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"Thank you so much for filling in," Ruth said. Ruth a sixty-year-old woman with enough spunk to take down a nation, needed a hip replacement. Clara knowing Ruth from the library had quickly become friends over a series of days; with news of the surgery, Ruth had been unsure of who was going to fill in for her at the animal shelter mainly catering to dogs at the moment, but as Clara usually did, she couldn't help but say that she would do it.
That was then, this was now, it was four in the morning and Clara hadn't even had the chance to make herself a tea before she even left the door of her house. What Clara hadn't realized when she signed up for helping her friend and the shelter was that she would be filling in for Ruth's ungodly morning shift. A little too late she had found out, but being the positive person Clara was, she decided to make the best of it.
"Of course, Ruth, no problem really," she said, the white lie passing through her lips with ease.
"You really are a sweetheart," the older woman replied, grabbing her purse off the counter and making her way over to the door. "Thanks again,"
"Bye," but the reply never hit the older woman's ears for she was already out the door.
"Alrighty best get started then," Clara said to herself.
The clock said nine o'clock, her eyes told her it was nap time. The coffee, a beverage Clara hardly drank, sat in her hands, half gone, it was going to be a brutal these next six to eight weeks. Clara had gone through everything that needed to be done, feed the animals, clean there cages, etc. etc. from the list, already knowing how to do everything with the training session she went through last week, the list was a crutch, one she planned on keeping for the time she was here, the only problem was she hadn't planned on doing everything by herself, the morning shift was shared between to volunteers and whoever that person was, they were extremely late. This shift lasted between four am to twelve pm, so the volunteer missing still had some time to get here.
He was curious to hear why she thought poodles were the best choice. After all, everyone had their own story to why their preferences are that way. Adriel had all the time he could possibly need so he thought why not spend the time volunteering to make a new friend too? This could be a chance for him, an opportunity to make a new person into his contact list. It wasn't weird for him to want to make new friends, especially when he's considered to be a newcomer in town. There was only so much a person could do alone and having some good friends might also prod the introvert in him to come out and socialize every once in a while. He paid attention to every word she said, nodding a few times in understanding, "I can't fault you there, I've lived a portion of my life in Paris and Marseille, and it's a beautiful language too."
He could speak French, of course, having spent a few decades there before moving to another place and then back at it before long. After living for over 1200 years on the earth, there were only a few places Adriel would find himself venturing back and Paris is one of them. He liked the language and a good friend of his resided there. "Have you been there? To France?" Did he have any embarrassing childhood stories? Well, if he could recall his own past it would be extremely helpful but there wasn't much of it that really stuck around the Valkyr. Mostly because his childhood wasn't really a happy one, "Well to be honest… I didn't have a good childhood, so things are a bit hazy for me." However, it didn't mean everything was all dark. He had a lovely sister to accompany him before her untimely departure.
"My sister and I, we used to like climbing trees just to collect fruits. And for the longest of time, both of us thought this one tree was cursed. If you climb it and make it mad, at night it would loom over you and invade your dreams, giving you nightmares. I accidentally threw a rock at it one day and was so scared I spent the entire night praying to the tree not to curse me" he chuckled, to him it was embarrassing because his sister told him it was just a story the villagers made up to make sure the kids wouldn't be naughty. "I really believed the story… I was like 12. Old enough to know what's real and what's not." He found her recommendation to be very helpful, "I'm such a beginner when it comes to the life of taking care of one. Should I be on the lookout for anything when I finally get one? Any misconception you wanna share with me?"
Clara listened to his answer, surprised to hear about his travels though if she took a good look at him maybe she could tell how cultured he was. "If you don't mind me asking, where else have you travelled?" she asked. The blonde Initia would never say that had never the opportunity to travel just the lack of motivation? But if she thought long and hard that probably hadn't been true, she could remember being a teen and having wanted to see the world, but then her life had changed when she learned of her species and with the death of her parents; maybe lack of time summed it up better. With her life, it had so far been a great challenge, though maybe in the new year she would take more time to do the things she really wanted to do.
"No, I never got the chance, I've been so busy with my work and before that, it had been school, I guess I'm trying to find a balance, What would you recommend in seeing if or when I go there," she knew the Eiffel tower was a must even if it was a tourist attraction. "I'm so sorry for prying, I understand what's it's like to have not the happiest of childhoods, my father died when I was young, and then when I was older my mother, though before those two incidents I had a pretty good childhood, I'm sorry you didn't" She knew many people in Evermore with terrible childhoods, and the more people she met Clara was pretty sure Evermore was the city of orphans or at least wannabee orphans with parents so terrible they shivered at the mere thought of them.
Clara smiled at the images the story brought to her mind, climbing trees and picking fruits, seemed wonderful on any warm summer day, though she had never heard of cursed trees before. "I mean if all the adults were telling you, I could see why you would believe it, I would have too, who needs any more curses than the ones they've got," she replied. Clara knew that she would have believed it too, at twelve. "They love to walk, no matter the weather and sometimes it doesn't even matter what time it is and cleaning up after them is a pain in the butt. And when you're looking for your dog, you'll know which one should be yours,"
He didn't expect her to ask him where else have he ventured to seeing as it wasn't exactly a contextual one but it wasn't that surprising either, it was an attempt to prolong the conversation they were already having so he thought, why not? "I don't think I could list every single one of them, I've had my fair share of going here and there. Iceland, in particular. Or you can say anywhere in the northern hemisphere maybe" That's one way to put it, not too vague and actual truth underlying somewhere. "Do you have a specific place you wished to visit?" Everyone had to have one, don't they? Even for him who had the opportunity to travel the globe, he still had a few favorite places of his own.
Ironically, the place of his birth became his favorite place despite the bad memories he had there. Though if he was being truthful, it wasn't all bad. He had memories he made with his baby sister there even if it was fleeting in his own mind. It's been a while so naturally it wouldn't stay rooted there for long. "What did you learn at school?" He wondered what major she took, Clara looked educated and smart, more than she probably gave herself credit for. When she apologized for prying in his personal life, Adriel shook his head and waved his hands as if he was trying to dismiss the worry she had, "Hey, don't worry about it, it's all done for and I honestly forgot all about it. Life is too short for you to think about what's not good, right?"
In his case, he didn't really live a long life, being a Valkyr is hardly being alive. He remembered struggling with his bloodlust for the first few years but managed to curb it down after a lot of training and practice. And technically, he became this person after his death so he would hardly count himself being alive at all. "If there was something being an orphan had taught me, it's that you had to work to make it work" he offered her a small comforting smile of his own, that's the basis he lived on for as long as he could remember. Nobody is going to be there to offer you their hands so you had to work for it on your own. "I'll know which one is mine?" He wondered what she meant when she said that. "Is there like a switch or something that will notify you when it's the right match?" His obliviousness might as well pass off cute right now. He's never had a pet before, not a proper one so there's room for improvement on being a pet owner.
He was being slightly evasive she determined but Clara didn't let that bother her after all they were still just mere acquaintances, so she gave the man a warm smile at his question and answered without hesitation, "Tuscany. I've always wanted to go to Italy, I don't know why but, every time I see a photo of Italy it's like a calling for me," she answered. Clara got the same feeling whenever she was near water, the ocean, in particular, it was why she always seemed to be out in nature, usually around the beach just so she could be near. "To see the cathedral or to walk along canals would be absolutely splendid, though the first thing I would see would be the Lagoon of Orbetello it just seems like that would breathtaking." And sometimes people needed for their breath to be taken away to see the amazement and wonder of what the world truly had to offer.
Clara's mind wandered back to her years of college, though they had been some difficult years she had always been up for the challenge. "I learned Ary History and English Literature and got an undergraduate degree, where I then became I, librarian, though I'm not sure how I still did that, What about you, did you go to college or university?" she asked.
Clara nodded, sometimes her mouth could run its course so she was thankful that he hadn't been offended by her questions. "I agree, I'm big on moving forward and enjoying what I do have, my friends say I'm too optimistic," she smirked at the thought, she couldn't imagine any harm in being optimistic, as long as you had control over your disappointment levels.
She nodded, the blonde had a long history of working for what she wanted but then again so did a lot of people, "The best things in life are worth waiting for, worth working for and worth believing in; or something like that," she quoted, because the saying rang true even now. She laughed, maybe she had worded that wrong, "I mean before you own a dog, you'll meet many different dogs, and at first you will be overwhelmed with cuteness because after all they are dogs and they are cute," she began, saying the last part matter of factly. "And eventually you'll have to choose which one you're taking home with you, and when you look at them you'll just know which is the right one for you," she hoped she didn't sound completely insane, it was probably easy to tell that Clara was a big fan of dogs.
Her choice was something he had to admit he has never heard from anyone else. It was surprising. "Tuscany?" he wondered and paid great attention to what she explained why she chose that as her desired destination. "I don't think I have ever heard anyone say they wanted to go to Tuscany whenever I ask them where is their desired location to travel to. You're a rather peculiar one, aren't you" he teased, her reasoning didn't provide anything concrete or so to say, but it sounded like something he would be able to expect from a dreamer. Which was somewhat refreshing if he was being honest. "What if it's not what you expected?" he asked curiously, eyes averted from the dogs running around and to the petite female next to him, "Let's say you wanted to go to this place so badly and you were given the chance to make that wish come true. But what if the place you so badly wished to visit wasn't what you expected?"
It was a general question from Adriel, he's been studying how humans lived this entire time and he always found them fascinating. He was once human too but he was very ambitious, and unfortunately, that became the reason for his early demise. Interesting, a librarian. He had to admit he didn't think that type of occupation would be particularly appealing to anyone, unless they really just love books a lot. Still, that remains one of the reasons why he held humongous respect for people like that. To care for a big place like that, it wasn't easy. When asked if he attended a university, he nodded, he wasn't without education, he may be over 1200 years old but ancient didn't mean he would miss out on education. After all, he had to have a degree at the very least to make it where he is today. "I took ACCA, so now I'm working as a financial manager or analyst at one of the companies here." He has always been a fan of arithmancy so it worked out well for him.
He let out an amused chuckle when he heard that, "Well if it makes you feel any better, you do look like an optimistic person, you exude the energy well," She seemed to enjoy the life she led, which dialed up the amount of respect he had for her initially to a higher relevance. Someone who could control the aspects of their own life so they would have no one to blame but themselves if anything happens, a person with a sound mind. Impressive. "Now you sound like a philosopher" he pointed out wryly, "were you practicing for a speech at some point in your life or what?" he jested. Adriel was completely new at the idea of being a pet owner but it was quite appealing so the Valkyr wanted to give it a try hence he's asking her for advice. It was clear she was experienced with them by the way she handled them easily. "That's a problem, I'll probably end up wanting to bring every dog or come home with none because I couldn't choose. How long does it take for you to know that you've chosen the right one?"
She laughed at his remark, maybe she was a peculiar one, if only after years of making up her own mind and flowing with her own river, then the natural course it usually took. "That I am I guess," for else how was she to respond. Clara listened to his question, surprised by the depth of it, in a doggy park. "Nothing is as is expected, pictures, movie trailers, we all make a perception of what we think will happen but most cases it doesn't I try not to go into things, expecting a certain outcome because there are too many variables but I get what you mean, a place in your head can be completely different of what happens at the let down can be severe, but I have a way of trying to make the best of things," she replied knowing many people extremely close to her felt she could be a little too optimistic sometimes. "What about you, any expectation about volunteering that didn't happen?" she asked.
Though financial manager couldn't be at the top of anyone's list, hers exceptionally, Clara was intrigued to hear more. The blonde initia had a passion for learning about other people, seeing what made them thrive and move them forward, she couldn't imagine that finance actually moved people but she was different preferring books over concerts, walking the halls over walking the malls. "What made you decide finance?" she asked.
She laughed at his remark once more, did she sound like a philosopher? if so maybe she would lay off the books once in a while, she was going to become too old for this time. "No, but maybe I should practice the modern lingo if I'm sounding wise enough to be a philosopher, I promise I'm only an early twenties librarian, I'm not some old dead man brought back," she teased.
"I don't know everyone's different," she answered knowing full well she had a hard time picking out a pair of shoes some mornings, "All I know is that they're all cute, and you will love them all, it'll be one of the hardest decisions you'll ever make, but it'll be worth every moment, because that pet, that dog, will love you forever," Clara was always amazed at the love a dog could have for its owner.
He has only met her for a while but from the way he saw her act, her demeanor and composure colors a bright person, someone who knows what she wanted despite being indecisive at times. He wasn't a psychic nor was he good at reading people but if there was one thing all the long centuries of wandering around has taught him, it was having a good eye for someone who's kind. Clara is exactly that. She wants to live a simple life filled with happiness, and there was nothing wrong with being spontaneous like that. "I do have to admit that I have never met someone so… spontaneous like you." It was a good thing, of course. When asked about what his thoughts were on volunteering, Adriel shrugged absentmindedly, "Well, I have to admit that I didn't know the first thing about volunteering, things may have been different than it was for me back home. It helps that I didn't have much expectations on things before doing it, it's just a practice I've been doing since I was a child. My mother told me it's better not to expect anything lest I be disappointed by the outcome."
Though his mother didn't treat him quite well, she wasn't wrong when it came to that. "But I do expect a lot of work, and it's time consuming." Just like any other work. "I was particularly good with numbers and I like to predict things. So when I study the market and the value, I get to come up with plenty of theories and calculations. I didn't know it was close to being accurate every time I do that until a friend pointed it out. He told me I should probably pursue a career in that and here I am." He didn't just stay in one company, he had contractual terms and once he fulfilled those, he would move onto the next unless they offered him a better incentive to stay. "It's really something that resulted from a hobby of mine." He didn't want to chase the things others do, he's lived for quite a long time and just wished to enjoy what he has today.
"Who told you philosophers had to be old and boring hm? That's quite the stereotype there, little miss" he teased, "I think philosophers come from smart people so you should take that as a compliment instead." Not a lot understood how things go until it was too late for them to undo it. Being cautious would be one of the most needed traits, if he was being honest. You never know when you might need it. "It's nice to know my dog will at least love me forever even if my girlfriend does not" he chuckled, only he decided not to go after anyone after Ophelia. A man in love is hard to coerce, they say. The sound of the dogs barking grew louder as one of them came running towards them at full speed, paws pressing against the bench while staring at them as if it was asking for something, "I think this one has something to say."
Clara almost wanted to laugh, her spontaneous, maybe in some way she wanted to be but it seemed farther than truth when speaking about her, she appreciated her wild side once in a while, but the most spontaneous thing she did this week was having eaten a spicy chicken buroitto instead of making something for dinner as most nights she did. "Well, thank you, though I think it's the first time in history anyone's called a librarian spontaneous,"
She listened along to his words, yes it was much easier to have lower expectations, it saved people disappointment in the future. "Your mother was a wise woman," she agreed, expectations had a way of changing the way you saw things, and not always in a good way.
Clara could tell that it seemed to be one of his passions, words she hadn't heard in a while like calculations and theories were usually words of someone who knew what they were talking about and she could tell he did. "How old were you when you started it as a hobby?" a picture of a little boy going over financial statements crossed her mind.
She laughed at his teasing, maybe he did have a point. "But doesn't wisdom come with age and experience, we only learn through time, unless you know someone who was born with all the infinite knowledge in the universe?" she teased back, though the question had been something she had discussed before in one of her college classes, it was on infinite wisdom and if one could earn all of it in a matter of years, would you want it? Her answer had been undecided as the rest, like spiderman's uncle had said before, "with great power came great responsibility," and after all knowledge was power, she didn't think she wanted it.
With the mention of his girlfriend, Clara knew it wasn't a topic to approach, a slight sadness lingered in his eyes, past relationships had a way of doing that for you, regrets and unanswered questions. She leaned down to the dog in front of them and pulled a tree from her jacket. "Oh, he probably wants a treat," she replied, patting the dog's head, who let out a happy bark.
He realized his words might seem a bit unconventional compared to the other people's way of thinking but he couldn't find it himself to say something about that. Maybe he's just comfortable with being just himself, instead of changing a bit of this and that to satisfy another's preference. "You're welcome, I feel like every occupation could present itself to be quite spontaneous at times though, you never know what comes up when you're currently going about your day like you normally do." In this case, he wasn't sure if he was fine with how last minute his clientele could be but it added a bit of a fun mix into it so he absorbed that and tried to be optimistic about it. Ever since then, nothing was impossible to his eyes.
"Not the best mother but definitely a wise woman" he mumbled, chuckling bitterly under his breath, and god was she one horrid mother indeed. He couldn't think of anything that would make him want to go back to the past if she's still like that. How his sister managed to survive that is still beyond him but then again, he's the only one she hated, his sister wasn't disliked by her. He never knew what he did wrong until today. When she asked him how old he was when he started it as a hobby, Adriel choked internally because how was he supposed to tell her that the man sitting next to her was over 1200 years old and had more than enough lifetimes to sit down and learn a new hobby every decade. Think, Adriel. "Uh… 14 I guess" he was a fan of arithmancy around that time, despite the lack of education he received. "I just stumbled across it one day and thought it was an interesting concept, nobody would entertain me about how it works so I started learning it on my own as the time goes by" that part was true.
He did indeed learn it on his own and moved gradually at his own pace. After all, he had nothing but time. He swore if he wasn't already calculated and collected in front of her, he would be able to feel himself sweating at the back of his mind when she said that, "Some people are just surrounded by a lot of knowledge and in order for you not to fall back, you have to catch up or at least surpass them, no?" It's the most logical explanation he could give to her that wasn't much of a lie. Once he moved to England for work, the land was filled with vast knowledge that he would never be able to unlock back in Scandinavia. "Did you bring treats with you? Because I… don't think I brought it with me" which made him give a slightly sorry look to the dog as if saying he was sorry he couldn't give him one. "I should probably have dog treats on me at all times later…" it seems like a good decision.
She nodded along with what he was saying, every bit of her life was touched by the unknown so why wouldn't her job be? Afterall just last week the power had gone out and instead of closing the library for the rest of the day they had gone to the attic and had found some old lamps they could use, it had worked out perfectly and had added a romantic ambiance to the place that normally lacked with electricity. "That I completely get," she replied.
Her words about his mother bothered him, she could tell, the bitterness carried in his tone to her ears, she didn't dare ask about it, knowing painful memories existed in everyone's memories.
Clara nodded noticing nothing out of the ordinary with his answer, "I can't imagine being a teenager and wanting to learn that, I thought teenagers liked to go out and have fun?" she asked. "Not that I did, I spent most of my time reading under this old tree," her childhood leading up to her teen years could be described as boring to most, only to hit a dramatic turn for the worse with the death of her father. "I admire how you went out and learned what you wanted, I think it's an admiral trait," not a lot of young people knew they needed to take life by the horns.
"I can tell you're a wise soul," she voiced her thoughts, a man like himself held character and control, a quality a lot of people his age didn't seem to possess, for the first time today she wondered if this man was human. "And I guess you're right," she agreed with his previous inquiry.
"Don't worry, I always keep treats on me, but I would suggest you carry some on you next time, they love it when you spoil them," After giving the dog a treat she stood up to her full height, and looked off at all the dogs playing, "Do you think they've played long enough?" she questioned out loud, "Though I could probably spend all day out here,"