Vin, Ben, and Ethan were sitting at their favor table in Chronos. Vin and Ethan were sipping their typical cups of plain coffee while Ben drank his cream and snacked on his crêpes. Ethan asked, "Vin, how's the basketball team doing?" Ethan had gotten into the habit on checking up on the changes that he made, making sure they didn't cause any bad to happen.
Vin's reply was, "Rough. With Regional coming up, Coach is starting to run us ragged. If this keeps up, I'm going to be in great shape for my funeral." Ethan smiled to himself at that comment. He knew how much Vin loved basketball, despite how hard it was sometimes or any complaints he would make. That's why Ethan made the change in the first place.
"Hey, Olivia? Can you wrap these up for me, please?" Ben asked the waitress indicating his leftover crêpes. "Sure thing, and say hi to Shiloh for me," Olivia replied with her typical cheery smile. Ben gave a dream eyed sigh as she walked away. Ethan just shook his head and said nothing. No matter how many changes were made, Ben was always thinking about some sort of pretty girl.
When Ethan heard the jingling of the bell over the door, he looked up to see Morris walking in with a girl he didn't recognize. Apparently Vin and Ben had noticed the unusual development as well. Ben was especially shocked. "What the… Morris is with a girl. Morris is never with a girl. He doesn't date."
Spotting his friends at their usual table, Morris headed over to them with his female companion in tow. Judging by Ben's expression, his head was still spinning about what was going on. Morris unknowingly ended all of that by saying, "Hi guys, this is my cousin, Erika." And now Ben's world once again made sense. "Erika, this is Ethan, Vin, and Ben." While Morris was introducing each of his friends, Ethan noted how shy Erika was. It almost bordered on painful. She hadn't looked at anybody for longer than a few seconds and hadn't said a word thus far. As Morris was sitting down, he explained to his friends, "Erika and her parents are moving into town soon, and I had to show her around town today.
At that moment, Olivia came over with her usual sunny brightness. She had been at the next table taking an unusually long time to clean it off. Ethan guessed she had been eavesdropping curious about what Morris was doing with a girl. Curiosity now satisfied, she went back to doing her job. "Will it be the normal for you, Morris? All right, and what will you be having, sweetie?" Erika, a little flustered from her shyness and caught off guard that someone was speaking to her, stammered out, "Oh, um, I-I'll j-just have whatever Morris is having."
It only took a few moments for Olivia to bring out the hibiscus tea for Morris and Erika. By then, Morris had already whipped out his book and crammed his nose in it. Ben was trying to get a conversation going with Erika, apparently having forgotten that he was about to leave. Unfortunately for him, Erika's shyness was unintentionally getting in the way, and she would only give one or two word answers to his questions. As a result, he was largely left talking about himself and the town.
At this point, Ethan was starting to look more closely at Erika. She was fairly pretty despite her painful shyness. In addition to her pair of jeans, she was wearing a black jacket that was open in the front to reveal a red top. Erika's blond hair was about shoulder length, and her bangs came straight down in front to partially obscure her brown eyes. Despite her fairly normal dress and appearance, Erika seemed very pretty to Ethan. Maybe if he could get through her shyness…
"Hey! You! I mean, me! Oh, just look over here." At that point, everyone around Ethan froze and the color was drained from everything. Ethan looked around to see that everything had been affected. On the other side of the café, Olivia was in the middle of pouring coffee apparently oblivious to the fact that the coffee was frozen in the middle of the air. "What the-? Did I accidently set off the Hollow Pen?"
"Turn around, genius!" Smack! Something hit Ethan in the back of the head making him lurch forward so hard that he almost bashed his head into the table. Rubbing the impact point on his head, Ethan looked down to see that a large stone had been thrown at him. When he looked up, Ethan found that a Hole had been drawn some distance behind him. His jaw dropped slightly at seeing what was on the other side of the Hole. "Are you…me?" This person certainly looked like Ethan, but a great deal worse for wear. A scar ran from his forehead down across his left eye and ended on his cheek. Whatever caused the scar must have also damaged his eye judging from the eye patch. His hair was completely gray also. At least, what little hair he still had left. Behind him was a black and white version of Chronos, but it seemed the walls were cracked and torn down from what Ethan could tell, almost like nobody had been there to take care of it in several years.
"No, I'm Bruce Lee. Yes, I'm you! Dang, I forgot what an idiot I used to be. Listen, I know what you're thinking, and don't do it." Ethan simply continued to sit there and stare at this person. "Uh…" This guy obviously drew the Hole, and the resemblance to Ethan was unmistakable. The problem was he didn't act like Ethan; he was too short-tempered and snapped too quickly.
"Are you even listening? Don't. Date. Erika. Believe me, she is bad news. She may look and act all sweet and innocent, but you will come to regret it. Or we will. I will. Whatever, just don't do it." Ethan still wasn't sure. "How do I know you are really me?"
"For the love of - Are you still wondering if I'm telling you the truth? Fine, how about this? When Irving Onegin was posing as Jack Twombly, you had a burn scar on the back of your hand from a fire that was made at your secret hideout. That would be the same fire that killed Vin, Ben, and Morris." Ethan's eyes and mouth opened slightly in shock. That reality had been erased. With that version of Kori gone, the only person who would have remembered it happening would be Ethan himself. Deciding to believe this older person, at least for the moment, Ethan asked, "Um…Why exactly shouldn't I date Erika again?"
After a quick shudder, the older version of Ethan only said, "You really don't want me to answer that. Just believe me, don't date the girl. In fact, try to stay away from her. Very far away." Having been satisfied that his ultimatum was delivered, the old guy produced his own Hollow Pen, one which looked exactly like the Hollow Pen Ethan currently knew was in his jacket pocket, and tapped the Hole with it. As the Hole collapsed on itself, color and motion were simultaneously restored to Chronos. The silence that had been permeating the café was hurried out to be replaced by the clamor of conversations that typically filled the busy café.
Ethan turned around to face the table again sill a little confused by what just happened. Vin could tell something was something was bothering his best friend. "Hey, you okay, Ethan? You look like you've just seen a ghost." Ethan took another glance over at Erika who was just down at her tea and occasionally sipping it while Ben was talking to her about Shiloh. Then he turned towards Vin to answer, "More like seeing my own ghost, but don't worry about it. How'd your test go earlier today?"