The viewing appointment I booked for my soon-to-be new shop seemed to move fairly quickly, even by mortal standards. I received a phone call the day after I emailed my request into their website from a very nervous-sounding woman. She stuttered along through the basics of the place: originally one entity, the previous owners made it a duplex for their own purposes. On the left side was a cafe-style space, with seating already provided, though the kitchen would need to be refitted. The wooden floors were whitewashed, while the walls are painted a muted blue and decorated with a wallpaper border, and large floor to ceiling windows letting in plenty of natural lighting. The right side was left empty for some time after it was separated into its duplex state. The floors were tiled and the walls painted a plain white, with similar windows as the left side. All the plumbing and lighting were tied together, and there were two entrances into the building – one in the front, and one in the back. It definitely needed my touch.

When I arrived, I was greeted by a small, red-headed woman, her face covered in freckles and wide green eyes that spoke volumes, standing beneath one of the white awnings hanging over an entrance and wearing a white dress with sunflowers all over it. She knew who I was, and it mesmerized her. I liked her already.

“Good to meet you, Lady Night. I’m Luna, it’s such an honour.” She shook my offered hand firmly, and I smiled at her – it was a bonus point that her name was ‘moon’.

“Well met, Luna. I look forward to seeing this space. Shall we get started?”

“Right this way, Lady Night.”

We went through what would be the cafe side first – not as bad as I thought it would be. The natural lighting was a saving grace for most of the space, and I could already visualize the gleaming pastry cases and the smell the waft of coffee beans. I’d keep the wall and floor colours, and add my own personal touches with plants and art. 

“What happened with the previous owners, Luna?” I asked, peering through the windows.

She cleared her throat. “They had something come up out of the country, and it wasn’t in their best interest to keep this place running. As I mentioned in my email, this was a cafe before, with the intention of using the second unit as a deli, but the timing wasn’t meant to be.”

I chuckled, returning to Luna’s side. “It has always amused me that mortals believe in such things as ‘wasn’t meant to be’. You’re a sweet one.”

Clearly at a loss at what to say to me, Luna just nodded and took me through the kitchen section, pointing out the small damages on the walls and floor, and advising what equipment was newer and what needed to be replaced. I had already made up my mind that I would be redoing the entire kitchen, but I let her go on – it was her job, and she held my attention. After peeking at the bathrooms, small and kitschy as they were, we went through the back doors to circle around to the second half of the duplex. It was, quite literally, an empty space. The only thing of note was the windows, and my mind raced with ideas on how to fill the space for the daycare. 

“Is there anything else I need to know about this place? Is there a separate office space for management, or is that a make-work project to fit in here?”

Luna wrung her hands and smiled slightly. “There’s a small office space upstairs that could be used as such, and a spot for a break room for employees, if you wish. Would you like to see it?”

She had already started towards the door, the keener. “No, that’s quite alright. I’ll see it when I get to it, an office is an office.” I stood by the window, watching the traffic roll by for a moment. “So, where do I sign?”

“O-Oh, uh, Lady Night, we have other showings today for potential buyers, we can’t… just…”

I gave her my most indulgent smile, and I watched the speech slide off her tongue. I crossed the floor smoothly, the sound of my heels on the tiled floor crisp in that empty space, and stopped before her, arms crossed. I leaned in close to her, and saw Luna freeze in fear and curiosity – that human emotion that always got the better of them, no matter what the situation.

“Luna, you are aware of who you are speaking to, no?”

The redhead nodded feverishly. “You’re the goddess Nyx, daughter of Chaos.” Her voice was a flutter now.

“That I am, dear heart. And I am here to purchase this property for my endeavors. You are welcome to join me as my manager, if you help me seal this deal. Take you out of real estate and give you a steady place, closer to home – and to worship myself, of course.”

“How do you -” Luna stopped herself, and just stared at me. I had missed the awestruck stares of mortals; this is more like it.

“I’d pay you handsomely, of course. No point in offering if you’re going to make less than your current position. And I can’t imagine anyone else being able to offer what I have readily available for you.” I was inches from Luna’s face now, and I could almost see her mind overclocking.

“Lady Night, I… alright, I’ll – I’ll do it. Let me get back to my office and take care of everything. I’ll send you the paperwork this evening, and we can get you settled in within the next few days. As your…um, your new manager, will you be needing assistance with sourcing interior designers and such?”

I took a step back, achieving what I had wanted from her. “That won’t be necessary, I enjoy designing. We will need contractors to rework both sides to my liking – I will have drawings sent to you for use. And furnishings, we will need someone with good taste and better prices. I will put a package together and send it to you to take care of. Any other questions?”

Luna looked at her feet for a moment. “Does this mean I need to, like, set up a shrine, or…”

I laughed and patted her on the shoulder, making her shudder. “Not at all. Heed my words, and you will do just fine. I have another matter to attend to – I leave this all in your capable hands.”

I made a quick decision to add the icing on the cake, and I pecked her cheek quickly, before taking my leave and walking back to the Admin Building. Another goal in the bag, and my list was still getting long. But I was, if anything, a patient goddess. Once established and settled, then I could begin.

Nyx (Ashley Gallaher-Pollard)
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