Cloud opened the cardboard box, emptying it of its contents. The tiny apartment he moved into that same day was very different from the place he called home in Nibelheim. Used to call home, he reminded himself. Ever since he was sixteen, he had wanted to leave his hometown for Midgar, hoping to find much better life opportunities there than what would normally be available to him if he stayed. He had dedicated himself to saving every single gil, putting the money towards his goal. His mother encouraged him. Well, she did until he was sure he was ready to leave the town.
She had used every excuse in her arsenal as to why she didn't think Cloud should leave, most of the reasons being that she would miss him terribly when he was gone. Cloud had had to remind her that it was his dream, that he had worked hard to earn the gil he would need. She gave in – not before making Cloud promise to write to her at least every once in a while – and wished him the best of luck.
Now, Cloud couldn't be more proud of himself. He was able to afford the cheapest place to live in on the Plate, something he was grateful for. The living conditions in the Slums were beyond terrible, and, though it was much, much cheaper to live down there, Cloud still chose a small one-bedroom apartment over anything else. His choice, however, put him in quite a predicament: he didn't have enough to pay the rent next month.
Cloud sighed, running a hand through his hair as he thought of a quick plan to help him out of his problem. He'd definitely need to go job hunting as soon as possible – maybe even now. He finished unpacking most of the few possessions he had brought and left the rest of the boxes for later.
Cloud wandered through the noisy streets, trying his best to avoid the other pedestrians going about their way. The city had a grid-like structure to it: every building seemed to be in a certain order. Colorful advertisements flashed their products every which way. Cloud couldn't keep his eyes off of anything. At first, the dull, metallic-colored urban paradise repulsed Cloud; he was so used to seeing the the blue sky, the green grass, the multicolored flowers... Now, however, the city seemed much less ugly to him, despite its lack of nature and monotonous appearance.
Cloud looked back and forth between his map and his surroundings. He had circled the area where his apartment was on the map with a red marker. The map itself was very helpful, listing different places of interest and some major department stores. Keeping his attention on the Sector 8 section of the map, Cloud searched for places that he thought might be willing to hire. He started with a retail store, moving on to the closest building after asking for a job application.
Requesting application after application, Cloud assumed that the pay would be minimum wage. He'd definitely need to work two jobs, maybe even three, to keep up with the rent and other necessities if that was the case. Cloud really wished that he had thought things through better. The floating city of Midgar was louder, more crowded, and more expensive than he had previously thought. He was slowly adapting to the change with difficulty, and the problems piling onto him weren't helping much. About to call it a day, he set off in the general direction of his new home, stopping in his tracks when a flyer caught his attention.
PERSONAL ASSISTANT NEEDED
Hours: 7:30 A.M to 6:30 P.M.
Payment delivered weekly
The bottom of the flyer was cut, allowing for anyone to rip off a piece of paper with a phone number and request to call for more information. Cloud, not wanting to miss any chances, ripped off a paper before going home. He climbed up the stairs of the small complex, unlocking the door to his apartment and closing it behind him, locking the door again.
Cloud pulled out his cellphone, which had only basic call and text service, and dialed the number.
"Hello?" he said nervously when the line connected and a woman answered. "I- My name is Cloud Strife, and I'm calling to ask about your flyer. The- the one with the personal assistant?" Cloud wanted to slap himself. He stuttered way too much for his liking and sounded like a huge wimp, in his opinion.
"Hello, Mr. Strife," the woman greeted formally. "What would you like for me to inform you about?"
Cloud's anxiety rose. He wasn't used to formalities. "Um... What exactly would I have to do if I were to- to..." He stumbled over the rest and mentally berated himself for his clumsiness.
The woman didn't acknowledge Cloud's muck ups. Instead, she politely explained, "Our superior is often away on important business and has requested for an aide to assist him mainly with office work and with a few personal situations. A good, capable assistant is both preferred and required."
"What is required of the assistant besides capability?" Cloud asked, his confidence rising.
"Punctuality is the most important and a very strong requirement. It is vital that you are present every single day by seven-thirty in the morning and that you do not leave until six-thirty in the afternoon unless instructed to do so differently. There is one question I must ask before we consider scheduling an interview."
"What is the question?"
"Are you, in any way, affiliated or involved with the Silver Elite?"
"No ma'am. I've never heard of them," Cloud answered honestly. What the heck was the Silver Elite?
"Very well, Mr. Strife. Would you like to schedule an interview?"
"What date and time would be best?"
Idea conceived: 2013年3月31日 （日）
Started: 2013年4月2日 （火）
Finished: That same day
Well, a tiny little idea popped into my head and just wouldn't go away. The idea for my other fic, Doll, wouldn't leave either, and that one got written, so it wouldn't hurt to write this one down, too. Well, at least I think so. I'm seriously cringing over the phone call part, though. Grr...