Reid Collingsworth nervously stood at the edge of the entranceway of Sephora, the cosmetics boutique, furiously debating with himself whether or not to go in.
This was a bad idea. A very bad idea.
At the moment, he was okay. He looked like a guy meandering around the edge of the store, waiting for his significant other to finish up her shopping. If only.
Discreetly, Reid's green eyes swept over the interior of the store again, checking out where the salesgirls were. Dammit, there was a trio of them standing in the corner by the perfumes, right where Reid needed to be!
Why did these stores always have a surplus of employees standing around doing nothing to make the customer nervous?
"I should go," Reid muttered to himself, an intense struggle going on within his head. Should he just forget it and go?
But then, his mind was made up for him, when a blonde head garbed in all black, the typical Sephora girl uniform, walked by, the scent of her oriental perfume lingering behind her. It instantly sent a shock of longing down Reid's body. That was the one he needed. That was hers.
"And over here, we have our new line from Too Faced. They make some of the cutest cosmetics." The blonde was chatting away with some pre-teens who were eagerly checking out the stand, and before he knew it, Reid had taken the plunge and walked into the store.
Instantly, he felt like a fish out of water, as stands of garishly bright makeup leapt out at him from all angles. Nervously, he made his way past the first row, hoping to catch the attention of the blonde salesgirl.
"Hi, excuse me, do you need help finding anything, sir?" Like hawks, the trio of women he had seen standing in the corner by the perfumes descended upon him. The one that had spoken was tall and had a dark sort of beauty about her. Dark hair surrounding an entirely too pale face that instantly gave away the fact that she had dyed it. A gash red color surrounded her dark eyes, making her look severe, and her eyebrows were like two angry black slashes against her fair skin. Behind her, the two other salesgirls stood meekly, and Reid was too petrified by the harsh looking beauty standing in front of him to take notice.
"I-I, ah…no. Just browsing," Reid stammered, glancing at her nametag. Angelica. It fit her.
Angelica raised her scary eyebrows in apprehension, "Are you sure, sir? You seem a bit…" She didn't want to say lost since it sounded so rude, but that fact was so obvious it was better left unsaid.
Trying his best to man up, Reid stood a little taller, puffed out his not so impressive chest, and said in his deepest tenor-like voice, "I-I'm just looking for some perfume for my girlfriend."
The two girls behind Angelica twittered in excitement.
"Oh my gosh, how sweet is that?!" One of them gushed, and tearing his eyes away from Angelica, his eyes fell on the two girls behind her instead.
They were identical twins, and Reid was surprised he hadn't realized it sooner. They both had lovely red hair. The one who had spoken had her long hair up in pigtails, and the other one had her hair chopped in a pixie-like hairstyle. Both were incredibly petite and incredibly cute.
"Very," The other twin replied, her eyes twinkling.
The one in pigtails pushed her way in front of Angelica and introduced herself, "Hello, I'm Ruby! So perfume for the lucky girl, huh? What does she like, florals? Orientals? Musks?"
"Or maybe she likes citruses, oceanics, or gourmands? Or are you looking for something more complex with different scents in the top notes and base notes?" The other twin piped up, coming forward.
And as quick as his false façade of confidence had come, his chest deflated, his shoulders sunk, and his voice retained its usual gruff sounding stammer. What the hell were these girls talking about?!
"I don't really know, I just want to look!" Feeling like a lineman busting through a defensive line, Reid turned his back on the trio of girls, and walked the long way around the store, trying unsuccessfully to bat off any other salesgirls that would try and assault him with, 'how are you doing?' and 'can I help you?'
He finally reached the section where all the perfumes were, and his eyes swept over the brightly lit shelves. Out of his peripheral, he could see the blonde salesgirl just a few feet over. Cautiously, he made his way over to her, trying to look as if he knew where he was going.
"Hi, I'm looking for perfume for my girlfriend?" Reid said a little too loudly.
She jumped in surprise and gave him a weirded out look that was fleeting before turning her salesgirl persona back on.
"Oh. Is there a particular kind you were looking for?" She asked gently.
Reid froze. How was he supposed to phrase this without sounding like a weirdo? He glanced at her nametag, where it read Riley in neat block letters. Deciding to finally just put all his cards out on the table so he could stop looking so weird, he let out a deep breath and said, "This is going to sound odd, but I'm pretty sure the perfume she wears is a lot like the one you're wearing."
Riley gave him a comforting smile, "It's called Jazz Fresh by Omiru."
She lead him over to where the perfume was stacked on clear shelves against a brightly lit wall, and grabbed a white piece of paper and sprayed the perfume onto it before giving it to him to sniff, "Is this the one she wears?"
Reid inhaled deeply, the familiar scent taking route. Yes, this was it. It was what she wore on their first date. It was the way she smelled when she buried her face into his arms during a scary movie. It was the scent that washed over him when he was taking off her clothes. It was the scent that lingered on her skin when he made love to her.
"Sir? Are you okay?" The salesgirl asked nervously, and Reid nodded his head.
"Yeah, it's this one. It's perfect."
Riley smiled, and Reid was momentarily struck by how pretty the salesgirl was. Her white blonde hair didn't look like it was natural, but for whatever reason, it still worked on her and her fair complexion. Pouty pink lips, lovely sparkling brown eyes with surprisingly conservative makeup considering she worked in a cosmetics store, and a cute little button nose.
"Your girlfriend has good taste, this is my fave too."
Reid grabbed the biggest bottle of perfume the store had and muttered a rushed thanks before heading towards the sales counter, feeling just a touch guilty for feeling attracted to Riley when he was so in love with his girlfriend.
And when they rung his purchase up, he dutifully gave out Riley's name so she could get commission. Her white blonde hair waving him goodbye was the last thing he saw before booking it out of there.
He couldn't get home fast enough. By the time he had gotten home to his one bedroom apartment, it was pouring and ominous outside, a stark contrast to the beautiful women and the bright lights and colors of Sephora.
Entering his apartment, he flicked on a solitary lamp, his eyes adjusting to the dimness. He didn't like the light much anymore. His eyes briefly drifted over pictures of him and Melissa, sitting in their silver frames. He liked putting them in chronological order. On every flat surface leading to his bedroom, pictures chronicled their lives together, from past to present. On the table where he dropped his keys, there was a picture of them on their second date at an amusement park.
On the table behind his couch, there was a neat row of pictures that were from their next few dates. On the table holding a vase of flowers in the hallway, pictures from their vacation in Cancun.
Clutching the perfume like his life depended on it, he passed the bathroom where all the toiletries she used were neatly aligned on his bathroom counter.
In his bedroom, on his desk, there were pictures from her mom's birthday party, other vacation pictures to Greece and the Alps.
He reached his bed, exhausted, missing Melissa terribly. Taking the perfume that he had been hunting for, he spritzed it over her side of the bed: the right side.
Throwing his jacket off, he strolled to the closet and pulled out a sweater that had belonged to her. Clutching it in his arms and imagining it was her, he threw himself onto the right side of the bed, inhaling deeply at the scent as it clung to his pillows and sheets. He held her sweater up to his face, brushing its softness against his face again and again pretending it was her lips.
Tears streamed from his eyes as he looked up at the final picture on his bedside table: Melissa, cold and dead in her mahogany coffin, and an agonized Reid, being restrained by her two brothers from throwing himself into the coffin to be with her.
(A/N): I don't own Sephora, or any of the other cosmetics brands mentioned in the story. I just really love the store, so much that I actually started writing a story about it at one point, haha. I really didn't intend for it to take that twist at the end, but it's just what happened. I've always wanted to try my hand at writing a one-shot and a kind of creepy, scary story, so this is my baby step writing. I don't know how good of a job i did at fooling you all at the end, but I hope you enjoyed it. I haven't had the urge to write in a while, and now that i'm out of school, i really want to get back into it! thanks for reading, and hopefully, i'll get enough inspiration to whip up a romance that is fp-worthy of posting!