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Quatre Raberba Winner failed to wake up on time this particular morning, a misfortune that could possibly be attributed to his staying up until three in the morning, going over some documents he had to have ready for a meeting that day. Or perhaps it was because he just couldn’t sleep well enough, spending the night tossing and turning and uncomfortably hot. But the most likely reason he didn’t wake up on time was because he forgot to set his alarm clock.
Story Notes: Originally published in 2001. Edited circa 2005.
The blond-haired young man rolled over sluggishly and gazed at the clock. It took a few moments for the digits to register in his foggy mind, after which he bolted upright with an oath of, “Oh, shit!”
Quite the foul mouth to match the foul news; it was eight o’clock, and his meeting was at eight thirty. Quatre jumped from the covers, and, in his haste, tripped on the blankets and fell to the floor. He received a lovely set of carpet burns on his palms for his troubles.
He rushed through his morning routine, starting by jumping into the shower. He was brought screaming to complete and fully-awakened clarity when ice cold water poured down on him, making him scream. He then turned the faucet all the way over to hot to compensate for his close brush with hypothermia, and the water came out scalding, piping, hell-hot, inducing yet another horrific scream. To make matters worse, he got shampoo in his eyes and cursed, this time more foully.
He ran about the kitchen in his bathrobe, brewing some instant coffee (he definitely needed something stronger than his usual tea this morning) and suddenly realized that he had failed to put his clothes in the dryer last night. With a groan of despair, he hurriedly took his clothes out of the washer and tossed them in the dryer. Perhaps by the time he was ready to go they would be dried.
As much as he hated to admit it, he could have really used a maid or two this morning. As it was, he was currently rooming in an apartment specially made for people who were on long business trips but didn’t want to rent a hotel. Ergo, Quatre was forced to fend for himself without the help of his servants. He could manage fine on his own, but there were times when he really missed his butler . . . and this was one of them.
He looked at his clock. He had fifteen minutes to get to work. He could make it in ten if he drove over every car during rush hour. What he would give for a monster truck with four Goodyear seventy-fives on days like this. He couldn’t wait any longer for his clothes, so he pulled them out of the dryer and put them on. They were still damp and wrinkled. Quatre hated wrinkled clothes. He hated damp, wrinkled clothes even more. As he tied his shoes, the shoelace suddenly snapped. Both of them.
“Fine then!” he said to them. “Just stay untied!”
He grabbed his coffee, his materials for work, and left his apartment, walking out to the rental car in the pouring rain. His umbrella turned inside out and he got soaked. He tossed it away angrily and stepped into an ankle-deep puddle, drenching his socks.
Quatre hated drenched socks.
He opened the car door strapped himself in, balancing his coffee precariously between his legs. He started the car and pulled out of the apartment parking lot. How unfortunate it was that he forgot about the big bump at the main drive, and scalding coffee was spilled all over his unmentionables. He screamed for the third time that morning in a tone that would blanch even rice, and slammed on the brakes.
It was also unfortunate that he didn’t have aqua tread tires.
He slid across the road, skidded through a red light and ran over some anti-tyre puncture spikes located in front of a store. As the car came to a stop, Quatre felt his two front tyres give out and he doubled over in his seat, resting his head upon the steering wheel.
“I am Quatre Raberba Winner,” he reminded himself soothingly. “Multi-millionaire teenage businessman who manages his own stocks and pilots the Gundam Sandrock and carries out intense and physically demanding missions without a quip, who yet still cannot defeat the power of the average Monday.”
There was a tap at his car window. Quatre looked up to see an officer, wearing aviator sunglasses—in the rain—standing by. So he rolled down the window and said meekly, “Yes, officer?”
“License and registration, please.”
Quatre received a ticket. It literally broke his heart to know that he had stepped over the line of common law, and that his personal driving record was now blemished and would surely affect his future insurance quotes. It also was breaking his skull. He suddenly had a terrible migraine.
Since his car was unable to move he had to call a tow truck to come and take care of it and then a taxi to take him to work. He glanced at his watch miserably. He was already forty minutes late for work. By the time the tow truck arrived and the cab picked him up, he was an hour and a half late.
When he finally arrived at the office, his personal secretary had an unbelievable stack of files and paperwork for him to take home. She handed it to him and he got a paper cut. His superiors were disgruntled by his late appearance, his appearance in general, and his general less-than-friendly attitude that morning.
All of Quatre’s plans fell through by lunch break.
Since he was so incredibly overwhelmed with absolutely no time to spare, he had three aspirin and a glass of water for lunch. By two in the afternoon, his sensitive stomach was churning and he had to go shout at Rolf and Huey on the porcelain telephone in the men’s room. His clothes were still damp and his hair looked like a platinum-blond bird’s nest. It would have driven him crazy if he didn’t feel so utterly shitty right then.
And just when he thought the day couldn’t get any worse, by the grace of Murphy’s Law, it did. I shall now summarize the rest of Quatre’s Bad Day:
His secretary quit since she felt the job put too much pressure on her; during his coffee break he burned his tongue so bad he heard his taste buds die; his pencil kept breaking again and again when he tried to write with it, so he threw it down only to have it bounce back up and stab him-eraser first-in the eye; he went to sit down at his desk chair but forgot that the janitor was borrowing it to reach a light bulb, but by then it was too late and Quatre went ass down onto the berber carpet like an anvil, probably causing extensive damage to his coccyx; he got a call from his landlord saying he forgot to send in his rent for the third time and that if it happened again he would boot Quatre tail-first out into the streets; his computer crashed and he lost all the data he spent months working on; and finally, his clothes still didn’t dry.
Quatre stayed at the office later than usual before announcing that he would be taking the rest of the week off, and he trudged the three miles home to his apartment in the pouring rain. He figured if a day were meant to be this bad, he might as well make the best of it. A car swerved into the gutter and Quatre was hit with a tsunami of garbage water. He simply stopped walking long enough to pick the soggy newspaper from his hair and continued on.
When people have days like these, it takes someone calloused, uncaring and inhuman not to cry. Quatre was none of these. So he cried.
He finally made it to his front door and inserted the key card only to discover his door unlocked. He sighed, knowing he had probably been robbed or vandalized or that a psycho might be waiting for him inside, but Quatre didn’t really give a good goddamn anymore. He noticed the lights on in the kitchen; he closed the front door behind him and padded slowly across the carpet. Sounds of pots and pans clanking together aroused his curiosity, and he walked in only to see a tall young man with dark hair standing over the stove.
“Trowa . . . ?” Quatre asked, eyes wide with disbelief.
Trowa Barton turned slowly in surprise but smiled warmly upon seeing his friend. “Oh, hey, Quat,” he murmured in his signature-smooth tone. It was the best thing Quatre had heard all day, better than his own screams at any rate.
“Trowa, what are you doing here? How did you get in?”
“I heard you were staying on this colony, and I thought that since I had some free time on my hands I could stop by and say hello, see if you needed anything. We’re between gigs right now and Catherine insisted that I get out. Oh, and you forgot to lock your door. It was a good thing I got here early this morning. I cleaned up the house a bit—I hope you don’t mind. It was a rather messy and I know you’re here by yourself. Ah, and I ran your clothes through the dryer; did you forget to start it or something? They were sopping wet. Then I went and picked up a few things from the store, thought I might do that since there wasn’t much in the fridge. I thought I’d cook something since you’re probably as tired of instant meals as I am. I hope you like spaghetti because that’s what I’m making . . . Wow, you look miserable, Quatre. Go change out of those wet clothes and I’ll draw a bath for y—”
He trailed off as he watched Quatre’s eyes slowly dam up with tears; Trowa immediately threw current situations to the winds and was at his friend’s side in half a second. He took Quatre’s round face in his hands and wiped the tears from his blue eyes in a gesture of solace and comfort. “Oh, Quat . . . I’m so sorry. I completely forgot to unload the dishwasher—”
“TROWA!” Quatre screamed for the umpteenth time that day, where then Trowa let go and stepped back, eyes wide.
Quatre broke down and buried his face in his hands. “You’re so good to me, Trowa,” he wept, though not out of sadness. Behind his hands a relieved smile was growing. “You d-don’t know how much it means to me—”
Quatre bent forward and latched his arms about Trowa’s waist, crying gently onto his chest, releasing his pent-up stress in one fell swoop. Trowa sighed and smiled, putting a hand on Quatre’s soaking, dripping hair.
“Quatre . . .” he whispered fondly. “Your clothes are soaking through mine. Perhaps I’ll draw that bath for two instead of one?”
Quatre looked up at him with a smile on his face and laughed, and he hugged Trowa all the harder and thought: perhaps bad days weren’t so bad after all if they had a happy ending.