1:17pm; Thompson and Clark Photography.
Ryoko's face had been blank for some time. She had been scrolling through the page, refreshing every few seconds like she was waiting for something. What that something was, she couldn't have told you, but she'd have known as soon as she saw it. Her list of emails hadn't changed over the past hour or two and she wasn't about to get anything new. Her next shoot wasn't scheduled until roughly three days from now and that wasn't about to change.
"Hey, you alright?" a coworker asked, "You've been looking like a statue for some time now."
"Yeah. I'm actually doing great, apparently. My portfolio's fully updated and I've already planned the composition for my next six shoots. All caught up until Thursday, apparently," she let her left arm rest on her desk, and her head rest on that thumb. And, slowly, she began to massage her forehead with the adjacent index finger and thumb, "I guess I'll just... check in with Mr. Thompson and head out for the day"
"...you don't sound very happy about that?"
"What do you mean?" Ryoko forced out a laugh, "Why wouldn't I be happy about that?"
She turned her attention back to her computer, shut everything down, then made her way to the elevator that led up to Mr. Thompson's office. Everyone who passed her though the halls would be greeted with a smile and wave that would face as soon as she had left their sights. And, within a minute or two, there was a knock at his door.
"Hey, Julian! Can I come in?"
Ryoko eased the door open as she drifted in and slowly shut it tight behind her, "I was just wondering if you had any extra work around here that needed to get done."
"You want... extra work?" he replied hesitantly.
"Well, I mean... You know, I've got a little extra time."
"You've checked your email lately?"
"And you're all caught up with everything?"
"You've literally made arrangements with all of your clients, scheduled lighting and makeup crews, planned all their compositions, and have absolutely nothing to do right now?"
"Y-yeah..." she replied, "I'm actually kinda set until Thursday...
"Well, shit, I don't know what to tell you. Good job, I guess. I wouldn't mind giving you more work if I could, but you're not the only one trying to earn a decent paycheck here, so I just don't have anything else for you. Just... take a three-day vacation, then. You've earned it!"
Mr. Thompson broke out into a pretty heavy laugh after hearing all of that good news. After a second or two of fidgeting, Ryoko, reluctantly, followed in suit with her own awkward, reluctant laugh. Two or three minutes later, she was standing on the street just a block or two away; staring at clouds that reminded her of... nothing whatsoever, honestly.
She looked down at her AEGIS device.
"Well, I guess I could see what... mmm"
She scrolled through the list of contacts on her watch a few times, but found more reasons to leave them all alone than to actually call. She did linger over a few names, those being Garrick and Bran, but she had just seen both of them recently. Like... within the past two days. After wrestling with herself for a short while, her watch ended up back on its home screen and her sights dropped to the pavement below her feet.
The thought of heading back to her apartment crossed her mind, but there was nobody waiting for her there.
"W-well, there was that new confectionery right down the street. Guess I could..."
The earth trembled beneath Ryoko's feet. The sound was just around the corner. Without realizing it, herself, Ryoko's eyes had flared open with new life and a smile warmed her previously empty expression. In an astronomical burst of speed, she shot up into the sky and raced around the corner with bright orange flames trailing behind her.
She came to a stop mid-air like a firework; the whip of a sonic boom and wisps of residual fire radiating out from her angelic form. Her eyes surveyed the area for whoever had committed such a heinous act... but all she could find was a mild front end collision, two scraped up men standing near the dented cars, and a whole city block's worth of people staring at them. Correction.
A whole city block's worth of people who had been gawking at them but who were now entirely focused on her.
"Oh! Hey, dragon lady! It's cool, we just had a bit of an accident," one of the bruised men explained, "I'm giving him my insurance info right now, don't worry."
"A-ah. I see..." for a moment her smile sunk into a deep frown. But, only for a moment. She had to remind herself that that was a good thing before she remembered that she needed to be smiling at a time like this, "Good! That's good..."
So she slinked over to that confectionery and got herself a triple scoop of... who the fuck knows? What did he call it? Hunka-chunka-berry blast? Honestly, Ryoko just told the guy to give her three scoops of "something good" and that's what she had. It didn't taste particularly great, but she didn't feel like it was the ice cream's fault.
All that she had managed to do was find an excuse to have to sit still on a bench and eat so as to not waste her money. And she came to find that, in the middle of a busy place like Cincinnati, having an acute level of hearing like hers made it hard to keep out the noise that you just didn't want to hear about. Street dancers going wild just a little ways down the block. A herd of businessman laughing together and rambling on about nothing. Two lovers going to town in an alleyway with no shame, whatsoever. A mother trying to teach her two children why it "got hot in the summer". A group of teens who-
She shook her head, hoping that it would quiet the city down. It didn't. And, somehow, that ice cream cone managed to leave a real bitter taste in her mouth. Into the trash it went, and into the sky she went. Past the clouds and the ozone shield that protected the life on this planet from the cosmic radiation that washed over it every moment of every day. And she found a nice, small crater on the moon.
And she took a seat in it.
Let it consume her. Let the silence embrace her. Up here, there were no distractions, no petty trifles, no stories. No desire. The dragon felt not an ounce of fatigue, yet her eyes fell shut for a long while. The closest thing to the relief of sleep that one such as her could embrace.
Maybe tomorrow she'd find another reason to wake up.