OPENING ACT: THE ENTRANCE TO A PIT OF LOVE
Grace was in a state of total despondency as she wandered out of the nail salon early that afternoon. The bangs of her long, sunny-blonde hair clung to the sides of her pale face like glue. Her glazed azure-blue eyes stared straight ahead as she walked along the dirty sidewalk pavement, not paying an ounce of attention to the crowds of people rushing past her left and right. Never before had she felt so low in spirits, so downtrodden and hopeless. It was like someone had torn out her heart and stomped it to pieces into the ground. She wasn't going to burst out crying, though; she wasn't willing to let her disappointment take her THAT far.
Like most 19-year-old college dropouts she knew of, Grace was looking for a part-time job with adequate pay. However, the last 7 places she applied to all rejected her for someone who was apparently much more highly qualified. This nail salon, one place that she herself had frequently visited in her younger days, was the 8th establishment in a row to turn her away. The reason for this rejection was much less subtly than the others, though.
'Argh...I shouldn't have gone and complimented that woman's breasts like that!' Grace thought, running her manicured fingers over her face, 'What the hell was I thinking?! I had sworn to myself that I would do whatever I could to keep my sexuality a secret if I got a job at any of these places! I mean...it's one thing to say they have nice hair, or good fashion sense...but talking about the tits of some woman you just met?! God, I really am an idiot! I need to keep my personal feelings on the down-low from now on!'
Grace had begun to contemplate turning to alcohol for comfort when something caused her to freeze in her tracks. A few feet away from her, just right across the street, was a small pastry shop. The blonde girl swiftly glanced up and down the road for oncoming cars, and then dashed over to the shop in an attempt to get a better look inside. A large clear-glass window pane allowed any passerby to peer into the store and see all of its delicious contents. However, what Grace had her eyes on was not the decadent desserts, but the young, tall woman standing behind the counter.
Like Grace, this woman had blonde hair, although it was of such a lighter shade that it could have been considered white. Her hair was messy and unkempt, and it just barely touched past her earlobes. She was incredibly handsome, and might have been mistaken for a man if not for the noticeable bulge in the chest area. Her eyes were a pair of beautiful, sparkling emeralds that seemed to light up whenever she was speaking to a customer. She was very well-built, and Grace estimated that she must have been at least an inch or two over six feet in height. A small tattoo resembling a heart was located just above the elbow of her left arm. She wore a light-green apron with the store's logo, a golden eclair, stitched into it, and she also had on a plain white T-shirt and blue jeans.
'Wow...she's beautiful...and really, really hot...I should get a job here...' Grace was practically drooling with lust. She had been sexually interested in women for several years now, but never before had she felt so completely mesmerized by another girl like this. For a second there, she had the urge to charge straight in, grab that woman by the waist, and kiss her full on the lips. She reluctantly shook off this romantic fantasy of hers, not wanting to let herself get caught up in the dream. Gently closing her eyes, the blonde girl pressed her hands to her chest, and silently thanked the Goddess of Love for presumably directing her to this place.
A wonderful array of scents nearly overwhelmed Grace's senses as she stepped into the pastry shop. The walls were a bright shade of pink, and the floor tiles alternated between white and black. Several rounded tables withcushionedchairs were positioned all around the room, a giant ceiling fan spinning speedily about overhead. There was a single hallway off to the left that contained both the restrooms and the manager's office. The counter was next to the hallway's entrance, and the door leading into the kitchen could be seen directly behind the handsome blonde girl. She bowed her head slightly as she handed a rather homely-looking man an eclair and bid him farewell.
Once the man had made his exit, Grace stepped up to the counter and put on her sweetest smile. "...H-Hello," her voice faltered for just the slightest of moments. Her eyes gradually moved down to the name-tag the tall girl wore over her left breast. It said that her name was 'Riley'. Grace made a mental note to remember that name, especially for later.
"Hey there. Just a moment, please..." The girl named Riley waved to her, but she then turned her back to Grace as she placed the money into the cash register. Grace took this time to glance at Riley's buttocks. They weren't too big, but they weren't too small, either. She was practically dying to just give it a tiny little pinch, if only to feel its firmness. Riley turned back to face her, and Grace immediately straightened her posture.
"Welcome to our store, where we sell delicious pastries at cheap prices! What may I get for you today?" Riley motioned towards the menu of items listed on the bulletin board hanging above her. Grace ignored this and continued to stare at Riley, who had begun to grow a bit uneasy for some reason. A gentle blush spread out on her cheeks, and Grace could feel a tickling sensation swell up in her chest. This girl was not only smoking hot, but she seemed to be as bashful as hell, too!
"Umm...does this establishment have any jobs open for people looking for work?" Grace tried to make herself sound cool and smooth, like she wasn't busy guessing Riley's cup size in the back of her mind.
Riley nodded her head. "Actually, we have been looking for someone to help provide me some assistance so as to attend to more customers at one time. If you want to get a job here, all you need to do is speak to the manager, whose office is at the end of the corridor over there...he'll explain everything to you."
"Do we need any specific requirements, like a college degree or anything?"
Riley raised an eyebrow in bewilderment, unsure if this strange girl was kidding or not. "Uhm...this is a pastry shop, not a university. As long as you're not secretly working for North Korea or anything, he'll probably hire you..."
"Thank you," Grace grinned seductively, running a finger over the counter's sleek surface, "Riley. I really hope I get this job; I'm sure it'll be very...fun...working here alongside you in this quaint little pastry shop."
Riley's face became even more flushed as Grace graciously waltzed on by and around the corner. Never before had a customer made the tomboy feel so incredibly flustered. She had been the object of flirtation from both men and women in the past, but she usually paid it no mind. This Grace girl, however, was different in a way that Riley couldn't easily describe. She really seemed serious in her subtle attempt to seduce her, whereas all the others had simply been joking around.
'I'm a little concerned about whether that girl should work here or not...maybe I should talk to Damien about this.' Riley thought as she stepped through the double doors, and into the kitchen.
Unlike the rest of the store, the kitchen was a dim and dreary place. The walls and the floor were covered in stainless steel plating, and there were piles upon piles of dirty dishes stacked up on dark-green trays. Boxes of half-eaten pastries were crammed together in the upper-left corner. The room reeked heavily of laundry detergent, for some reason.
A young man in his early 20s, with short greasy black hair and a pale face, was busy slaving over the stove in back, stirring around a bubbling white concoction in a rusted pot. His large, charcoal-colored eyes were bloodshot and droopy, and he licked his dry lips over and over in a counter-clockwise fashion. It took about several minutes before he realized that Riley was standing behind him. He put on a friendly grin as he turned to face her, all of his teeth a sickly shade of yellow.
"Hey, Riley...what's up?" He had a very high-pitched voice for a man his age.
"Some girl just came in here looking for a job, Damien," Riley explained, slumping her shoulders, "And...and I think she was hitting on me for a little bit..."
Damien scratched his head. "Oh...so, what? People flirt with you all the time!"
"Yeah, but...this time, I think I kinda liked it more than usual..." Riley's entire face became as red as a tomato as she spoke.
"Oh..." Damien thought to himself for a few seconds, "Well then, what's the problem? You're gay, and she's assumed to be gay since she flirted with you! Everything will work out fine if you show her that you like her back...!"
"But...but I just met her! I don't even know her name yet! I don't want to get my heart broken like last time! I'm going to wait a while...and see how things work out between us. I'll try and be just her friend first, and let nature run it's course..."
"Hmph. You hardly ever take my advice..." Damien pouted.
"That's because your advice usually involves me having to inject heroine into my bloodstream at some point," Riley dully pointed out.
Meanwhile, Grace was still standing outside of the manager's office, waiting for him to at least welcome her in. She had knocked about five times already, and yet there had been no response. She was almost about ready to give up when a loud, husky voice boomed out from behind the wooden door.
"YOU CAN COME IN NOW!! THE DOOR'S UNLOCKED FOR YOU...!!!"
Grace hesitated for a second before turning the doorknob slowly to the left. The interior of the office was enshrouded in darkness. A lone, bulky figure was lying perfectly still on the floor, its arms and legs spread outwards. Grace gently tapped its side with her foot. It twitched violently before jumping up to a full stand of 5'08" feet.
"Ah...ah...who're you?!" The manager of the pastry shop was a portly old man, with graying hair and a bushy moustache. His bulbous nose seemed to be drenched in what appeared to be whipped cream. He wore a brown leather jacket, a polka-dot tie, brown khaki pants, a pair of brown loafers, and black driving gloves. his beady little eyes looked Grace up and down several times. Grumbling under his breath, the old man waddled over to his desk, and slumped backwards into the swiveling chair.
"...You here for a job, little missy?" The manager lit a cigar and slid it in between his puffy lips.
Grace nodded. "Yes. My name...is Grace. I would like to work here in your pastry shop."
"Huh...I see," A puff of smoke spewed out of the corners of the man's lips, "My name is Tony, and I'm the manager of this little business, y'see. This is our only store, and we do not have many employees. It's just me and my boy Damien here-"
"Umm...what about Riley?" Grace spoke up.
"Ah, yeah! Her too, her too...she's quite popular with our customers, both male and female...she would have made a fine member of our organization if she wasn't so damn timid..." Tony grumbled under his breath.
Grace cocked her head slightly to the side. "Excuse me?"
"It's nothing! Nothing at all! Please ignore that last statement!" Tony quickly waved it off, and continued to speak, "Anyway, what kind of job experience do you have?"
"...None." Grace replied, hanging her head in shame.
"Meh. That's better than nothing. You're hired." Tony reached into his desk and took out a name-tag and a black marker, "Write your name down on here...and make sure we can all read it! Don't go writing it in any of that fancy-shmancy script shit, okay?!"
"Alright..." Once she finished scribbling down her name, Grace clipped the flimsy name-tag onto her shirt and beamed proudly. "How much does this job pay?" she asked while handing back the marker. She cursed herself for not having asked that beforehand, but the thought of simply being next to that beautiful Riley girl was much too tempting.
"Eh, it's minimum wage...!"
"What about health benefits? Worker holidays? Promotions?"
"...It's a pastry shop, miss. You take what you can get."
"Now get going already; Riley will explain everything to ya!" Tony rolled his eyes and shrugged his shoulders. He continue to remain blissfully unaware of the whipped cream on his nose as Grace charged out the door at full speed. Her eyes lit up with excitement when she saw that Riley was already waiting for her at the end of the hallway. For some reason, the tomboy looked rather conflicted, but she still wore a friendly smile.
"Hey, Riley! It looks like we'll be PARTNERS together...!" Grace put extra-emphasis on the word 'partners'.
Riley chuckled nervously in response. "That's great, uh..." she glanced at Grace's name-tag, "Grace. It's a...a real pleasure to welcome a new employee into our ranks, especially since we're so low on workers at the moment..."
Grace was enchanted by the way the light reflected off of Riley's sparkling verdant eyes. "I'm really, really happy to be working here. All of the other places I went to turned me away, so finally getting a job has really brightened up my day! So before we begin my training...I think we should get to know each other better! How old are you anyway, Riley? I'm just curious, is all! I'm 19 years old, to let you know."
"Really? That's cool; I'm 19, too!" Riley admitted with a sheepish chortle. She was a little glad to see that the new girl was capable of being friendly instead of just flirtatious. It wasn't until now that she could lean in a bit and really get a better look at this Grace chick; she was incredibly beautiful. She looked so delicate to the touch, like a porcelain doll. Riley chomped hard into her bottom lip to try and keep any more dirty thoughts from arising. She didn't want to let herself grow attached too soon without learning more about this girl and her vibrant personality.
"How long have you been working here, Riley?" Grace asked, truly interested in knowing more about her newest crush.
Riley pursed her lips as she thought it over. "Uh...about half a year now. I couldn't really find work anywhere else, since I'm kinda clumsy...fortunately, all I have to do here is hand out the pastries, while Damien makes them."
"Oh, yeah. Damien...he's the manager's son, right?"
"Yup. Did the boss try to pawn his son off on you at all during the interview?" The tall blonde grinned.
Grace recoiled in slight disgust. "What?!"
"It happened to me when I first applied here." Riley explained, "Apparently Damien's asexual and has no interest in relationships whatsoever, but the boss won't accept that, and he's trying to convince any woman, or gay man, he can find to wed his son...the poor old guy is frickin' desperate!"
The two girls giggled loudly over this as they made their way into the kitchen, where Damien was still stirring away his troubles. He wore a melancholic expression on his pasty face as he greeted the new girl with a solid handshake. Although he seemed a bit on-edge most of the time, and he had a peculiar habit of muttering "bronchitis" underneath his breath, Grace found Damien to be more charming than he seemed.
"So you're the newest chick around to be eyeballing good ol' Riley here, eh?" Damien asked Grace, snickering softly.
"Damien!!" Riley hissed.
"Oh, I wasn't flirting with her," Grace lied through her teeth, "I was just being polite, that's all."
"Please, girl! My gaydar is working at top-notch right now, and it's telling me you clearly have the hots for Riley...it can read your lustful intentions from a mile away!!" Damien made a flamboyant motion with his hands as he spoke.
"...You be quiet now."
Damien just rolled his eyes and brought his attention back to his beloved pot. He wasn't interested in pursuing this any further right now.
Grace smirked deviously to herself; she wasn't going to let this pseudo-goth boy stand in her path of winning Riley's love. She wasn't exactly positive on how long it would take to accomplish such a lofty goal, but there was no way she would ever give up. After all, she was an employee at this little pastry shop now, and possibly for many months to come. There was no doubt in her mind that she and Riley were meant to be together...or at least sleep together.
At the same time, Riley was thinking about her own future relationship with Grace. She found herself somewhat attracted to the girl, but she didn't want to let herself become too attached too quickly. She had to wait and see just what Grace was really like before making such a large decision on whether she loved her or not. Riley was going to take things nice and slow, and carefully observe the blonde girl's every action while they were together.
Even the manager Tony was deep in his own thoughts at that moment. He was wondering why he didn't feel even the slightest bit unstable yet even after snorting 10 grams worth of whipped cream up into his nasal passages.
And thus, Grace's days at the pastry shop, all of it no more than a foolhardy attempt to seduce Riley, began...