"Let me get this clear," Weiss said, gesturing with her hand even though the person on the line couldn't see her. "You're telling me that an entire shipment was lost in Vacuo?"
"Um, well you see, it wasn't quite 'lost…'"
Clenching her jaw while listening to the sputters, she tried to ignore the brewing agitation brought on by another dose of colossal incompetence. It wasn't even eleven o'clock yet - how was this all happening in one morning?
"Then where is it?"
She heard the warning in her tone, and so did the employee on the phone, who'd apparently drawn the short straw in having to report the news.
"We...we don't know..."
Finally receiving an honest answer, Weiss sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose.
Had she committed a crime recently? Wronged the universe in some horrible way? Scoffed in the face of lady luck?
All she wanted was a quick cup of coffee. Fifteen minutes - that was all it would take for her to order a drink and sit down for a brief break. Instead, her cup sat in front of her - untouched and growing cold - while her 'bad' day grew substantially worse. And, as always, it was up to her to fix a mess of someone else's doing.
"Pull the shipment logs from every port and start looking. I'll be there in ten minutes."
Without waiting for a response, she hung up the phone and sighed.
Her day started with a not-so-small explosion in one of the warehouses. No one was hurt, thankfully, but the damage had already thrown their supply chain into disarray. While they searched for the cause of the blast, they needed everything else to operate as smoothly as possible to mitigate the fallout - so of course an entire shipment of supplies was lost in Vacuo. Because how difficult was it to keep track of a barge nearly as big as some cities?
Pretty difficult, apparently.
The question drew Weiss' gaze across the table, where another of the coffee shop's patrons had been sitting for the past few minutes. The speaker was a decently-attractive young man in a suit, who wore a slightly-amused smile while taking a drink of his coffee. Considering his attire, it seemed like he would understand her misery. Surely he encountered incompetence from interns and entry-level assistants like she did.
"You could say that," Weiss replied, picking up her cold coffee and taking a sip. "Thought I could leave for a few minutes. Apparently, I miscalculated their competency."
Chuckling lightly, he leaned forward and set his elbows on the table.
"And now you get to clean up their mess?"
"That's rough," he said, smiling at her while picking up his drink. And, despite her pretty miserable morning, Weiss smiled at the succinct response.
"It is rough," she agreed. The commiseration offered her a small amount of vindication - allowing her to believe that it was unfortunate she had to suffer through this unlucky sequence of events.
"Well hey, if you need some time to relax, there's a great place nearby where we can get something a little stronger."
When he wiggled his cup in the air and smirked, Weiss felt her smile disappear. And, when he didn't immediately pass it off as a joke, she scoffed.
"Are you serious?"
Oblivious to her growing disdain, the boy nodded and leaned back in his seat.
"Your coworkers might be incompetent, but I'm not - if you know what I mean..."
The phrase and accompanying smirk were so obvious, the coffee cups understood what he meant.
Apparently, anyone could throw on a suit and pretend to be a productive, decent member of society. Lesson learned.
"Do you really think I'm in the mood to be hit on right now?" Weiss asked, feeling her scowl deepen when he shrugged. "News flash, moron - I'm not." Grabbing her bag, she stood and gave him one last annoyed glance. "And it's not even lunchtime - who invites someone to go drinking in the middle of the morning?"
Without waiting for an answer, she spun on her heel and left him - and her cold coffee - behind.
"What is with people today?" she muttered while heading back to the office.
It must be a full moon, because everyone was acting like imbeciles. So the question was - which group of imbeciles would she rather surround herself with today? The ones at work, who might blow up the entire building - or the ones running around outside, who might do god-knows what.
Work it is.
Knowing that someone had probably destroyed something else in the last five minutes, she searched her bag for her phone while hurrying away from the coffeeshop. When she looked down for just a second, however, she caught a flash of red before someone slammed into her.
The air suddenly left her lungs, and she was nearly knocked right off her feet. She would have been knocked off her feet if a pair of strong arms hadn't wrapped around her waist and kept her upright.
"Woah! I'm so sorry! Are you ok?"
After a brief moment of confusion over what just happened, Weiss collected herself and felt indignation burst through her veins at yet another transgression on this miserable day. Prepared to unleash her unfiltered response to the careless action, she looked up -
And found herself staring into the most gorgeous silver eyes she'd ever seen.
"Shoot, did I hurt you?" the girl asked when Weiss didn't respond. "Where are you hurt? Stay here, I'll get help -"
Finally finding her voice, Weiss said the single word and prevented the girl from racing off. And that's when she felt an unmistakable blush heating her cheeks.
The girl still had her arms wrapped around Weiss' waist like she was holding Weiss upright - which could very well be true due to the myriad of conflicting (and strong) feelings fluttering through her chest.
"I'm ok," she added.
When the girl smiled at the response, Weiss was extra appreciative of the support. Because this girl was beautiful in every conceivable way. From her short, brunette hair - that was slightly-ruffled, but in a fashionable way - to her beaming smile and her long, lithe limbs, she was an attractive person.
And then there were her eyes...a gorgeous shade of silver that Weiss wanted to stare into for as long as possible.
How was this girl so beautiful? And not only in appearance, because her personality shone through her smile and expressive eyes. It felt like the sun radiated from her - a happy, spirited energy that warmed Weiss through-and-through.
"Thank god!" the girl remarked, visibly relieved that Weiss wasn't injured. "I'd feel super bad if I hurt you! Like, I'd have to spend the rest of my life making it up to you."
"Good thing I'm ok then."
Weiss' smile grew right along with the girl's in front of her, and suddenly this day felt much brighter - maybe even a little lucky. Sure, someone just ran into her on the sidewalk - which should've added to her terrible day - but it was difficult to feel disgruntled while basking in that warm smile.
"I mean, not that I'd mind," the girl added with an adorable laugh that melted Weiss' heart. "I just think I'm a little young to owe my life to someone, you know? And I'm not really sure how that'd work, like, logistically. Guess I'd have to follow you around all the time or something..."
The meandering conversation was so unorthodox - not to mention adorable - Weiss couldn't help but laugh. The moment she did so, however, silver eyes locked onto hers and she entered another state of blissful disbelief.
If this was the universe's way of making up for the morning she just went through, she would gladly accept the apology.
"I'm Weiss, by the way," she said, extending a hand towards her unexpected company.
"Ruby!" the girl replied with a firm handshake and grin. "It's nice to meet you, Weiss!"
Immediately falling in love with the way Ruby said her name, Weiss struggled to say, "Nice to meet you too" before they lapsed into a brief silence where they both just smiled at each other. Again, it was so easy to get lost in Ruby's eyes...and her smile...
After a few seconds passed, Weiss suddenly realized she was still holding Ruby's hand - or was Ruby still holding hers? Regardless, she dropped her hand to her side and inconspicuously wiped her dampening palm on her thigh.
"Sorry. Am I keeping you from something?" Weiss asked. When she motioned down the street, Ruby glanced that direction and then smiled.
"Nope! Well, kinda, but she can wait!"
The response poked a giant hole in Weiss' happy feelings and deflated her like a balloon. Apparently, the universe had just played an even crueler trick on her - dangling the image of beauty in front of her only to pull it away when she reached for it.
"Are you meeting someone?" she asked anyway, forcing a smile while waiting for the answer.
"Yeah, my sister! She wanted to have brunch today since we're both off work."
Just like that, Weiss' smile returned - right along with her cheerful energy. After expecting a continuation of this morning's trend, the answer was a welcome break in the cycle.
"Well I don't want to make you late..." she replied, making sure she was polite even though she was still smiling like an idiot.
"But she's always late," Ruby replied with a grin. "Literally always. Actually -"
Reaching into her pocket, Ruby pulled out her phone. After looking at the screen, she giggled and held it out for Weiss to see.
Even though it was unusual for someone she just met to show her their phone, Weiss looked at the screen and found a short message from a contact titled 'The Yangster.' The text read very simply - 'Dinner instead? De-layed' followed by several winking faces.
"How's that for luck?" Ruby asked while putting her phone away. "Now I'm not late at all!"
While Weiss stared, Ruby's words played again in her mind.
'How's that for luck?'
After spending the morning inundated with fires at work and dealing with unwanted solicitations from strangers, the universe finally decided that enough was enough. In doing so, Weiss was gifted a spare moment with one of the most beautiful girls she'd ever met.
Weiss didn't consider herself to be very superstitious, but no way was she considering this stroke of luck anything other than a sign.
"Would you like to get a cup of coffee?" she blurted out.
The invitation was unexpected, unprompted, and probably a bad idea, but she couldn't let Ruby walk out of her life without making an attempt to extend their time together.
The moment Ruby smiled, however, Weiss knew the invitation definitely wasn't a bad idea.
"I'd love to!"
When Ruby took a step towards the nearest coffeeshop - the one Weiss just left behind - Weiss shook her head and gestured in the other direction.
"I think we'll have better luck at a different one."
Fortunately, Ruby didn't question the decision in the slightest. Instead, she smiled at Weiss - another one of those warm smiles that melted her heart to a puddle in her chest.
"That's funny, because as soon as I ran into you, I thought - 'Today must be my lucky day!'"
The openly-honest response lit a rampant blush on Weiss' cheeks, but she smiled and met Ruby's eyes - still stunned by the beauty looking back at her.
"I think it's mine too."