~Chapter Fourteen - Gypsy Rose~

"Grace, you’re here!" Maggie cried, hurrying over and throwing me into a hug.

         I breathed in her familiar musky scent, not realising how much I’d missed her over the last two weeks. I wrapped my hands around her slim waist and squeezed gently. Maggie had always seemed like such a fragile creature, and I was always worried I'd break her in half.

         "Hey, Mags," I said.

         One thing about Gypsy Rose was that it was very casual towards its workers. Maggie was just about the best boss in the world. She was only around thirty, with blond hair and caring green eyes. She was small and slim, with rosy cheeks, a sweet smile and tanned skin. She was soft-spoken, gentle and kind, and I loved her to death.

         I looked around the shop and at the new restorations.

         "New wallpaper?" I asked, swinging open the door to the kitchen and flinging my satchel down on the bench.

         She grinned. "More retro-hippie flowers," she proclaimed proudly, as if she'd been panning for gold and discovered a fortune.

         I peered closer at the wallpaper and furrowed my brow. "Is that… Are those tiny whales?!"

         She peered over my shoulder and laughed, filling the room with a sweet, tinkling sound. "Uh-huh. To save the whales! I thought it sent a positive message to everyone that we don’t support the slaughter of whales."

         I shook my head ruefully. Only Maggie could find wallpaper with retro-hippie seventies flowers and miniature whales and still manage to make it look cool.

         I grabbed a black apron off the hook and tied it around my waist, pulled my hair back in a messy bun and quickly checked my appearance off the reflection of one of the aluminium kitchen appliances.

         Black button-down dress shirt with three quarter sleeves, enclosed leather shoes and black dress pants with the Gypsy Rose logo on it was our uniform. I pinned on my badge that said, Hi, welcome to Gypsy Rose! My name is Grace.

 

         I turned back to Maggie, who was talking to April, a pretty girl with strawberry-blond hair and large blue-green eyes, though she seemed totally unaware of her prettiness. She was always quiet and mousy.

         "Okay, April, you can take the west side of the floor. That’s now your section. Grace, chill out in the back and clean up the kitchen, please."

         I moved over to the sink and ran some water into the basin, adding some organic lemon-smelling detergent. I quickly dropped in some of the reusable Tupperware containers we stored leftovers in and began scrubbing industriously, humming to myself as I did my assigned job.

         Half-an-hour had passed before a pair of arms wrapped around my waist and pulled me into a tight hug. I grinned as I looked down at the feminine, familiar arms.

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