Summary: After a busy day of shopping, Jackie and Hyde make one last purchase: new boots.
Disclaimer: I own nothing but Katie.
A/N: The "T" rating refers to the minor swearing and the mention of drugs. Better safe than sorry. Other than that, enjoy!
Katie Wilson was normally a very tranquil and level-headed person, but at the moment all she wanted to do was scream at the top of her lungs and run away from her current location and out the exit in a blind rage like a madwoman. She felt it would be very cathartic.
Her yoga instructor would be mortified. Her boss probably wouldn't be too pleased either, but currently, Katie really couldn't care less.
The thought of it actually sounded quite tempting, but it would undoubtedly end in her termination and she needed this damn job. Tuition was by no means cheap. To leave here and then have to go on a hunt for another meaningless job the very next day wouldn't be entirely logical.
Besides, Rogan's did well by her. She couldn't imagine spending the rest of her life stuck serving picky and aggravating customers in a shoe store, but for right now, it paid the bills.
She was just beginning to calm down from her previous aggravation at the idiots that she'd had to help all day – she could kill the person that invented Black Friday – when she heard a high-pitched and shrill shriek come from the entrance of the store; one that she swore made her ears jump in surprise.
"STEVEN! We are not leaving this mall until you buy a new pair of boots. I bought those disgusting things for you five years ago. It's amazing they haven't come apart at the seams and collapsed in exhaustion by now."
Katie looked to her right in trepidation. The store closed in 35 minutes and she had been wanting to get started on her closing duties. Hearing the brunette's bossy tone, however, she knew that certainly wouldn't be happening. This customer would take all of her time, she could tell. She watched as the brunette dragged her companion – Steven, apparently – into the store.
She gave him a once over, a trait she'd picked up since she'd started working in retail – size up the purchaser. It came in handy many times, but it seemed this one would be hard to figure out. He was tall and was wearing a dark green jacket – and sunglasses, oddly – that didn't seem too expensive. Nice hair, though. She looked down at his feet and realized the girl with the shrill voice wasn't kidding – those boots were horrendous. How they were still functional, she couldn't imagine.
Katie then looked over to the dark-haired girl. Having successfully dragged the curly-haired guy into the store, she was busy setting down the many shopping bags she was carrying next to a bench and forcibly seating what appeared to be her boyfriend – Katie glanced to the girl's ring finger – nope, fiancé – onto said bench.
She was a bit easier to read. From what Katie heard earlier, the boyfriend would be doing the paying, but from what she was witnessing, the girl would be in charge of everything before the money was actually handed over.
"Jackie, I told you. My boots are fine. Can we please just get out of here? I'm exhausted," the man grumbled tiredly, setting down his own handful of shopping bags as soon as he was forced onto the bench. "You've kept me here walking around this God-forsaken place since two-frickin'-pm, Jackie. Let's just go."
"I'm sorry, baby," the brunette said with a pout on her face. "I know you hate shopping and I just wanted to get everything done today. We'll leave as soon as we get those boots, okay?" The brunette reached out a hand and stroked the side of her boyfriend's face, causing his eyelids to droop and shoulders to fall.
"You just stay here, Puddin'. I'll take care of everything," the girl said, bending down to kiss him lightly on the lips.
"Okay," her boyfriend said again, resting his elbows on his legs and laying his head in his hands.
Katie never tired of witnessing couples interact. And just based on the last fifteen seconds, there was a lot of love and consideration in this relationship. She watched both of them from the register and waited until the girl – Jackie, it seemed – stood up and turned away from her boyfriend before she walked over to greet her customers, hopefully the last of the night. "Hi, welcome to Rogan's Shoes. Do you need any help finding anything?"
"Yes," her customer said briskly. "As you've no doubt noticed, Steven here needs some new boots."
Quick and straight to the point. Thank God. Maybe I can get out of here on time after all.
"Yes," Katie said with a quick glance at the man's boots before looking up and sharing a smile with the brunette. "I did notice. Were you looking for something similar?"
"Yes, we were. Size eleven. And can you bring them out in both the tan and a…" she paused, giving her fiancé the once over before nodding decisively, "a dark brown, please?"
Katie nodded her head. "Absolutely. Please, sit, I'll be back in just a moment."
"Thank you," the brunette responded before sitting down on the bench next to her fiancé.
That idiot McNeil was going to hear a mouthful tomorrow from her for sure. Who organizes by color, anyway? It took her almost five minutes just to find the damn boots, then another five to find the dark brown ones. Lucky bastard got to take off early, leaving her with the lovely duty of closing the entire store by herself. She was amazed he was even still working here.
How hasn't he been fired yet?
It wasn't just the fact that he was constantly high as hell from smoking pot in the back all day, but all the crap that he did because of that. Like the hourly food court runs. And the chaotic way he thought to reorganize the merchandise. And the driving away of customers, whether it be from his lack of brain cells, his constant giggling, or the simple fact that he'd go in the back to retrieve the customer's requested item and never actually come back out. Plus Katie had to remember to spray air freshener every five damn minutes or else the customers would realize what was happening behind closed doors and never come back. Actually, she didn't entirely mind that last one. It made her store the prettiest smelling one in the entire mall. Like a meadow.
Finally locating the boots, Katie made her way out of the stockroom and stopped just shy of reentering the main area – the sight before her causing her to pause. The brunette and the curly-haired guy were sitting in the same spots on the bench that she had left them in, but only closer together and facing towards each other, their knees touching. The girl had her arm around the guy, her hand scratching the back of his head and playing with his curls while her other hand, her left, was holding his right one. They were leaning towards each other and whispering, the brunette giggling occasionally. He still had his eyes closed but was talking with her nonetheless, smiling softly every few seconds. They were clearly in their own little world and it was an incredible thing to watch.
From what she was witnessing, what they had was extremely rare and Katie wondered if they knew how special it was. How much everyone else out in the world thrived for it – that special connection with someone.
She gave them another minute before disturbing them, enjoying the peacefulness of just watching a couple in love interact. She found herself hoping that they'd last until they were old and grey like those couples she saw sitting together on benches. What a lovely thought.
"All right," she said suddenly, as if she was just coming from the back and had no idea as to what they were doing. "Sorry for taking so long but it took me a little longer than normal to sort through the madness back there. Would you like to try both of them on?"
"Yeah," the guy said with a quick nod.
Katie was just about to kneel down and help him out as she was required to do for every customer when he cut her off.
"No, that's all right. I've got it."
She nodded her head and stood back, not surprised by his actions. He hadn't seemed like the type of guy that demanded complete assistance, as was popular among many of her more high-maintenance customers. Instead, she lay the other box down on a stand nearby and set about preparing the other pair of boots when she noticed the brunette come up to stand nearby and saw her grab the other boot, helping her out. Katie shared another smile with the brunette as they worked together to take the tissue paper out and loosen the laces.
"Here, Puddin'" the brunette said, resting the dark brown boots side by side next to him.
Katie furrowed her brow slightly at that. It was the second time she'd called him that… Puddin'? What a strange nickname.
"Thanks," he said quietly as he laced up the boots and stood to test them out. He looked at the brunette and raised an eyebrow in question.
Katie looked to her and saw her furrowing her brow in concentration as she looked down at the boots on her fiancé's feet.
"Hmm… try the other ones."
He sat down to untie them and quickly slipped them off of his feet, replacing them with the dark brown ones before standing again to test the feel of those out. Katie stood back patiently and watched her customers, more interested in their interactions than whether they were going to be adding to her commission. Her eyes went soft at the little smiles he'd release whenever the girl would fuss over him in some way.
It was probably just the upcoming holiday season, but these two were making her feel more lonely than usual. She really needed to get out more and find herself a boyfriend.
"Whaddya think, doll?"
The brunette hummed before pausing, as if weighing the decision in her head. She then nodded her head resolutely. "The tan ones," she said, to which the curly-haired guy nodded in agreement.
"If you want, you can wear them out," Katie said to him as she made her way to the register and started to ring them up. They paid quickly and gathered their bags, obviously eager to leave the mall. She sympathized, wanting to go home just as badly. She wished them a good night and happy holidays, receiving the same sentiments in return. Just before she turned away to clean up, she watched the brunette reach up to kiss her fiancé on the cheek and whisper something in his ear. Katie smiled as he grinned and pecked the brunette on the lips before they both left the store.
Old and grey, Katie decided as she closed and locked the doors, preparing to close for the night. They're going to live happily together and become old and grey. She could feel it.
A/N2: Hope you guys liked it! Review, please!