When things calm down, I’ll be back to writing posts, but for now, another teaser!
You can find previous chapters by following these links:
Remember, these are unedited, so be kind!
The card weighed heavy in my pocket the whole day, making time move at molasses’ pace. I probably should have gone home and waited for Josiah to get up, to ask him his thoughts on the whole thing, but I had other errands to run. As I pulled into the parking lot of a rundown strip mall, a smile grew on my face. I loved my shop, my own little personal haven in this weird world. Shame not everyone could see its awesomeness.
The shopping plaza was constructed in the early nineties when businesses were booming and everyone had the idea to open some amazing store and live by their own rules rather than under the thumb of a misunderstanding boss. Sadly, most ventures didn’t last more than a year. Only a few stragglers were left in the plaza; a liquor store, a Chinese place that made the best lo-mein and a head shop that I think kept the Chinese place in business as all the stoners went there when they had the munchies.
There were several empty stores with “For Lease” signs on the windows between my shop and the others in the strip. If anyone walked by mine, it was only because they knew it was there. Oddly enough, no one ever really questioned why I was always parked in the lot, but I suspected, by the heaping portions given to me, that the folks who run the Chinese place think I’m homeless. I ain’t complaining.
Whistling, I dug around in my purse for the shop keys. I stopped for what must have been the millionth time to wonder what people must think when they see me suddenly disappear as I stepped into a place they couldn’t see. I figured with the kind of people that frequent the plaza, they’re either drunk or high so they must shrug it off and forget about it a moment later. Anyone who did catch me must think I walked into a brick wall, much like Harry’s 9 3/4 platform.
Finally successful in unearthing my keys, I flipped through the ring to find the one I painted blue that opened the shop’s door. Of course they slipped between my “nimble” fingers and I ended up dropping them. I expected to hear the familiar jangling sound as they hit the pavement, but it never came. Instead I found them being dangled in front of my eyes, shaking slightly as if I were a cat and someone was taunting me to bat at them. I grabbed the bundle, annoyed that I let someone sneak up on me. I’m normally more on my guard. Then again, Samson seemed to have made it his mission in life to show me I’m not equipped enough to work with down unders.
“Don’t pout, Sweets. I’m just trying to teach you an important lesson.” His voice curled around me like smoke. I swatted the air, as if that would make him and the deep rich sound of his words disappear. Instead he laughed and plucked the keys from my hand, opening the door before I could even object.
“After you.” With a grand sweeping gesture, he ushered me in. I glared at him with all the venom I could muster, stomping on his tail as I passed. He hissed in surprise, the smile slipping from his handsome face. My own smile itched to make an appearance, but I knew that would probably make things worse, so I froze my expression into one of boredom and distain.
“What do you want Samson?” I asked, plunking my purse and bag down behind the counter. He didn’t answer immediately, instead taking it upon himself to flip the lights on, making sure the door closed fully behind him. His actions surprised me. The door had a habit of getting caught in the wind and flinging open. I’ve had to get Siobhan to fix the glass several times already.
“Do I need a reason to visit, Ellie?” he finally asked, his hands rubbing at the sore spot I created on his tail.
Samson rolled his yellow eyes and leaned against one of the bar stools I had set up in front of the counter. “Must we always argue?”
“You’re the one who started it!”
Where was he going with this? When I was younger Samson was a friend, often keeping me company while Josiah was “working.” When I decided I wanted to go out into the real world, he turned sarcastic and bitter, disagreeing with my every desire, putting me down, as if my choice was a slight against him and his way of living.
His silence spread throughout the small shop, making me regret my childish outburst. While it was true, he did start it, bringing it up made me sound like a sullen kid. I decided to let it go and be the bigger man, so to speak.
“Seriously Samson, did you need something?” I looked over the counter, my gaze catching his glowing yellow one. Again there was something there in his eyes, hinting to me that he was holding back. I opened my mouth to question again–I was growing concerned–but he broke the connection, looking away and shrugging his shoulders. He let his tail drop and looked around the shop. I felt like he was examining it for hidden cameras or something.
“No, I suppose I don’t,” he eventually said, leaving in a cloud of sulfur before I could stop him. I stood staring at the spot he had been in. Was Samson in some kind of trouble? Did he need my help but was afraid to ask? The thought of him in need caused a sharp stabbing sensation in my chest. He was a pain in my ass and I never knew if I could trust him these days, but he had been a friend once and that was hard to forget. I rubbed at the smarting spot, as if that would make the worry go away.
The sudden ringing of the phone woke me from my concerns, causing me to jump a bit–good thing no one was around to witness that–and thoughts of Samson were pushed to the back of my mind as Business Ellie took over and started her day.