“Oi Auruo! Hand me those tracing papers!” Levi shouted behind his desk looking grumpy with those dark circles around his eyes due to the sleepless nights in the office.
Auruo, responded as politely as he could, careful not to piss his boss further as he stood up and grabbed the mountain of papers from his drafting table.
Nobody blames Levi though. They’ve been working on the design concept for the renovation of a hotel next town for days now because the client keeps changing his mind. Not to mention he’s an arrogant bastard, in Levi’s opinion.
He always complains, and doesn’t listen to the opinions of the designer and thanks to that, they can’t settle for a concept and the drawings and presentations are scrapped. Not even considering the all-nighter they pulled to meet the deadline. Then it must be started again from scratch.
If it’s not for Erwin, his boss, who’s been constantly reminding him about patience, he must have blew up his bomb on the first day.
“Is this final?” he asked eyeing the stuttering draftsman.
“Good!....And don’t call me sir!” he snapped at his subordinate and returned in scanning the stack of papers at his hands.
“Yes, Levi” Auruo simply replied looking at his feet.
The next day, Levi was grumpier than usual when the meeting with the client was adjourned at the conference room.
All people exited the room without a single word as they know that Levi was about to blow a fuse.
“So what happened, Levi?” Hanji Zoe, another interior designer working in the company asked him with a full grin to her face almost to the point of stupidity.
Levi’s team, Petra, Auruo, Erd and Gunther, silently admired Hanji as she is the only one; except for Erwin of course, who has a nerve smiling at the humanity’s grumpiest and short-tempered interior designer. As everyone in the office including Erwin nicknamed him.
“The hell so funny shitty-glasses!” Levi snapped as he passed her heading to his office.
“Well, it seemed that the concept was finally approved” Hanji talks to him as if she’s not affected by the killing aura that Levi obviously emits throughout the building.
Levi placed his feet at the top of his table and slouched, resting his head back at his high-back swivel chair and began to tell her how did the concept was approved due to Erwin’s sweet talk to the client to get his fucking signature of approval to the contract and the drawings.
“That bastard tried to find faults again at the color schemes that I proposed.” Levi explained as he finally cooled down in his chair.
“You really can’t blame him, he never approved of the company to do the renovations in the first place. He was forced by his wife because she was Erwin’s college friend” Hanji sat herself down at Levi’s lounge chair at the corner of the room.
“I bet that bastard still bears some jealousy about his wife’s past relationship with Erwin” Levi smirked while Hanji silently chuckled at the corner of the room.
The Trost Interior Design Company is owned by Erwin Smith a retired interior designer famous for his contributions to the furniture industry of the past since his college days. It is headed by three interior designers namely, Hanji Zoe, Mike Zacharius and finally Levi, who studied under Erwin from the past years and inherited his wisdom and techniques in work. Each designer has a team of draftsmen, rendering artists, accountants, and other people assigned for checking the supply and doing errands.
Each designer is given a maximum of four and a minimum of two clients per month. Yeah, it’s like you’re a real estate agent that have a fucking quota of clients every fucking month.
Two weeks since the approval of the design and the signing of the contract, Levi is visiting the renovation site every other day with Erd, checking on the things and the progress of the work. It’s going steady. According to his calculations, they’ll be finished before the end of the month.
One Saturday afternoon as he roamed and checked the rooms and areas, he noticed that Petra and Auruo are squabbling about something in the corner of the hotel lobby.
“What’s the problem?” Levi asked with his slanted eyes looking from Auruo to Petra.
“Ummm…Levi, we have a problem” Petra finally spoke not meeting Levi’s eyes.
“That’s why I’m asking what the hell is wrong” He said arms crossed.
“Umm… the furniture pieces that we have ordered…the supplier said that it will be shipped at the end of the month” Petra reported with a visible nervousness in her voice.
“WHAT? WHAT THE—GUNTHER!” Levi’s voice thundered across the lobby making the other workers turn around and halted what they are doing.
“Levi!” Gunther came running twice as fast toward him.
“You can continue what you’re doing!” Levi shouted again and the workers resumed their respective jobs.
“What is it this they’re saying about the furniture! What did the supplier told you?” Levi finally lowered his voice but still with an angry tone.
“They said that they couldn’t do anything about the shipping because there have been problems with their delivery from the port.” Gunther answered scratching the back of his head.
“What the fuck is that?! Haven’t we ordered from them two weeks ago?! Didn’t you Petra?” Levi asked her.
“Yes Levi, I did order them after the signing of the contract” Petra finally answered with a stable voice.
“Get Nile on the phone” he pointed at Auruo who immediately pulled up his phone from his back pocket and dialed Nile Dok on the contact list.
“Hello! This is Shiganshina Furniture Pieces!” a voice of a woman greeted at the end of the line.
“Levi! It’s connected.” Auruo handed him the phone.
“Is Nile around?” Levi asked as calmly as possible suppressing his anger.
It was a tense atmosphere in the lobby when Levi was talking to Nile at the phone. Petra and Auruo was bracing themselves for the thunders that Levi will make if he explodes.
But to everyone’s surprise Levi was talking at the phone with a rather calm expression and settles it with a rather peaceful conclusion.
“We have no fucking choice! Let’s ride around the city and the next town for a walk-in shopping” Levi threw the phone at Auruo and quickly paced himself outside the room to his car.
All mouths were agape and some really can’t believe what is happening.
“What the hell are all of you doing?! Let’s hurry up with all this shit as long as the daylight is up!” Levi shouted that made everyone move as if a magic has been dispelled from their bodies.
“Yes, Levi!” Petra and the rest of the team quickly followed him to the parking lot and squeezed themselves at the back of Levi’s black, Bentley leaving Petra to occupy the seat beside the drivers’.
It’s good that the problem was identified early. It was 8:30 am and the shops are still probably close around the city because majority of it is opening at 9:00 am.
There is at least 30 minutes before the opening and Levi thought that they could grab a quick bite at a fast food chain near the construction site.
They ordered sets of fries, burgers, and soda, settled at a six-seater table near the window.
It was a rather awkward silence when everyone is settled and Levi was eating with his usual knife and fork when eating a burger or fries, because for him, these foods are greasy, messy and it will be troublesome to wipe the oil off his hands after eating.
“Umm...Levi, what happened during the phone call?” Petra broke the silence.
Everyone turned their eyes to Levi who was now looking at the passersby outside the window.
“I didn’t talk to Nile. He was out overseas for shipping. It was his wife I talked to.” Levi answered still looking at the sides.
“She said that they are really sorry for the problem but they can’t do anything about it because some fucking idiot relayed the order to them late and worst there had been problems with the port because it was hit by some big-ass delivery ship. They’re taking immediate actions to fix the storehouse and workhouses.” Levi continued to tell them the story not turning back from the window.
The conversations are going steady now as they know that Levi has calmed down from his outburst not long ago.
“But Levi, do you know where can we find the furniture pieces and accessories that we need?” Erd asked turning to his superior.
“I have someplace in mind and we can literally go around the city all day if we have to”. Levi simply answered folding his burger wrapper and placing it at the top of the tray.
There are a few minutes remaining till 9 o’clock so they decided to stay a little longer rather than to wait at the front of the shop like some stalker.
Levi was not particularly paying attention to the passersby the window, and just stared blankly with his hand rested at his cheek. People taking slow walks, people taking fast -almost a run- walks, some are constantly staring at their phones or watches. He even almost smiled at a funny sight of a clumsy, blonde boy who was carrying 10 tubes of Rotring tracing papers down the pedestrian and eventually stumbled down in the middle of the road though there is nothing on it.
Levi was probably dozing off or took interest in the sight. That he didn’t hear his team telling him that it’s almost 9 o’clock and they have to go.
“Levi, we need to hurry up” Petra reminded him fetching the trays and placing it at the side of the trash.
9 o’clock. As what is planned, they roamed around the city for interior accessories and furniture pieces they needed for the design. They visited 12 shops, made some arguments, some negotiations and lastly reservations to be picked up the following week. And it cost them all day.
It was an exhausting day for Levi, so as soon as he went home from work, he spend no time in other things except eating dinner, taking a shower and lastly having a fucking good night sleep to make his sore feet muscles rest from the all day stroll.
The project was successfully finished before the end of the month, as planned, and Levi can finally recover from those sleepless nights. He was complimented by Erwin for his patience, swift decision and action to just roam around the city for orders. Levi’s team was also celebrating in the office with him, as it became a tradition in every accomplishment of a project. Though they said celebrating, Auruo, Erd, and Gunther are the only ones who are making a fuss in the entire floor with cans of booze lined in the conference room. Petra, on the other hand is just blending Levi some chamomile tea for his stress relief until the night came for them, time to go home and have a long rest because Erwin gave them a week for it.
It’s Saturday and Levi has nothing to do in particular. So he decided to ride a tram all over the city without any particular destination in mind. Trams are not expensive and you can ride on it the whole day, back and fro with a just 5 bucks as your fare.
Staring at the window, he would sometimes sigh, not for being bored but he’s rather enjoying a rare time being himself. It’s been two hours or so, he didn’t actually counted, since he hopped on the vehicle. He’s now in the last stop, a place called, Levi read the sign, Sina Avenue.
He was supposed to sit back and enjoy the ride home but one peculiar lighting shop, the sign reads: Titan Lighting Emporium; that sits in the corner of the alley, piqued his interest, so he decided to step down and enter the shop.
“What a fucked up naming sense!” Levi smirks, his eyes exploring the interior of the shop.
“Well, sorry about that…..sir” a voice of a boy came from behind carrying stacks of most probably bulbs, light bulbs.
“It was the whole idea of the owner, practically a joke or something” the boy said stacking up the boxes in the corner of the shop.
“So what can I do for you?” he quickly added standing up and facing Levi with a smile.
Levi stared at him for a moment and recognized that he is the boy that keeps stumbling down the pedestrian with all those tubes in his arms. A blond boy, wait, more like a girl, or whatever. He looks at Levi with curiosity in his blue, doe-eyes. His nametag reads: Armin.
“Don’t name your establishment with your practical jokes brat!” Levi snapped at him.
“I was just curious as to what idiot is running this shop with Titan as the name of their emporium” Levi walked beside shelves, scanned the lighting fixtures above him.
“Armin! Are you finished?” this time, a girl’s voice came from a storage room at the back.
“Yes, Mikasa!” Armin rushed towards the girl.
“Oh, we have…costumer” the girl looked at Levi with distrustful eyes.
Levi sensed she’s a strong woman, probably not to be trifled with. She was wearing a red muffler around her neck. But Levi thinks what made her stand-out is probably her Orient features, with ebony hair that had the same color with her eyes.
“What is your profession sir?” the girl asked him.
“Interior designer” Levi simply answered and turned to look at the row of light bulbs in the shelves.
“Really?” she asked again.
“Mikasa, that’s rude” Armin grabbed her shoulder.
“Huh?” Levi turned to look at those black-colored eyes.
“I-I’m sorry sir” Armin pulled her away and slightly bowed his head for apology.
“I’ll take this” Levi placed three 5 watts, incandescent bulbs to the counter.
“Thank you sir” Armin smiled handing him a small brown paper.
“You…what’s your name?” Levi turned his glare at the girl.
“Mikasa Ackerman” she replied calmly.
“I’ll remember that” Levi smirked stepping out the shop.
“What are you thinking starting a fight with a costumer?” Armin asked Mikasa as soon as they’re alone in the shop.
“I can’t help it; I thought he was a thug! And a midget to boot” Mikasa proceeded to arrange the newly-arrived stocks to the rows of shelves.
“Now you’re being mean”
They practically talked about Levi, and not to mention, made fun on how small he is, guessing the midget’s age on the rest of the shift, how did he became a thug in Mikasa’s eyes, and what could be his name.
“It’s getting late” Levi glanced at his wristwatch and it shows it’s already 4:30 pm. He must board the tram back to the metro before the sun sets because the night is cold, it’s autumn and autumn nights are damn cold, and he hates cold.
Levi sat at his very same position at the packed tram going back. It was about 6:30pm when he reached the metro, so he decided to take a bite at a nearby family restaurant before walking home. Levi’s home is just a short, walking distance from the tram station and close to the family restaurant he always eats at.
“Hey Levi!” a somewhat middle-aged man, wearing a white bandanna at his head waved at him behind the kitchen counter.
“It’s late! You haven’t eaten yet?” the man swung open the counter, dressed in white chefs’ uniform.
“I wouldn’t come here, if I already ate baldy!” Levi settled himself in a two-seater table near the counter.
“I’m not bald!” the man scratched his bandanna.
“Hey Ness, two bowls of corn potage!” Ness’ co-worker yelled at him behind the counter.
“I’ll be right up! So Levi, the usual?” Ness stepped inside the kitchen.
Levi nodded and pulled out his phone for free access of the establishment’s wifi.
He opened his mail, well, nothing in particular. His social network account, nothing’s new here, so he decided to log out as the waiter approaches his table with a bowl of cheese raviolis. No one knows he likes cheese raviolis next to light bulbs. He has a strange fascination to bulbs, he doesn’t know why, he can’t explain it quite well, it’s just – well, Levi just likes them. And the Italian pasta, bless the soul of the man who invented this dish, but he just can’t let anyone know it especially that shitty-glasses. She was the original cause of the short fuss of “Levi Ravioli” rumors in the company -though she doesn't know I like raviolis-. That fucker said a nice idea just popped out of her mind in the middle of everyone’s brainstorming sessions.
“Hey everyone, do you agree that Levi’s name goes well with raviolis?” Hanji said raising his arm so that everyone will pay attention to what she is saying.
Everyone was a little surprised from the sudden outburst but quickly turned back to their respective jobs when they saw Levi with his 100% death accuracy glare to anyone who dares to laugh. But Levi swore he heard muffled laughing behind his swivel chair including Erwin’s.
Levi was home 5 minutes before 7 o’clock and he proceeded to take a shower, read some articles, drink milk - it really helps for a good night sleep, brush his teeth and lay on his bed eventually falling asleep.
He spent the rest of his leisure week doing his hidden hobbies, or what would people say, the “cute side” to him or the “gap” whatever shit they call it. Well, fuck them! Levi likes to knit –he believes knitting cleanses the soul-, and he likes to cook, but sometimes, he’s too busy to make out something from the fridge.
It was Monday morning again. The harsh truth that Monday is work day. Seems like it was just yesterday that he was given a week to rest. He started the day by cooking egg and bacons, brewing coffee, made himself a hearty breakfast. He dressed in his usual executive shirt, ironed from the collar to the bottom hem, his black slacks, black tie and his black double-breasted coat. But today is getting a bit chilly so he decided to put on another layer of thick overcoat as the winter is on its way to harass him again.
He took a bus from his pad and arrived at his workplace a little early than usual.
“Good morning Levi!” Mike patted his shoulder from behind. “You’re quite early”
Levi answered with a grunt and they boarded the elevator together up to the 3rd floor. Levi is in-charge of the whole 3rd floor, or you can say that his team occupies it. The 2nd floor is occupied by Hanji’s team, 4th floor is by Mike and the top floor is where Erwin’s office can be found.
Levi entered his office with the same grumpy look of his but he’s not particularly in a bad mood and not in a good mood either. He nodded to his subordinates’ greetings of good mornings and stretched his feet to the lounge chair at the corner of the room and silently thanks Meister Le Corbusier for inventing such a comfortable chair.
Levi dozed off for a few minutes before he was woken up by Hanji banging her hands on his lacquered coffee table.
“Pipe down shitty-glasses, what the hell do you want?!” Levi glared at her sitting up.
“Good morning Levi! Erwin needs us at the conference room-
“Now!” Hanji smiled.
“Ah, Levi, Hanji, you’re here” Erwin gestured them to the seats.
They ushered themselves to the seats next to Mike at the right side of the oblong, glass top conference table. Sitting together with them is Mike, Hanji and Levi’s team and the client.
A man in his 50s, dressed in a suit with his pachinko ball head, creases at his forehead, white mustache hanging at the top of his mouth that wears a gentle smile.
“Well everybody, this is Dot Pixis. He’s a colleague of mine, and owns the Architectural Company “Werien”. Erwin stretched out his hand to introduce the man in his left.
“Werien?” Hanji stood up with her messy ponytail at her cheeks.
“What are you getting excited at?” Mike pulled her down.
“Tch! Let Erwin finish first, you shitty-glasses!” Levi turned his eyes to Erwin. The rest of the team mouth shut and paying attention to their boss.
Erwin let out a sigh and proceeded to discuss the original topic.
“What? You want us to design a project of yours?” Hanji rose again but was dragged down by Levi who was getting irritated of her high-pitched voice.
“What the hell is that?” Levi asked with a sarcastic tone.
The team is getting nervous with Levi’s words as they know that Levi is not as eloquent as he looks. He chooses no superior or subordinate in using his thug language.
Pixis, to everyone’s surprise, chuckled and took a gulp of a honey-colored liquid from the silver flask he pulled out from his suit.
“You have plenty of designers in your company, why the hell, ask us?” Levi eyed him curiously.
“Well, our client requested collaboration to your company. She’s our long-time friend and Erwin knows her too.” Pixis answered calmly.
Silently, the other people in the room were amazed that he was also not affected by Levi’s attitude.
“The fuck is that.” Levi retorted at his seat and zipped his mouth as Erwin continued to explain the details about the project.
“Wait, but who will take this project? You wouldn’t expect us to merge our design ideas for the concept. It’s impossible” Mike voiced out in the middle of the discussion.
Hanji’s eyeglasses flashed. Levi turned to look at Pixis.
“Hanji and Mike is planned to be assigned each at a different building.” Pixis took another gulp at his silver flask.
“So Levi, we will arrange a meeting for you and the architect in-charge” Erwin said and replied in his usual grunt.
The meeting was finished nearly lunch. As they walked out from the conference room, Hanji is still in her high-tension mode and grins from time to time.
“By the way shitty-glasses, what’s so fucking great about the Werien?” Levi asked behind her.
“Didn’t you know?” she faced him walking backwards.
“I wouldn’t ask if I know about it, shithead” Levi gave her a glare from behind.
“Werien is somewhat famous for their uniquely designed buildings. Dot Pixis, just like Erwin, has earned his fame to his contributions about Green Architecture. Some critics called him one of the best in his time.” Hanji explained, now tip-toeing the corridors.
“Werien’s motto is just like ours, “Functional and Beautiful”. Well, it’s the basics” she added.
“Weren’t you using that motto also?” Hanji stopped.
Levi rolled his eyes and muttered something about the “ridiculous shit”,leaving Hanji behind.
Time flies and it’s Thursday. It’s Levi’s day-off from office, so he decided to sleep a little more. But he was woken up by the sound of his phone on his nightstand and read the caller ID as Erwin Smith.
“Jesus!” he muttered sitting up on the bed and pressed the answer button.
“What is it Erwin? It’s still fucking early!” Levi said rubbing his hazy eyes.
“It’s 12 noon Levi, it’s not early.” Erwin replied at the end of the line.
“I arranged your meeting with the architect after lunch at the Dauper Café at Rose Avenue. It’ll be at 1” Erwin said leaving no room for complaints.
“I remembered him saying that” Levi thought.
“Levi, are you listening?” Erwin said with a sigh.
“Alright! Jesus!” Levi said making a note at his planner.
He hit the “end call” button and jumped out from his bed, folded the sheets neatly, brushed his teeth, ate some breakfast –for him- and dressed in his usual suit.
He straddled along the streets of Rose Avenue and stopped to check his wristwatch. It’s 12:30. Well, it’s not that long for a wait, so Levi decided to wait at the café and maybe order some coffee while he’s at it.
Dauper Café is just a few walks from his place. It’s cozy, open café. Levi likes it here. He often comes here just to relax, bring his laptop and surf the net using the café’s free wifi connection. He would sometimes just sit there watching people pass by with a cup of coffee at his hand.
At the table across him, he noticed a man, probably in his 20’s, sitting with his laptop opened before him.
Levi stared at the man as he sipped his coffee holding the cup at the brim. The man is probably taller than he is, probably just a few, yes, just a few inches.
He was a brunette and his skin is a slight tan. But what made Levi notice him are his eyes, his fucking beautiful blue-green eyes. It was the most perfect eyes he had ever seen so far.
Levi’s heart made a skip.
“What the hell” Levi muttered a little loudly that made the man glance across his way.
“God, he’s cute” Levi silently thought to himself.
But putting all those aside, it’s already 1:15 pm and the man meeting him is nowhere to be found. Thinking about it, Erwin didn’t tell him how the fuck he looks like. This is no time for heart skips. He decided to call Erwin but, what the hell! He’s not picking up. He was starting to get irritated.
The man across him also constantly checks his watch and sometimes looks at Levi with a flushed face.
“Don’t tell me— Levi rose to his feet and approached the table across.
“Hey you! What’s your name?” Levi asked putting his hand in the table with a slight tap.
“Me? I-I’m Eren, Eren Jaeger” the man looked up and nervously answered.
“Are you Pixis’ employee?” Levi asked again.
“I’m IDr. Levi dammit!” he sat himself at the chair.
“Oh, I- I’m- nice to meet you” Eren stretches his hands for a shake but Levi ignores it.
“What did your boss told you about me?” Levi stares at him.
“He said I will know if I saw you” Eren answered nervously.
“And why the hell you didn’t recognize me?” Levi continues his glare.
“I didn’t- well, I…” Eren is lost in words; he couldn’t possibly tell him that he was much different than what he imagined.
“You’re an idiot!” Levi snapped at him.
“I-I’m sorry” Eren apologized looking at his knees.
“Well, let’s get down to business, brat!” Levi took out his pen and notes.
They talked about the design, the schedule for work, the target for completion and the other details of the plan.
Eren took out some blueprints from his tube resulting him knocking out his suitcase, making the prints scatter through the floor.
“I’m sorry” Eren stood and grabbed the scattered prints.
“Take a grip, you clumsy brat! Aren’t you professional?” Levi looked at him with disappointment in his eyes.
“I was an idiot for making my heart skip even just a moment for you!” Levi softly muttered resting his cheeks at his hands.
“What is it?” Eren asked looking confused.
“Nothing! We’re gonna continue now, you piece of shit!” he snapped at Eren.
Eren is nervous. He didn’t sign up for this. He didn’t meet a man like him before. His heavy-lidded eyes that pierces you quietly, his raven hair in a clean undercut, and his thug language. Why should he have to be bombarded with insults by a person he just met? But uncanny to Eren, he is not offended, he’s not angry either. But rather he finds it cute. Maybe not a very good word to pair up to a man like him but Eren finds it endearing. Plus his size, he’s about 160 cm, really small. Eren tried his best not to smile.
“Oi brat!” Levi slammed his hand at the table that made Eren jump.
“Are you even fucking listening?! Levi stares at him
“Yes, I’m listening”
“You will start the construction of the building in 2 days, got it?!” Levi rose to his feet and stepped away to leave.
“Nice meeting you, Levi!” Eren smiled for the first time.
Levi’s heart skipped again.
“Fuck you!” he retorted and went away.
Eren smiled as he fixes his things ready to leave.
Crisp, cold, autumn air, wet streets, people in sweaters, overcoat, people holding cans or cups of coffee, cold smokes coming out from their mouth. It’s nearing winter.
Eren hops down the tram and straddled along the streets of Sina Avenue.
Titan Lighting Emporium. With the CLOSE sign hanging at the door, Eren swung the door open and the chime made a sound.
“Welcome back Eren!” Mikasa greeted him behind the pile of boxes.
“Armin is out at the kitchen making dinner. What’s wrong?” Mikasa straightened up, grabbed his hands and looked worried.
“What? No, no, nothing!” Eren’s cheeks flushed averting his gaze from Mikasa to his sides.
“Welcome back Eren, dinner’s ready!” Armin appeared in the door sporting a white apron, his bowl-cut hair tied in a messy ponytail.
“So, how did your appointment go Eren?” Mikasa asked as they settle themselves in the dinner table.
“Is it a guy?” Armin asked distributing a bowl of freshly-stewed goulash along with slices of bread.
“Yeah, he’s name is Levi” Eren slurped a spoonful of stew that made his mouth burn just like he’s feeling right now.
“So how did it go? Did he do something to you? Something violent?” Mikasa eyed him suspiciously tearing pieces of bread.
“Yeah, he swept me off my feet” Eren silently agrees.
“No, he didn’t do anything!” Eren answered spooning a stew to his mouth again.
“What does he look like?” Mikasa asked him again.
“Well” Eren starts. “He’s short- a lot shorter than us- , he has blue, heavy-lidded, slanted eyes, raven hair with an undercut. He has a low voice –that still timbres in my ears- long, slender hands—
“Eren, Eren, stop” Armin cut him in.
“Huh? You ask what he looked like.” Eren looked at them.
Armin sighed. Mikasa rolled her eyes.
“Yes, but your eyes are sparkling like a maiden-in-love” Armin chuckled.
“Do you like him Eren?” Mikasa looked at him straight.
“Wha- what are you talking about?! No, of course not!” Eren defended himself spooning a goulash into his mouth that made him cough.
“Are you alright?!" Armin asked smiled tapping his back gently.
“I-I just…thought he’s cool” Eren said in between the coughs.
Mikasa sighed. “You’re really oblivious”
Eren wished to strike back an argument but eventually gave up because of the burning sensation in his throat.
“So Levi, have you met Arch. Jaeger?” Erwin stood before his desk the next day.
“He’s an idiot! And why in the first place, didn’t you tell me what the fuck he looks like?” Levi shot him stern eyes.
“I told Hanji to tell you the details, didn’t she inform you?” Erwin looked surprised.
“That fucking shitty-glasses!” Levi muttered under his breath and turned again to Erwin.
“I want to know about your meeting” Erwin smiled.
“As I said earlier, that brat is an idiot! I’m impressed he passed the architecture board exam being a clumsy idiot!”
“What’s with that idiot declaration? Erwin asked, suppressing an urge to laugh.
“He didn’t recognize me at all! Pixis just told him that he will know if he met me! Jesus! What the fuck is that? It wasted time of my precious day-off and to only realize that the fucking idiot is in front of me!” Levi sighed as if he used his energy for the whole day.
“Why are you so over the edge? Well, that was a very fun appointment” Erwin smiled again.
“Fun my ass!” Levi turned his chair.
Erwin laughed and exited his office.
“Hey Levi! How’s your— Hanji waved at him but was cut down due to Levi charging at her with a flying kick!-it’s a bit comical- but yes, a flying kick, this shitty glasses deserves that!
“Tch!” to Levi’s disappointment, as usual, his super, flying kick was blocked by Hanji as she was always used in receiving those greetings.
“Thank you!” Hanji grinned.
“You shitty glasses! Why didn’t you tell me a fuck about Jaeger?!” Levi scowled straightening up his suit.
“Ah, Ahahaha…Oh, that’s right! Sorry, sorry I forgot!” Hanji scratched her messy, brown ponytail.
“Tch!” Levi walked out from his office giving everyone the glare.
It’s lunch break and Levi decided to walk around the city for a change of pace, and to cool his head down.
He never really had the chance to tour around the city even if he’s residing here for almost 5 years already.
Levi came from Germany, he was born and raised there but he doesn’t have the native German tongue, since both his parents are migrates from United States.
Now back from where his parents came from, he does feel weird. He doesn’t feel homesick at all. But mysteriously, he feels a little nostalgic of the country.
He took interest in interior designing because his father initially forced him to study because he was an architect himself.
Levi graduated from a university in Belgium and was picked personally by IDr. Erwin Smith along with his other classmates, Hanji and Mike.
As Levi paced the pavements, he stumbled on a restaurant called: Shifter’s. The façade is of Mediterranean style, with those red bricks and curved grilles; a very nice building if you ask him.
He opened the door and the bell chimed. The place is not packed, though it’s lunch break but it’s not deserted either. There’s just a handful of costumers eating, reading a book, drinking coffee, and writing.
“Welcome sir, a table for one?” A petite, blond girl with the name of Krista-written on her name plate- greeted him in the entrance wearing a butler’s tailcoat.
She ushered him to the two-seater round table near the window, just beside the entrance door and handed him the menu.
“Any recommendations?” He looked at her thinking that this must be one of those –cosplay or whatever shit-
“How about the Bouillabaisse sir? It’s our chef’s recommendation” she smiled holding out a pen and the ordering slip.
“Yeah, I’ll take that” she walked away and Levi started to scan his eyes on the restaurant’s interior.
One trait an interior designer must possess is observation. Etching every detail of each design you encounter and get some new ideas from it especially to some existing buildings.
Levi looked up at the ceiling. Dropped, lined with moldings, low ceiling fans that turns slowly above his head; Antique pendant lightings in warm white lights and compliments the handsome wallpapered walls with a warm glow, identical to the sunset flare.
Furniture pieces are mostly upholstered save for the few wooden barstools in front of a blond, macho barkeep –which looks exactly like those American football players- polishing the pilsners to their utmost sparkle.
Levi was distracted by the sound of the chime.
He looked at the direction of the door and was surprised to see perfect, blue-green eyes standing in the entrance, waving at the macho barkeep who is now arranging the wines in the cellarette behind him.
“Eren! It’s nice to see you out from your working hole!” Reiner waved back and gestured him to seat in front of him.
“Just got back from work?” He asked wiping the dusts off the wine bottles.
“Yeah, got a lot of trouble with the blueprints, but I guess it should be ready by tomorrow” Eren sighed and waved at Krista who was carrying a glass of water on a tray walking towards Levi’s table.
Eren didn’t see Levi sitting by the window. But instead, he called for the chef behind the kitchen’s arch window.
“Hey Ymir! Can I get the usual?”
“Yeah, sure! Bolognese isn’t it?” Ymir answered with thumbs up flipping the frying pan.
“Hey, is he a regular here?” Levi asked Krista as she place the glass of water at the table.
“Eren? Yes, he’s always here, he’s our long time friend, we’ve all been together since college” Krista smiled.
Levi nodded and continued to stare at Eren falling his gaze at Eren’s ass half-squished, half-hanging on the barstool.
“God, that ass!” he thought silently close to drooling, but was secretly thanking this little lady Krista for distracting him as she brings his order.
Levi ate silently and –shit! This is delicious! – He fetched a spoonful of soup and enjoyed his meal with slices of bread.
The chime rang again and this time, a guy few inches taller than Eren with light-brown hair with an undercut similar to his, entered.
“Jeager! You’re here!” he gave Eren’s butt a spank.
“Nice butt as always!” he grinned.
Levi nearly choked his bread and was beginning to seethe in rage clutching the end of the table.
“Shut up horseface! What the hell are you doing here?” Eren rolled his eyes.
“To eat of course! Hey Ymir, can I get the same as his?” He shouted at the chef gesturing to Eren.
“Coming right up!”
“They’re too close! Too damn close! He touches that holy butt and even eats the same dish as Eren!” Levi stood up to approach them but his phone rang just in time. It’s Erwin.
“Shit!” he muttered as he answered the phone.
“Exactly how long is your lunch break?” Erwin asked at the end of the line.
“I’m coming!” Levi simply answered and ended the call.
He paid the bill and walked out from the restaurant.
Eren looked backed as he heard the chime and swore he saw someone short, raven-haired with an undercut. But shrugged at the very thought that Levi could be here. He couldn’t be here. Eren ate his Bolognese hungrily and stayed at the restaurant mingling with his friends for a couple of hours.
“So did you cool down?” Mike asked him as they sit in one of the table in the reference room.
Cool down. Yeah, that was the original goal. Walking down the streets, eating and cooling down his temper. But as he remembered the scene in the restaurant, it sent a throb at his temple enabling him to focus on his design research.
The next day, they sit in the conference room. Present are Arch. Pixis, Arch. Jaeger, IDr. Hanji, IDr. Mike, IDr. Erwin and Levi with the rest of the team.
“So now that the blueprints are final and the site excavations are safely finished, the building’s zoccalo are also built, I daresay that there are only few days until the completion of the building?” Erwin received a nod from Pixis from his left side.
“Each and everyone must now be focusing on the space planning of the environment, while the rest of the buildings are getting final touches. Please get the blueprints from my office.” Erwin added directing his gaze from Hanji to Levi.
“I hope the presentations and drawings are ready by the next two weeks or it may do us good if you can prepare it by the following week for early work. If you have other questions, please refer to Arch. Jaeger because he designed the three buildings you are in-charge.” Erwin gestured to Eren beside Pixis who gave everyone a faint smile.
Levi and Eren’s eyes met in the middle of the discussion with the remaining details. Levi quickly averted his gaze to the presentation projected at the white board.
“If there are no further inquires, we’ll end this conference”. Erwin said straightening up and piling stacks of paper at his hands.
“Thanks so much everybody” he smiled and exited the room, followed by Pixis as they head to Erwin’s office.
Hanji stretched her arms as she stood up and quickly approached Eren who is now being interviewed by some girls from the accounting department.
“Hey, nice to meet you, I’m Hanji Zoe!” Hanji held out a hand.
“Yes, I’m Eren Jaeger, nice to meet you too Ms. Hanji” Eren held her hand with a shy smile.
“You can just call me Hanji, but I never imagined you’ll be this cute!” Hanji spoke so loudly that everyone turned their eyes to them.
“Wha- no, not at all!” Eren said looking at his feet, cheeks flushed as he hear the giggles around.
Levi who was watching from afar was taken aback by Eren’s cuteness but quickly paced away before Hanji catches his gaze.
“Ahahaha! You’re interesting!” her glasses flashed.
“Stop it Hanji, you’re scaring him” Mike sniffed at his shoulders.
“You’re really not the one to talk” Hanji sighed while Eren flinched.
“He’s Mike Zacharius Eren, don’t mind his sniffing, it’s a habit of his and his unusual way of greeting, you’ll get used to it!”
“By the way, you’ve met Levi right?” Hanji asked as they walk out the room.
“He’s supposed to accompany you in Erwin’s, but I guess he returned to his office” Hanji looked around searching.
“By the way, you can find him at the floor above. Just ask the team where you can find his office” Hanji patted his back as she turned around to leave.
“By myself?” Eren looked hesitant.
“Why? Is there something wrong?” Hanji turned to face him.
“It’s just…. Eren’s voice trailed away.
“Oh, you’re nervous! Don’t be! Levi is just born with a grumpy face and besides you’re acquainted with him now” Hanji laughed.
“But- but, I think he hates me” Eren said looking up.
“Oh, Eren, you like him?” Hanji’s glasses flashed.
“N-No! Why should I?” he rapidly shook his head.
“Well, he’s really intimidating, but he’s a nice guy, you can do it! Do your best!” she grabbed Eren’s hand and grinned.
“Bye!” she waved a hand as she walk away.
Eren stepped inside the elevator and pressed the button with a number 3 embedded on it. It chimed to indicate he’s now on the 3rd floor; he nervously stepped out and gathered all his courage to open the office door.
There, he saw people on drafting tables; their noses almost touch the paper, people ran back and forth carrying tubes and material; dark circles visible in their eyes, people on the phone, people with calculators; scratching their pens in the memos, and people in the front of the computer rendering on the floor plans with cups of coffee lined at their desks.
“Hi! Are you looking for Levi?” a woman with short strawberry blond hair approached him carrying tubes of Rotring tracing papers.
“Yes, where can I find him please?” Eren smiled and offered to carry her belongings.
“Oh thanks! I’m Petra by the way; I’ll walk you to his office. This way sir” Petra said with a sweet smile.
“You can just call me Eren” Eren smiled as they walk towards Petra’s desk.
“You can put it here, thank you and Levi’s office is there!” she pointed at a tinted glass room with blinds hanging down to prevent direct eye entry to the room.
“Ok, thanks!” he laid the tubes and walked towards the door.
He let out a sigh and knocked.
“Come in” a deep, low voice answered behind the door.
Eren swung the door open and entered with his bag hanging on his shoulders.
“Um..Hanji said that you’ll bring me to Sir Erwin” Eren said meeting his gaze.
“Take a seat” Levi gestured him to the couch as he was sitting on it himself, legs crossed.
Eren carried his feet to sit beside Levi looking at his shoes.
“Sit across me, brat!” he snapped and Eren transferred to the couch across him.
A moment of awkward silence is lingering in the room. Eren knows Levi is just staring at him from head to feet. And he can’t help feeling suffocated by this awkward situation. He didn’t dare to look him in the eye again; Eren just stares at the table. He was partially saved when a knock came from the crystal door.
“Levi! I brought tea” Petra carried two teacups of earl grey and placed them on the table.
Eren caught her gaze and she smiled. Eren responded with a sweet smile that made Petra blush and exited the room.
Levi continued to stare at him with those stern eyes, holding his cup of tea.
Eren thought as he sips his tea, he’s really weird, the way he holds the cup in the brim and this goddamn silence. Doesn’t he feel uncomfortable too?
“Oi” Levi called to him putting his cup at the table.
Eren placed the cup at the saucer, looked at him nervously and answered.
“Erwin called and he said you can either wait here for him or carry your ass at his office. Which is it?” Levi asked looking at those blue-green eyes.
“I-I guess I’ll just go to his office” Eren answered glancing at Levi from time to time.
“Look at me when you answer brat!” Levi said uncrossing his legs.
“I-I’ll go to his office” Eren looked at him.
“Good, now come on!” Levi stood up.
He nodded and followed him out of the office.
Eyes followed them as they walk out the office and Eren heard some giggling from the girls behind the cubicles.
They boarded the elevator to the topmost floor without a word and entered Erwin’s office where he and Pixis are playing chess at the couch.
“Levi, the blueprints are at the file cabinets, topmost on the left” Erwin smiled and continued their game.
“Tch!” Levi knew Erwin teases him again about his height. He can’t possibly reach the topmost cabinet without using a fucking platform. “Erwin you piece of shit!” He silently thought glaring at him.
“Eren, you can sit here with us, I need to talk to you” Erwin gestured at him to take the armchair beside him.
Eren looked at Levi worriedly but he turned his back and paced to the file cabinets hidden behind a freestanding wall.
Eren sat himself beside Erwin, but still looking at Levi who is now carrying a platform to his aid.
“Don’t worry about him, he can handle that!” Erwin smiled at him.
“Oh, check!” Pixis declared and took a gulp from his silver flask.
“Ah, yes” Eren looked at Erwin with curiosity.
Blond hair properly combed in a one-sided fashion, thick eyebrows, a suit wrapping those well-built body. Kinda reminds him of Reiner.
“So, what do you think of him Eren?” Erwin asked him, pointing at Levi as they tidy up the chess board.
“Well …he’s scary” Eren looked at Levi’s direction who is stretching his hands up because even with the aid of a platform, he still can’t reach the blueprints.
Erwin laughed and Pixis chuckled at his comment.
“Well, that’s true, considering he’s quite a delinquent in his days.” Erwin took a sip from his teacup.
Eren was a little surprised about this fact about Levi, but I guess it suits him. It suits him very well, exactly.
He stood up and walked towards Levi’s direction, Erwin and Pixis looking at him from the seat. He reached for the blueprints and handed them down to Levi who was now glaring at him.
Levi grabbed the prints and smacked him at the head.
Erwin and Pixis chuckled again at the sight.
“They’re a good pair.” Pixis quoted.
Erwin nodded and turned to savor his tea looking pleased.
A couple of weeks later, presentations and drawings are ready, they sat down at the conference room discussing furniture layouts, color schemes and the other details of the design.
Levi and the rest of the team had visible panda eyes at their face as they present the design concepts they come up with. The only person in the room with the excess energy to fool around the discussion is of course, Hanji. Levi shot her a death glare while Eren and the rest of his team, who he brought along for the first time, sat there without a word as they listen to the presentations until it ended just for lunch time.
“Eren…Um...can we go to lunch?” a short black-haired girl in low, two-ears approached Eren with a blush in her cheeks.
“Yeah, sure!” Eren smiled that made her blush further to her ears.
“Hey, that’s not fair! Eren, can I go too?” A blond guy wrapped his arms around Eren’s shoulder with a smile on his face.
Levi silently stared at them and eventually approached them near the door.
“Oi, brat!” Levi called out to him.
“Yes?” Eren turned to look at him.
“You’ll come with me to lunch, you can bring your team” Levi declared and paced away.
Eren was a little surprised but also a bit happy.
They walked along the streets and they entered Shifter’s.
“I didn’t think you know this place” Eren said as they occupy a long table across the bar.
“I just found this a couple of weeks ago” Levi answered placing his jacket at the back of the chair.
“Then, you’re really the one I saw here last week?” Eren smiled.
“This brat…. Levi stared at Eren’s blinding smile.
“Maybe” he responded and turned to the menu.
“Hey, everyone!” Reiner called out from the bar with a 6 footer, black-haired guy, dressed in white chef’s uniform.
“Reiner, Bert!” Eren’s team stood up and approached the two at the bar.
Levi and the rest of the team scanned the menu and gave their orders to the woman with a blond hair tied in a bun, with parrot nose and calm, blue eyes.
“Hi, Annie!” Eren smiled.
The girl named Annie nodded and disappeared inside the kitchen.
Levi was quietly observing the flow of the situations resting his cheeks on his palm.
“Why didn’t she ask you?” Petra asked him.
“Oh, she knows it already” Eren knows Levi’s team already; they’ve been getting along pretty well in a short period of time he spent in the company. He likes Petra, she’s sweet and caring, Erd and Jin, they’re cool, Auruo is a bit bossy and arrogant but I guess he’s a nice guy.
“Seriously, is that how you treat your ex?” Ymir came out from the kitchen taking off her toque.
“What? I greeted her!” Eren turned to her.
Levi reacted at the mention of the word “ex” and continued to listen to the conversations.
“Anyway, why are you here? Who’s taking care of the orders?” Eren asked her.
“My shift’s over, it’s Berthold’s turn now!” Ymir sighed and walked away.
Eren’s team returned to their seats and Eren introduced them to Levi and his team.
“This is Mina Carolina. He gestured to the black-haired girl in two ears beside him. Thomas Wagner. A blond with a flat-top hair waved at them. Hannah and Franz, they’re a couple. Eren rolled his eyes as he gestured to a couple sitting to the most end of the table, their cheeks flushed.
“Wha-what are you saying Eren? Telling that we’re made for each other” Hannah clapped her hands at his face to cover her flushed cheeks.
“I didn’t say that!” Eren retorted.
“You’re too fast, Eren” Franz also covered his face.
“You’re also an idiot couple” Eren shrugged his shoulders and shook his head in disbelief.
“Speaking about the idiot couple Eren, Sasha and Connie are inviting us for their anniversary this weekend.” Krista placed 10 glasses of water at the table.
“This weekend?” He glanced at Levi who is also looking at him, waiting for his response.
“Maybe, but I’m not sure, I have work.” Eren looked apologetically.
“Okay, I’ll tell them” she said walking away entering the kitchen.
“Annie sure is a quiet one” Thomas quoted looking at her inside the kitchen.
“How did the two of you communicate or have sex if she’s like that” he added.
Eren accidently spit out the water he’s drinking -at the sound of the word “sex”- at Auruo sitting across him.
“Wha- what are you- Mina gently taps Eren’s back as he coughs.
Petra chuckled as she helped Auruo wipe off the water off his face.
Veins are popping at Levi’s temple one by one, but he needs to stay calm, he’s not possibly jealous of some BRAT! He doesn’t have anything to do with this FUCKING BRAT! He doesn’t care if the BRAT had sex before, he doesn’t care if this SHITTY BRAT had girlfriends or even BOYFRIENDS before!
“Tch!” Levi muttered to his side.
“Enjoy your meal” this time, Annie is the one who brought their orders.
Levi looked at her. Studied her face. She sure is attractive, with a nice body. He imagined the brat touching this woman’s body, kissing her, caressing her.
“Tch! Stop thinking about it for fuck’s sake Levi! It’s as if you’re fucking jealous!” He denied the very idea to himself.
“What’s wrong Levi?” Erd asked.
“Nothing” he replied and ate silently.
“Hey Annie, Mikasa wants to see you, can you spare some time? I can take you for a ride home” Eren held her hand.
Levi glared at their touching hands and was trying his best not to slap it for breaking.
Across the bar, they can hear Reiner and Ymir’s whistling, teasing them.
“Why don’t you just go back together?” Ymir shouted across.
“Shut up!” Eren shouted at them.
“Ah yes, I’ll wait for you after work” Annie blushed and quickly paced away disappearing inside the kitchen.
“Levi! Levi!” Erd is now looking at him, confused.
“What are you angry about? You have a scary face!” Gunther asked two seats away from him.
“No I’m fucking not! Why would I?!” irritation is visible in his tone that made Eren and the others look at him.
“What?” he spat.
They turned to their food and spent the remaining time in awkward silence.
“Thanks for coming!” Krista bade them goodbye at the door clutching the tray to her chest.
Eren smiled and waved back.
Levi. Everyone knows that he’s in a bad mood, so no one dared to talk as they walk back to the company.
Eren’s team asked permission if they can excuse themselves now because their presence is not needed anymore in the afternoon. And actually, they really can’t bear the killing aura that Levi emits anymore.
Levi’s team also headed to their cubicles without a word as soon as they stepped out from the elevator.
Eren is the only one left with him, walking towards the office, Levi suddenly turned his back and asked.
“Oi stupid brat! Are you really going to follow me to my office?”
“Eh? But Erwin said I can just hang around at your office” Eren looked confused.
“Of course not you brat! I’m fucking busy and I can’t concentrate on working if there is a brat inside my fucking office!” Levi spat at him and walked away.
Eren was rooted to the spot feeling nervous and he feels like he’s about to cry.
“I’m not gonna cry! I’m an adult now!” he thought to himself.
Levi turned his back to look at him and he felt a slight guilt pierce into his old heart- no he can’t be- He can’t be fucking guilty! Just because that brat looks like he’s going to cry. Absolutely no! He continued to walk to his office and closed the door.
“Hey Eren!” Eren turned and it was Hanji walking towards him.
“Is Levi bullying you?” she grinned.
“No, he’s not, Maybe he’s just in a bad mood.” Eren answered looking at her.
“Well, did something happen?” she asked with a serious tone.
Eren shrugged his shoulders and replied, “I don’t know”.
Unknown to everyone, Levi, who is really trying his best to blend in the blinds, is peeking between the spaces at door. He saw Hanji talking to Eren and dragging him out of the office.
Levi sighed and settled himself at his swivel chair facing the outside scenery of enormous buildings, flock of birds gliding at the air, and cars stuck in traffic jam below.
Eren Jaeger -the fucking brat- is gonna be the cause of his malfunction. Levi doesn’t know why he’s bothered –no, I’m not!- He loses his composure every time that fucking brat is involved.
He dozed off at the chair and had a short dream. A dream about those blue-green eyes looking at him, hands cupping his cheek and warm lips kissing his forehead.
“Levi! Hey Levi!” a voice made him back to consciousness.
It was Hanji who was standing before his desk.
“Can’t you at least knock, shitty-glasses?!” Levi straightened up and turned to face her.
“I did, you just didn’t notice”
“So, what do you want?” he stared at her.
“Eren would like me to tell you that he will excuse himself now because he had some appointment”
“Why isn’t he the one coming here?” he asked.
“He said you’re asleep so he told me to pass the message!” she smiled.
Levi remembered the conversation at the restaurant. Yeah, he will pick up that woman, and he will drive her home. –His home- and who knows what they’ll do there.
Levi stood up in reflex.
“What is it?” Hanji asked him, brows furrowed.
“No, Levi calm down, it’s not your fucking business!” he sat again thinking to himself.
“Hey Levi!” Hanji called his attention.
“It can’t be that….you like Eren, don’t you?” Hanji smiled.
“What bullshit are you spouting?” he spat at her maintaining his stone face.
Hanji laughed and exited his office in almost a run screaming something about “Levi is in love” shit. That fucking shitty-glasses!
He rested his head at the chair and he heard his phone sound for a mail. Levi assured that it will be some shit mail again as he saw the name Hanji Zoe.
© Copyright 2016 Chima Seele. All rights reserved.