AN: So here I am, trying my hand in WWII romance. Hopefully it comes out looking good, right?
So far, this is going to be rated T, but most likely M later on. This chapter is sort of short, so I apologize ahead of time. Next chapter should be longer!
"He's here again," Simone stated in a bored tone.
I didn't look up from my work. "Who's here?"
I knew she was giving me a sarcastic smile. "Your soldier."
I let the uniform I had been sewing drop into my lap. I scowled at her. "I do not have a soldier, Simone."
She looked at her nails before peering around the corner into the store. We were both currently lounging in the back room, working on our sewing. "You could have fooled me. You know who I'm talking about. White blonde hair, blue eyes? Does that ring a bell in your little American brain?"
I rolled my eyes. "How can I know? There are so many and they all look alike. Oh and for your information, they're green."
That stumped Simone for a moment. "What?" She hissed.
"His eyes," I replied slowly, as if speaking to a small child, "are green."
Simone gave me a disgusted look, her blue eyes sharp. "So you know who I'm talking about after all. You don't have to play stupid, because frankly, I don't care." She paused before continuing. "My mother wants you home on time tonight. No sneaking out to see Dominique."
I folded up the grey uniform in my hands and set it aside, sliding a piece of paper beside it that had the customer's name written on it. I stood up and walked over to Simone, looking her in the eye. "I swear, nothing is happening," I told her solemnly.
There was a glimmer of relief in her blue eyes, but as soon as it appeared it was gone because she knew that something was going on, even if it was truly nothing. "If I thought something was, I would tell. Anyway, Maman still wants you home. How do you think she feels with you gone all the time?"
"Ok, I get it, I'm sorry." I apologized because I knew I had been in the wrong. Simone's family had hosted me as a guest before France had been conquered by the Nazis. I was an American girl with a mother who had friends in France. She had sent me to live with one of her friends in Paris in order to learn French.
However, it was German that I spoke fluently, seeing as my father was from Germany. I was slowly catching on to the French language. Slowly, but surely.
The problem was, with the war and all, I never got the chance to go back home. I was shaken out of my thoughts when Celeste, a friend and fellow worker in our humble store, came up to me. "Your soldier is here."
My patience was very close to snapping. "Why is everyone insisting that I have 'a soldier'? He is, in no way, shape, or form, mine. He's just a Nazi, like all the rest."
Celeste seemed to be giving me a pitying look. "I would go handle whatever problem he has now, but he is obviously here for you."
Simone came from the front of the store, grabbing me. Apparently she had heard the last few words of Celeste's sentence because she said, "Yes, he is, so let's not disappoint him. You know how the Nazis are partial to burning stores down when they're displeased."
As Simone pulled me into view, I took a deep breath to steady myself; I still wasn't used to dealing with soldiers, especially not ones like the SS. "Where is he?" I whispered when I didn't see him immediately.
Simone's warm breath hit my cheek as she whispered back, "He's looking at the cigarettes. Go ask him what his problem is so we can get rid of him."
I gave her a look. "Shall I quote you? 'What's your problem today, Sir?'"
"Of course not, he'd kick your ass."
With a gentle shove from Simone, I was on my way, walking towards the cigarette shelves. Even though I had seen him in the store plenty of times, I never was quite prepared. You could never be prepared enough.
These German men are like wolves; they smell fear.
I could see his dark SS uniform easily in the bright store, and his hat was off so I could see the pale whiteness of his short hair. "Herr?" I asked timidly.
Why did I sound so weak?
His face turned towards me and his light green eyes pinned me with their intense gaze before veering off to look at something behind me. I wanted nothing more than to turn around and head for the safety of the back room, but I knew that Simone would never allow for that.
Finally, after a few seconds of waiting, his eyes drifted over my face in acknowledgment. I fought to keep myself from blushing, feeling like an unimportant object. "Is there something I can help you with?" I inquired in German.
"Ja," He replied, his voice sharp, and very, very german, "I have a rip in my sleeve. Are you able to fix it before this evening?"
He held out his arm to me, gesturing towards the tear on his inner arm. I hesitantly reached out and looked up at him, making sure I had permission to touch him. I had once seen an officer strike Celeste for touching him. This officer, however, did no such thing. His eyes were focused on the cigarettes behind me as if this was all some horrible ordeal.
Taking that as permission, I touched his arm gently, examining the rip. Mentally I sighed; the Nazis loved looking perfect, be it their features or their uniforms. That's why our little shop stayed afloat; the invaders always wanted clean cut clothing, not clothing with rips and tears.
"I should be able to fix this up rather quickly. I should have it done in an hour, if you would like to come by and-"
"Thirty minutes," he interrupted.
"I will be back in thirty minutes. This will be done when I return."
The finality in his voice made me cringe. He might as well have said "be done or else". "I'll get started on it then," I all but stuttered.
"You do that," he muttered.
I held out my arms, motioning for him to hand me his torn jacket. He stepped away from me and looked away as he began unbuttoning his outer jacket. His gloved hands seemed to be having difficulty with the buttons, so I reached forward to help without thinking. He flashed me a look that clearly said 'stay away', so I backed up fearfully.
He kept his eyes on anything but me as he carefully shrugged out of the jacket, handing the heavy thing over to me.
This whole scene just felt so awkwardly intimate to me that he made me almost want to look away.
"Um, what name should I keep this under?" I asked hesitantly as he strode away toward the door.
He paused in the doorway and glanced over his shoulder. "It doesn't matter, I'll be back soon anyway."
I nodded, walking to the back room of the store where the girls and I usually lounged when there were no customers. Simone was eyeing the jacket in my arms. "Are you going to take that home for the fix, my dear? We'll be closing up soon, business is slow today."
I shook my head, sitting down beside her, picking up a needle and searching for a thread that matched the jacket. "No, I have to stay; he wants this done in half and hour."
Simone's jaw dropped. "Half an hour? Ma dieu! You should have told him no!"
"Ah, yes. Wasn't it you that said he might burn our store down if we didn't placate him?"
"Less talk, more work Lilia," she droned.
Sighing, I walked to the far wall and sat down on the old musty couch. I picked up my needle again and began to work on the task before me. I was furious that I had been given so little time to do a good job. The minutes seemed to tick by so quickly, making my heart race; what if I didn't finish in time? Would I become another statistic in the body count?
I was almost done when the last ten minutes began to tick by. I held the jacket up, trying to make sure that I had efficiently hidden any evidence of the jacket ever being ripped. It was then that I began to notice the musky, but not unpleasant scent that hung about the cloth.
I flushed; I was so not inhaling some Nazi's jacket. When I was completely happy with my work, I heard Simone say, "Why hello there, you Nazi ass."
I peeked into the store and saw that the soldier had returned. I smiled in amusement because he looked uncomfortable. That was probably because he didn't speak a work of French. I had found this out the first day I saw him trying to communicate with Simone. They both had become frustrated with each other, arguing in their own languages against each other.
It was then that I had stepped in to speak with the extremely frustrated Nazi, who was extremely relieved that someone in the store spoke Deutsch. I, however, had not been happy to be the only girl in the store who spoke German. He terrified me, his SS uniform terrified me, and the way he looked at me terrified me. His eyes were the second thing I had noticed about him.
They were so empty. Dead. And so very, very green. His gaze had paralyzed me because they were so intense. Now he never really looked at me, he sort of looked anywhere but at me. It's just as well I suppose; it is never good to attract attention from the Nazis, not good at all.
I shook myself from my thoughts and walked over to him before Simone could insult him any further in French, holding out his jacket. Without looking at me, he quickly yanked the jacket out of my arms, looking at my work. I watched his face for signs of relief or displeasure. There was neither. He was about as emotional as a rock.
"It's passable," he drawled, his voice as husky as always.
I wanted to kick him. Passable? My work was far better than 'passable'. I had done my very best and he refused to acknowledge that. Before I could stop myself, I said, "I'm sorry, if I had more time, it probably would have met your expectations."
Oh Lord. What did I just say?
His eyes met mine for the first time since he had walked into the store today. He straighten up to his full height and his eyes flashed dangerously. "I would watch what you say to me, Fräulein."
My fists clenched. I gritted my teeth. "Of course, Herr, it was a mistake."
He dropped money onto the counter before walking past me, heading for the door. "That should be sufficient pay, I'm sure," he said before disappearing out the door.
I stood there, stunned. He had blatantly ignored my apology, which made me even angrier. The nerve. Simone came up behind me as I watched him light a cigarette on the street corner, the end of it glowing red. I watched how he took a deep drag off of it, the tightness of his face relaxing. It was the first time I had ever seen him like that and I felt oddly fascinated. "Well, he's certainly a piece of work," Simone told me.
Oh no, he was certainly more than a piece of work; he was worse.
Simone followed my brown eyed gaze. The corner of her mouth tipped up slightly when she saw what I was looking at. "You know, Montel told me about this one."
I pulled my gaze away from him as another soldier approached him for what appeared to be small talk. "Yeah? And what did he say?"
She looked at me with her eyebrows raised. "That he's trouble, Lilia. Dangerous trouble, and the Resistance definitely doesn't like him. They don't like him at all."
AN: So did you like it? Hate it? Feeling neutral? Let me know, I love feedback :)
So seriously, if you like it, please take like 30 seconds to review, because when I don't get reviews, I don't really update because I have no way of knowing if you like it or not. I can't read minds- sorry!