Obsessed With Fourteenth Street
SEPTEMBER 7TH — CANDY/COLORFUL
"Obsessed with Fourteenth Street”
“Natsu,” said Gray calmly, “get out of my fucking car.”
“Dude, chill out,” Natsu said scathingly as he clicked the seatbelt in place. Gray turned the ignition off and folded his arms across his chest.
“I swear, if you tell me to go to that street again, I’ll chuck you through the window.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“If you make me say it, I’ll chuck you through the window while I’m driving, ash-for-brains.”
“Okay but I don’t see why you don’t like Fourteenth Street. It has the best ice cream shop in Magnolia and that Nab guy makes the best hot dogs and the taco truck is so good—”
“The fact that your reasons all revolve around food notwithstanding,” Gray interrupted dryly, “you and I both know why you really want to go there.” Natsu pouted and fell back against the leather seat.
“Fine, I’m obsessed with Fourteenth Street. There, will you take me now?” Gray stared at him for several long seconds before turning the key.
“Get the Lyft app or something. I’m tired of chauffeuring your ass, Dragneel.”
“Yeah, yeah,” he grinned, knowing the worst of it was over with.
“And you’re introducing me.”
“Wait, what?” He snapped his head to Gray as he pulled onto the main road.
“I want to see her. Got a problem? The door’s right there.”
“Fine!” he said, infinitely more annoyed. “But you’re not gonna make me look bad.”
“Who, me?" Gray said innocently with the biggest shit-eating grin humanly possible. “Nah. Never.”
He only sunk into his scarf with grumbled complaints as a response.
In downtown Magnolia, there was a central avenue that crossed the city north to south. On one side street of that avenue — accurately called Fourteenth Street — there had been a temp agency between a liquor store and a bar. Then, as Fiore’s unrest between the neighboring country of Alvarez ended and government funds could be more feasibly allocated, the neighborhood improved, and there was no longer a need for a temp agency. The big letters atop the awning, LOVE & LUCKY, had faded with time, and the “K” had long since fallen away, letting it spell LUCY instead of LUCKY. Nowadays, Natsu thought it to be more than coincidental.
The place had become a candy shop, so it was mostly kids under the age of ten that populated it whenever he showed up. The place was themed with orange, red, and purple, but the jars of candy spread about added each hue from the rainbow and then some. The glass display window was edged with two arm chairs, and there was a small bookcase with beat-up copies of Amelia Bedelia and Thomas the Train Engine. Their stuff was good, there was no questioning that even if Natsu preferred spicy over sweet, but he also supposed the store’s popularity had something to do with the same reason he was, as Gray put it, “obsessed with Fourteenth Street.”
The girl who worked the most shifts was named Lucy H., according to her candied-apple styled name tag. Under her orange cap, her pale blond hair hung in straight locks down her back, and her eyes were deep brown and super warm. The silver bell jingled as they opened the door and Lucy glanced up at him and Gray over the two elementary schoolers grabbing for a jar of black licorice. Her lips pulled into a warm smile.
“Hey, Natsu,” she said easily before returning her attention to the kids. Natsu felt a goofy smile grow on his face as Gray whistled.
“So,” he said calmly, “when are you gonna ask her out?”
“Who, me? Nah,” he said, waving the idea off. “She’s...the people’s Lucy, ya know?”
“I literally don’t have any clue what you’re talking about.”
“I mean — I mean, she’s too nice to belong to one person. I don’t wanna hold her up and deprive others of how — of how great she is.” He sunk into his scarf and rubbed the back of his head, avoiding Gray’s stare burning into the side of his face.
“You’re perhaps the dumbest person I’ve ever met.” Natsu spun around with a growl, fist raised, but Gray was smiling as he said it. He stopped Natsu with a hand on his shoulder. “Honestly? The dumbest, but with the best heart.”
“Uh...thanks?” He didn’t usually get compliments from Gray — read: never — so it stopped him short a second. He shied away and stuffed his hands into his cargo pockets.
“Have you talked to her?”
“A li’l,” he mumbled into the fabric. Lucy suddenly laughed and, taking down a jar of Ring Pops, offered one each to the little boy and girl. They squealed happily and hugged her around the waist, earning a flustered smile and giggle from her. Natsu echoed the smile and shifted his feet. Gray looked at him again and realized Shit, he’s really in it deep.
“You don’t just like her.”
“Shut up,” he said, more embarrassed than anything. Gray nodded and looked at her again.
“Hey, Lucy, are you free this weekend? Cuz this moron here wants to take you to the movies.” He repelled Natsu with a hand as he started swinging, saying an indecipherable stream of obscenities as he did so. Lucy blinked twice in surprise, then a pink blush crossed her cheeks and she hid under the brim of her hat.
“He doesn’t look too willing...” The disappointment in her voice stopped Natsu short, and he crossed the store too quickly to be believed, grabbing her wrists.
“I do! I do!” he said, grin returned full force. Again, she was taken aback, but that quickly turned to laughter. “...You’re laughing with me, right?” Gray sighed loudly.
Idiot, he thought. Then, as much as he wanted to stare at them laughing and blushing (not), he had to ask: “You won’t be asking me to drive you there too, will you?”