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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.