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The food court was a second home to you. A loud, messy, slightly sticky, second home. You had spent hours in this room throughout your entire life - as a little elementary schooler, when you would beg your mom to get you a pretzel, as a middle schooler when you would gossip with your friends over greasy pizza, as a high schooler when you grab something to eat between school and practice, and now as a college student working to pay for tuition. 

Working at Bath and Body Works was... fine. It definitely wasn't the worst job a person could have. The clientele was mostly middle aged white women and middle school girls (except around christmastime when their husbands and boyfriends would come in), so customer service was a hassle, but other than that it was actually nice.

Oh, and you were slowly losing your sense of smell, but whatever.

The best part of working at the mall was your break though. You would come to the food court and use your mall employee I.D. to stock up on greasy pizza with your best and most fearless friend - Noah, who managed the Hot Topic in the storefront across from Bath and Body Works. You had gone to school with her for years, but it was only now that you were both college students and working that you actually became friends. It was a real shame that you hadn't reached out sooner. 

You were in the food court now, enjoying your lunch break across the table from Noah. You made an interesting pair - you in your blue jeans and sensible white shirt, and her in ripped black skinny jeans and pentagram earrings. 

"Anyway," Noah said, taking another bite of pizza. "They keep asking if we sell Youtooz with the Funko Pop figures, and like, the whole point of Youtooz is that you have to get them online - it's just annoying."

You hummed sympathetically, finishing off a slice. 

"What about you?" Noah asked, running a napkin around her mouth. "Anything exciting in the world of scented lotions?"

You snickered and picked up a napkin for yourself, wiping the grease off your fingers. "Not really. A couple of Karens this morning, but that's normal."

"I'm just mad you guys got rid of your Halloween candles." Noah said. "Bring Vampire Blood back-"

"Noah, it's May." You laughed, taking a sip from your drink. 

"And what about it?" Noah said. "I can't have my apartment smelling like, fuckin, sweet daisies or whatever, it wouldn't match the vibe."

"I'll see if we have any left in the back, but I think you bled us dry, man." You said. "That one's not even that good, the pumpkin ones are better-"

"Blasphemy!" Noah exclaimed. "How could you say such a thing in my presence?"

You laughed, and tossed your napkin at Noah playfully. "I'm literally an expert in this stuff, they pay me to tell people which candles are good. You're really going to sit there and tell me I don't know what I'm talking about?"

Noah paused. "Fine, but next time you want a discount on your tee shirts don't ask me, 'cause it's not happening."

You spluttered. "Wait, wait, wait, that's crossing a line here-"

"Then admit Vampire Blood smells delicious!" Noah said. "You know I'm right, you just like arguing with me!"

You pursed your lips, taking another gulp of your drink as you thought. "Fine. Vampire Blood is pretty good."

"I'll take it." Noah said, kicking back in her chair, content. 

"And I'll still get my discount?" You asked. 

Noah waved a hand in the air, conceding. "You'll still get your discount."

And all was right in the world. You finished off your drink and set the cup aside, leaning back in your seat to watch the people around the mall. There was a mother dragging along two toddlers to the Foot Locker, a group of middle school girls chattering as they walked past Abercrombie, and some teenage boys daring each other to walk into Victoria's Secret. This was something else you frequently enjoyed - watching people go about their days. Something about it made you feel a little better about being a college student working an only-a-little-above-minimum-wage-job.

"Hey what time is it?" Noah asked, leaning forward so that her chair hit the tiled ground again. 

You pulled your phone out to check the time. "12:27." You said. "I should probably head back."

"Cool." Noah said. "I've still got ten minutes... probably going to go flirt with the girl at the piercing kiosk."

You laughed and stood up, gathering up the dirty plates and napkins. "Grab the cups?" Noah picked up the cups and your wallet before following you to the trashcans. 

You dropped off your load and Noah tossed the cups into the recycling before handing you your wallet back. 

"By the way," Noah said. "I have to stop to pick up some groceries on the way home today, do you mind?" 

"Not at all." You said. 

"Cool, see you man." Noah said, waving as she started off towards the piercing kiosk, hands in her pockets and bright pink curls bouncing as she walked. 

You smiled as she walked away, turning to head back to your store. It was probably a good thing that Noah had to stop for food, you needed to stock up your fridge as well. Plus, you weren't going to throw a fit even if you didn't - you were lucky enough that she would let you carpool with her as you couldn't afford a car of your own. 

Still, you had another few hours of work before you had to worry about getting home. As you made the trek back to your store, you did some more people watching. There were more mothers and their children, and another group of middle schoolers. Sometimes it did feel like you were the only person of your age in the whole building. It would be nice if there was the occasional cute boy, but alas, Bath and Body Works was not exactly the place for that. 

Wasn't like you could change that though. 



A LITTLE LESS SIXTEEN CANDLES; A LITTLE MORE TOUCH ME // Karl Jacobs X ReaderWhere stories live. Discover now