Monday at 7, and Tristan pushes Rosaline off the futon in the living room, and into the bathroom where she stumbles her way through brushing her teeth and running a comb through her hair. The sun isn't even shinning as Tristan locks the door, and when Rosaline points up at the sky, Tristan just shrugs. "We'll probably get to the store before it actually starts raining."
Rosaline feels the city wrap around her like a thick wet blanket, with the shushing of car tires and the beat beat of water on the sidewalk. She wrinkles her nose, and Tristan stops to give her his jacket and an apologetic look by way of saying sorry as a siren sounds off down the street. Despite the wet, it's still rather warm, and the combination causes Rosaline's hair to curl mercilessly; by the time they walk into Bennet's it's practically standing on end, sprawling around her face like a jungle.
Tristan locks up his bike in the alley, and Rosaline jumps off the handle bars. They push into Bennet's, and it's loud and crowded, the coffee smell at odds with the must of so many unused jackets suddenly soaked and trying to dry unsuccesfully under artifical lights. Some girl at the corner table pitches back her elbow into Rosaline's ribs and causes her to stumble into a man waiting in line, who glares. Tristan grabs her hand and tugs, hauling her to the back of the store and throught the curtain into the back room. "Come on, I need to clock in, so we're gonna have to make this fast," and then he stops and frowns, "what happened to your hair?"
"Wet," Rosaline grumbles.
"Can't you fix it?"
Tristan grunts. "I guess it's not that bad. Now, remember to smile and shake his hand the right way, and don't mention-"
"Tris, I know how to interview."
"Okay, okay, I just want you to get it." Rosaline rolls her eyes, and Tristan claps a large hand down over the crown of her head.
"Do good, kiddo," he says, and Rosaline would have missed the slight crinkle of his eyes if she weren't his sister.
Tristan gives her one last push around the corner, and then disappears with his apron slung over his shoulder. Rosaline stumbles forward just in time to hear, "Smooth like a baby's bottom."
Tristan's manager is leaning against the desk in the back, with his hand on the shoulder of redheaded girl, who's so busy giggling that she doesn't notice Rosaline untill Rosaline clears her throat.
"Oh, it's you."
"Hi, Juliet." Rosaline mutters.
"Ryan, this is my little sister Rosaline. She's new here." Juliet sticks up her chin, as if it were the most distasteful thing in the world to be.
"Nice to meet you. I've been hearing so much about you from Tristan." Ryan smiles and sticks out his hand. Rosaline doesn't particularly want to shake it, but she does anyway, for Tristan's sake. "So you want to work here?"
"Yes sir." Rosaline smiles the widest she's ever smiled, and hopes it's reaching her eyes. "Here's my application." She sticks out a pristine paper that Tristan had filled in for her yesterday in his neat, block print.
"Oh," says Ryan, without taking it, "I don't need that," and then turns back to Juliet.
"Wait, aren't you goin' to interview me?"
"Not really. I can just ask Juliet if I have any questions," he says with a wave of his hand.
"You can go." Rosaline takes the hint and walks back to the hall, heaving a large sigh of relief.
Back out front, it's as crazy as ever, and it's 15 minutes before Tristan has a chance to lean over the espresso machine and ask if she wants anything to drink. Rosaline shakes her head,
"No. I don't like coffee much."
Tristan throws up his hands in response. "How are you even my sister? Anyway, how did it go?"
Rosaline shrugs. "Good I guess. He said he didn't even need to interview me."
"Uggh," Tristan growls. "I could kill that man! He can't do anything right."
Rosaline looks skeptical. "Isn't he the manager?"
"He's new. He doesn't know what he's doing. So I'm still running all of the technical stuff. He just goes to meetings."
"Isn't that a lot of work?"
"I need this job. It pays." Tristan says, and Rosaline jumps as he brings the double shot down on the knock box with a extra force.
"Excuse me? I need to order." A man peers peevishly down at the counter, and Tristan turns away from Rosaline with a look of pure exasperation. "Damn it! Where did Juliet go? I told her to stay at the register."
Then, before Rosaline can even blink, Tristan strides over to the register and smiles sweetly at the man. "I am sooo sorry, sir. How can I help you?" Rosaline almost falls over in shock at Tristan's tone. He sounds patient, and furthermore, nice. The man responds in kind, calming down instantly. After Tristan's gotten him squared away, he returns to the bar and begins to pull the shots for the man's venti-grande macchiato.
"Okay, so what do you want to do while I have work? You can stay here if you want. And just what are you smirking at?"
"You." Rosaline sticks out her tongue. "I've never seen you be nice to anyone before."
"What are you talking about? I'm a nice guy."
Rosaline laughs. "Can I have the list?"
"The list you made last night of all the places I could work in Starcrossed."
"Oh. Yeah." Tristan pours milk into the waiting cup, and then reaches into his pocket and hands the folded piece of legal paper across the bar to Rosaline.
"Thanks! Love you!"
"Just be back at 2, okay?" Tristan calls after her as she races for the door. Even the wild day outside is better than the crowded coffee shop with it's canned top 40 soundtrack and green chairs with the matching green lamps.
The melee of city traffic people noise is a little more muted in Starcrossed, the city life slowed to a softer current. The wet day has driven everyone inside, and lit windows and christmas lights spill a yellow glow out onto the pavement in watery trails. Colored cloth banners peek out from the branches of old trees doing their best to close the gap of sky above the narrow streets. Rosaline thinks she likes this district; it doesn't set her nerves on edge quite as much, and she's thrilled to see so many music stores. Back in Belleville, the only place to buy music is the Megamart.
She glances down at the list, and then back up at a storefront displaying vintage radios and gramaphones in the window. Finding a job can wait for a bit.
There are so many records to look through in the wooden crates! She doesn't really know what she's looking for, just that she wants something else to listen to besides Avalon. Tristan only has a turntable, and it sucks because he has amazingly different taste than Rosaline. Her CD collection is entirely wasted. There's a flash of bright orange in the back, and just as she grabs for it, a boy's voice startles her from behind.
"What's a nice girl like you doing in a part of town like this?" Rosaline tenses, and drops the record. It clatters on the floor, and Rosaline hurridly drops to pick it up as another voice reproves him.
"Jesus, Bear! You sound like a stalker. Way to scare the crap out of her!"
"I was just trying to be friendly..." he whines.
"Well, obviously that worked out super."
Rosaline turns around timidly, and is immediately confronted by a short boy with shaggy bangs, and his taller companion who's hand is in mid shoulder punch.
"I'm sorry for my cousin," he starts, as the shorter boy chimes in "yeah, real sorry." "I wish I could say he was mental, but unfortunately he's not..."
"Um..." is all Rosaline manages, still coming down off her adrenaline high.
"If it makes you feel any better, I'm Reuben, and this is Theodore." The shorter boy, Theodore pulls a face and shoves Reuben. "Ugh! It's Bear, you stupid lug."
"Well, serves you right for scaring her!" Reuben shoves Bear back. Then they both pause, and Bear looks up at her expectantly through his bangs. "I promise I'm not a stalker..."
"Oh!" gasps Roaline when she realizes that they want to know her name.
"Nice to meet you, Rosaline." Bear dimples and holds out his hand. Rosaline shakes it, and then takes Reuben's offered hand. It's large and warm, and lingers for a second longer. She looks up into his face, and likes the way his eyes crease when he smiles.
"So, what kind of music are you looking for?" Bear asks. "Maybe we can help; Reuben's got Streetbeat memorized like the back of his hand."
"Really? I dunno really." Rosaline shrugs. "Anything on vinyl. I just moved in with my brother, and he only has a turntable."
"Do you want something folky, or poppy?
"The Decemberists vs. Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer." Reuben cuts in helpfully.
"Oh, definitely Zolof the Rock and Rolly Destroyer. I'm so in love with Schematics. But I like The Decemberists okay. My brother likes them better than me."
"Hmmm." Reuben turns to Bear. "What do you think?"
"The Format!" Pipes up Bear.
"Dog Problems it is then." Reuben flips through a few albums and then hands her one. "Here, buy this one. If you don't like, I'll buy you another one."
Rosaline takes the album up to the register, along with three other used ones that Bear insists on pushing into her hands ("But they're only 4$ each; you have to!"). It's a hard for her to part with her last twenty, but then the right side of her brain kicks back in, and she can't wait to get home and break the albums out of their paper jackets so she can dance around and pin them up in the living room.
They linger outside of the store; Rosaline is hesitant to walk away. If she leaves she has the distinct feeling that she'll never see Bear or Reuben again. She looks up into the sky, and wrinkles her nose when a fat drop splatters on her cheek. Staying here isn't an option.
"Hey, wanna walk us to work? Reuben's on in like half an hour." Bear comes to her rescue.
"I think what Bear's trying to ask is if you want to get coffee with us? I work at Valencia Coffee Co." Reuben quirks his mouth slightly, and Rosaline shoves her hands in her pockets, fingering the cigarette there.
"I guess." She says as nonchalantly as possible, and swallows her telling grin.
"Oh, come on. You know you wanted an excuse to hang around with us. We're like famous here." Bear teases, and wraps one of his arms through Rosaline's. Reuben rolls his eyes, and steers Bear down the street, pulling Rosaline along too.
"You just like to say that."
"Well, it's going to be true one day! I'm a real Bohemian poet you know, Rosaline. Starving artist and everything." Reuben snorts ad Rosaline giggles.