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You took a deep breath and stepped outside the gate of the institution. The other girls weren't allowed to say goodbye.

Today is slightly cloudy. And cold. Your jacket is tucked neatly somewhere down the luggage , Crystal was nice enough to lend you one. Not bothering to scavenge for the only blue jacket (note: there are several more jackets however, they are not blue so you therefore do not consider) you owned, you decided to just go, fuck the cold.

Yagi was somewhere out and about but, he texted you the address of a place you'll be staying. You called a taxi and told the driver the address of the apartment complex. You were allowed to keep your money in the institution however it should always be inside the lockers, which are checked regularly, and are prohibited inside the rooms, which are also checked regularly. You had enough money to last you a month or so if all goes well.

Reaching inside your backpack, you grabbed a planner. Inside the institution, you earn privelages if one keeps up an acceptable behavior. The first privelage you had was getting the day pass. Going out with a few of the others granted the privelage, you bought a planner—and a pen of course. Your therapist said that it would be a good start in keeping your life in track.

To do list:

✳ Unpack
✳ Buy groceries (hopefully will last for a month)
✳ Get a job

You stared at the last entry on the planner.

You needed a job.

Not to forget that since Yagi has some connections, he's able to pull a couple of strings to get you in the scholarship program only a year back to your supposed level despite being gone for 3 whole years (who would've thought).

"You from the institution?" the driver asked. His voice is friendly but a little hoarse due to age. "Uhh, yeah." you answered hesitantly.

"You know, my kid's been there. Twice actually. She's still staying there right now, not as a patient, but as a therapist. I think you might know her."

"Oh really, what's her name?" you asked, suddenly curious. "Jamie."

Silence then ensued, you didn't say anything and the driver just hummed to the faint song playing from the radio. The song feels nostalgic, and old. Very unfamiliar to you but it feels like home.

You repeated the things you need to do in your head and wondered how are you going to fit in the places you are not sure you still know anymore. Looking at the Window, you watched as the buildings fall behind you, almost hypnotically. Every structure is unique and has different colors. It made you dizzy and you looked away, pulling the sleeves of your hoodie out of habit.

After a few minutes of silence, you reached your destination and payed. You bid him goodbye and watched the car turn left by the corner of the street.

"Three years, huh." a deep voice you know so well. "Two and a half, to correct you." you smiled and turned around and smiled at Yagi. "Give me a hug, kid." he said, his outstretched arms enveloping you in his fatherly warmth.

"Now let's get going to your apartment." he said as he grabbed Crystal's luggage from your hand, it's wheels rolling on the pavement.

He lead you to a three story building with plain white paint on it's walls. The apartment is between two houses. "This is the most I can afford. Very homey and still low price. There's a nearby restaurant that's open. You need a job, you know." he said, opening the door to a room near the staircase. "Room 203," he said as he handed you the set of keys. "I know I need a job." you told him, feeling the words come out, testing it's unfamiliarity. A few years back, you had a future laid out infront of you, a job you have always dreamt of, all of it gone with just a few mistakes.

He unlocked the door and opened it for you, studying your facial expressions. You took a step in and looked around the plain room. The walls are painted beige except for the white ceiling. There is a twin sized bed on the right, neatly pressed against the wall. There is a window with no curtains. A table the opposite side of the bed and a brown wardrobe beside the bed. There is also sa bathroom attached to the room. There is a sink, with running water (hooray!). Other than that everything seems plain.

"Spacey." you said as you sat down on the bed, dust particles flying through the air. "Dusty, too." you coughed.

"I'll fix my things and look for a job today." you told him.

"There's some major changes and I know it's hard to adjust, promise me you can do it?" he said, sitting beside you.

"I'll be fine." you said quietly. "Any news from him?" you asked slowly. "None. Don't know what happened when he left the state. What a great way to embrace spontaneity." he mumbled the last part. You hummed in response.

"Anyways, I'll head home now. I'll leave you to it." he said, standing up and dusting his pants. "Real dusty." he laughed. "The land lord lives downstairs she's a nice old lady. Has a heart for animals, lets pets in here as long as they're kept in the rooms. The next pay is after two months. Call me if you need help."

"Anyways, keep that healthy look. You look glowing. See ya." he said, opening the door and closing it once he left. He peeked his head through the door once more. "Don't forget to always lock the door."

And with that, he left.

You stood up and dusted the matress. You looked around for a broom and saw one inside the wardrobe. You cleaned a little and dumped the trash in the bin inside the bathroom.

You placed the entire luggage and a few stuff in your backpack in the wardrobe and kept your valuables in the bag that you will take when you look for job openings.

Slinging it on your shoulder, the navy blue bag lighter than usual without all the other things. The keys feel foreign in your hands and so is the burden of everything new.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

"Okay, what the heck." you mumbled as you looked at the restaurant filled with hungry people. "That's a lot of people, nope." you said to yourself, turning to walk around the corner.

Across the street you saw an elderly lady somewhere in her 60s, holding two bags of fertilizers. You walked towards her and offered her help.

"Hi, here, let me help you." you told her as you grabbed one bag of fertilizer. "Oh, thank you, my name is Melissa." she said.

"I'm Y/N." you told her with a smile. "You look quite new here, where you been?" she asked, walking towards a very beautiful flower shop. "I don't really know how to answer that. I spent a few years in an institution caring for girls with mental disorders and I'm new here looking for a job." you told her. She seems very genuine and nice that you told her that. "Oh, I see."

"You can work for me, just someone to man the business because you know, I'm getting old." she laughed but coughed after. "I'd love to." you told her happily. You opened the door to her shop and placed the fertilizers down. The shop has a very tranquil vibe with various flowers that you recognize.

"You serve the costumers and manage the counter. You should be here before opening. Somewhere before 7:00 am, you can come in at 6. Closings at 7:00 pm. 750 thousand yen is the most I can give you as monthly salary. If thats alright." she said. "Of course." you smiled.

"Now, it's getting dark and I need you early tomorrow. Write your name in this notebook with your contact details, sign too, and study this." she gave you a notebook, a pen, and a book about flowers and their symbolism. "You should know which flowers which alright." she added while you are writing down on her notebook.

"Thank you for your help today." she thanked as you were giving her the pen. "Openings on 7:00. Be here on 6!" she yelled as you exited the building. A huge smile is plastered on your face as you slowly handle your own life, and keep it together. Little by little.

Baby steps.

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