Step 17: Shopping
Step 17: Shopping
"I can't..." My voice is ignored as Elena finally releases me and runs to an upset Tifa. I go from thinking about what fate is about to befall me, to thinking about what fate befell Cloud. Maybe he died and that is the reason why Tifa is so upset, despite the fact that I realize I shouldn't be so happy about this. Cloud Strife is a nuisance, but a human life none the less.
I only catch bits and pieces of the conversation as Tifa growls and sobs, sad and furious at the same time. I didn't think it was possible for such conflicting emotions to show simultaneously in this great magnitude. "He's such a jerk!"
I expectantly wait for Tifa to dramatically declare 'how dare he die on me!?' in her impersonation of the tragic maiden who has lost her personal hero. I would feel sorry for her, I do hold a lot of guilt for what I put her through, but I cannot pretend I would be sad if Strife passed away.
"I agree, he's an idiot, whining so much about helping you pick out a dresser," Elena fueled the fire.
"He kept asking why I needed him to be there if the store would deliver it and it all got worse from there. Couldn't he understand that I just wanted to spend more time with him?" Tifa pouted.
"Forget him, let's go get the furniture, you don't need Cloud," Elena encouraged.
"Yeah, you're right, let's go," Tifa paused, taking a deep breath and composing herself. Then her mood did a 180 and she smiled cheerfully, "hi Seph, how are you?"
"I'm fine..." I lied and decided not to return the question because the answer had already been made clear to me.
None the less, Tifa replied as if I had asked how she was, "me too, well, let's go, Elena and I will help you find some nice furniture." I never understood the point of automatically claiming one is fine, when one is not, what's the point of asking if the answer is so predictable? Albeit I do realize I did that as well.
xoxox xox xoxox
Tifa is unaffected by Elena's reckless driving. At least I know what to expect and I'll admit I feel a little better in the backseat, while the two women sit in front, ignoring me. Tifa's mood took a sour turn after a few minutes and she began to complain about Cloud, with Elena making no efforts to contradict her. In fact, Elena has been encouraging the criticism and adding some of her own. I would like to contribute, but for several reasons, I feel it is not my place, thus I have chosen to remain silent.
Elena and Tifa's conversation shifts randomly from criticizing Cloud, to criticizing men in general, but I am too busy enjoying the Cloud bashing to feel offended by their general words disapproval. Among such expressions, they pointed out how men are incapable of telling the difference between azure, cerulean and cyan, though I do not know where the statement came from.
Out of lack of anything better to occupy my mind, I thought about it. Tifa's tone indicated those three words were related but different. Azure is a color, a shade of blue and cerulean I think is a synonym, though I might be wrong, as for Cyan, it was the name of a knight I remember reading about in a history book long ago... except that is not related to the other two.
Maybe Cyan wore blue clothing, frankly I didn't pay too much attention to that history book and don't even remember why I was reading it. Possibly, I was trying to pass the time while being transported to a mission site.
The comments from the two women become more malicious as the car ride progressed. It makes me wonder if all females are sadists by nature. I know the seemingly innocent Aeris is, just look at what she's putting me through, because I'm certain somehow she is to blame for my return.
When we finally reach the large furniture store, I am relived by the sweet sound of silence, the talk of slavery and torture chambers was becoming disturbing, especially when Elena and Tifa began to randomly shift from sounding evil and malicious to giggling like school girls, it makes no sense to me and I desire no explanation.
I trail along, following the two women who soon start another conversation, thankfully a much more civilized one, centered around the topic of cooking. I don't know what brought that up, unless I link it to their earlier discussion of poison, other than that, it was a random topic.
As we walk down the long aisles of the store, crowded with various styles of furniture, I begin to wonder if Elena and Tifa are even aware of my presence, maybe they forgot about me. To test my theory, I step out of their shadow and start down a different isle, but I am only a mere few steps away when Elena calls, "over here Seph, this way," and makes a hand motion for me to follow.
I pause and look at them, then Tifa encourages, "c'mon let's stay together," repeating Elena's same hand gesture and I start walking towards them.
When they see me coming, they resume walking down the aisle, talking among themselves, continuing the discussion of the previous recipe where they left off. I feel like a dog being walked, one smart enough to follow his master without a leach, or perhaps too stupid to run away.
xoxox xox xoxox
Time passed slowly as we looked at one dresser after another, with the unspoken agreement that Tifa's errand would be taken care of first. The day has gone by between my earlier venture with Tseng and watching Elena and Tifa try to find the ideal dresser. Huger became apparent as my stomach started to make loud noises, until finally, either Tifa or Elena, I was too out of it to realize who, suggested we should get something to eat.
We ended up driving to a restaurant that was a little far, because they decided they wanted wutaian food, I just wanted food, even if I wasn't asked. The three of us entered the restaurant, a few people giving me sour looks, which made me wonder if they knew who I was.
A man, some kind of yakuza by the looks of it, passed on his way out with two girls, one on each arm, a red head and a brunette. He nodded to me as if I was one of his own and I noticed how much my uniform stood out when I wasn't with other Turks or near areas frequented by business workers in suits; Elena wasn't wearing her uniform today. I shook my head instinctively, but he was already gone.
We were led to a table were I sat in the middle of the booth, with Elena and Tifa left and right, despite there being a whole other empty booth opposite to this one.
I opened my mouth to speak but Tifa cut me off, "don't worry, the atmosphere is not the best and neither is the crowd, but the food is really good."
"And perfectly safe," Elena added, "they can't afford to pick a fight with their customers.
I was left to realize in silence that the seating arrangement was apparently for my protection and I wondered what kind of place we had truly walked into.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII. Congratulations if you caught the reference to Final Fantasy VI. The answer is azure, cerulean and cyan are three completely different shades of blue. XD