Erik felt his hand tremble as he held onto his cup of coffee. He was too shocked to reply as well.
Åsa gave a devilish smile and pointed at the cup of coffee that shook in Erik's hand.
"Don't make a mess, man! Q would kill me if he had to clean up a pile of coffee spillage."
Erik looked at his hand and immediately stopped the involuntary movement it was making. Placing the cup back on the table he leaned forward and whispered as quiet as he could.
"You...have the other half?"
Åsa nodded in delight and drifted her view from him to the old couple sitting nearby. Erik followed her view and noticed that the couple were still gossiping; this scene for some reason reminded him of the teenagers from earlier. Was it perhaps that immaturity truly reached no boundary in life? To be fair, Erik didn't care much the more he thought about it.
"Åsa, do you think you could explain to me why you have something like that?" Krie asked softly as he looked back at her. It was then that he remembered the way she acted as they prepared to leave her shop. When the girl spotted his piece of the record, she reacted in a peculiar way. This strange girl definitely knew what the record was, yet, Erik felt safe with her. In a way, she felt more like an old friend than anything else.
"Of course I can explain, Erik." Åsa replied before digging through the bag that she brought. She kept her eyes on the old couple while she rummaged through her stuff. "Kill me before I get that old and foolish."
Stopping her search, Åsa began to slowly pull out what had appeared to be the second half of the record. When the black vinyl hit his field of view, Erik instantly reached out to grab it. Åsa though, was fast enough to pull it further away from him.
"Whoa there, hot shot! I didn't say that you could mess around with it!" Åsa shouted loud enough for everyone to see. Krie didn't want to gather unwanted attention so he decided to follow her words.
"So you were telling the truth then."
"What? Of course I was telling the truth, you perverted thirty-eight year old..."
Erik and Åsa turned their heads as Quentin shouted the last one from the counter. They all looked like strange maniacs, but at least the anger died down between them. Strangely enough, the scene caused a smile to form on Krie's face.
"Åsa, I'm going to be straight with you. I came into your shop because a recent customer of mine has hired me to find someone. I don't really know the whole story of what exactly happened with this person, but the first clue they gave me was to come to your shop and find out more about this broken record." Krie said while pulling out his piece of the record. Placing it carefully on the table, he hoped that the young girl would try to understand and reason with him. So far she seemed to be difficult to work with.
Åsa stared at the piece and scratched her chin almost in the way a man would if his beard tickled him. Åsa Norland was indeed a strange being.
"What kind of work do you do, Mr. Erik?"
Krie sighed at her distraction and decided to follow along.
"I'm sort of a free lancer, really. I've learned some skills in my lifetime and I guess I decided that it was best to just help out others with whatever they needed. I don't really do illegal things though, and I try to avoid conflict and danger. Just think of simple things."
"Simple things? That's quite vague, Erik."
Krie thought about it and laughed for a moment.
"Well, I guess my job is the purest form of 'vague' then."
Åsa took another sip of her coffee and cleared her throat. Her attitude seemed to calm down, but she still strayed from what Erik needed to know.
"Please don't think that I'm escaping your questions, Erik," she said as if reading his mind. "I'll be happy to tell you more about the record, but I just wanted to know more about you. You seem to be an alright dude, but I can't just trust you a half hour after meeting you, ya know?"
Erik nodded in agreement and took a sip of his own cup.
"I understand what you mean, Mi-" Erik quickly remembered the girl threatening him after he called her Miss, so he coughed to cover his mistake. "I can see how you wouldn't trust me, Åsa. If it helps, I feel the complete opposite. After coming to your shop and hearing that song being played, I felt this odd sense that I was...right at home? I can't really explain it."
Åsa tilted her head to the side and gave out a huge heavy sigh.
"You seem harmless enough, Mr. Erik. I'm also positive that a rough woman like myself isn't your taste anyways. Am I correct in saying that the girls in the record shop are?" Åsa teased while opening another packet of horse radish sauce.
"Oh, shut the hell up..." Erik replied as his eyes rolled. "You know those girls were way too young for me and that they bugged the piss outta me."
"Tell me about it!"
The two of them sat in laughter and continued to enjoy their meal. Krie noticed that Åsa was hesitant on revealing her side of the story, but he quickly became patient in knowing it. There was no point in rushing the girl or the job anyways. When she felt comfortable enough, then she would tell; that's what Krie kept telling himself. For now, Åsa decided to tell more about herself.
"The shop isn't exactly mine. The shop is originally my father's, but he's away on some business trip. Probably for something back in Norway."
"I was going to say that your name was a little different to me. Is your family originally from there?" Krie asked.
"Yes, but my brother and I were born here. Our parents met in Bergen before coming here. It's a long story, but Bergen is the reason my father became so attached to music. Well, older music."
"Bergen is the hometown for two famous composers; Edvard Grieg and Ole Bull. At the time when my father was young, he sacrificed his future to go on some wild pilgrimage from Trondheim to Bergen. He was so infatuated with the music of these two composers that he wanted to visit the places they played and lived. He left his home, his family, and his friends just to do this selfish journey to a place where a couple of geezer composers played. He never really explained to us why he did it, but I don't think he ever regrets it. If he didn't leave, then he wouldn't have met my mother."
Krie kept up with the story and fueled her will to tell it.
"And your mother is from Bergen?"
"Yes, she was born there. My mother was born in a large family, so she ended up being ignored for most of her childhood. Her siblings would always get treated better than her, and her parents never got her name right for some reason. Can you imagine that? Your parents never getting your own name right?"
"Must have been awful, I'm sure." Krie stated while finishing up his slice of pie.
"My mother always made it sound like her family was a pack of devils, but I don't think she held any hate towards them. She probably thought they were just too busy to be distracted by childish things, you know? Maybe they didn't have any time for a bunch of kids to fool around and live their kid life. It's sad when you think about it."
"Then your father enters the picture, I'm assuming?"
"Exactly. My father, the foolish one who was supposed to go to college, suddenly decides to run to Bergen. He's got nothing with him except a bit of money and the shirt off his back. He did manage to make it to Bergen though, and he got more than he wanted."
Krie's interest seemed to peak.
"More than he wanted?"
Åsa grinned and swallowed another packet.
"Yeah, but I'll tell you more about that later on. I can't just ruin everything now, can I? That would just make me the girl without secrets!" She continued before making a tiny burp. Krie wasn't sure if he was offended by the small act or if it was the unfinished story. Either way, he hoped it was enough to for her to trust him.
"Later on? Do you plan on meeting me again after this?" Krie asked politely.
"Psh, hell yes, man! I think I've beaten around the bush enough to let you know what you wanted to know. You're here for the record, correct?"
Krie nodded and leaned back in his seat.
"Well, let's get to it then, Mr. Erik."
Åsa cracked her knuckles and began to explain what she knew; Erik listened closely and waited for her to finish.
"My piece of the record was sent to me not too long ago. If I remember correctly, it arrived in the mail about two weeks ago. My father left for Norway a few days before it arrived, so I wasn't able to ask him what it was. The package wasn't your regular type that you expect to see, but more of a...vintage style? I can't really explain it. It was wrapped nicely and the address was clearly ours. The sender's address wasn't on the package, and there weren't any familiar markings on it. I'll bet you that someone actually came to drop it off, and it was the person that made it. Anyways, the damn thing pops up in our shop and my father's away on business. He knows more than me when it comes to strange records, so I decided to wait for him when he returned. I guess I didn't really think much of the package since it appeared to be broken anyways. That's until you showed up."
Krie thought it over and believed the girl's story.
"So you must have been a little scared when I showed up with the other half and asking questions, right?"
Åsa nodded in agreement for a second before shaking her head.
"Well, not exactly. At first I thought you were the exact person who had sent this to us in the first place. I said in my head, 'This guy must have been drunk when he dropped this crap vinyl off...' but then you started asking questions about it and I realized that you might have been some jackass looking for something else. Perhaps some underground gangster guy who was planning on killing everyone that knew about this weird record piece..." Åsa finished while placing her piece of the record on the table. Seeing the ridges where the record split was split in half, Krie mentally confirmed that it was indeed the missing half.
"Fortunately, I'm not a gangster looking for witnesses. Like I said before, I'm a freelancer who's been hired by someone to find a missing person. The only thing they gave me to find a trail, is this broken record piece." Krie acknowledged as he inspected both of the pieces. Åsa watched Krie and bit her bottom lip.
"Well, I guess I'll help you out then, Mr. Erik." Åsa said through a smile.
Erik, surprised, looked up from the broken pieces and stared at Åsa.
"We've got some rules to lay out first though, Mr. Thirty-Eight..."