Barry was lost AF. It was official, even with the help of a GPS both in Iris's rental car and now on his phone as he was walking up the street, that this new place she had mentioned in passing on the other side of Opal City either ceased to exist in the last 48 hours (unlikely) or Iris was pranking him (very likely).
The only reason he was even here was because Iris had found a little spa place while out with friends from their university and quote on quote "received the best massage she'd ever had in her life from literally the hottest guy, Barry you'd die, oh my god" and subsequently forgotten one of the many folders she carried around with her upon leaving.
Usually, this wouldn't be a big deal as both him and Iris lost homework all the time in their respective dorms, but this folder contained a particular assignment that Iris had to redo thanks to her chasing a big story on campus instead and it was due in tonight, so time was really of the essence for Barry, who had been asked (more like forced) to go and retrieve it.
Eventually, after wandering around aimlessly like he was stuck in a really deep metropolis forest, he came across a shop in black, standing out from all the other shops in the entirety of the street. Looking up and squinting at the sign, upon it in looped, elegant gold lettering, it read: Rogue's Beauty Bar and Massage Parlour.
Ah, so this was the place.
Iris seriously owes him for this trip.
He should be in his dorm
studying for his Chem final.
Sighing, Barry moved his way to the door and pushed it open, revealing an interior of dark gold and black like the shop's sign, with a few deep blue accents around the premises. In the far side of the wall, just up a set of four lavish-looking black marble stairs, was a desk in relatively the same finish, the only difference being that the top of it was a dark, stained wood that seemed glossy to his own eyes, but could just be the lighting.
Strolling up casually to it, Barry reached out a tentative hand and pressed down on the golden bell that had 'Ring for Service' sticky notes to it in crude chicken scratch writing. Afterwards, there were a few moments of silence before there were heavy footsteps from above him, indicating someone was coming from upstairs.
However, once the curtain in front of the stairs was life's, Barry suddenly forgot how to breathe.
The man that had emerged was seriously not supposed to be human in any stretch of the imagination. He couldn't be. No one could logically be that good looking and honestly still be part of the human race.
He was wearing a blue kimono-like style outfit that glided with his person as he moved behind the desk, chucking as Barry still just stood there, dumbstruck. "May I help you, sir?"
"Ah...yes. Yes, you can- help me, uh…"
Barry struggled for words at first, but eventually managed to spit out "My sister left her homework here this morning and I wondered if anyone picked it up at all." all while nervously not able to look the man in the eye.
"Well, I'm not sure, but I remember Mick picked up a folder from one of my tables and gave it to me at lunch. Said one of my clients must have dropped it while having a treatment."
The man shrugged, but he rifles under the desk for about 2 minutes before producing a yellow folder, covered in a white pattern of books.
"Normally, stuff usually ends up in Lost & Found, but I figured that someone would come back for it eventually if it was important."
"Yes, yes, that would be exactly it, thank you." Not meaning to sound desperate (but he totally did), Barry quickly snatched the folder from his grasp, checking the contents with a sigh of relief, finding nothing else had gone missing from the pile before turning back to the man, red-cheeked and embarrassed. "Sorry, I know that was really rude of me, but I just really needed everything to be there or otherwise, my hide would be next on her agenda."
"It's okay, I understand." The man gave him a wry smile back. "My sister who I co-own this place with, she can be like that. She does tattooing here, there are times I've had to dodge a needle or four, but Lisa's just got a temper you know? Not surprising. Name's Leonard Cold by the way, but most here call me 'Captain'."
"Barry Allen." He nodded back, eyebrows raised. "Most likely just call my Barry obviously."
Usually, he was never really curious about nicknames, given he was a Forensic Science major and many criminals went by nicknames these days, but "Captain" as a whole didn't really seem to suit Leonard in his opinion, but he kept it to himself for once as usual, his opinions got him in big trouble more often than not.
Especially with his lecturers and his foster father.
"Barry Allen? Huh." Leonard nodded to himself, looking like he was thinking. "You don't really look like a Barry, you know?"
"Well, you don't really look like a captain, no offense Leonard." Shit. There he goes again.
Leonard suddenly burst out into chuckles, shaking his head and smirking. "Touche, Barry Allen, touche." Barry would have said something back if he hadn't felt a little too aware of the space around him as he watched Leonard's eyes suddenly roam his body before stopping and bringing themselves back up, speaking again. "You look like you're about to tear out of your skin, Mr. Allen, no offense."
"Exam season." Barry shrugged. "Living off of coffee, ramen and printer credit."
"Ah, that would explain it. University's a hard one, I seriously don't miss it." Shaking his head, Leonard looked back up at him with a curious look. "Well, since you came all this way and clearly, you need to relax a little, how about I treat you to the same session I gave your sister on the house? You look like you definitely need it."
Barry swallowed. A free massage? Well, while Leonard was right, he could use it, but he didn't feel right taking free offers from people he just met. They came with conditions and stipulations and junk that people forgot or didn't care about.
Being that he was that way inclined, he couldn't help but ask. "Are you sure about that? I mean, I have money on me at the moment, but not enough to afford something like that and I don't want you not to get money for your services. That's business, right?"
Leonard shook his head. "Sure, it's business, a lot of business really, but I have enough money at the moment, personal disclosure, that I'm okay with offering it out there, cause the way you're looking, you'll never get any work done."
Sighing, Barry, despite feeling guilty for not paying the man, nodding, swiveling his neck as he spoke again given his coffee boost at lunch was starting to wear off. "Alright, yeah, sure."
"Great!" Leonard clapped his hands. "Please follow me up the stairs and Shawna, one of my employees, can meet us and begin the first part of the treatment before you get to me."
TO BE CONTINUED...