winked (EW), and ushered me and the DJ through the stairs and his office into the main room, closing the doors behind him.Bookmark here

The USB in my pocket felt heavier with every step. Does this count as theft? Not sure. Thankfully Scanta couldn't see it since it was covered by the back of my shirt.Bookmark here

I waved to Wabong and he gave me a reassuring thumbs up. Bookmark here

I eased up a little. Things could've been so much worse today. I knew I hid the shards well enough. I found my way back to the main floor. Scanta didn’t seem too bothered by McDizzle’s accusations. I took a deep breath and dug into a deliciously free slice of almond cake.Bookmark here

Thank God I don’t have to join some host club to repay my debts.Bookmark here

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