Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chapter 13: Luck

Nora was up bright and early, making sure that she got to work on time. She was especially speedy today, because she was certain that she had spied a few news vans the night before. So, she left her apartment and got out on the road as sneakily as she could then drove herself to work.

Nora entered the employee’s lounge and began putting her lunchbox and purse into her locker. She looked at the mirror hanging on the locker door and put her hair up into a ponytail. She quickly pulled blush and a small brush out of her bag and puffed a little onto her face. She then applied a little lipstick before putting her purse away.

Just then, the door to the employee’s lounge burst open. Nora spun around, panic gripping her. Running through the door was none other than Tristan, looking very frazzled and frantic. He rushed over to his locker and threw the door open, shoving his lunchbox into it as fast as he could. Nora watched him with a puzzled, yet slightly amused, expression on her face. Tristan slammed the locker closed and leaned against it, panting heavily.

“Are you okay?” Nora asked slowly. Tristan glanced over at her and waited for a minute before answering.

“Yeah…just…late.” he said between pants. He cracked a grin and Nora raised an eyebrow. She glanced up at the clock to see that he was, indeed, late.

“This is your third day working here, Tristan.” Nora said, turning away from her locker and walking towards the door. “Why in the world were you late?”

“Well,” Tristan began, straightening up. “I slept through my alarm this morning, but I did everything extra fast to make up for it. But then I got into my car and it decided not to start, so I had to chase a bus for a block before it stopped for me, and then I had to run two blocks because the bus stop is two blocks away from here!” Tristan said quickly, but still panting. Nora smiled at him and laughed a little. Tristan stared at her quizzically.

“What’s so funny?” Tristan asked, walking over to Nora.

“I don’t know. I just think it’s funny that you had a hard time getting to work.” she replied with a shrug and another smile. Nora walked out the door and Tristan stood there for a moment, wondering if he should feel insulted or happy that she had laughed at his story…

That morning was a fairly normal morning. Nora and Tristan gave three tours before lunch, and Tristan was even allowed to do some of the talking. However, in the middle of the third tour, Nora stopped abruptly. The guests were looking at some of the fish, so they didn’t notice the confused expression on Nora’s face. Tristan, however, took notice of it immediately.

“What’s wrong?” Tristan asked, standing next to Nora with a look of concern on his face. Nora waited a moment before answering, studying the scene in front of her.

“Some of the angelfish are missing…” she murmured. Tristan gave her a puzzled look.

“What?” he asked, turning to look at the aquarium. Nora stood next to him, counting the fish in the tank.

“I’m sure there aren’t as many in there as there were yesterday…” Nora mumbled to herself. Tristan glanced down at her, wondering how she could notice something so insignificant as the number of fish in a tank.

“Maybe they were moved…?” Tristan suggested. He wasn’t sure how likely that idea was, but it didn’t hurt to put it out there. Nora shook her head.

“I don’t think they would just randomly move fish around…” she said slowly. The two of them stared at the aquarium for a moment longer before Nora shook her head and put on a smile, continuing on with the tour.

After their three morning tours, Nora and Tristan took a break for lunch. They took their lunchboxes to a round table that was sitting underneath a large shade tree. Nora sat one chair away from Tristan once they reached the table. Tristan wondered why she didn’t just sit next to him, but he shrugged the matter off and opened his lunch box.

The two of them ate in silence for a few moments, neither one focused on anything besides their lunches. Tristan chomped on his sandwich happily while Nora picked at a salad. Nora was the first to look up and speak.

“Do you know what I think would be a really fun job?” Nora asked, not expecting an answer. Tristan glanced up at her, a large bite of sandwich in his mouth.

“What?” he asked, even though his mouth was full.

“Being a diver.” Nora replied simply. She stared off past Tristan wistfully, leaning her chin on one hand while still poking her fork into her salad with the other.

“A diver?” Tristan repeated, his mouth still full of sandwich. Nora nodded.

“I think it would be fun to be able to go into the tanks with the animals and swim around with them in their natural habitat.” Nora continued, still not looking at Tristan.

“Natural? There’s nothing natural about their habitat here.” Tristan said, finally swallowing his food. Nora flicked her eyes towards Tristan as he spoke. “The plants are fake, the water isn’t salt water from the ocean, and the fish are all enclosed in tiny little boxes by glass and cement, both man-made materials.” Tristan finished and gave Nora a pointed look. She sighed and rolled her eyes.

“Okay, so it’s not their ‘natural habitat.’ I still think it would be cool to swim with them, though.” Nora said, slightly exasperated. Tristan thought for a moment then nodded.

“So, how does one become a diver?” he asked, taking another bite of his sandwich.

“Well, you have to have experience and apply for a job as one, instead of having no experience at all and applying for a job as a tour guide…” Nora mumbled the last part more to herself than to Tristan.

“Wait--you’ve never gone diving before?” Tristan asked, shocked. Nora shook her head slowly. Tristan stared at her, his eyes wide with surprise. There was just something about Nora that made it impossible for him to believe that she had never gone diving before.

“I’ve always wanted to, but I can never find the time…” Nora said with a shrug.

“I think we’re going to have to make time for that.” Tristan said, nodding his head.

“We?” Nora asked, glancing up at him. Tristan stopped chewing his sandwich and looked up at Nora, realizing what he had said.

“Well, I mean, you and I could go diving together, or just you could go and I could help you pencil it in, or just I could go and you could help me pencil it in, or…” Nora giggled and Tristan stopped talking. She was looking at him with a teasing, but understanding, smile on her face.

“Do you always talk like this around girls?” she asked, a sparkle in her eyes. Tristan laughed nervously then looked down at his food, trying not to blush.

“Well, if you pencil it in, maybe we will go diving sometime.” Nora said softly. She began eating her salad again and Tristan felt his heart beat a little harder.

He suddenly felt like the luckiest man in the world.

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