The dining car was what one would expect of it, as in it was fancy. Not only was it complete with a bar packed with all kinds of expensive wines, snow white cloth covering the tables, and a red and black carpet that matched the oak walls perfectly, but it also had a big, crystal-like chandelier. I suppose the fact that everyone seemed to be dressed as if they were going to a ball (save for the scientist who was still in his lab coat for some reason) with the world’s most expensive suitcases (again, save for the scientist) also added to the atmosphere.
In a way, I guess I was also somewhat of an outsider. While I did have a full-on black tuxedo suit (although I suppose that is uncharacteristic for a lady presently, but I don’t think anyone has even noticed that I am one so far), it wasn’t particularly expensive. In fact, most of the value came from the fact that I had to get it tailored. My sky blue hair also stuck out like a sore thumb, but personally I don’t want to invest in dying it. Also, I was the only one rocking a ponytail, most everyone else had their hair either gelled and combed to be perfectly straight or styled to accentuate the lengths of their hair (do I even need to continue saying that the scientist was the exception?).
Aside from the atmosphere, I guess you could say that the train and its passengers were normal. Everyone began chatting away, either with someone they were with or with the stranger next to them (save for myself, I just continued reading). Naturally, I made sure to stay far away from the lady and her bodyguard in order to not stir up any more trouble although I did catch them occasionally glaring at me for a time (guess I’ll have to rush to my cabin so they don’t know where I am staying).
Eventually two of the crew members had filed into the dining car after the train had been moving for a few minutes. One of them was the conductor who I had previously made note of while the other seemed to be security considering his policeman-esque outfit. They then quickly began to hush the chatter that had been building up. Fortunately for them, there were only about nineteen passengers, so things settled down quickly.
“Sorry to interrupt your conversations, but we have a few important announcements before we allow you to get situated within your cabins,” said the Conductor. “Firstly, welcome aboard The Frontier Chaser, I am Simon Glasgow, the conductor of this train. While it is a small train, I can assure you all that you will have access to every facility you’d normally be accustomed to. Secondly, while the crew is small, we will make sure to accommodate any needs that we can. For instance, Alexander here will attend to any security concerns you may have. If you need him, just knock on his door in the second car or find him while he is patrolling your cars. Likewise, Damian, our bartender, will also be here shortly if you either need a drink or someone to talk with.”
Once the Conductor had finished this exchange, he heaved a big sigh and then his demeanor changed subtly, as if to communicate that there was some bad news. Hopefully it didn’t involve a bomb being strapped to the train, because we already had to contend with the scientist’s boxes.
“Unfortunately, for our third announcement, there appears to have been a logistical error with the tickets. Thus, some of you who would have been alone in your cabin will be having another passenger rooming with you. If you ever feel threatened however, then we can see about switching you around. That’s all the announcements we have. If you have any questions please direct them to Alexander who will direct them to me.”
Naturally this caused a bit of a stir which resulted in Alexander being bombarded by questions from solo riders & those who came with their significant others scoffing at said solo riders. As for me, I could not inquire into the matter, as I needed to rush back to my cabin to make sure that dreadful duo didn’t bash my skull in during the night. Passing through the fourth car, I rushed to the fifth car and began frantically searching for my cabin. Fortunately, it was simple to find due to the numbers on the door. Unfortunately, my cabin was closest to the explosive cargo in the caboose. I guess if I don’t get my skull crushed, it’ll get vaporized instead.
At the very least, I could enjoy a quiet cabin to myself. When I opened the door, I found quite a nice cabin. Not only was there a desk on the left hand side, clearly made by an expert craftsman with the intricate patterns snaking around the edges, but there was also a green-sheeted small double bed. For a solo cabin (heel for a sleeping cabin in general), it sure was spacious. Plenty of room to spread out, plenty of room to move around, and what did I do with it? I quickly put my baggage down, went directly into the corner of the bed, put my back against the wall, and got back to reading. And that was the end of my troubles…
Or so I thought. Instead, I hear the click of the door unlocking followed by the scientist cheerfully prancing into the room. About halfway through, he freezes, likely noticing my bag since he started looking around, eventually leading to his eyes reaching mine.
I gave a little wave as I said that. Frankly I’m surprised that I was able to do that smoothly considering that I was nearly frozen from how awkward this situation is.
“U-um, hello,” replied the scientist whilst scratching the back of his head. “Are you perchance in the wrong cabin? Cause I’ve got a ticket to prove that I’m here.”
“Nope, I’m supposed to be here too,” waving my ticket.
“Ah, I see. So I suppose this is what the conductor meant by some of us having to share cabins. In that case, my name is Craven Barnes. My mother was a farmer and my dad was a salesman. Pleasure to meet you.”
I’m not entirely sure whether it was the situation or not, but this “Craven Barnes” seemed to become a lot more chipper and chatty all of a sudden. Perhaps the initial shock wore off for him? Also, why did he have to mention his parents’ occupations?
“Devi Aster. Likewise.”
“Aster, Aster, Aster. Where have I heard that name before? Oh, right! As in Aster Industries?”
“Their headquarters is in Niets right? So I take it you’re also going there?”
Honestly, I’d like to just continue reading, but Barnes does not let up.
“Are you running the company too?”
“You aren’t? So the company isn’t nepotistic? That’s a surprise.”
“Dad’s the only one working with the company. Sisters are living at the mansion while I’m the bastard of the family.”
“Bastard? That’s a bit of a harsh label isn’t it? I’d prefer black sheep if anything.”
I suppose black sheep may work better since being a bastard usually refers to sons only. Either way the intended message is the same. I pissed off the family and now I’ve been cast out, plain and simple.
“So, how’d you garner this title?”
“Went to college far away.”
“Isn’t that well, normal?”
I mean, I suppose it would be normal. Sure, there are far fewer girls in college than guys, but that doesn’t mean they’re nonexistent. If anything, the only reason it makes me abnormal is because my sisters, both of which being older than I am, didn’t go.
“Not for my family.”
“Tradition I take it?”
“Well enough of that. So, are we just going to share the cabin then?”
Hey, Mom, Dad, I’m finally sharing a room with a guy. Are you proud? Eh? Why aren’t you guys responding? Oh, wait, this is just a conversation in my head... Oh well.
“Then,” Barnes proceeded to lock the door. “How are we splitting it?”
“Bed’s mine. Desk’s yours.”
“I suppose that’s fair, but where am I sleeping? Or are we going to sleep in the bed together?”
Mom, Dad, I no longer like having to share this room with a guy.
“I guess not everyone is so flexible, ey.”
Flexible?! In what way? Like to new ideas or something more lecherous?
“Well, anyways, guess I should probably get a fresh pair of clothes on. Carrying all those boxes here got me all sweaty”
And just like that, Barnes proceeded to take off his lab coat and shirt. Granted, he had nice abs, but you don’t just start taking off your clothes in front of a girl you just met (prostitutes being the exception)! Fortunately, he didn’t get his pants off before I intervened.
“Um, I’m a...”
“Oh, I suppose not all guys are comfortable with other guys changing in front of them.”
“Or perhaps there’s something else. But what could it be?”
“Oh, are you perhaps ga...”
“I’m a girl.”
Barely got that out. Maybe I should try doing my hair in a less messy ponytail so people can actually tell I am a girl. Maybe I could try some makeup. Actually, scratch that second one, I hate having makeup on. It also takes too much time out of my tightly packed schedule of reading and doing nothing at all.
At the very least, Barnes became red as a cherry after learning that fact, so I guess I can get a funny reaction from this kind of thing.
“O-oh,” Barnes then paused for a moment. “Wait seriously?!”
“I mean, I guess looking at your face it does seem more feminine than a normal guy’s. Longer eyelashes, different facial bone structure too. At the same time, you aren’t exactly as developed around the...”
“Finish that sentence and I’ll slice your face off.”
“You have something to do that?!”
“I have nails.”
“A-anyways, I’ll just get changed in the bathroom. Be back in a bit.”
With that, Barnes left the cabin for a bit, obviously changing. When he came back, we didn’t exactly speak for a while, as he seemed to be working while I was sinking my teeth into novel after novel. An outsider may have found the situation boring, but I was perfectly fine with it this way.