did it end up like this?”
I rubbed my chin as I looked directly in front of me. There stood another shop keeper. It was a girl slightly shorter that me. She was pointing across the store and would not stop. Annoying.
“Hey that’s your side over there.”
“But I don’t have anymore space over here to put my stuff, Elise.”
I slightly push forward a box full of my inventory. The alchemic ingredients inside the box rumble for a bit before settling down. I’ll admit I don’t take the best care of my stuff, but usual the sound wouldn’t bother me. This time kind of did.
“We divided the store in half.”
Elise put her hands on her hips and leaned her head slightly up.
“But you got the bigger portion. You even got the inner part of the store as well.”
The store was shaped in a reverse “L”, flipped to the left. I was near the entrance of the store while of course Elise was all the way in the back. Normally I wouldn’t be bother, but her area had a back-storage room as well as most of the display shelfs.
“Well I arrived earlier than you, Claude.”
She shrugs at me nonchalantly.
“Man, why do we have to share the store? This is some nonsense.”
“Well blame the district store managers not me.”
Elise points at the box resting at my foot then looks at me directly. Her gaze could pierce me.
“Move that back on your side. I’m getting slightly annoyed.”
I was not going to back down from the challenge. The area I had to work with barely had any space to keep my boxes. Well maybe it’s my fault for bring random junk I didn’t need, but I’m going to annoy Elise anyways.
Elise flunk her head back to scoff at my remark.
“Look your store is practically empty. So, what if a single box full of gems is lying around in your area.”
Elise sticks out here tongue to mock me. So bratty.
“Look at all the space you have. You could easily fit your stuff there, Claude. It’s looks smaller because the boxes are all laid everywhere on your side. You’re so disorganized.”
I give a quick glance over to my store space. I see my only employee Klein behind the counter wave happily at me.
I turn back to face Elise directly.
“And you know what I see? I need more space.”
She shakes her head in disbelief.
“That’s on you though.”
Elise turns her back on me.
“Fine whatever leave your stupid box here. It’s really only one.”
“It’s not stupid. Take it back.”
“Say you’re sorry.”
I could hear a quiet voice coming towards us.
“Elise, um Elise.”
And there is Hana, Elise’s employee running up to her.
“Elise, you two should stop.”
“Claude is not backing off.”
“Why would I ever?”
“The customer is watching.” Hana whispers. She fidgets her fingers nervously.
“Oh. There was a customer.” Elise becomes slightly embarrassed.
“Thank you, Elise.”
Thank you, dear customer.
Wait why aren’t you buying anything from me? Is that all you want? Some potions? I have some fine gems made from alchemy you can buy as well.
I shout and wave at her.
“Why aren’t you buying from me? I got some nice stuff.”
Elise gives a serious concern look at me.
“What are you doing?”
“Eh, why is she buying only from you?”
“Because she only wants potions…?”
“But I want a customer. I haven’t seen one all day.”
“Well the day was mostly spent unpacking.”
“It doesn’t take that long to buy something.”
“Doesn’t mean you can steal mine.”
I push Elise gently aside as I march towards the customer. The customer’s eyes were frantically shifting left to right, almost as if she was panicking.
Huh, is there some problem? I know she wants some nice alchemic gems to go with her purchase. If I learned anything, always push stuff for the customer to buy. Happens to me all the time. Even If I don’t want to buy it.
“I see you’re buying some potions.”
“How about you buy a gem? Or two? This one here gives you all kinds of magic resistances.”
“I’m good. Thanks.”
“No, wait. I have gems that give you strength, magic power enchantments, all kinds of effects. What is that potion you got there?”
“A healing one.”
“Well I have the gem for you.”
“Boss, wait we don’t have any!”
Everyone in the store could hear Klein shouting.
God damnit Klein.
“Maybe next time.”
“Wait, dear customer.”
Elise grabs me by the arm and drags me back into my store area.
“Since when are you so strong? Elise.”
Elise shakes her head at what I say.
“Okay, anything for you dear Elise.”
“Love you too Claude.”
As Elise and Hana walk back to the customer ready to finish her purchase, I slide another box over to Elise’s side. Hana had noticed but didn’t do anything. I slightly whispered to keep it a secret. Hana nodded. I assume she didn’t want Elise and I to make a scene again.
“Psh, Klein think I could slide another box over.”
“Boss, I don’t think you should.”
“Hey, I trained you to say every idea of mine was a good idea. “
Hm, now that I notice the shelfs at Elise’s portion are pretty empty maybe I should put some of my gems for display, it is after all my store too. Surely, it’ll be fine. Before I could push another box over Elise stands towering over me with her arms crossed.
By this point the customer had already left so I guess this time Elise wouldn’t be embarrassed.
“Why not Elise?”
“You’re so disorganized.”
“I don’t have a backroom to store stuff. I don’t have any display. All I have is this counter.”
The store did have two sales counters. I guess customers could purchase from both areas, whichever was convenient to them. I was informed before purchasing the store, there was only one previous owner and that it was popular among the crowd.
“Just put it all into the corner for now.”
“Yeah but it’d look nice on display.”
“It’s not like you have any display shelfs.”
“Yeah because it’s all on your side.”
Elise shrugs her shoulders and gives me this smug look in return.
“Not my problem.”
“Hey if I’m in distress, you are too…Right?”
“Don’t you care about me? We are fellow store owners. I care about you Elise.”
“How am I suppose to share the same store with you if you don’t care about me?”
“You could always leave.”
“Elise, I want to stay with you.”
“Well, I don’t.”
“Claude do you actually? I thought you just wanted the store not me. Wait I meant not be with me.”
“Somewhat. You grew on me. I like you Elise. I’m starting to like our constant chatting.”
I pause my breath for a second.
“You know what I actually don’t mind anymore. Pleasure to be working with you, Elise.”
“Aw, how sweet.” Elise brings her hands together and gives me a loving smile.
“So, I can leave some of my stuff here.”
“Nope.” Elise laughs.
“Eh.” I give a dejected sigh.
Elise has one eye closed as she looks at me with her arms crossed.
“But since it’s such a non-issue. Whatever. Do whatever you want idiot. I don’t care anymore.”
Elise sticks out here tongue at me again. Oh, I’m about to start a scene again. I refuse to be called an idiot. I quickly grab her arm before she can leave. She gives me a cheeky smile.
“Oh wow, Claude so aggressive.”
“Eh, I just. Eh.”
Why am I blushing and why isn’t Elise mad? What is with this reaction? Is she teasing me?
“Oh, dear Claude?”
She gives me another cheeky smile.
Ah, I’m all embarrassed.
The store door flings wide open. I can hear the little bell up top of the door ring. Kind of annoying sound actually. Maybe I should remove it later.
“You guys getting along? Everyone is getting along right?”
“Yeah boss seems to be getting along with other boss.”
Klein don’t call her your boss. I’m your boss.
Elise gives a piercing gaze directly at the district store manager.
“Why do I have to share a store with him?”
Aw, she sounds so pouty when she says it like that. Kind of cute. But not really. No Elise is not cute at all. I’ve made up my mind. Wait we’re enemies again?!
“I told you already the other store district managers and I made a mistake and put you both into the same store by accident. We were under stress and swamped with applications. There are no more vacancies. So, you both have to be together for now, okay?”
“And look it works out there are two store counters here.”
The district store manager sounded really pleased.
“Lara, out of all the other store owners I get bad luck and have to share. I wanted my own store. And now I’m paired with him.”
“Hey, I’m right here. I’m not that bad to be with.”
“Can you two please work together until we figure out a solution?”
The district manager softly shrieks.
“Elise, don’t put me on the spot like that.”
The district manager kneels down with her hands over her head. She seems about ready to cry.
“I’m sorry Elise.”
“Okay, if nothing can be done for now.”
“Elise I’ll be good.”
“Okay, Claude whatever you say.”
Lara claps her hands together.
“Thank you, Elise.”
The store manager jumped in joy.
“Ah, by the way Elise it seems some of your stock is stuck at the caravan area until you retrieve it.”
“I was told the people you hired left to help some other merchants. I’m so sorry. I’m not too sure what happen I’ve just heard from other store owners nearby.”
“I couldn’t get anyone to replace them as other store owners are in the same predicament as you. Apparently wealthier merchants were causing a scene.”
“It’s fine Lara, I’ll go pick them up now.”
“Again, I’m so sorry Elise.”
Lara has tears in her eyes.
“Cheer up, I already have to deal with another emotional person.”
“I’m not talking about you, Claude. It’s Hana who is pretty sensitive to stuff as well.”
“Oh, then sorry.”
“Okay, thanks for telling me Lara. I’ll go now. Hana look over the store while I’m gone and don’t let Claude reign over the store.”
“Wait, Elise I’ll come with you.”
“I don’t want you to carry all that stuff by yourself. So, let me help. We are co-owners after all, well for now.”
I just said the “for now” part to please Elise. But honestly, I’m liking the idea of sharing the store with Elise. She has quite the personality and can handle my annoying self. And okay she is kind of cute to look at. The idea of working with a cute girl is…eh what am I thinking?
“Aw, you guys are friends now.”
“We are not.”
We both spoke at the same time.
“Thanks Claude, but I think I can manage.”
“No, I want to help you Elise. I had notice most of your shelves were pretty bare, empty even. So, I thought something must have been wrong.”
“Okay thank you, Claude a lot. I appreciate it.”
Elise holds her arms behind her back and smiles.
Uh. I pause a little. What was that smile?
Elise waves back as we both walk out of the store. I could hear the district store manager breath a sigh of relief.
“So, they do get along. I’m so happy.”