Grayson Tanaka knew that he had no reason to be unhappy. In fact, just thinking for a moment that he was not happy with his life filled him with guilt. After all, he had everything that most people dreamed of. His wife, Tessa, was charismatic and gorgeous. His two daughters were healthy and smart and full of life. They enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle in the wealthiest part of town, with the latest model in servants and any comfort money could buy.
Who could be unhappy with that?
But occasionally, he drove to work, hoping to find real live people to connect with instead of blinking lights and glowing screens. More often than not, he found the building nearly deserted.
During those times, he liked to wander around the grounds until he found a quiet place to sit. Then he would pull out a sketchpad. It was an expensive luxury – paper notebooks had become rare, and most artists created their work digitally. But Grayson still loved the rough feel of real paper and the sharp, woody smell of drawing pencils. He drew picture after picture, then hid it away in his briefcase. Like so much of him, he had learned to hide his passion for art from the rest of the world. It simply did not fit with the life he was now expected to lead. Wife, daughters, and business – that was the way it had to be.
He had several work acquaintances, but no real friends. And so, he was taken by surprise when his servant announced that he had a visitor at the door who claimed to be a good friend. He was even more startled a few minutes later, when he found his childhood best friend, Adao Rocha-Morinho, at the door, along with Ivy Malik.
“I haven’t seen you guys since high school!” he said, amazed by their appearance, and more amazed by how the two of them had managed to remain looking so young. He invited them into his home and watched them look around with awe.
“Okay, I have to ask,” he said after a moment. “Who does your cosmo?”
“Our what?” asked Ivy, exchanging quizzical looks with Adao.
“You know – your cosmetic work? Your faces?” Grayson raised his eyebrows. Didn’t just about everyone get cosmo these days? “You two look like you’re barely twenty years old!”
“Um…” said Adao. “Look, Grayson. This is going to be hard to believe. But try to keep an open mind, okay?” Grayson listened as his old friend explained about the time machine, and how he and Ivy had accidentally gotten stuck in the future. A time machine! It was the most bizarre thing Grayson had ever heard. Which is probably why, after Adao had answered a zillion of his questions, he decided to believe them. Why not a time machine?
“Well then, time travelers,” he said, grinning. “You are both welcome to stay here while you fix your time machine. But on one condition,” he added, looking Adao up and down and wrinkling his nose.
“What?” asked Adao.
Grayson clapped him on the shoulder. “We have got to get you a 2040 makeover. ”