|Micah Buys a Bedspread
Author: Lonely Forest PM
Micah has been sent on a mission. He must buy a bedspread at "The Decorating Depot." Little does he suspect that romance might lurk between the tasseled pillows and kitchen ware. [ONE-SHOT]Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Words: 2,312 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 6 - Published: 03-13-06 - id: 2131727
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Micah wasn't really into interior decorating. In fact, he loathed it. Despised it. Hated with a passion every single colour palette, design scheme, coordinated bedspread and pillow sham that his mother waved before his eyes. Never mind that he had no idea what the hell a "sham" was. So it was with the greatest reluctance that he found himself standing in the entry to "The Decorating Depot", pretending that he wasn't immature enough to turn tail and run. He told himself that there was no choice; he couldn't continue with the same childish, ripped and otherwise mangled bedspread he had used since grade eight.
Get in, get out. You can do this. Dammit Micah, this is easy.
Micah took a deep breath and glanced up at the signs hanging from the ceiling. Kitchen Wares; no. Patio Decorations; no. Good god, who needs patio decorations? Bedding; yes. He began to walk hurriedly toward the sign, giving the elderly lady with a cart full of ceramic pig ornaments a wide berth. The bedding section was enormous, and an overwhelming feeling of despair washed over him as he stared down the first of many aisles. He would be here all freaking day. Micah ran a hand through his hair and glanced up the aisle. Deep breath. He began to walk, glancing up and down at various bedspreads and engaging in an awkward little sideways shuffle. I wasn't aware that they still made bedspreads in puke orange, he mused, glancing at a particularly disgusting specimen. Good lord- is that leather? He suppressed a small shudder of loathing, both at the bedspread and at his current situation, and moved a couple steps forward/sideways.
"Can I help you with anything?"
Micah gave an involuntary little start and whirled around. There stood a girl, clad in the blue polo shirt-black pants- nametag uniform of the Decorating Depot staff. Micah couldn't help remarking that she was really very pretty. (He excused himself from this line of thought by saying that he was a young adult male.) Long, wavy brown hair, front part clipped at the back of her head. Large brown eyes, five or so inches shorter than him. Micah smiled involuntarily and rubbed a thumb across his bottom lip lightly.
"Ah- I think I'm okay. Uh- I don't mean to sound like a snob, but I was just wondering if you guys had anything that wasn't either leather- or this…very attractive shade of orange." Micah gestured to the aforesaid comforter. The girl- she was a woman really- smiled slightly.
"Yeah…it is sort of…what's the PC word for it?" Micah faltered for a second before he realized she was referring to 'politically correct.' He bit his lip and glanced back at the items in question. He wasn't sure there was an inoffensive word that could be used to describe them.
She laughed. "That's it." She sighed, clasped her hands together, and smiled the 'I'm-a-good-industrious-helpful-employee' smile. "Well, if you need anything, just let me know."
"Yeah- thanks," Micah returned, smiling. The woman smiled and turned to trot off down the aisle, straightening the pillows on a display bed industriously. Micah reluctantly returned his attention to the comforters, making the unconscious decision to speed the process up quite a bit. He checked his watch; eleven thirty five. He was going to be out of here by twelve. Not a second later.
By twelve ten, Micah was noticeably short on bedspreads. He was also only halfway through the aisle. Correction; halfway through the aisles. The damnable place had to have at least ten of the things, and Micah, as well as having sore legs, a headache, and a powerful urge to throttle something, was tired of looking at bedspreads. He glanced down the aisle. Nothing. How in the name of this good green earth could there be nothing? This place was as huge as Olympic hockey rink (including stands), and yet there was no bedspread suitable for a twenty two year old male?
Micah briefly considered suing for undue stress and mental anguish.
People have sued for stupider things. Micah sighed, rubbed his eyes, and sat down on a display bed adorned with a blinding pink and orange flower motif. While discussing this bedspread, it should be mentioned that Micah had also lost his dignity in the quest. He rested his elbows on his knees and ran a hand through his hair.
The girl with brown hair had a habit of surprising him. Micah glanced up and smiled slightly. "I am considering impaling myself on the bedpost."
"It's a pretty big store," she said sympathetically, crouching down on the ground across from Micah and replacing a couple packages in their rows. "Even I get confused sometimes."
Micah absentmindedly grabbed a fluffy pink pillow and hugged it close to his chest. "Add to that the fact that I hate shopping, and its just crazy fun."
The girl cast an amused glance at Micah's pillow. "I have a suggestion though; you could always take a break at Timmy's and come back when you feel better. A lot of people can't get though the Depot in one go."
"I can't get though the freaking bedding section in one go."
"It's the biggest section in the store."
"I think I'll take your suggestion though," Micah smiled wearily, with the air of an ancient and grizzled Arctic explorer. "Food always helps," he stood and deposited the pillow back on the bed, making sure it was straight. "Thanks for the suggestion."
She smiled. "No problem. I'll see you around."
Micah ate lunch, read the paper, and returned home. Then followed a dialogue between him and his mother, who asked; "Sweetheart, where's your comforter?"
Micah eloquently replied: "Shit," and realized that he had forgotten to get one.
When Micah returned to the bedding department at noon the next day (feeling of dread continuously growing in his stomach), the first thing he spotted was the girl. She was changing the display bed in an abandoned aisle, and wrestling quite desperately with the mattress. Chivalrous instinct aroused as he watched her flail, Micah approached the bed and grabbed a corner of the blanket, pulling it upwards in tandem with the girl.
She glanced up, surprised. "Oh. Hello."
"Don't you guys usually do this stuff after the stores close?"
"Uh-yeah. We just realized that the last quilt was discontinued though, so we had to fix it up." She and Micah worked silently away for a couple minutes, and then tucked the blankets in at the edges. "Thanks for the help."
He shrugged and glanced down at his handiwork. "No problem. Nice comforter."
She fought down a laugh. "Hideous, isn't it?"
"What was the word?"
They paused for a second and smiled at each other. The girl began to remove coordinating pillows from the shelves and prop them up against the headboard. She worked in awkward silence and Micah watched her, not quite sure why he was waiting or why he was watching. He rubbed his thumb across his lip reflectively as the girl finished with the pillows and surveyed her handiwork. "What's your name?"
He could have sworn that her eyebrows shot up violently, but whatever reaction she had was soon under control. Her movements ground to a halt and she stared bluntly at Micah. "I have a nametag," she replied coolly.
"Don't you find nametags sort of dehumanizing?" Micahasked genially, hands in pockets.
The girl folded her arms across her and stared at a point somewhere behind Micah's shoulders. "I'm Caroline."
There was an awkward pause as Micah waited for her to ask his name in return. She didn't appear to want to, so Micah held out a hand. Compared to Caroline's bluntness, he felt practically suave, which was a rare first. "I'm Micah."
"Hi." Caroline managed to mumble, shaking Micah's hand hesitantly. She wasn't blushing, but she was definitely shy; she didn't look up to meet his eyes.
"So, how long have you been working here?" Micah asked, replacing his hand in the pockets of his jeans.
Caroline, for the first time since he had asked her name, appeared to have a sense of humour. She rolled her eyes and folded her arms across her chest. "Forever."
Micah laughed, which seemed to surprise her. She offered a half smile in return. "Hate it that much, eh?" Caroline nodded. Micah grinned. "I work at the music store down the street, actually. I like it there, though. Employee discount." Pause. Caroline bit her lip and absentmindedly smoothed out a pillow. Micah raised an eyebrow and ploughed on, determined to make conversation no matter the cost. "What kind of music do you like?"
Caroline smiled slightly. "My favourite band is Belle and Sebastian."
"I'm guessing you know that their new CD is out, then."
"I've already got it."
"Too bad; I could have gotten you a discount."
Caroline raised an incredulous eyebrow. "You're kidding me?"
Micah shrugged. "Well, I could have bought it cheap and then sold it to you, which is technically illegal. But you know."
She pressed a hand to her mouth and grinned. "I wouldn't want to rip off Belle and Sebastian, though."
He sighed and glanced upwards at the wall displays. "That's true. Anyways, I guess I have to buy a comforter still. I completely forgot about it yesterday."
"I figured that you were trying to avoid the Depot for as long as possible."
"That too. But mostly, I forgot."
"Ah," Caroline glanced at Micah, who was looking at the rows of sheets. She really liked his hair. It was that nice sandy light-brown colour that you can't get from the bottle. It went with his eyes. Deep and brown, and- Caroline interrupted her own train of thought abruptly. "You do that often?"
Micah stared at the ceiling thoughtlessly. "Oh, yeah. I can't remember a thing. I barely remember my birthday half the time."
Caroline studied her fingernails. "How old are you?"
"Twenty-two and two months," Micah replied brightly. "What about you?"
"I thought you couldn't remember your birthday?"
Micah, who was, contrary to his premonition, in a good mood, grinned at his own abysmally idiotic joke. "That's only half the time. How old are you?"
"Twenty-one and…" Caroline did a couple of quick calculations on her fingers. "Eleven months. And something like fourteen days, but I won't get into minutes and seconds."
"Are you going to university?" Micah inquired, attention finally diverted from the ceiling. Now he was focused purely on Caroline, which seemed to make her somewhat nervous. She toyed busily with the pillow of the bed, though they were straightened, fluffed, and stuffed to perfection.
"I'm studying criminology. It's my third year. What about you?"
"I'm a junior too; I'm taking journalism. You live in res.?"
"No- I'm rooming with friends."
"Living the crazy university life?"
Caroline scoffed and plumped a pillow viciously. "Hardly. We can barely pay the bills; nonetheless afford to have our furniture smashed in some party where half the people are blithering drunken idiots only looking for some cheap fun and a place to crash after they pass out on the lawn."
Micah blinked. "Sounds like you've had some bad experiences at parties."
"They do suck sometimes. And somebody always spikes the punch. What's up with people and spiking the damn punch?" Micah flicked a tassel on a pillow for emphasis.
"You drink the punch? First rule of a party, never drink the punch."
Micah rolled his eyes. "I know! But I love punch! I always forget, and I drink it, and I'm a huge lightweight, so I always end up getting plastered. Which sucks."
Caroline smiled. "Sounds like an excuse for getting smashed."
He shrugged and took a step closer to where Caroline crouched, rearranging pillows. Micah leant against the shelves, hands in pockets. He looked down at the top of Caroline's head, the white curve of her cheek outlined against her shirt. "The subconscious works in mysterious ways. D'you wanna have lunch with me?"
"Yes." Caroline replied, standing up.
"Cool. When d'you get off work?"
She glanced at a clock on the wall and back at Micah. "Five minutes."
There was a short pause. Micah rubbed his thumb across his lip, as was his habit, and Caroline watched it move. Okay, so Micah was cute and she was jealous of the thumb. End of story. Micah glanced down at Caroline and, acting on some hidden impulse, or perhaps just a long hidden strain of insanity in his family, flexed his fingers slightly so that they touched hers. She glanced up at him, looking mildly alarmed, then bit her lip and, ever-so-gently, squeezed the tips of his fingers with hers. Their hands fell apart quickly (after all they hardly knew each other), but Micah grinned and had a fleeting thought that this could be the start of a great relationship. Caroline quickly crossed her arms as if nothing had happened, then gave way and smiled. They exchanged a look, and then looked away. There was another pause, this time more comfortable. Micah spoke first.
"Can you help me find a bedspread?"