Towers of boxes collapse.
“I need a chair,” moans out of the sea of cardboard boxes, packing paper, and peanuts.
“The age of nanotech, incredible chemical knowledge, body alteration abilities, and I’m stuck in a sea of cardboard! Not to mention the paperwork,” Viola complains while the field of boxes fills her vision before collapsing backward.
“Could be worse. It usually is really hard to find a new home. Guess I’ve been lucky so far. Right, dad?” she wonders looking at the ceiling.
Not even half a year ago; Viola’s last family member died in what the police are calling a ‘suspicious incident’. Less than a year after his wife's murder at work.
Their friends are willing to take Viola in till she figures out what to do next, because of her poor health. But repeating that only makes Viola determine to handle it on her own. Sickness is not a new concept to her, even if this new one is terrifying. Her health was never good, for long before his passing.
That place might have been her parent’s home base but she considered did not have family there anymore. Only even a couple she even trusts enough to sleep in the same building.
Thus, the decision to move closer to someone she trusts begins a new life.
‘I should be able to handle living on my own during treatment. I will! I just need a plan,’ Viola thinks to herself.
A single slender looking blonde woman with a stripe of purple hair should have no trouble moving just about a ten-hour drive away. “If you believe that I have a bridge to sell you,” Viola complains already deep in paperwork.
Less than a month ago the plan begins-
The plan is so easy to start: contact father’s special friend, ‘Doctor’ Bendard Clarke to see if moving close to his hospital would work and if the hospital has any treatment spots open. After his approval get a remote work job, in town if possible. Then make all the moving arrangements; with a hotel before finding a rental to figure out good areas to live alone. It should be no trouble in this high-tech world.
Except this city’s businesses aren't online.
The only place looking for a remote assistant/bookkeeper is called Madam Omga’s Chambers, run by a person named after a plant. Who, must be odd as the only one willing to go remote but paid very well? All their licenses check out and their first check clears so Viola tries not to think about it. That should have been a sign.
Viola checks in to the recommended hotel. All the staff are in form-fitting red-tone uniforms and address the owner, a woman with long red hair that covers one eye while wearing a long red gown while carrying a cigarette in an extender, as Mistress instead of manager or Ma’am. “Aren’t you a precious little thing?” the Mistress smiles while eyeing Viola.
Viola steps back as the smell coming from her pipe stirs something in her mind. The Mistress smirks as she notices Viola checking the pipe. “Precious indeed.”
Viola immediately sought out a real estate agent to help find a rental property. While touring the area local businesses sat out; Bitches Bakery and Bulls BBQ Pit show a common naming theme. Making the stores calling themselves repair shops odd.
Despite having a well-known training hospital, the area seems almost classic in its design; though some might argue it is just run down.
“What have I gotten myself into,” Viola wonders as she rubs her head.
It only takes a week for the real estate agent to find a place in Viola’s price range and close to the hospital.
Turns out to be a house in a quiet neighborhood with the landlord right next door. It is a nice house; a couple of small bedrooms, one large one, a garage and plenty of room for her. More house than Viola needs for herself but the landlord prefers renting to people who are in town because of the hospital. That is why the rent is so low.
Viola is on a walk-through tour when she meets the landlord. He is a very energetic man.
The home seems lovely. The only confusing thing during the walkthrough is the number of locks on all the cabinets in the kitchen.
The landlord, a tall slender man, whose clothes just hang off beautifully. He even makes his shaved head look fabulous. His name is Mr. Marrigold and he also owns the Queen’s Garden in town. Viola’s eyebrow goes up, “Queen’s Garden?”
“You know it,” he winks. Viola just nods missing the glint in his eye.
He takes her to his home for an outdoor tour and a talk without the realtor. His yard is beautiful. He keeps the rental house simple by comparison because he does not want the tenants damaging any plants.
His dog is tall and slender as well. Also, just as friendly. Mr. Marrigold likes talking about the people he previously rented the house to.
Many were people getting treatment at the hospital, others were medical students, and a few were business associates doing some long-term contract work. He likes to gossip.
He makes sure to tell her where a ‘pretty little thing like her’ shouldn’t go alone. But the story that eases Viola's mind is that his dog would sneak over at times and eat some of what the medical students left in the cabinets. But they thought it was each other so they started locking the cabinets. It took them a month to figure out a dog did it because they left the backdoor open all the time.
Viola agrees to rent the house.
Over the next few days Mr. Marrigold’s stories, visits to finish out the paperwork, help with arrangements, and visits from his dog make the first couple weeks a bit more tolerable. Something is still missing though, besides regular furniture.
Viola begins exploring more of the town than the route to the hospital, gas station, and grocery. She makes her way to the library.
The library is massive! Viola’s head spins as she takes in the sight. A multi-floor establishment with vaulted ceilings and detailed woodwork. A building so classic and flourished it should be in a history book. Most buildings in modern times could not compare to the classic detailing.
Each staff member wears uniforms here as well. The air is so quiet the only sound is of pages turning. This entire establishment is a stand out from the rest of town.
Viola goes to the counter for guidance around the massive building. The woman at the counter smiles about to greet her when the sound of heels clicking on the tile floor begins.
The sound causes the woman to freeze.
Her eyes widen as the sound comes closer. Viola could see the sweat on the woman’s brow as the sound stops behind her.
A blonde woman with most of her hair in a tight bun allowing only the bangs to come down and sit on her breasts functions like a dictator to the staff. Black leather barely covered the essential core and a black lace coat flowed off her like a fog. The heels are thigh-high black leather boots.
‘If she isn’t the living model for the naughty school teacher trope history is wrong!’ Viola thinks. The sound of her heels clicking is a warning for everyone.
People freeze at their workstations, not only the greeter. Viola, being the newest person in sight caught her attention. “What do you want?”
The blonde woman clad in black shots a glare rivaling ice, “What type of books?”
“This book on fitness, healthy diets for those with restrictions, and medical terminology,” Viola answers without breaking eye contact and holding the name of a book on a slip.
The woman smirks, “This way.” She glances at the slip and shows Viola the fitness book first. Viola grabs the book off the shelf, flips open to a page, and lets her fingers trace over the image.
The librarian glances over her shoulder to see the photo. It is of a man larger than anyone in town, a woman in a lab coat and their daughter; the caption reads- a scientist, her fitness king husband, and their daughter; Viola. “You looked lovely.”
“Thank you, Madam,” Viola responds while putting the book away. The other woman’s eyebrow goes up; her version of shock. “Your mannerism is the same. The other books now, please.”
The woman smiles. “Of course, my dear.”
She shows her the other books. She sees her take a medical term book, survivor stories with medical diseases, and how to eat when sick. “My dear?”
“Miss, Deary. Ms. Especially here.”
“And some things always stay here.”
The librarian catches the heavily implied suggestions and nods. She turns and leaves, “Of course. I expect all you do to be as thorough and confidential as your other work is. I’ll leave you to it.”
Viola brings a couple of the books to the counter. Ms. Ivy’s heels terrify the normal clerk away. She hands Viola a library card and checks her books out quickly, “You will be here for some time, correct?”
“Good,” Ms. Ivy affirms. She hands the books back with the date slip inside. “Then put some meat on your bones at The Pit. Can’t have good potential wasting away,” she commands before turning and leaving herself.
Viola goes to the suggested spot; Bulls BBQ Pit. The Pit, as it is playfully known in town because you can see everyone working in the center like a pit.
It is run by two large guys and seems to have a third that comes in every so often. Seems the third has another job at the grocery’s meat counter according to the giggling line gossip. There is a regular staff of normal students but the two leading the Pit show, the Bulls, are double the size of one staff member.
They are frat brothers; constantly talking to each other, treating different staff members like teammates, and laughing loudly at what had to be personal jokes because they made no sense to the customers. But when someone comes out, from one of the few doors, complaining that numbers don’t match the mood dies. It is not their favorite topic.
“Excuse me,” Viola chimes in to explain her vocation and offer help. The frat brother bosses when they hear her offer, they glance at each other, one picks her up, carries her over his shoulder, and puts her in the office.
‘No one has done that to me in a bit...’ she thinks as her feet touch down.
“Little lady if you can help us out, you eat free for a week,” the Bull offers.
Viola nods, “Give me some time.” The pair leaves.
The office is a disaster. Viola and another employee take a few minutes to organize the desk before she begins reviewing paperwork.
She looks over their last months’ report and found the error. Turns out one place is trying to rip them off; she explains going through invoices. “Little lady you are a blessing. Don’t know who sent ya but ya are always welcome here,” the bull happily declares in relief.
“Ms. Ivy sent me. Told me this is the best place to get some meat on my bones,” she mutters under her breath not believing over an hour is gone. Exhaustion must be setting in because it comes out without a thought.
The Bulls glance at each other before smiling. They squish her between them, smack her back, and laugh. They feed her the first of several promised meals and are eager to live up to Ms. Ivy’s recommendation.
As she eats, they both ask if she would become their new bookkeeper, office manager, or whatever title she wants because they both are awful at the back of house paperwork.
She agrees as long as they still did all the staff management, give some grace with her situation, explain anything on the expenses the first few months, and make sure all she has to do is the paperwork. They are ecstatic at the agreement causing cheers to go through the restaurant as they return to work.
Watching the big guys toss stuff around so easily and the younger staff members have trouble lifting buckets safely before the guys help them out while she eats gets Viola thinking. “Maybe I should get back into working out… Wonder what Doc would say about that. What do you think about that, dad?”