Your scent lingers for too long after it should have evaporated into memory. Or maybe it did, and it's my deep seated longing that is bringing it from the farthest recesses of my mind out here into reality, where it seems so out of place. A single breath brings memories I didn't realize I still held; sharp fragments that crash against each other into a mosaic of more than I can deal with. I love you. Never forget.

Silence broken suddenly. Crumpled paper. Disgruntled looks. A disjointed thought – it's not fair that something so beautiful could be a lie.

Oh believe me, I won't forget.

Miranda Johns. Seventeen. Heartbroken. A walking cliché as far as it goes. The usual story – the perfect boy ended up being far from it, and she had to find out the hard way. The hard way, of course, ended with a bloodied hart stapled to a wall, with a warning disguised as an apology. Figuratively of course, but the pain was still enough to warrant an expensive early morning trip to the supermarket, mainly to purchase essentials, but also some items – chocolate mousse, cookie dough and alike – that Miranda's thighs could have lived without.

"I'm going to work," she called to no one in particular.

That Miranda Johns – the one who cried for three hours straight when her poetic guitarist strung her heart up with his laundry, and then threw all his CD's out the side of a moving vehicle – was a different Miranda Johns to the one that walked through the library, announcing her schedule to strangers browsing through the non-fiction section (597-611 inclusive). That Miranda Johns had thrown herself out with every photo. The new Miranda Johns was different; she crumpled up love letters with abandon, and ignored the twinging sensation that came each time she opened her wardrobe to see a shirt that now belonged to no one – a newly unwanted, accidental gift, stuck in limbo between closet and rubbish bin (the new Miranda John's wasn't quite ready to throw it out). The new Miranda Johns was strong, she was powerful, she was confident and she was definitely, 100% –

"Hey Miranda,"

– not over him.

"Hey Trent," Miranda squeaked. Oh god, I'm squeaking now.
"There's a new guy starting in about half an hour,"
"Uh huh,"
"Susan wanted you to watch him,"
"Uh huh,"
"There's some new stock in Manchester that needs unpacking,"
"Uh huh,"
"Other than that, have a good shift,"
"Bye Trent,"
"Catch ya,"

Trent "The Love of her Life" Murphy. Seventeen. Devastatingly handsome. Guitarist in a local band. Poet and footballer, with the type of eyes that made girls in the street swoon. Also known as a lying, cheating, heart-breaking jerk. With as side of fries. Trent Murphy, who at the age of fourteen surprised everyone by refusing the popular girls' advances and asking out a random poet with blue hair to go see a movie with him. Trent Murphy who at the age of fifteen told said blue haired poet that he loved her, and wrote her the poem, that became a song, that became the title track on his band's first EP. Trent Murphy, who after years of ignoring the screaming groupies, succumbed to one and had the nerve to tell his blue haired poet that it was because he missed her. Lying, cheating, heart-breaking jerk.

"Good evening welcome to Target, this is Miranda," the ringing phone had begun to irk her so much that she left the new sheet sets to answer it. "Yes I do believe we sell nerf guns, let me put you through to the department,"

Hold button. Page toys. Wait for call-back. Connect to customer. Transfer them through. Oops, hung up. Better let Lauren handle the next call.

"Miranda?"

Turning, she spotted her manager followed by a guy her age, maybe older. The new guy that Tre- he had mentioned.

"Yes, Susan?"
"This is Jeffery. He's transferred from one of the nearby stores. He doesn't need training, just a general overview of the store. I'm leaving him with you, ok?"

Miranda nodded and assessed the new boy. A head taller than her, he was built solidly and darkly tanned – both, from the looks of it, due to a sporting commitment or five. Sheltered brown eyes hid beneath thoughtful brows and russet hair. Miranda smiled. Of the three groups boys working at Target fell into – incredibly attractive, incredibly unattractive and gay – this boy was definitely in the first.

And hopefully not the last.

Miranda pointed at herself. "Miranda," she told him and he nodded. Pointing at himself, he replied.
"Jeffery,"
She pointed at Lauren, who was busy, attempting to calm down an angry customer on the phone. "Lauren,"
"Susan," Jeffery replied, pointing at her boss' receding figure. She laughed.
"You're learning,"

She took Jeffery into the Manchester department and introduced him to the new sheet sets, before leading him throughout the Homewares department and showing him the overstocked wine glasses.

"I'm not sure what else you'll need to know, the job's pretty self explanatory. I've got the phone tonight, you might get it another night, but other than that, you should only need to deal with customers of the physical variety,"
"I'm meant to deal with them physically?" his eyes glinted wickedly. She returned with a disparaging look.
"I'll show you where we keep the cages, and you can get some stock to unpack,"

Awkward casual banter followed, until he turned to her suddenly.

"How long you been here?"
"A couple of years. An old friend got me the job,"
"Old friend? What happened?"
"…Um, life happened, I guess,"

He paused.

"So, when did it happen?"
"When did what happen?"
"The break-up. Or, by the looks of it, the dumping,"
"I-what?"
"You've got that look,"
"What look?"
"That, I just got dumped so don't mess with me look,"
"Liar,"
"So, when?"
"Two weeks yesterday,"
"Yeuch, I thought mine was bad,"
"When for you?"
"Three and half weeks,"
"Mmm," she mused. "Guys suck,"
"Girls suck,"

There was a pause; tangible only for a moment until he looked at her again and she changed the subject to the lift. Of course, while her mouth was saying things like 'press those two buttons simultaneously', her mind was more along the lines of 'how the hell did he know?!'. Luckily, Miranda Johns was quite skilled at multitasking.

The doors slammed shut on the two and Miranda leant back on her cage of stock. The lift, filled with cages of stock, and cardboard boxes of books, seemed smaller than it normally did. Maybe this was why Jeffery seemed awfully close. A friend from another store had once told her there were no video cameras in the lifts, a statement she had accompanied with a knowing wink. Miranda, scolding her suddenly beating heart, wondered if she was hoping Jeffery came from that store.

The lift shuddered and stopped.

"What the…" Miranda began to jab the buttons urgently. "Oh shit…"
"What's wrong?"
"The lift's…not moving,"
"I'm guessing it doesn't normally do this?"
"Oh no, the lift stopping suddenly for no good reason is pretty normal,"
"Oh ok then…"
"Shit,"

Miranda Johns, while rather witty and sharp minded, fell apart in any emergency situation. Being stuck in a crammed lift with an incredibly attractive boy, who was practically a stranger, when she was in her 'lets spite the stupid jerk' part of her post-breakup mourning, constituted an emergency in her mind. Looking frantically around the small amount of room around her, she cursed herself for leaving her phone with the other boy in Toys while she showed Jeffery around. Stupid Miranda.

"There's phone there, call for help,"

Miranda lunged for the phone like her life depended on it. Picked it up. Pressed it to her ear.

"Fuck,"
"What?"
"It's dead too,"

Pause. Miranda's heart beating unnecessarily loud. Jeffery closer now that he'd moved to test the phone himself. Count the number of times it beats in a minute. Stupid Miranda.

"So, were…stuck here?"
"Looks like it,"
"Fuck,"
"Yeah,"

Pause. Jeffery too close now. Claustrophobia setting in. Count the number of boxes in here. Stupid Miranda.

"A friend once told me that there are no camera's in the lifts," Following the temporary shut down of her brain, Miranda's feeble voice searched for something to talk about, and landed on the wrong topic. Stupid Miranda.

"Really?"
"Yeah,"

Pause. Count the wrinkles in his shirt.

"Want to test that out?"

Pause. Jeffery's lips closer now. Miranda's heart out of control. Count the freckles on his nose he's that close.

Miranda Johns wasn't known for her ability to think things through. That said, of all the bad ideas she'd had, hooking up with the hot new guy in a lift at work would have to be the best.


A/N:

Another new story, this one with potential to go further! Horrah!! I haven't written anything longer than this for a while now, and certainly haven't stuck with it, but i'm trying this as a 'get out of year 12' mind-break. i'm hoping it sticks. no promises though.

on that note, have a happy day!
msblacksharpie