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As a reasonable human being, you wouldn't dare wake up Momiji and disturb her rest. But as a boss, you don't really give a crap. Your employees should be and will be on time. Even if you have to literally drag them out of bed to do so.
You say that to yourself but Momiji is most certainly not wearing anything but that hoodie and you're... reluctant to do something to embarrass her. Or even worse, do something to embarrass yourself. “Momiji,” you whisper from the door. “Momiji!” you repeat, this time with a shout. Sighing, you take a breath and yell. “MOMIJI!”
No response. Christ, she's not waking up. You barge in, uncomfortably inching into the room. “Oi.” Still no response. Seriously, this is so much trouble. You don't want to just waltz in and shake her awake. But that's the only plan you have so it'll have to do.
You call out to her one last time in vain hope she'll wake up. “...Momiji.” Nope. Goddammit. You shake Momiji by her shoulders, hoping she'll wake from her slumber. Thankfully, she does. Momiji rouses, rolling over. Her tail pokes out from under the hoodie and her bare legs are exposed and fuck you're a horrible human being.
“B-Boss...?” she mumbles weakly, wiping the drool off her face.
Shit. You can't handle this. Doing a full about face, you turn yourself away from Momiji. “You're going to be late for work if you don't hurry your ass over. Be ready in ten.”
“Wait.” She clutches your hand, forcing you to stop in your tracks. Momiji curls her lips into a sleepy smile. “Thanks for the mattress.”
Ugh. “Let go of me.”
“Are you embarrassed?”
Please. “Not at all. Can you get just go get ready?”
“Then this is fine right?” chuckles Momiji. She uses your hand as leverage, pulling herself up.
“I'll ask you again. Let go, please.”
Momiji finally complies, releasing her grip on you. “You're not much fun, are you?”
Flatly, you reply, “I abhor fun and make it my daily mission to destroy any sign of it in my general vicinity. Now go get ready.”
“Okay.” She stands up, stretching her arms. Then Momiji, realizing her state of clothing, pulls down on her hoodie in bashful distress.
After a slight pause, you ask, “Are you alright?”
“No,” she miserably responds. “But I only have myself to blame.”
“So we're in agreement, then.” Pausing, you turn to face the door. “Be at the bar in twenty. I'm going ahead.”
During the walk to the bar, you look for anything that could distract you from the thought of Momiji, clad solely in large hoodie. But as expected, you don't find anything and you can only remind yourself that you're the worst.
It's time. You open the bar up and wait at the front counter to wait for your employees to file in. Lily's first. She's her usual self, bouncing around with enough energy to rival a small generator. Then it's Momiji, who retreats immediately to the kitchen. Then comes Cassie and finally, Rylee. A grand total of four employees. It's a wonder how this place manages to operate while being so understaffed. Every day is a mixed bag of good, bad, and hell-doesn't-seem-so-terrible-anymore.
Today seems to be going smoothly. Lily's teaching Rylee the basics of submitting reports on assets, Momiji's busy in the kitchen, and Cassie's serving the regulars. You're stuck manning the desolate bar but that's not bad either. So far so good. But from the corner of your eye, you spot something truly nasty, evil, and wretched through the windowpanes.
Shit. “Rylee,” you call to your employee. “Your time with paperwork's over. You man the bar. Now.”
Lily, suddenly anxious, starts fretting. “What's wrong? Boss, you never let us skip paperwork! What's happening? Mobsters? Loan sharks? Mobster loan sharks?”
“No. Even worse,” you groan. “It's my mother.”
Lily freezes. “Oh, no...”
Your attempts to hide are too late. Your mother walks in and promptly heads for the bar. She grimaces at the sight of Lily. “Oh, it's you. Have you finally learned to do something right yet? You mustn't be too lenient on yourself. A less-than-minimum-wage job can be easy too for people like you if you try hard enough.”
Lily shrinks back, nodding and mumbling something that nobody can hear.
You step in, staring at your mother dead on. “Hello. Are you done badgering my poor employees so you can feel good about your petty self, or do you need to bully a small child next?”
“Hello, my failure of a son. How is life in the cesspool?” She sneers, chuckling lowly. “Are you done wrestling in the mud yet?”
“My life is pretty good, with the exception that you continue to butt in it. Are you here to ruin my life again? Second time's the charm, yeah?” You grit your teeth. Your fucking mother's a total shithead.
“Just let it go, you whiny girl,” your mother spits, narrowing her eyes at you. “I can pay it back. Credit score doesn't last forever.”
“No, but do you know what lasts a long time? Grudges. They last very, very long. Maybe even forever if you try hard enough.”
“No,” you assert, “it's just the truth.” A few costumers start to stare. It appears your mother is making a scene. Again. “Now, ma'am,” you enunciate. “If we could have a civil discussion in the office–”
“No. I'm perfectly fine right here in this very spot.” Your mother crosses her arms and plants her feet on the floorboards of the bar.
Momiji walks in from the kitchen, hearing the commotion. She quietly assumes a position behind your other employees, curiously looking at the new visitor.
You should just let it slide and calm down. You should, but...
Stepping back further into the bar, you speak lowly, enough for most customers not to overhear. “Purposefully being a nuisance in public again?” You can't help yourself. And now you're far too invested and bitter to stop. “Some things never change, I guess. What's next? Ruining your son's life? Oh wait, no. You already accomplished that, huh?”
Your mother grips at the straps of her handbag. “Don't you dare talk down to me, you little shit.”
“I'm sorry, did I spark some emotion in your stony heart? Maybe even something like remorse? Gee, that would be nice–”
A cold wave of pain strikes you on the cheek. Your mother lower her arm, baring her teeth in a fit of anger. “Do you think you're worth anything now? That you're not just a shit stain with a big mouth? Think again, kid.” She raises her arm again.
But before she's able to strike you again, Momiji steps in between the two of you. “Miss,” she icily glares at your mother. “I'm afraid you need to leave. Now.”
Turning back to the exit, your mother leaves you with some final words. “Maybe one day, you'll grow your own spine.”
Lily manages to unfreeze as soon as your mother is out the door. In barely a whisper, she asks, “Are you okay?”
“I'm fine.” Whatever. No harm done to you. But fuck the devil that is your mom. Facing Momiji, you sigh. You were about a second away from fucking up big time. “Good work, Cook. I let my emotions get to me. You did the right thing, diffusing the situation like that.”
Lily tries to speak up, but you hush her wearily. “Let's just get back to work.”
The rest of the day is thankfully eventful until closing time, where you had to lock the doors and recount inventory. You see the rest of your employees off before shutting the bar down for the day.
Momiji, leaving last, joins you for the walk back home. She wastes no time speaking up. “So why did you let her do that?”
She brusquely answers vaguely. “You know...”
“I'd rather pass the event off as 'another belligerent customer being violent' and forget about it. It's better than writing a real incident report involving my supposed family. I'm not going to fight back.”
Your employee raises an eyebrow. “At the expense of your dignity?”
“Yes. I hope you realize that I value my job security more than some flimsy sense of self-worth.”
“You might be okay with that, but I'm not at all. I'll defend your dignity – or any of our employee's – even at the expense of my job.”
“Those words might have meant something if you weren't talking to your employer.” Shaking your head, you reply, “Regardless, you did well.”
[ ] For thanks, you’ll help her out with her clothing situation. Or her lack thereof.
[ ] For thanks, you’ll give her extra on her next paycheck.
[ ] For thanks, you’ll treat her out to a drink.