Continuation – you can find first instalment here:
I don’t make my usual stop for a skinny macchiato. It’s raining too hard and my hands are too full, one gripping my swaying umbrella, and the other, my slippery phone. Aware that any sensible person would ignore a text under these conditions, I swipe away, trying to access Nikki’s message but my fingers are wet and slide uselessly over the slick screen. My attempt futile, I slip the phone back in my pocket and wish I’d made a java stop after all. Now I’d be forced to drink the ‘coffee’ Troy made every morning. Bless his little stock boy heart.
The store is quiet and everything, as it always does when The Box is closed, feels surreal. I know a lot of the staff feel eery in the big store when it’s not open for business, but not me. My spirits lift the moment that warm whoosh of air escapes the big glass doors and meets my face. There’s something about the white, high-glossed floors and the atmosphere fused with leather, lavender, lotions and limitless blood, sweat and tears. It’s home to me.
Taking a moment to right myself, pulling in the calm and pushing out the clutter, I feel my heart rate slow as drops of water meander off my boots and onto the gleaming floor.
“Mornin’ Lenore,” Seth greets me as he places a bold Caution: Wet Floor sign on the tile. “Jeez, you’re soakin’ the place. Dry up, would ya?”
“Very funny,” I reply. “Don’t push my buttons today, Seth cuz I can’t be held responsible for my actions.”
“Aww, the weather ain’t that bad! Chin up, doll face.”
“Seth, you’re pushing…” I smile and walk away, telling him I’ll see him at lunch.
The ride up the arced escalator is soothing and the view from half way is simply stunning. I drift up backwards to take it all in. The Swarovski handrails glisten and their magnificent flecks are scattered throughout the store. The billowing silk screens, blown by forced air, almost lick me as I glide by and Jalisse, the raven-haired black beauty looks like she’s swooning to the piped in Musak as she greets me at the top. Draped in a royal blue Maxi dress, she smiles gracefully, letting me know I’ve made the right choice and that the new attire pleases her.
I’m almost completely pacified by the time I step off. My you didn’t get the promotion because I’m giving it to Denise worries nearly forgotten. But just as I’m passing Jalisse I notice a dot on her chin, a white chip marring her beautiful milk chocolate complexion.
It was just enough to drive me right back to crazy town.
*To (possibly) be continued
**Please feel free to comment – all constructive criticism encouraged!
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