Crystal blinked once, then snorted, then smirked. “Time doesn’t seem like the kind of thing you can steal. It’s not like you can cram it under a coat, look around with shifty eyes, and sneak out the door hoping no one notices.”
Louis grinned. “That’s the only way to steal time. You jam it in your pockets and you look around and if anyone sees you, you drop everything and run as fast as you can.”
Crystal shook her head. “You are fucking weird, old man.”
Louis’s grin disappeared at that comment. “I’m not an old man. I’m only, like, three years older than you.”
Crystal turned her back on him and was already walking away before she bothered to reply. She looked over her shoulder, her eyes thin and alight with amusement, and said, “It’s not the years, old man. It’s the mileage.” She stopped at the stockroom door and laughed once. “Try not to nod off on the job, grandpa.”
Louis opened his mouth to shout something back at her disappearing form, but nothing came. He shut it, frowned, and resolved to get some coffee from the break room and just muddle through the day until it was time for class.
* * *
Louis stepped out of the lecture hall and into the warm mid-afternoon sun. He blinked his eyes against the sudden brightness, standing paralyzed as the light and the heat drove all thoughts from his mind. The other students flowed around him, off to dinner, to other classes, to appointments of all kinds. He let the flow carry him some, walking slowly forward until he could no longer feel shoulders and backpacks nudging him, hear muttered apologies in his ear.