“Three bookings already?” Stoik asked in amazement as he looked over the log book.
Carstella nodded sheepishly before saying something else to the board.
“And each of them had said they wouldn’t mind giving feed back for us to work with.”
“It’s a start, definitely.” Spitelout admitted.
“We have to start somewhere.” Carstella told him.
“Carstella,” Stoik started, “I would like to put you in charge, for now, of tourism.”
“I accept gratefully.” She replied meekly.
Stoik nodded, “We’ll add an extension to the town hall for that work.” He told her, “I just hope this will go as well as we hope.”
The door to the second floor slowly shut trying not to disturb the other occupant living there.
“You’re home exceedingly late.” Tuff commented as Carstella jumped hearing his voice, “What held you up?”
“Stoik made me minister of tourism.” She said softly as she put her bag down and slipped off her shoes, “I was at Miss Gothi’s cleaning up rooms with her, and making it presentable. Then I was drawing up plans for furnishings of luxury lodges.”
“It took you all night to do that?” He asked as he pulled something out of the oven.
Carstella shrugged, “We got three bookings already,” She told him as she brought her things into her office on the other end of the floor, “We are seriously considering building a hotel now.”
“I told you it would be good for you to put some energy into something good like this!” He called to her as he dished out a breakfast quiche.
“It is.” Carstella replied and entered the dinning room where Tuff just set down a large helping of steaming food for the girl who hadn’t eaten all night.
“Thank you.” The dark haired girl said as sat down in front of the plate.
“Eat up, you need your strength.” Tuff encouraged as he approached the table with his own plate.
The two tucked into their food in comfortable silence. When they were finished, Carstella cleared the table and started on the dishes.
“I have a couple of teenagers coming in this morning for interviews.” Tuff said as he leaned against the door frame.
Carstella nodded, “I’ll be down to man the cashier after I’m done.”
Tuff shook his head, “You should be getting some sleep.” He told her sternly.
It was Carstella’s turn to shake her head, “I can go a while without sleep and still be fine.” She assured, “Besides, I need to get ahead on my work for the government.”
Tuff just stared at her as she finished up the dishes, he let out a defeated sigh.
“If you’re sure.” He started.
“I am,” Carstella told the blonde with a reassuring smile, “But I appreciate your concern about me.”
Tuff stared at her for a moment before he took a few steps to close the gap between the two of them. His left hand wrapped around the shorter girl, resting his hand on the right side of her head, and pulling her closer to him. He pressed his lips against the other side of her head repeatedly as he gave her many loving kisses before he turned his head to rest his cheek against the place he had just kissed and wrapped his other arm around the girl.
“Tuff?” Carstella asked curiously unsure of how to react, she hadn’t seen him act like this before.
“Don’t push yourself, Stell.” He told her as he rocked them slowly back and forth, “You don’t have to be a superhuman anymore.”
Carstella reached up and grabbed his left arm since she couldn’t turn in his grasp at the moment and leaned more against him.
“I never was before.” She had told him quietly, “But the government needs the information from me to intercept other international criminals, distinguish between gangs, and now with tourism I need to be on the ball and doing everything I can to help you guys out. After all, you helped me when I was in need.”
“Stell.” Tuff started.
“Three hours of meditation a week and I’m always fine.” She assured.
“Really?” Tuff asked in disbelief.
“While going through therapy, I couldn’t sleep” Carstella started, “So, I meditated to keep my strength up, and it worked.”
Tuff and Carstella embraced each other for a while longer before Tuff reluctantly let the dark haired girl go. He turned to head down stairs to open up the shop, but not before placing a soft kiss on her lips.
Carstella watched the blonde go down stairs sadly. She knew he wanted her to be okay and that he cared for her more than anything in the world. She sighed sadly and turned to dry and put away the dishes.
“I think that’s everything.” Carstella told the employee she had just hired.
“I can take of it.” Freya told her with a smile, “You get to the town hall.”
Carstella nodded picking up her shoulder bag from the counter, “Tuff is downstairs if you need anything.”
Freya nodded and waved as Carstella left.
The red eyed girl sighed as she closed the door and hurried across town.
Thorston boutique had two new part timers, Freya and Bjorn. They both worked on the weekends together, they had two for sure days on during the week after school and alternated on Wednesdays. They were good kids in the middle of their highschool careers. They did good, hard, honest work. And Carstella felt right with leaving one of them in charge of the store when she had other work to attend to.
The brunette was just exhausted. On top of trying to organize, plan and update the tourism she was trying to push, she was researching heavily the tourism industry to gain a better edge. And the F.B.I had just sent her an even larger work load than she had before which she needed to keep up with. There were days when Carstella wouldn’t even make it to bed because of how busy she was, and it was beginning to take its toll.
“Hi, Ruff.” Carstella greeted with a tired smile as she entered the building.
“You look exhausted.” Ruff commented, “When was the last time you slept?”
“Couple days ago.” The brunette replied, “Where’s Stoik?”
“His office.” She said slowly not fully understanding what had been said to her.
“Thank you.” Carstella said and hurried to his office.
The dark brunette pushed open the door and entered to see the red haired man reading over papers. He looked up, his green eyes meeting her red ones. Before he had a chance to say anything Carstella dropped a very large file folder on his desk and said;
“These is everything I have gathered so far, for the program. You requested copies when I was done.”
Stoik said nothing for a moment as he looked at the girl, “You look exhausted.”
Carstella shrugged, ignoring the question, “I hope everything is up to the standards of Berk.”
“I’m sure it will be.” Stoik said leaning back in his chair and looking at the brunette in front of him, “Have you been sleeping well?”
“As well as I can.” She told him, “I believe we should also market a special travel pack during Thawfest time, Christmas, and when the Arvandil’s Fire occurs. But I wanted to speak with you about it first.”
“I think these are fine ideas.” Stoik told her, “I will present them to the committee later today, for now you should go home and get yourself some sleep.”
Carstella said nothing as she nodded and turned to leave the office. However, she did not go directly home. They needed groceries, and she needed to double check with the farmers about the hay rides, and several other people about guided tours, boat rentals, fishing expeditions, etc.
By the time Carstella got home it was almost 8 pm.
“I thought it would be a quick thing.” Tuff said as she entered, bags in her hands.
“Quick with Stoik.” She said toeing off her shoes and walking into the kitchen to put away the groceries, “Had other things to do.”
“Like what?” Tuff asked as he started putting food away.
“Double checking on things mostly.” She admitted as she put groceries away too.
“You look exhausted.” Tuff told the brunette.
The red eyed girl shrugged but didn’t say anything as she finished putting everything away.
Tuff eyed her suspiciously.
“You know there’s a difference between good and bad stress, right?” He asked her.
“I have good amount of stress right now.” Carstella smiled at him, “Some things are just taking a little longer than I hoped they would have.”
Tuff scratched the back of his head, not really believing her but not wanting to call her out on her bluff either.
“If you say so.” He shrugged.