Athena’s Gift Part Two

Here’s a continuation on last week’s story.

Athena plugged her mp3 player into the dock. Opera not being conducive to a flourishing retail environment – unless you were selling things related to opera, of course – she hit random on her rock and pop playlist.

“Going for the popular stuff today?” A dark clad man stood just in her doorway. “I would have thought Bach and Beethoven would be more your style.”

“I want people to shop, not fall asleep,” Athena said. She waved him in. “Hello Justin. Here for the usual?”

“Of course.” Justin was one her more eccentric customers, and as regular as clockwork.

“How’s business for you these days?” Athena asked, loading a box with his order.

“I can’t complain, although I must commend you on getting Dawn’s protections up so fast. How did you find out I was targeting her?” Justin asked.

“It wasn’t hard when you let slip who you were working for last week,” Athena said. “If you’re going to brag don’t do it around someone who knows me.”

“The problem with that, Athena dear, is I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t at least have a passing acquaintance with you and your shop,” Justin said. “At least that moves in the same Circle as we do.”

“That’s true enough,” Athena said. “Trying to get one up on you when we’re probably two of the most powerful in the Circle here is always a challenge.” She turned and handed him his box.

Justin smiled. “By the way, Athena. I was just in that coffee shop down the road. The barista in there was having a very bad day. It seems she spilled chocolate syrup all over her expensive shoes and managed to spoil my drink twice before she got it right,” he said.

Athena raised an eyebrow. “That sounds like a rotten run of luck. I wonder if she managed to upset someone.”

“Yes, I wonder,” Justin said. He winked at her and she grinned. Leave it to Justin to poke his nose into her business, as usual. “Well, this takes care of my needs for a while. I’ll see you next week.”

“Are you coming to the meeting Friday?” Athena asked.

Justin made a face. “Of course. But there we can’t be nearly as polite to each other as we can here, so I’d rather not have to think about that right now,” he said.

She sighed. “Well if you didn’t persist in opposing everything I do we wouldn’t have that problem, now would we?”

“Ah, but I enjoy opposing those like you who come to this city, Athena,” Justin said. “I’ve been doing it for a very long time, after all.”

“As have I, Justin,” Athena said.

“I know. Which is why you’re a challenge,” he said. He’d have said more, but the door chimed and a handful of customers wandered in. “Have a lovely day, Athena.”

 “I’ll see you later, Justin.” Athena turned her attention to the new customers. “I thought you three left already.”


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