"Mr Yates," the mustached man said softly, considering his subordinate sitting silently in the chair in front of the obvious superior. A desk cluttered with papers separated the two. "I'm very disappointed." He slid a folder amid the other papers across the desk to Simon, who straightened up, clearing his throat, and received the file. A shadow passed over his expression almost immediately after he opened the manila folder, but cleared in a heartbeat. His eyes flicked up to the mustached man, his face slowly forcing itself into an easy smile.
"Mr Grenford, I assume this is the wrong assignment. It's far too simple."
"No, Yates, it's not," Mr Grenford replied promptly. "Perhaps it's even a bit too difficult for you, considering how much you fucked up the last assignment." He reached for a pile of papers on the far corner of his desk and swiped them to the center of the table before sweeping them all up and shuffling them neatly into a stack. "You may go, Mr Yates."
It was raining, the kind of rain that made umbrellas flip inside out and drenched anyone stupid enough to walk around outside in that kind of weather because umbrellas did nothing
to keep the drops away. Oh yes, it was that
kind of freakish rain. There were squealing people running here and here for cover, muted colors of coats swishing around and flecking drops of water onto Simon's face as he maneuvered himself through the scattering crowd who were acting as though a riot had begun and they were eager to take part. A scowl carved itself into his face as he lowered his umbrella, taking extra care to shake most of the water onto a particularly fat group of teenagers who had knocked him into a telephone pole as they ducked for cover, still screaming. There's nothing to scream about,
Simon wanted to bark at them, It's just rain. Are you scared of showers if you're screaming about rain?
The man strode forward a few meters before being shunted under an awning of a café by several harried looking mothers with their children in tow. Disgruntled, Simon swiped a bead of water from his face and flicked it off his finger before turning around to walk into the café - just as planned
, he reflected as he consulted the fading pen ink on his hand and glanced back up at the name of the café emblazoned on the walls and menu that was displayed neatly in front of him. The place was actually a bit crowded, although
, Simon mused, that was to be expected
. Cafés and rainy days went hand in hand, like cheese and wine.
Soft jazzy café music played in the background, slightly drowned out by the loud buzz of people floating around, either escaping the rain or complaining about it. Simon could spot a few people he suspected were regulars in the midst of the busy coffeehouse - the baristas circled them more often than not, as though they were lionesses protecting their cubs from other beasts, and the regulars themselves wore easy smiles laced with annoyance at the sudden invasion the rain brought.
"Just a black coffee, please," he murmured, extracting a few bills from his wallet and stuffing his change into the tip jar. "Thank you." Simon collected the steaming beverage and forced a sleeve over it before he straightened up and looked about the area. Well, he had to make himself belong here sooner or later. Perhaps a good table to people watch would work. His identity? Perhaps one of those hipsters. His facial hair certainly could go with that, but he'd have to buy one of those horrible pairs of glasses to go with the hipster look. A shuffling gait, a hipster walk. Simon took a seat in the corner by a window and took a pull of the coffee, swallowing the scalding liquid and waited for the squealing people to get over the rain.