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Ever since that day where he and Willow had cleaned out the storage room in the store, many changes had come along for the little bookstore. With some help from their investor they had been able to purchase the building which was nextdoor and a few days ago they had knocked out the wall and begun on renovations. It was exciting, turning the little book store into a cafe too was an expansion he never expected to be able to achieve but it felt special. He and Willow had spent the last few weeks interviewing for the positions which would cover the cooking and serving in the cafe part, but they still had a lot to figure out.
The shop had been closed for a while as the renovations took place but they had took the time to work on an online presence along with plan out the layout of the store. It had kept them busy and today would be no exception, he thought as he headed down the path towards the familiar building, he had a bagel he was eating in one hand a tea in the other. He liked walking to work in the mornings and seeing how busy the city had gotten, even before they had closed for renovations they had been getting more customers and interest was picking up. It felt like a good time to own a business and he felt optimistic about the future for once.
When he reached the door he headed inside before waving hello to the builders that were in that day to take care of the painting of one of the walls. He shrugged off his backpack before heading to the new staff room, this was one of the first places which had been renovated and it was fitted with a couch, little kitchen area, desk space and everything he and Willow would need to manage the place. He pulled out his laptop and fired it up as he waited for the redhead to arrive. Today would be the day where they finalized the layout plans for the furniture ready for it to brought in soon and he knew how much Willow enjoyed organizing stuff.
“If I skip breakfast then bite over lunch you’ll know because I’ll get cranky, then I’ll be fine after some snacks” Lately she’s been quite good at not skipping meals. It's only when her sleeping patterns have been all messed up then she’d be a bit forgetful. She was sure that now Leigh might be on her case checking to see if she’s eaten breakfast with how he’d found out she’s had a habit of skipping breakfast. It was no secret that the Celestial was looking forward to them going out for some brunch, thinking it would be nice. “See, it'll be our reward. I feel that we both practically live here with how much both of us spend here” It would all be worth it in the end with how much more time and work they’ve been putting into the new shop. Willow knew that it had always been Leigh’s dream to extend the shop. She could remember when he first spoke about it thinking that it was too far- fetched that it wouldn’t happen but now it all was. The celestial learned in all her years that nothing was impossible, that was for sure.
Willow laughed a little as soon as she said that he’ll get stress lines. He pressed his hands against his temples, trying to de-stress them. “Maybe by the end of it you might have a few grey hairs' ' she added grinning as he was still rubbing his temples. The redhead nodded her head agreeing with Leigh saying customers know that their hearts are in the right place. “All our blood, sweat and tears will be all worth it in the end” Willow could sense that Leigh was starting to worry more than before with how much she knew he was putting into it. “You can make Pinterest boards for anything, even if you don’t understand it” For herself, her Pinterest was perfect but that was her all over. Making sure everything was all right. It was true that Leigh didn’t have the knack for things to be aesthetic. “See that’s where I come in handy. I’ll advise you if it looks right or not '' There's been a few times when she’s had to change something around if it didn’t fit with her aesthetic.
It still surprised her how much things have all changed or what people were into these days. She wasn’t that into nerdy stuff, just that she was a bookworm. Willow left all the nerdy stuff to her fellow Celestial Rashesh. “To be honest I would prefer shiney over boring ones” Like who would want to go for the boring ones. “I’ll leave you to the trading cards” It would only be more confusing to her so she’d leave it to someone who understands. She could almost tell that Leigh has a collection of trading cards himself.
“Working out helps me too or going for a run” Trying to fit in time for a workout when she had spare time. She’d been spending time looking around for inspiration for the style of what they were looking for but trying to be original at the same time. “That's right, you gotta be comfortable whilst reading” Especially if someone was in a deep book binge then hours would pass in minutes. You wouldn’t wanna be uncomfortable. “Maybe we’d have to test some seats out before we get them, so we know they’ll be good” Checking to see if it is the right fit. Willow had already guessed that he was going to leave the colour choosing to her. “I’ve seen your colour choices before, it’s best if I choose it” That he thinks something goes together then she tells him that it doesn’t. “Maybe we make a list of things we need then a budget too. It’ll help us when we go looking to buy stuff” If one of them was to overspend it most likely be her. Especially with her expensive tastes and styles
They deserved a reward for how hard they both worked on this place, he had been really lucky to find Willow because she really took on the place like it was her own and had a massive amount of pride in the place she worked, he felt like he could rely on her which wasn’t something Leigh could say about a lot of people. “You’re right, we should really get out of here and actually enjoy yourselves sometimes” it was easy to get trapped in the overworking when work was so closely related to something you were passionate about. “It’s a good job I have nothing against hair dye” he teased when she said by the end of this he might have grey hair.
“I hope so” he whispered softly when she said their hard work would pay off, he couldn’t be sure about that right now, it was such a big risk after all and he wanted to make sure that the integrity of what he built managed to survive this modernization they were going through. “I’d probably end up putting too many things that don’t go together on it” he commented chuckling softly, he really didn’t have an eye for design, even though he loved watched those home renovation videos online “My place is pretty plain, a lot of white walls” he commented and chuckled “I’ll bet your place has a little bonsai tree or something equally quirky” he grinned slightly, she was definitely someone who had a creative eye.
He chuckled and nodded “I’m sure I can handle that much, I’ll call up some suppliers tonight and see what the costs are, then we can decide if it seems viable” he was pretty sure suppliers on that vein could provide other book-inspired merchandise too, so the idea of having some other things to purchase didn’t seem to farfetched. “Me too...running is definitely one of my main ways to exert my energy” being a therianthrope he had a lot of it too so it wasn’t surprising to see him running most nights. “We could take a trip out to one of the furniture stores in the city, online shopping seems pretty risky when it comes to things like that” just because a review said something was good didn’t mean it was right for you. “Okay so a checklist” he commented as he started writing things down, shelving units, chairs, tables, lamps, he looked up to see if she had any more suggestions.
“I haven’t seen you outside of work much, is there a party side of Leigh that I don’t know about” She smiled teasing Leigh knowing that he wasn’t as outgoing as her. Or that he might surprise her. “You do love hair dye, if I remember I have seen you with grey hair but that was purposely dyed rather than grey stress hair” For her she loved her natural red hair to dye it any other colour knowing on her if she would dye it she’d regret it instantly then it’ll be too late.
Willow could see that Leigh was starting to lose sleep over the whole refurb stress. She didn't blame him, she was feeling stressed but it was nothing compared to him with how it wasn’t her money that was being put into it. It was all of a gamble that both of them were hoping that it would all pay off and go in their favour. She was very sure that it was going to work out the way they wanted and had planned for it to go. That it will bring in more and new customers. So they can be ahead and offer something that the other local shops don’t. The Redhead nodded her head in agreement that it would be best to leave the designing to her. “I’m always fixing the book of the week displays after you” She mused a little. Leigh’s display skills could be a bit chaotic at times when he tries to fill it up using the place but at times it was the opposite. The little was better at times. “Where I live is quite a mixture but no bonsai tree yet. I do have a lot of plants in my room, I haven’t killed any of them yet” All of the Celestials put their own spin on the castle where they lived. She did love the good house plant. Some would say it looked like a jungle but she thought it all looked nice. “If you want plants in here, I would suggest fake ones then it will be easier for you to look over too” Willow didn’t know how Leigh was with keeping plants alive, not knowing if he could be trusted to look after plants. Or if they would die on her days off.
“Sounds good” An endless list of things they had to think of. “I’ll leave the budgeting figures for you” Thinking he would be better at that stuff than her. Willow nodded her head agreeing with his idea of going somewhere to look at what stuff to buy. “That’s a good idea. I do love online shopping but I’ve had a few buying fails in my time. Mostly the sizing, online it looks so big then when you get it it’s the opposite” Willow could help but laugh remembering her own shopping fails but she still loves shopping. “Plants, cushions, any trinklets or ornaments? Then we got to think of all the stuff the cafe part but that would be on another list” They just needed to get the basics first rather than thinking about everything all at once like she normally does.
Leigh laughed and shook his head slightly “I’ve never been much of a party person, unless you count having a few friends over for dinner and board games” he admitted and smiled sheepishly “I guess you could say I’ve never really been a big fan of crowds, they make me uncomfortable and then I can’t enjoy myself” which was why he always avoided parties. He grinned slightly when she pointed out he dyed his hair grey once “Experimenting with colors is fun, I think the purple was my favorite one” he admitted and grinned shyly.
“Your hair is such a rare color, I’m sure you don’t want to ever lose it” he pointed out, noting that natural redheads were hard to find. Leigh was a dedicated person and he was passionate about what they did but he would be the first one to admit he was hopeless when it came to actually being able to artistically put anything together “Thank god you’re there because I swear I’d turn the whole place into a chaotic mess by the end of the week if not” he chuckled and scratched at the back of his neck. He could definitely picture her place having lots of plants, probably in those rope hanging baskets people had “That’s quite the feat, remembering to care for plants is tougher than most think” he chuckled thinking of the herbs he had tried to grow but forgotten to water after a week.
“Fake plants would work” he commented and laughed softly “We have far too much to worry about in here to be thinking about whether the daffodils got watered” which was a ridiculous random plant to pick but he’d said it now. “As long as you can include the prices of anything you pick out I can tally that up. Leigh raised his brows and chuckled when she mentioned online shopping had tricked her with the sizing “You realize most product listings do include the measurements right?” or perhaps he was just stickler for checking those kinds of things.
“We’ve got a company coming in to cover the kitchen setup and the service areas but when it comes to tables...or booths...those kinds of things, that’ll all need to be sources” he nodded slightly “We can take time and add things as we think of them, we don’t need to have it all right away” and he didn’t want her to get overwhelmed with any pressure that wasn’t going to get anything done.
Willow already could tell that Leigh wasn’t a party person that he liked to keep to himself in a way she was the same. She likes her own space and down time. “I’m a bit of both. I can be all for a big gathering then another time prefer a smaller group” In her time she’d been to many big and fancy parties but nothing could beat a cosy night in with friends. “You can’t beat a game night unless the people you have are competitive” She mused softly. “I’m not that good at all of the board games. My friend had been trying to get me to play dungeons and dragons for the longest time” Any chance that Rashesh got he would try to get her to play D&D but she’d always forget the rules or that the games would last all day to be played all through. “I like my own space too” Lately at times she’d find herself getting a bit overwhelmed in different situations. She put it to her still suffering anxiety and ptsd from being kept locked up for years but Willow knew she wasn’t the only celestial who was still suffering. That it wasn’t something that would be going away any time soon but they just had to learn how to live with it. Willow smiled as Leigh spoke to dying his hair different colours, she would like to try something like that but part of her wouldn’t want to ruin her natural red locks. “I think purple was the best one” She smiled warmly.
“I was thinking that. I’ve had plenty of people envy my hair saying for me to never dye it” Willow knew her hair colour was rare these days unlike in the olden days. The only people she knows got red hair was the Instar Diviners ambassador then Argent had strawberry blonde hair but all of their red hair was a different shade. “Lucky for you, you have me to make sure everything looks good. I just go behind you and touch up stuff, giving it’s finishing touch” Teasing him a little, remembering times when she’d had some days off and she’d return to the place looking a little more messy then she left it. “We both know how forgetful you can be '' She joked.
“Let's play safe and get fake plants then we can easily swap them about every so often to keep the place all looking fresh” Nodding in agreement. “Daffodils are a spring and easter type of flower not an all year one” Piping up a little, correcting Leigh knowing that she didn’t know much about plants which she already guessed. “With that I’ll be sorting out with what fake plants and flowers to get” Scrubbing it down onto her own notepad with her to do notes. “Just give me the budgets for what you want me to spend where, that will be easier for me to go off” Reminding him. Knowing she'd be overspending then end up having to redo her searching. Having been told that she has expensive tastes she wanted to be sure to know how much she had to spend first. “I don’t carry a tape measure in my handbag” Maybe know she might have to.
There’s so much for them to think about. Here she was before thinking it would be a lot simpler. Now she could tell why Leigh hadn’t done it before. “We could go to send hand furniture stores or thrift shops for some tables and chairs?” Thinking that way it could be a lot cheaper than buying it all now. “Right” The Redhead nodded knowing that Leigh could tell she was starting to get overwhelmed a little.
Honestly, Leigh couldn’t help but be excited for the future, expanding this place was going to be a challenge but he felt confident it was one they were up to and he was curious to see how things would turn out. He’d put so much of his heart and soul into this place, he wanted to see it thrive “D&D is kinda like diving in at the deep end” he commented and chuckled “Maybe try something that won’t suck you into a pit of time first” it was a bigger commitment than most people thought to keep something like that up.
He smiled softly when she said she liked his purple hair “If it wasn’t so hard to maintain I probably would have kept it” but it was a lot of work to bleach it and redye every few weeks. He chuckled “Some people would take that as a sign to keep it, others would want to immediately change it off the back of that” he laughed gently “Depending on what you think of other people’s opinions” he was definitely the type to only do what he wanted, he wouldn’t keep himself looking one way if he wasn’t happy with it.
He grumbled a little under his breath when she called him forgetful but it wasn’t like she was wrong, he did forget a lot and often needed reminding of things “Yeah…I swear I have every intention of remembering and then…poof” he was easily distracted when he was muti tasking and because everything was so buy lately, that happened quite often. “Well…you can see I’d definitely kill the flowers then” he didn’t pay them much mind honestly, the only time he thought about flowers was when he bought some for his mom whenever he went back home to visit his parents.
“Okay I’ll write you up an email with the estimated budgets, if you wanna borrow some from one to boost up another that’s fine too” he was sure she could balance things here and there. Honestly, he was quite curious to see what the redhead would come up with because he trusted her vision, more than his own anyway. And he knew they could save on a designer if they could do most of this stuff himself. “We could….but maybe it would end up looking too mismatched?” he was honestly curious “Maybe we should visit one now…see what we have to work with” there must be plenty around right.
Maybe he was right and D&D wasn’t the best game to start off with. It was a bit too competitive and complicated to say the least. “I have heard some of the quests can last for days on end. I’d rather use my time wisely doing something else” Agreeing with Leigh. Admittedly there's been some times when she was like that and books. Especially if she had fallen in love with a series but it was easier to put a book down to getting out of a board game if ones playing with take it seriously. “I can play chess,” She added. Chess was one of those games that's been around for centuries. Even after she fell to earth it was about. It was one of the favourite games with the celestials. Something still familiar when everything was so different.
Since knowing and working with each other she’s seen all different types of hair colours. From the bold and colourful and to the more subtle and naturals. Yet all seemed to suit him. Willow was sure that he’d probably tried every colour at least once. “You have to do what makes you happy now what other people want” She stopped listening to other people a long time again. One of them her own brother when she refused to leave with him choosing to stay and stand by with the other celestials. Willow was happy with her decision. Happy with the life she’s made for herself here. Meeting and working with Leigh and the book shop with all of the customers.
She couldn’t help but laugh at Leigh’s reaction to how forgetful he was but it was the truth. “Maybe try keeping a notepad near your hand. Then you won’t forget anything” She encouraged softly. With herself she always found it easier to write things down rather than lose her ideas. Being the organised person she was she had things all labelled and colour coded. “Okay so yes to having fake flowers and plants then” Laughing to herself picturing Leigh killing the flowers if it wasn’t for her receiving them all the time. “It’ll brighten up the place” They wanted for it to be bright and inviting, not dull and dark.
Slowly but surely everything was starting to come into place. Just a lot more planning and thought was needed but they knew what they were getting themselves into from the start. She was the one who encouraged Leigh to seek out his dream of expanding the bookshop, trying to do something more that bring more people in. “I’ll make some spreadsheets and stuff” Willow knew that he was putting his trust in her and she wasn’t going to let him down. She could see where he was going. Maybe second hand furniture would look a bit mismatched. “Yeah maybe you're right, we wouldn’t want that” Nodding her head agreeing with him. “Sure that sounds like a good idea” Smiling softly it was better to look in person. “It would do us good to get out of here, get some fresh air” Hating to be cooped up in one place for too long. They were both bad as each other, losing track of time. “I can look online for places” She offered, still amazed of how much you can find online these days. In the old days before she was captured and locked up it was a lot more difficult to say the least.
Leigh chuckled slightly “It’s not that it’s a waste of time, it’s just overwhelming if you aren’t super into the campaigns…it requires a lot of investment emotionally which you can’t really do if you’re confused about the rules” he grinned, he had good memories of playing back in college but he didn’t have the right social circle nowadays to keep playing. “Chess huh?” he raised his brows and grinned “I do love strategy games like chess…though I definitely take them too seriously” especially a game like that where it was purely skill over luck.
“That’s true, the thing is that you can never make everyone else happy…someone is always going to disagree of question you…hell some people just won’t like you because you’re you” it was something that took him a long time to come to terms with, that he never did anything wrong back then and the people who hurt him were the problem. “All you can do is what’s best for yourself” he nodded slightly to affirm his thoughts. “But you know I’ll put the notepad down somewhere and forget where it is” he commented and laughed softly thinking about all the times that he’d put down a pen or an order in the shop and ended up looking everywhere for it.
“It’s gonna be weird when all the lighting is put in…I’ve gotten used to the place looking like a cellar” he commented and chuckled softly, it was a good change though, he’d been thinking the place needed to look more welcoming for a while now, after all, they wanted customers to spend more time here, with the books and even the cafe. “Do you have a favorite flower?” he asked curiously “I think mine are violets…I really like purple” he remembered going into a flower shop once and the clerk had told him all about the meanings of different flowers which he found fascinating.
He brightened up on the idea of getting to go out for a bit, they’d spent quite a bit of time today going over all the ideas but he wasn’t sure it would feel all that real until they managed to see some real things. He leaned over as she searched for places and pointed out a couple he recognized on the screen “Those aren’t too far from here, let’s go check them out” he was already getting up and grabbing his things.
He was right in a way for board games; she never found herself as devoted to them with how she was to books. That they were a bit complicated to wrap her head around if she wasn’t as interested. “I’ll stick to books, I know my way with those” She mused softly. Willow saw how surprised he was when she said how she plays chess. “I play it from time to time. It's been a while tho” Pre Warning him almost before she’d find herself dragged in a game. Knowing she’d be a little bit rusty. “You do seem like the type of strategy stuff” Having caught him reading some similar books. “So what books are you currently reading?” Randomly asking out of the blue. It’s been a while since they shared what they were reading. Wanting to share with someone her latest obsession. She loved all of the classics but too she loved how much more variety there was now out there. From romance and then to fantasy. So much more than the traditional kind of stories.
Willow learnt the hard way that you can’t make everybody else happy. She was one who would always try her best to please others but it never always worked her way. It used to be easier where people would keep their opinions to themselves but now people were more open and honest. Freedom of speech. “We’ll never learn if we don’t make some mistakes along the way” Willow already knew not to take anything to heart. She couldn’t help to laugh as Leigh said that he’d most likely lose the notepad. “You’re hopeless,” She teased, shaking her head. A memory like a fish. How he loses and misplaces things most of the time. “Good thing you got me then” The organised and the unorganised. Willow could remember how things were all over the place before she started working at the book shop.
They knew it was going to be all weird at first, that they had gotten used to the place looking more like a building site rather than a book shop lately. She couldn’t wait for all of the mess to be gone along with it being less dark and creepy looking. “It has been too dark for me” She hated if anywhere was too dark preferring for it to be full of light to dark. Yet she knew that she brightened up any room that she walked in. She didn’t have a favouerte flower as such. Never been able to decide which one she likes best. “I like tulips, purple is a great collie” She smiled in agreement. “I like any flower really, different flowers for different seasons. You have Daffodilds and Snowdrops for the spring, then Daisies and Roses for the summer, then petunia’s and sunflowers for the autum and winter there’s someone but not really much” Being old as she was she knew some things about flowers, she looked over to Leigh waiting for him to be speechless. “I think there’s some books about flowers somewhere. If you wanna do your own research or leave it to me to organise with a florist” Leaving it completely up to him not wanting to take over completely. “I can make sure to have some purple violets just for you”
Willow knew that Leigh would want to stay and carry on brainstorming but she could see that they were both needing to get out and get some fresh air. He was right that it was better to see it all in person. This was the only opportunity they had a while spare to go browning and shopping. “Do you want to lead the way?” Looking over to him knowing that he was probably more used to this neighbourhood than her. She tended to stick to where she knew. “I’ll start making a list of different places just in case we don’t find what we want at the first place” Already she was starting to write down different names of shops and the addresses. “At least us doing together you’ll help me not to overspend”