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Twist of Fate

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“I’m gonna run and get a Frappuccino boss. You want something?” Constance asked.

 

“Anything that’s not a cup of whipped cream and milk, yes,” Debbie grinned, throwing a bill at the younger girl. “Make it black like my soul.”

 

“I know the drill,” Constance chuckled, giving Debbie a salute before sprinting out the door.

 

Debbie leaned back against the counter with a sigh. She had no idea how she was going to come up with rent for the storefront next month. Money had never looked grand in the world of books, but who needed a book on travel when they had google and Siri. Why even leave your house to bother with the airport or a cruise ship when you could just watch a documentary about that faraway place on Netflix? She banged her head against the counter with a frustrated groan.

 

Just then, the bell tinkled overhead and Debbie stood, straightening out her dress, pasting a smile on her face. Debbie opened a random book by the register to keep herself occupied as the woman perused, another man coming into the shop a few moments later. The woman was tall. Taller than Debbie even. Her platform boots clicked against the creaking splintered wooden floor, long legs hidden within tight black leather pants. An ink bottle green velvet blazer, purple crushed velvet vest peeking out. So many gold chains that Debbie couldn’t count them all if she tried. She couldn’t help looking at the blonde’s long ring-laden fingers, short black nails reaching out for a book on one of the shelves. Debbie gasped quietly to herself. Was it at all possible that this was Lou Miller?

Lou Miller, who had broken out of the indie music of the shadows and entered the rock scene after a volatile breakup with her folk singer former girlfriend? Who currently had not one, but three songs that had just gone platinum. She was highly praised. Raved about. Constantly in the news for her new sound and style, like no other, full of fury and rage and a battle between heartbreaker and heartbroken. And Debbie was pretty sure that now, the famous hands of Lou Miller that were usually wrapped around an electric guitar or gripping a microphone were gently pressing through Debbie’s book collection, a careful index finger dragging along the shelves as she read titles calmly but efficiently.

 

Debbie watched in awe, nearly stumbling over herself as the woman came forward and placed two books on the corner.

 

“These two any good?” Lou asked, looking genuinely interested.

 

Debbie worked to tear her face away from the stunning blue eyes, hidden by smudged black eyeliner and looked down at the titles. She could’ve sworn the woman smirked at her, having caught her staring for a beat too long.

 

“You know actually—“ something caught Debbie’s eye and she cursed under her breath. “Will you give me a moment please?”

 

Lou nodded, completely unfazed and Debbie turned her attention to the man who had entered the shop right after the blonde, having spotted him put a book in his backpack.

 

“If you’re going to steal books, you could at least do it from a big corporation like Barnes and Noble,” Debbie sighed, tapping her foot. “Hand it over.”

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he laughed awkwardly, holding his hands up.

 

“Then you won’t mind if I take a look inside your backpack?” Debbie asked. “I’ve been trying to compare models, you know. For travel and such.”

 

“Alright, fine,” he sighed. “Fine. I’m putting it back.”

 

“Oh, no,” Debbie smirked. “You can buy it. Might as well. Wouldn’t want you to miss out. Come on. I’ll ring you up.”

 

He let out a deep huff but agreed, following Debbie back to the register.

 

Debbie apologized to Lou and went to explain her opinion on the books when the man piped up again.

 

“You’re Lou Miller right?” He asked. “Will you sign this?”

 

“Sure, kid,” she smiled, throwing a wink to Debbie. A sharpie emerged from her pocket and Debbie tried to crane her neck to see what she was writing as it took much longer than what her name would’ve. But Lou flipped it to show Debbie rather than him.

 

I am a dirty fucking thief and tried to steal from an innocent independent bookstore because I’m scum. Lou Miller was there.

 

“Oh,” Debbie laughed. “Now that’s a collector’s item right there.”

 

“Thanks man!” The guy grinned, taking the book back before drowning down with a “hey!”

 

Debbie rolled her eyes and turned back to Lou, the woman’s eyes now twinkling.

 

“Can’t trust thieves, can you?” She sighed and Debbie’s heart sunk a bit.

 

“No, you can’t,” Debbie smiled sadly. “Anyway, you should have these on the house. Least I can do for your lovely warning and security here. The top one’s just alright, but the bottom one is definitely a winner.”

 

“Well, I’ll start with that one this afternoon then,” she smiled with a nod. “And nonsense. I love a good bookshop.” She slid a fifty across the counter with a ‘thank you’ and headed for the door, sliding the books under her arm.

 

“Wait!” Debbie cried. “Your…change.” She muttered. Knowing she missed her.

 

She had only a second to act. She decided to go for it. Slipping the bill from the counter and chasing after her, intent on not letting Lou pay for something as silly as two cheap little books. She looked for leather pants and the green blazer as she jogged, maybe the blonde hair. She would hand it back and say something witty and—

 

Then Debbie was on the floor and so was Lou. The blonde was rubbing at her head, with a scowl on her face.

 

“Oh, fuck me,” Debbie groaned, seeing blood trickling down the blonde’s forehead.

 

“If you buy me dinner first,” Lou whispered, her face cinched in pain.

 

“Jesus,” Debbie breathed for multiple reasons. “God, I’m such a klutz. I’m sorry. I just didn’t want you to have to pay or at least give you change—shit, people are starting to stare. I—would you like to come by my apartment? There’s blood on your face and I’d hate for that damn paparazzi to have a field day with this and I know it’s weird but it’s just a block away and—“

 

“Yes,” Lou nodded. “Thank you. That’d be great.”

 

Debbie paused in surprise.

 

“Lead the way?” Lou laughed, flinching at the pain. “Can you help me up?”

 

“Shit, yeah. Of course,” Debbie smiled awkwardly, reaching out a hand to help Lou stand. “It’s just this way,” she whispered, ushering Lou into the shadows of the street as she walked them towards her apartment. She unlocked the door, grateful they’d both made it inside pretty much unscathed aside from Lou’s bloody wound.

 

They stood on the other side of Debbie’s door, impossibly close. Lou’s breath on Debbie’s neck.

 

“I have a first aid kit,” Debbie murmured. “Let me just—I’ll get some stuff to fix you up. Make yourself comfortable.”

 

Lou nodded again. It seemed to be her main form of communication. Debbie reluctantly left the room to find her first aid kit and some Peroxide from the bathroom as well as some cotton puffs. She returned to the lower floor to see Lou sitting on the couch, sliding her boots off and then reaching for her blazer, strong pale arms now evident against her purple vest.

 

“I come bearing supplies,” Debbie announced.

 

“My hero,” the blonde laughed.

 

“Just Debbie will do.”

 

“Debbie,” the blonde repeated. “Suits you.”

 

“Thanks,” Debbie smiled, blushing as she felt Lou’s eyes linger on her. “May I?” Debbie asked gesturing to the first aid kit.

 

Lou hummed a yes and Debbie set to work on cleaning Lou’s forehead and putting a small piece of gauze to it to stop the bleeding before repairing it with a small bandaid.

 

“You’d make a good nurse,” Lou chuckled.

 

The brunette didn’t reply, too caught up in trying not to make a fool of herself as she breathed in Lou’s scent, still in shock how close she was and that she’d injured the star to begin with. She still wasn’t over Lou Miller walking straight into her bookshop as if it was the most carefree thing in the world.

 

“All patched up,” Debbie finally smiled. “Can I get you anything? Need to wash up? Maybe some water or tea or I have coffee.”

 

“I’d better be going actually,” Lou smiled sadly. “My team will be wondering where I’ve run off to.”

 

The blonde stood, throwing the blazer over her arm.

 

Debbie was desperate to make things up to her. To offer her anything.

 

“Sandwich maybe? Or a snack for the road? I have some chips or a yogurt. Or a water?”

 

“You’ve already offered me water,” Lou smirked. “I’ll pass on the yogurt. Debbie, really. I’m fine. Thank you for your help.”

 

Debbie nodded to herself, disappointed by her bumbling and babbling. She walked Lou towards the door and shrugged.

 

“I guess this is goodbye?”

 

“Guess so,” Lou sighed, clicking her tongue. She gave Debbie a small wave and opened the door into the street.

 

Debbie sank against it, smacking her hand against her face. What a flustered idiot.

 

There was a rapid knock on the door that made Debbie’s heart flutter and she opened it quickly to find Lou standing there, who welcomed herself inside and suddenly—suddenly was pressing Debbie up against the wall, her hands on her waist as she licked into her mouth, kissing her deeply as Debbie melted into it with a sigh before Lou was pulling away all too soon.

 

“I forgot my books,” Lou whispered, pulling away. “Figured I should grab them. Near death experience and all.”

 

“So you didn’t change your mind about the yogurt then?” Debbie asked with a dizzy smile.