Lucille Rosary never much liked the smell of roses. Found the idea to cliché for her tastes (to be truthful); and Lucille hated clichés. So when she walked into the beautiful book shop on 27th Street and the disgustingly strong smell of roses wafted to her nose she immediately had the urge to leave. She had to plant her feet in the ground, clench her fists tight and purse her lips till they were white to get herself to move forward in the store.

I need a job, she reminded herself, this is the only place hiring, she continued. Grinding her teeth together she walked up to the front counter. Little did she know that the woman standing there had seen the reaction, and was chuckling to herself lightly. The woman had kind hazel eyes and deep laugh lines framing her face. As Lucille reached the counter, the woman spoke: "Not much for roses, sweetie?" she patted the counter; the woman knew of the natural smell of roses her little shop contained - she'd never been able to rid of it.

Lucille smiled weakly at the woman; she was still resisting the urge to leave the store right then and there. Maybe walk into the KFC a few blocks down to rid her nose of the scent. "How may I help you?" the woman chuckled. Lucille breathed through her mouth, "You're hiring, right?"

"That's correct." She smiled. "I'd like to apply, please." The woman stared at her for a moment, sizing her up it seemed. She pulled out a sheet of paper, and picked out a pen with a large, pink flower on top. "Name? Middle, too."

"Lucille Isabella Rosary." The woman nodded. "Date of birth?"

"4. 20. 93." The woman looked up from the form, "Summer job?" Lucille nodded. "Senior next year?"

"Yep." Lucille craned her neck to look at the form, too. The woman nodded, seemed to mull this information over for a while before declaring, "You're hired." Lucille looked up, shocked. "You'll have to finish the rest of this form, of course, but can you start tomorrow?"

"Uh-uh… yes." The woman looked up at the fiery, young girl before her and smiled at her, "Good. I'm Ms. Tanner." They shook hands. "I'll need you in at eight tomorrow. We open at nine." Lucille nodded, filled her lungs with the rose scented air (much to her dismay), and took the slip from the woman."Thank you," Lucille smiled; she walked away from the counter towards the small round table near the back. If this job payed, she could get used to the smell.

Lucille had been working for Ms. Tanner for three weeks now; she couldn't have enjoyed herself more. She'd even become used to the roses, like them even - not that she'd ever admit it.

On Thursday, at eight o' clock, Lucille skipped into the store and went through her usual procedures. She hung up her bag in the back room, slipping her phone into her back pocket; she took her faded name tag and pinned it to her plain purple shirt; she twirled in from the back room, her skirt floating around her, converse slipping easily on the carpet. She gathered her all too curly, chocolate hair into a messy bun on top of her head. She pranced over to the stack of Just-In's and began placing them on shelves.

Ms. Tanner laughed at the girl, "You seem sunny today, Lucy." In instinct, Lucille's nose scrunched up. "Good morning," she sang in response. Ms. Tanner watched the girl dance around the closed store for a while before speaking.

"Fair warning, my grand-niece is coming in today," Ms. Tanner spoke as she wiped down the front counter of the dust it had acummulated over night. Lucille turned at looked at Ms. Tanner, "And who's that?"

"She goes to your school, I believe. Uh, Bridget Ridgemont?"

Lucille stopped dead in her tracks, mid book placement. She gulped down all the profanities trying to escape her throat, and muttered a weak: "Fun." Just as the less than sincere word escaped her lips, the door dinged.

"We're closed!" Lucille sang without turning around. "Excuse me?" said a high pitched, nasally voice Lucille very much recognized. Ms. Tanner sighed heavily. "Lucille this is my grand-niece: Bridget." Lucille turned around, bracing herself for the unavoidable ridicule of Bridget Ridgemont.

Bridget's eyes narrowed substantially, the brilliant emeralds becoming slightly fiercer (the same emeralds as Ms. Tanner). And, Lucille noticed, her hand tightened its grip on the other hand it was holding.

Lucille went from the hand and up the arm, across the shoulder and to the face. Just who she thought. Derek Mender. Lucille frowned at the sight of her (ex) best friend (and hopeful but not possible boyfriend) in the claws of Bridget Ridgemont. Their eyes met and he seemed to have the same sadness in his expression. "Hi, Bridget," Lucille whispered; she turned back to her work.

"Lucille." She flinched; Bridget's words were like cold rain cutting through your skin. Bridget turned to Ms. Tanner, "Hi Aunt Jenny!" she squealed. Sighing, Lucille continued on with her work.

Lucille hadn't spoken a word since she said her greetings to Bridget. She went about her day, greeting customers with a polite nod of the head before going back to books on shelves. Bridget sat on the counter by the register, chatting with Derek, though Derek didn't seem to be paying much attention; she completely ignored Ms. Tanner.

At around noon, Ms. Tanner had noticed her grand-niece was bad for business. With the most sincerity she could muster, Ms. Tanner said to Bridget, "Dear, why don't you go get some lunch? You don't have to stay around this stuffy book shop all day."

Bridget looked absolutely ecstatic at the idea. Dragging Derek, Bridget leaped from the counter and threw herself out of the store. Once they were gone, most of the customers looked relieved at the idea of silence in the peaceful, musty shop.

And Lucille would be lying if she said that she wasn't relieved at the girls abscence. It was like a weight was lifted from her shoulders, and she could smile freely now. She found herself twirling around the shop in her usual joy, again.

Ms. Tanner walked over to Lucille. "I'm sorry. Her parents are out for the day, and they didn't trust with the house." Lucille couldn't resist the smug smirk; it all made sense now.

Later, when the store was closing and Bridget and Derek were back, Bridget got a text; very important news in Bridgets opinion, for she leaped from her spot on the counter and clapped. It took her a moment to read the text before she squealed at the top of her lungs before exclaiming, "Hey, babe! I'm going to go to the mall with Becky!" and pranced out of the store, leaving her boyfriend alone.

Derek leaned on the counter, placing his forehead in his hands. Ms. Tanner patted him on the back. Lucille didn't turn around, she didn't think she could face him. Not after the sensless mutterings of Bridget that had occured throughout the day:

"Ya' know babe, you're really sexy. I would to lose you!"

"I feel so bad for whoever lost you."

"I love having you on my arm."

"You're so hot."

Jeez, Lucille thought, that'd been difficult to live through.

Ms. Tanner, an observant old woman, noticed the tension between the two and couldn't resist meddling. "Lucy?"

Reluctantly, Lucille turned around; her nose was scrunched up. "I'm going to step out for a bit, would you mind the store please?" Lucille ground her teeth together; she suspected the old woman's plan.

"Alright," she whispered, her eyes downcast. When the door dinged, signaling her absence it left Lucille and Derek alone.

It was a few minutes before either of them said anything. Derek spoke first.

"Lucille, please, talk to me."

"What do you want me to say, Derek?"

"Anything!" he burst, "Anything. Yell at me if you want. Hit me if it'll make you feel better… anything."

"The truth?" she whispered, turning to him slightly. He nodded.

The words were forming in her mouth in seconds, and she thought: He asked for this. He opened the flood gates.

"I HATE YOU! You're a bastard and a retard. I can't believe you did this to me! I think you're scum and worthless and I want nothing less for you but to have her break your heart. But mostly, I can't believe, you chose her. Anyone, anyone, would've been better than her!" It was a year's worth of anger coming out in one short burst. She stormed over to him and slapped him hard across the face. No longer able to contain it.

His head snapped sideways, and red mark flowered on his cheek. Then he caressed her cheek with the back of his hand, softly, slowly and ever so gently. Her eyes slipped close at his warm touch; she'd missed his touch.

"Anything else?" he whispered, "before I kiss you."

Her heart pounded in her ears. "You're really stupid; I can't believe you waited this long out of fear of looking ridiculous. Because, you just made yourself look even more ridiculous."

He grinned down at the beautiful girl, though she couldn't see; he'd missed her, so, so much. "Can I kiss you now?" he whispered, his lips inches away from hers. She could smell the coffee in his breath. She smiled lightly and nodded. "Good," he said lightly, his lips brushing against her own.

Their lips met and moved in complete synch. He encircled her in his arms, stroking the small of her back, savoring the taste of her lips. When they separated, breathing hard, he said, "Yes. I looked ridiculous, but now I have you."

Tell me what ya' think, please! :))