It had been another shitty day for Keith. He was getting really tired of shitty days. When he thought of it, he couldn’t remember the last time he had a good day. Every day was either shitty or just okay. Like fine, everything can’t be great all the time but he could at least get a couple good days a week? Or is that too much to ask maybe.
Keith slammed his apartment door behind him as he walked in, accidentally startling his cat who was sitting on the back of the sofa.
”Sorry, Straw. Didn’t mean to scare you.” He leant forward and scratched her behind her ears before taking off his shoes and throwing his keys in the bowl on the coffee table. Then he bowed down and rubbed his nose into Strawberry’s fur and breathed in, eyes closed. He sighed heavily and tried to put things in perspective.
To summarise, his job was, well, shit. The ironic thing was that his work hours were great, from 10 am to 6 pm, five days a week. Or you know, maybe six or seven days a week, with one to two hours extra because they were understaffed and the company refused to hire more people. He did get paid for the extra hours, but not enough to be a valid compensation. His boss was always stressed but on the whole a really good person, who’d just gotten stuck in an impossible situation. The thing was, Allura, his boss, loved her job, she really did but her new boss was too focused on expanding and selling more but without actually giving the employees any rights or reasonable conditions. During the last couple of months, the new boss had changed the location of the shop to a bigger premises, but only hired two new employees, which was way too few to manage the move. In conclusion. It was shit now. And it was sad, because Keith had loved his job, loved his boss, actually gotten along with his coworkers and he was finally getting back on track and his life back together.
And then some corporation heir had bought the shop and driven it straight into hell. What kind of shop is it you may ask? It’s a fucking tea shop. They sell tea and chocolates. It sounds like a calm and relaxed job, with flowers and honey sparkles, but no. Oh no. It was a nightmare. They weren’t even allowed to drink tea on their shifts. In a tea shop. In a fucking, adorable little tea shop.
Today he had to get in early to check inventory. His colleague, Mason, had called in sick, five minutes before he was supposed to start his shift, so Keith was left to manage the shop on his own. This colleague of his was the new bosses nephew or whatever and didn't actually have the merits to do the job. Or any kind of job really. He was useless. But Allura wasn't allowed to fire him since he was related to the boss. It sucked. It really did. Keith did his best to firstly, calm down, and then to do the work of two people himself. He really should have called Allura, but she had the day off, and that was, after all, rare. After an hour or so, he gave in to the stress and called her, and twenty minutes after that she showed up like a whirlwind.
Not to mention, the new boss showed up to check up on them and shouted at Allura for a full ten minutes about how much of a bad work she was doing. He threatened to fire her, which in the end were empty threats since Allura technically still owned the shop. Somehow. Keith didn’t get it. It was complicated and totally fucked up. Allura was supposed to be on top. Everything had worked fine before, with the old boss. They and Allura had an understanding and even though they had been the boss on paper Allura was really the one who pulled the rains.
On top of this, Keith had had several rude customers, one broken teapot and no breaks what so ever, aside for ten minutes when there had been no customers and he could sneakily try to eat his lunch behind the counter. He was hungry, exhausted and pissed. A shitty day to say the least
After petting Strawberry for a solid fifteen minutes Keith dragged his feet towards the kitchen to make dinner only to realise that his fridge was practically empty. He slammed the fridge door shut and rested his forehead against it. He was supposed to have gone to the store on his way home but forgot to in all shittiness. He considered going straight to bed, but his stomach objected loudly. Keith sighed, again, and went to open his laptop. His relation to fast food was complicated, to say the least. In middle school, he’d been one of those kids whose parents worked all the time and who rarely had enough free time after work to cook a full meal, so they’d often just let Keith order something in. His classmates though had generally been rich snobs, and fast food was for the poor or family road trips. In high school, pizza had been for drunken parties or post-exam-crying-food. Basically, it wasn’t real food, and since Keith was someone who’d basically grown up on takeout and fruit had been left out of basically everything. Ironic how judging kids can be and how it totally ruins a person’s childhood.
He automatically went to the website of the pizza place he’d decided he liked best and quickly clicked in his toppings. And yes, he liked pineapple on pizza. In the ”Special Requests” box he tiredly wrote: My day has been the worst please cheer me up or i might die and if I'm dead I can’t eat pizza.
My day has been the worst please cheer me up or i might die and if I'm dead I can’t eat pizza.
Only after completing the order he realised that he’d probably made a fool of himself but at the moment he simply didn’t care.
”Hey, Lance, there’s a special order for you,” Jeremy shouted from the office.
”It better be a cute person,” Lance shouted back while winking at Hunk. Hunk rolled his eyes, but smiled, and turned around to take out a pizza from the oven. Lance and Hunk had been best friends since forever, and when Lance’s brother Jeremy said they needed more people at the Flower palace pizza place, they signed up in an instant. They’d started out as delivery boys but when the chef found out Hunk actually was really good at cooking she took him under her wing and made him her apprentice. Lance liked delivering. It may not be the job with the most status, but he liked to drive around and bringing people their food. Like, who didn’t like food? He got to meet a lot of different people and make them happy, flash them smiles and complimenting them on their choice of toppings or door mats.
”Lance, you know I can’t actually see them through the screen,” Jeremy said when Lance showed up in the doorway. ”They don’t have to click in whether they’re cute or not.”
”They should.” Jeremy sighed. He was tired. He was the eldest in the clan of siblings and as a young person of 27, he was in a stable relationship with a one-year-old at home. Sometimes he just didn’t have the extra energy to keep up with Lance.
”Keith here,” he read off the screen, ”has had a bad day and needs cheering up. So put on a smile and go and please our customer.”
”Keith, huh,” Lance mumbled. ”Will do, sir,” Lance said with a stiff salute before going back to the kitchen.
Hunk took a last look at the screen and mentally checked all the toppings of the last order and shifted his gaze towards the pizza in front of him. He hadn’t forgotten anything and putt it in the oven while humming to the song that was audible from the radio. He picked up a box and folded it to make it ready for usage.
”Hunk, my man, do you have a pizza ready for one Keith?” Lance asked from somewhere behind Hunk. Hunk jumped a little, surprised, but shook it off and turned around to answer his friend.
”Just put it in the oven. He likes pineapple.”
”Oh, dear, I guess he isn't cute then,” Lance said while shrugging. Hunk rolled his eyes again.
”Actually,” he continued while glancing at the screen again, ”if this is the same Keith Frida delivered to last week, he’s quite an eye pleaser. I think it’s the same address.” Lance’s eyes shone up and his permanent grin grew wider.
”Dear holy spirits, please let it be the same Keith,” he said, hands clasped together and face towards the ceiling. Hunk laughed and took a pen out to write a message to the mysterious Keith on the inside of the box.
Keith was lying on the carpet with Strawberry rolled up on his chest, blankly staring at the imagined cracks and patterns in the ceiling when the doorbell rang.
”Straw you have to get off now, my food is here,” he said while lifting his head up to look at his cat. Strawberry’s ears shot up as a reaction to the word ”food” but other than that she didn’t make an effort to move at all.
”I wish it didn’t have to come to this,” Keith mumbled un-excitedly while pushing his cat off of him. She gave him a glare but didn’t walk away so he scooped her up and held her with one arm as he walked towards the door.
When he opened it he could feel a faint smell of pizza and his hunger, which had been dormant for a while, woke up again. Keith reached for his wallet which was in his jacket pocket without looking at the delivery boy. His social awkwardness wasn’t very good with these situations. It always felt vulnerable to let a random person stare into his home like this. The money went from his pale hand to a darker, warmer one.
”What a beauty,” the delivery boy said after giving Keith his pizza. He reached out to pet Strawberry between her ears. ”Your cat is really pretty too.”
It took a solid moment before Keith realised that he was the beauty referred to and blushingly he finally looked up and got lost in blue eyes.
Oh no, he thought. He’s cute.
”Thanks…” Keith said slowly with a frown between his eyebrows and blush on his cheeks. The cute boy smiled even wider. His smile was confident, which made Keith nervous.
”What’s their name?” the boy asked his whole attention on Strawberry now. Keith took a step backwards to put the pizza away before turning back towards Mr Cute.
”Her name’s Strawberry,” Keith answered and put his other arm around the cat so she would be more comfortable.
”Aaw, that’s adorable. You’re Keith, right? Or, you know, the order said that you’re Keith.”
”Yeah, I’m- I’m Keith,” Keith replied.
Wow, Keith. What incredible social skills you have. Keith banged his head against a wall mentally while staring at the beautiful Latino boy who wholeheartedly was scratching Strawberry while talking to her like most people talk to animals.
”You are so cute, yes you are, such a pretty name for a pretty kitty, yes of course. Pretty kitty with a pretty human.” At his last words, he looked up at Keith with that smile again. If this had been a cartoon there would have been that like sparkle from his teeth that confirmed his attractiveness. Oh dear.
Keith had nothing to say to that, so he just stared with his mouth open.
”I’m Lance,” Lance, apparently, said. ”Heard you had a bad day, so I figured I’d come over and crack some jokes or something, but yeah, that plan flew right out the window, didn’t it. But never mind me, you wanna talk about it?” Lance was still petting Strawberry with one hand while the other one was in his pocket. His facial expression generated genuine concern, which only made Keith more confused. A random person called him pretty and then offered himself to listen to Keith’s problems? No this must be a part of the job. They probably only hire the most charismatic people so they can charm the customers. He didn't want to be a bother.
”Nah, just work you know. We’re understaffed and all that. But thank’s anyway.” This boy’s charm was really working on him. Deep breaths Keith, deep breaths.
”That sucks, man. I hope it gets better,” Lance shrugged with a sympathetic look. He gave Straw a final stroke before putting his hand into his other pocket and taking a small step backwards. ”Enjoy your pizza. I don’t know how you’ll do it though since it has pineapple on it, but you know,” he shrugged again. Keith rolled his eyes as he reached for the door handle.
”I hope we meet again,” Lance said over his shoulder before the door closed between them.
”Oh, my god,” Keith whispered with his forehead against the door.
”Oh, my god,” Lance whispered with his forehead against the stairwell wall.