“Why would you want to spend time in a boring, dusty, antique store?”
“Well, the company is not unbearable,” Rowen replied with a half smile, “And I am debating purchasing an item.”
“Oh, is that so?” Lea raised an eyebrow, “What item?”
“Perhaps this very unique lamp,” Rowen began thoughtfully; “The colors are quite stunning.”
“Ah, is there anything else you like about the lamp?” Lea questioned.
“The shape is also very appealing,” Rowen nodded, eyeing the lamp, “It also is very illuminating.”
“What makes you think you’re worthy of such a lamp?” Lea sighed forlornly, “It looks like it has high standards.”
“I have quite a bit to offer a lamp that captures my attention as this one has,” Rowen inclined his head.
Lea was about to reply when the bell rang, announcing the presence of her brother and his best friend.
“Oh, hey Lea,” Brian greeted her, “I didn’t know you’d be here at this time.”
“Really?” she raised an eyebrow, “Because I’m here every time you grace the shop with your presence.”
Rowen sent her a quizzical glance before focusing his attention to the teenage boy.
“Oh, who knew?” Brian shrugged, smiling as he leaned against the counter, ignoring Rowen who stood beside him, “I guess we’ve spent a lot of time together in the past, haven’t we?”
“I suppose,” she grimaced, “Don’t you and Erik have some hangouts to… hang out in?”
“Why? This is such a nice place to hang out in! There’s… old things.”
“Are there?” Lea glanced around, “Oh… so there is.”
“So, I wanted to ask you something,” Brian’s finger began tracing invisible lines on the glass counter, gradually getting closer to Lea’s hand, “Would you like to go on a date sometime?”
All heads turned to face Rowen when he caught the lamp right before it hit the ground.
“So, what do’ya say?” Brian asked, ignoring the lamp incident, “Will you go out with me?”
“Brian,” she shook her head sadly, “You’re a nice guy and all, but…” she leaned across the counter and whispered, “haven’t you heard the rumors about me?”
Brian swallowed hard, eyes wide.
“So… it’s true then? That you’re…?”
“I’m afraid so,” she nodded gravely, “Sorry.”
“And you’re not like… bi or anything?” he asked hopefully.
“Nope, I’m one-hundred percent… you know.”
“Well, I’d better get home,” Brian stuttered, “I’ll… Bye Erik.”
As he fled out the door, Lea turned to Rowen whose expression was stony.
“I’m gonna do some homework in the storeroom,” Erik said, “Let me know if you need me.”
“I did not realize it was possible for a Beast to not be heterosexual,” Rowen told her, his voice tense.
“Can’t you tell when a girl is trying to get rid of an annoying guy?” Lea winked.
“So you are not…?”
“Now I didn’t say that,” Lea hedged, her smile widening.
“Do you enjoy torturing men?” Rowen raised an eyebrow.
“Far more than I should,” she nodded, unabashed.
“You are not going to give me a straight answer, are you?”
“Nope,” Lea replied happily.