After leaving the tavern and separating with Rex and the others, we returned straight to our inn. Nighttime at Spiris was lively, but Daniela and I were so stuffed and had no energy to stop by anywhere else. We arrived very late at the Silver Sky Inn, but the lights at the entrance were still lit. And when we opened the door, Joshua was working behind the front counter.
“Ah, Asagi. And Daniela.”
“Good evening. Are you working?”
Joshua put down the pen he was using to write and smiled.
“Yes. Just getting the accounts organized.”
“But it’s so late.”
“Oh, no. This is my job. But I am just about to finish. Here is your key.”
I was impressed with how smoothly he handed us our room keys. There wasn’t even a short pause in the conversation. A real hotelman.
“Thank you. Please don’t work yourself too hard.”
“Ah, thank you very much. I am off to bed then.”
He says with a chuckle and starts to put away the documents. I couldn’t help but laugh as well.
“Have a good night.”
“And you as well.”
We ended that polite interaction and headed off to our rooms. I was on the third floor, but so was Daniela. Though, our rooms were separate. I handed Daniela her key and entered my room. I hadn’t noticed as I was walking and talking, but apparently, I was quite drunk. And it only took a few minutes after falling into bed for me to travel into the world of dreams.
And in the dream, I was working at the convenience store. The uniform I was wearing felt very nostalgic as I dealt with midnight customers. This was a time when the complaints tended to start coming. Salarymen who had to work late hours. Taxi drivers who had to deal with drunk customers. Hosts and hostesses who stopped by the convenience store after work. There was quite a variety of customers at midnight.
I was waiting idly as I had finished cleaning and everything else when a certain customer entered the store. The person was wearing sweatpants and shirt and held their wallet in their hand as they stuffed snacks and drinks into a basket. The customer killed some time at the magazine rack before finally coming to the counter.
Being ignored by customers was the norm. The ones that spat out a barrage of complaints were the special kind. And so it didn’t bother me. All I needed to do was scan the barcodes.
“That will be 2,150 yen.”
“Yes, that’s 3,000 yen then. Here is the change. 850 yen. Thank you.”
I offer the bag of groceries. But the customer does not take it.
“Is something the matter?”
The customer stares at me silently. I stare back without thinking, and it suddenly hits me that she is incredibly beautiful. But there was also something familiar about her. Was she famous?
The customer calls my name. I didn’t understand how she could have known. But the more I think, a fog seems to fill my head, and nothing comes together.
“Sorry? Uh, excuse…”
The customer grabs my hands instead of the bag. The hands are cold, and as pretty as she is, this is slightly eerie.
“Ah, could you please let…”
“L-let go, just let go!”
The arms that are clutching my hands begin to distort as my vision becomes blurry. My body is swaying as if I am floating in water.
“Asagi! Hey, Asagi!”
“Who are you calling a customer! Wake u-, aghh, sto-, let go of me you fool!”
My eyes slowly opened and the mysterious customer transformed into Daniela. She was practically hovering over me. Her face was bright red. I didn’t understand what was going on. But the dream had been so frightening, yet the familiar face in front of me now was somehow terribly nostalgic and dear to me.
“Asagi? I, mmm…!”
Before I knew it, my arms were wrapped around her and our lips had pressed together.