Nicholas traipsed into work, pausing at the doorway, fear gripping his heart. It was the same story every day: He promised himself this was the day he would tell Brigitte how he felt about her, then he’d arrive at work, see her with customers, dread the moment he should tell her, and then go about his day as though nothing was and go home disappointed in himself.
They had most of their shifts together, so he seldom had a day where he could just avoid her or reassess his approach.
Nicholas bowed his head. He felt like such a fool.
How could such a beautiful young woman ever feel for him the way he felt about her?
He looked up, steeling himself for the day ahead where he would have to resist all urges and ignore all sensations once again, and he stepped through the doorway into the shop proper.
Brigitte looked up and away from the customer she was helping and she beamed at him. Nicholas smiled wanly back and trudged towards the backstore to set his bag down. Working retail wasn’t the most exciting of jobs, selling decorations and scented candles at least made his clothes smell nice.
He walked out of the backstore and approached a customer who was looking at an antique-looking oil lamp.
‘This isn’t a real antique, is it?’ she asked, looking dismayed.
‘No, ma’am. It’s an imitation antique, which means,’ Nicholas put on his best smile, leaning towards her and lowering his voice conspiratorially, ‘it makes for the perfect house decoration. Looks like the real thing but is much more affordable.’ He leaned back on his heels. ‘But your friends don’t need to know that.’
The lady suppressed a smile before her lips curled into a smirk. ‘Go on, then. I’ll take it.’
‘I knew you had good taste the moment I saw you.’ Nicholas grinned and walked to the cash register. He took care of his customer and bid her to have a good day.
‘You’re so charming!’
Nicholas looked up from the register to see Brigitte smiling at him.
‘You have such a way with customers. I haven’t made one sale yet today,’ she went on
Nicholas felt his face flush. He smiled. ‘You think I’m charming?’ He moved from behind the counter towards her, feeling emboldened by her compliment.