Cyrus twisted his silver wedding ring around his finger. That symbol of commitment weighed heavy on him. As a child in southwest Louisiana, better known as Acadiana to the locals, his Father always imparted on him the importance of follow through. With a gruff voice born from time in the Army, his Father would look down on him with blazing brown eyes and say, “Son, a man can be stripped butt naked, but he’ll still have his word. It’s one of the few things in this world they can’t take from you.” In the rural South anytime a black person said “they” you could be almost sure they were talking about white people.
Five years tomorrow and he had yet to buy a gift. Cyrus could see his Father shaking his head in disappointment. A happy wife made a happy life or in his case a happy husband. Davone never placed his worth in a material good, but in this insistence the gesture held importance. You had to make your partner feel like a priority and flat out forgetting to buy them a gift didn’t convey that. Standing up from his swivel office chair, Cyrus closed the tan blinds. “Dad, I wish I had your knack for this whole marriage business.”
He looked down at the desk and saw the electronic tablet; standard issue for everyone in the building. The report uploading to it drained so much of his energy and attention this week. Drained it to the point that coming home and crawling into bed became free time. A stupid excuse for not getting the love of his life some sort of gift. Hell, he could have walked to the 7-11 around the corner and brought a cheap card. The lack of a gift would likely be forgiven by Davone. Still, Cyrus wanted to do better.
The report finished uploading and Cyrus sighed, putting the tablet into his black satchel. Davone teased him about it being a “murse” but the accessory proved economical. And probably the most fashionable thing he had. San Diego called for such attire and he needed to acclimate.
Davone acclimated to San Diego with ease, managing to find that perfect balance in his wardrobe between high fashion and beach bum. His adaptability made buying a gift for him infuriating. What did you get a man who seemed to have it all together? Cyrus hoped the walk to his Lexus might spark an idea. He moved around his desk and out the door, his arrow-shaped nose furling up as soon as he stepped into the hallway. The air freshener in the hallway lingered too long. No person could need that much lavender in their life.
He walked briskly down the over scented corridor, managing to take as few breaths as possible along the way. All of the other offices in the hallway had lights off and doors secured. Once again, he departed the building last. In his mind, it only made sense seeing as how he did run the operation. A leader had to set the example and if he rushed off early everyday then all his agents would feel obliged to take that liberty. Their work’s importance could not survive lazy behavior.
Cyrus felt the A/C rushing over his bald head. He didn’t know why they even had it; the utility being something of a luxury in San Diego, especially in the Gaslamp Quarter which often found itself caressed by ocean breezes. But too many agents of his were from out East and too accustomed to A/C to let it go. He remembered the aghast look on Davone’s face when they found out they only had a window unit in their condo. A whole month went buy in which he complained about the price of the place, as if either of them were hurting for money.
Turning down a flight of stairs, Cyrus tried to push back thoughts of work. The flickering lights above him weren’t helping as they only reminded him that he would need to speak with Rowen, their Operations Manager, about getting them replaced. The man had precognitive abilities so why the hell didn’t he see this coming? Cyrus laughed to himself a bit at the irony of it, but it still irked him that he couldn’t pull away from work.
He wanted to focus only on Davone and making up this giftless anniversary to him. Every step closer to the building’s exist intensified thoughts of what he needed to work on so he declared the effort to focus fruitless. Cataloguing new Slips, getting them relocated and Tear closures consumed his thoughts. His brain just wouldn’t shut off.
Stepping out in the busy hustle and tourist filled Gaslamp Quarter took his thoughts in another direction. No matter how any times he saw this place, it still caught his breath. It made him happy.
San Diego did that to you. A metropolis without a doubt but the place still relaxed you like traveling feet tickled by ocean water. Cyrus could enjoy his stroll because his condo was only a few blocks away. He thought about grabbing some food when his phone started to vibrate. Digging large, brown hands into his pleated pants pocket, Crus pulled out his smart phone and saw who the call came from.
The one person (if he wanted to take t that far) whose call he couldn’t ignore. Davone could forgive the lack of present. The lack of presence was sure to piss him off. He’d find a way to make it up, but he had to pick up this call. Cyrus accepted and put the phone against his ear.
::We have a Level Two Tear outside of Escondido. Do we deploy?::
Cyrus hated the question and would have it taken out of Genie’s programming. At least this Tear opened close to home. “Of course we deploy. Get the team together. I know Viola is going to be pissed.”