"This is so boring!" Tamlyn whined from across the store. "Where are all the customers?" She was leaning on the counter, her foot tapping impatiently and her fingers drumming the granite.
"I don't know, Tamlyn," Sébastien sighed and rolled his eyes. This was the second weekend she had worked with him and he was convinced she was the reason for the drop in sales. Well, not entirely convinced. The girl was actually quite a skilled sales person and learned quickly. She flirted innocently with the old men, talked about fashion with the women, was able to remember nearly everything he had told her about the products. He hated to admit it, but he had actually been slightly impressed.
"Well what are we supposed to be doing right now? I mean, isn't there something I can clean or some receipts to go through?"
Sébastien smirked. "You can go home if you like."
"Ugh," Tamlyn moaned and stood up straight only to slouch over the counter again. "There's nothing to do at home besides study and I swear to God that my history teacher is trying to corrupt us or something. He's tells all these crazy stories and I have no idea where he gets his information. Like, this one day, he came to class dressed in full on ninja robes and started telling us about..."
"Why do you think I care?"
Tamlyn frowned and then glared at him. "I don’t. I was only trying to make conversation."
"Well, don’t bother," Sébastien snapped.
Tamlyn looked out the windows and kept her mouth shut. She hated that she couldn't get through to Sébastien. She knew that he was miserable in Paris and most likely with his life in general. Maybe it wasn’t just Paris, maybe it was the fact that he was a college graduate and still living with his parents. But Luc and Pierre allowed him all the freedom in the world as long as he ran the store. He could easily afford a place of his own so why hadn’t he made the move? She was beyond curious to figure this guy out, to get him to open up to her. He showed more emotion toward her than anybody else, although this was always anger or frustration. At least it was a start.
She turned her head just slightly so she could look at him from the corner of her eye. He was sitting in a chair, a travel magazine in his lap, his brow creased but his eyes excited. She stood up from the counter and walked silently toward him, completely forgetting that he had snapped at her only seconds before.
"Are you planning a trip somewhere?" She asked, craning her neck so she could see the article he was so engrossed in.
"No," Sébastien answered.
"What are you reading about?"
The magazine was slammed shut and her host brother glared at her from his chair. "Do you ever stop talking?"
"I'm sorry!" Tamlyn exclaimed, sitting down in the chair next to him and crossing her arms and legs. "I'm just so bored!"
"Not my problem," Sébastien said slowly, returning to his magazine.
"Why won't you talk to me?" Tamlyn demanded, not finding a reason for him to resist any longer. Now was as good a time as any to get his anger out in the open.
"I have nothing to say to you."
"But why not? Everyone has something to say! I swear, I can talk about anything you want to talk about. Travel? Let's talk about travel. Have you ever been to..."
"Tamlyn, just stop!" Sébastien screamed, standing up and walking toward the storage room in the back. But he could hear her footsteps close behind him.
"No, you stop, Sébastien! This is ridiculous. I'm going to be living with you for another eight months so the least you could do is give a little effort. I'm trying and trying here but you aren't giving me anything to work with!"
"I don't want you to try anymore!" Sébastien said, turning around throwing up his arms in frustration. "You are talking or singing or making some kind of noise every waking hour! You are inconsiderate and completely oblivious to everything and everyone around you! You can never say or do the right thing so please stop trying to be my friend."
Tamlyn's mouth fell open as she put her hands on her hips. “You have got some nerve, Sébastien! All right, maybe I’m not the most modest person, maybe I should think before I open my mouth, maybe I act out of line at times. But did you ever stop to think that I’m not talking to you for my benefit? Did you ever stop to think that I might be trying to help you?”
“Help me? Help me with what?” Sébastien crossed his arms and took a step toward her, hatred pouring from his eyes directly into hers.
“Help you figure out why you are so angry all the time,” Tamlyn said, not hesitating at all. “Help you figure out why you are so miserable here.”
“You make me angry and miserable, Tamlyn!” Sébastien yelled at her and watched as she jumped. Could she be scared of him? She wasn’t running away or backing down. Her face was stern and her eyes were glued to his, her lips pursed in defiance.
“It’s not me and you know it!” She screamed back at him. “You just found someone to blame all your problems on when I moved in.”
Sébastien knew she was right but was never going to admit it. The fire brewing inside of him was too strong and he knew couldn’t back down. “The day you moved in was the worst day of my life!”
Tamlyn laughed in his face at his childish comeback. “If meeting me is the worst thing that has ever happened in your life then I do feel sorry for you. No wonder you don’t have the strength to move out or get a real job.”
This pushed him to the edge and he grabbed her arm in an attempt to emphasize his point. “You don’t know a thing about my life,” he said through clenched teeth. “You think that because you get to live in Paris, sleep with half the men in the building, go to the south of France with your friends that you are really experiencing life? Grow up, Tamlyn. None of this matters in the real world.”
“Well at least I’m doing something,” she said, glaring up at him. Sébastien could see that he had hit a nerve and smirked at her expression. His hand remained on her arm, her skin soft and warm under his fingers. He knew he should let go, that touching her was only confusing him more, but he couldn’t. “I worked hard to get here and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished,” Tamlyn continued. “That’s probably more than you can say for yourself.”
Sébastien had never seen anyone so worked up. Tamlyn was never good at hiding emotions but he hadn’t expected them to stretch so far. He could literally see the frustration and anger in every feature of her body. The way her nose crinkled when she yelled at him, the way she tried to keep her hands from clenching into fists, the way she stood on her toes when stressing a point. He knew he should just back off and let her win this fight, but he wasn’t ready to give up. He wanted to push her a little further. “I wouldn’t consider having Mum and Dad pay for a plane ticket an accomplishment. They probably sent you away seeing as you are impossible to live with.”
Tamlyn’s hand had raised and slapped him across the cheek before he even realized what she was doing. But Sébastien reacted quickly and grabbed her wrist, pulling her to him unintentionally. Tamlyn stumbled forward and crashed into him, the impact of her perfect hourglass figure taking him by surprise. Sébastien stared down at her as she struggled to regain her balance, looking completely helpless.
“What do you think you’re…”
But he couldn’t let her finish her question. Without knowing why but without the reason to care, Sébastien took Tamlyn’s face between his hands and kissed her hard on the mouth. She shrieked in shock and pushed against his chest but he wouldn’t release her. He couldn’t let her go. Her lips, those lips from which had come hours and hours of mindless blabber, felt like pure bliss when pressed against his. And her body which had caused countless daydreams and endless confusion for him felt more amazing than he had ever imagined.
He held her face until she gave up her struggle and her hand fell from his chest. He slowly moved his mouth against hers, tasting he lips and then forcing them apart. A soft moan came from Tamlyn as their tongues met, Sébastien gently teasing her. The room was silent and their bodies were still, never had he felt so at peace with Tamlyn – or any other person for that matter.
But soon Sébastien could taste her salty tears and he pulled away quickly, stepping back and opening his eyes. Tamlyn was already staring at him, all of her emotion now pouring from her lids and streaking her face. He opened his mouth to speak, wanting to apologize and perhaps suggest they forget the entire afternoon had ever happened. But she beat him to it.
“Go to hell, Sébastien.”
She had turned around and fled the store before he could even think to chase after her. What had he just done? He swore out loud and slammed the door, squatting to the ground with his head in his hands, his confusion too much to handle. He knew he had to talk to her, figure out what he exactly he had said that had pushed her over the edge.
Sébastien sprang back to his feet and threw open the door. The lights of the shop were turned off and the shutters closed. He locked the deadbolt behind him and walked quickly up the street. He couldn’t see Tamlyn in front of him so he picked up his pace, jogging the next block and then sprinting the rest of the way home.
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