Thank you so much for stopping by! I have revamped this story a little and am starting over. Please feel free to give any criticism or advice on how I could improve.
“Beep Beep Beep” Looking at my phone, my clock read 8:00 am. I sighed heavily as the alarm went off. Picking up my phone I hit the dismiss button. Mornings have never been easy for me and today was no different. Rolling onto my back, rubbing sleep out of my eyes I looked up at the starry night painted ceiling. I’ve always been a night owl, so it was only fitting that I had painted my ceiling to look like a night sky.
Groaning, I sat up stretching my arms over my head, my silver hair a mess. Getting out of bed, I pulled together my outfit for work today - a plain oversize sweater, leggings and my Doc Martens. It didn’t exactly scream professional, but hey, I work in a bookstore so I didn’t really have to look like a 27 year old business woman. Thank god.
Running a brush through my ratty hair, I pulled it up into a bun and headed downstairs where I could hear my mom making breakfast. I know, I know. I’m almost 30 and live with my mother. We both made minimum wage and really couldn’t afford to live separate. It worked, at least for us. No one could afford to live in Seattle alone anymore.
Already smelling the fresh coffee and a hint of tea, my grogginess was already ebbing away.
Smiling, I walked up to the counter next to her. She was already pouring herself a steaming cup of coffee, and next to her sat a thermos with my favorite lavender earl grey tea ready to go.
“You know, you really don’t have to get my tea and breakfast. I’m more than capable, mom,” I said, leaning over and kissing her cheek. At five foot seven, I stood two inches taller than her, so I always joked that I had to stoop down to her level. “Yeah, but someone wakes up with hardly any time to get to work. What kind of mother would I be if I didn’t make a little extra? God knows you’d be a crabby arse to you everyone at the store because you’re tired and hangry,” she said matter of factly. I mean, she wasn’t that wrong.
Shrugging, I picked up one of the bacon and egg breakfast sandwiches she had already wrapped for me while finishing my tea off with some cream before popping the lid on my thermos. “Well... I mean I can’t argue that. One of these days I’ll wake up early and make you breakfast,” I said as she snorted and mumbled to herself, shaking her head.
“I think hell will freeze over when that happens, love.” Shrugging, I grabbed my messenger bag and slung it over my shoulder.
“I’m closing tonight, so don’t wait up for me.” I said over my shoulder as I walked out the door, unwrapping my sandwich as I went. Luckily, Seattle was pretty big on public transport and walking. Doubly lucky was that I lived about a mile from work. On rainy days I would take the bus, but today it was nice and the crisp air was fresh for once.
It didn’t take long for me to arrive at the doors of Secret Garden Books. It was a nice little bookshop that I’ve worked at since I graduated high school. I moved up to manager last year, and am honestly loving it. Pulling out my keys, I unlocked the storefront doors and locked them behind me. It was only 8:30 and the store wouldn’t open for another half hour, which was just enough time to decompress and get things ready to open. I heard Raven in the back, our resident store cat, and smiled as she trotted over to me behind the counter.
“Well good morning to you too, pretty lady. I’ll get you breakfast in just a minute,” I said, reaching down and petting the top of her silky black head as she purred. Before I even started working here, she always was around. Apparently she wandered in when she was a kitten and the owners just couldn’t fathom tossing her out, so ever since Secret Garden has been a permanent home for her. We all took care of her, made sure she was always up to date on shots, ect. The customers loved her to bits, and she made things feel calmer, especially when I was working alone. Which was often lately.
It was early fall, so a lot of the employees were in school and their work schedule was all over the place. We had two other full time employees, and they usually didn’t work until the late afternoon. Sighing, I got things ready to open and fed Raven before unlocking the doors for another Monday morning.
It was only noon before I felt the little energy I had start to wane. Did I mention I wasn’t a morning person? The only thing worse than being tired at work was that my focus would falter. It wasn’t that I lost focus on my work... no, that really wasn’t the issue. It was that my focus on ignoring the things and shapes in the shadows started to break.
I’ve seen them since I was a little girl. Sometimes they made me feel peaceful; swirling shadows in the corners of my room brought a slight calm over me. Only, as I got older... that peaceful feeling started to slowly fade away. The shadows started to make me feel more anxious, like something wasn’t right. Like they were whispering things about me. Sounds crazy right? It’s one reason I lived with my mom still. Having her in the home seemed to make them stay away. Having another person in the home, really.
I’ve told her about the shadows, about the eyes of creatures I never quite saw. She hadn’t seemed to worry much when I was younger, mainly because I said they were my friends. Once I turned 18, they had changed, and made trying to sleep at night harder. I told my mom about the change when I turned 25. It was then that she seemed worried. Incredibly so, actually. She wanted us to stay under the same roof, because she was so worried. At least she didn’t try to lock me up for seeing things.
Shaking my head, strands of silver hair falling from my messy bun, I walked behind the register and opened the cabinet under the counter. I had a stash of energy drinks for when I was crashing hard, and no one else was in the store. Cracking one open, I chugged the lukewarm carbonated caffeine before tossing the can in the trash. Rolling my neck and shoulders, I set out to put the new books away while we were empty.
Just as I had cleared our new stock cart, the bell on the front door rang, letting me know someone had come in the store. Looking at my watch, it was only 1:00 PM. Jason wouldn’t be here for another hour, so it sounded like a customer. Pushing the metal cart to the front, I stopped abruptly when I saw the man that had walked into my store.
He had short messy black hair, the dark, disheveled fringe falling over his piercing grey eyes. He wore a leather jacket over a skin tight t-shirt, along with faded black jeans and scuffed black boots. I never really paid attention to men, but dear god, I felt like I couldn’t look away. He was startlingly gorgeous.
Did I just think of him as gorgeous? What the frick?
It felt like we were having a stare off, a smirk slowly growing on his face, my eyes caught on the curve of his lips. Blinking, my heart hammering in my chest, I shook my head and cleared my throat.
“Hello, is there anything I can help you find today?” I said, my voice wavering a little as I pushed my cart to the front and got behind the counter.
He placed his hands on the counter as he leaned over. “I think I might have found just what I was looking for actually,” He said, his voice like a dark melody, leaning close enough I could smell mint and pine on him.
Oh lordy... I really hope I didn’t hear him right...