Evelyn Monroe, a costume designer and shop owner barely making ends meet gets an unexpected job and makes unexpected relationships.
“Oh my god I absolutely love this song Eve!” my friend Alex squealed in my ear.
“Is this another obsessive moment for you Alex? If so please take it in the back, I don’t need you scaring off any of my invisible customers,” I said joking with her as I continued sewing on buttons to the costume in my hand.
“Come saaaaave me from walking off a window sill or I’ll sleep in the rain!”
“Really. Please don’t. I really need to get this done, I just got a huge order of costumes and I need to get their changes done,” I snapped as my friend sang the opening lyrics to some band’s song.
Alex gave me a scowl, “Fine,” she spat out, “I guess that means you don’t want to go with me to their show coming up next week. I happen to have a second ticket and I was planning on bringing my best friend but if you are gonna be like that about my fave band then I’ll find someone else.”
“They are always your ‘fave’ band. You change ‘fave’ bands every time you find some catchy new trendy band you can sink your teeth into,” I muttered looking up at my friend. She had no real taste in music but I could tell she was hurt by my comment so I sighed, “Fine. If you think that seeing them live can sway me then I will go. But you have to go hang up some costumes for me while I work on this. Not that I should have to ask, it is your job.”
“Yay! I am so totally excited. I have the perfect outfits for us to wear to go with our amazing perfect seats. Maybe I’ll be close enough to touch Brendon!!” the squeals of excitement continued as she hung up the costumes that were tried on earlier that day – Halloween was around the corner which meant real business for my shop, Oleander Costume Shoppe – one hundred percent custom, one of a kind costumes. Each costume was designed by either myself or sometimes a customer and made by me. It was my mother’s shop originally and we lived in the apartment above the store – just the two of us. When she died, she left the store to me and I have kept it running since.
“Hey Eve, do you mind if I head out early? I finished hanging the stuff up and I’ve got a monster paper due in a couple of days I haven’t even started. Pretty please?”
“Sure. Just remember you are opening tomorrow,” I said looking up at my friend, knowing she was going to go out and party and drink tonight – she just didn’t want to admit it to me.
As the door closed I forced myself out of my chair – hours I had been sitting at the counter putting the finishing touches on a few costumes that the high school kids in the area had purchased for the upcoming Halloween ball at the school. I was jealous and I hated myself for feeling that way. When I was in high school my mother was sick and I had to run the shop – I had no time for a social life – and when I graduated I worked full time. I tried community college but didn’t have the time or the money and my mother needed to be cared for. She died soon after I graduated high school. Now at twenty-two I run the shop all by myself and still live in the apartment above the store.
I decided that with the lack of business I could close early and pull an all nighter in my PJ’s and maybe knock out a costume or two. I didn’t sleep much anymore – only getting three or four hours a night – so I was always able to get things done.
I changed into my PJs quickly after flipping on the “Closed” sign at the door and examined my appearance. I was pretty short – standing only at five foot four – and looked like a doll. I touch my fingers to my pale porcelain skin and wondered why I never could tan. My eyes matched the color of my tank top – light blue with a hint of gold around the edges and my hair was plain dark brown. Boring, workaholic, single, alone Evelyn Monroe.
I heard the door bells jingle and cursed myself for not locking the door. “Hello?” I called out into the half lit store. No response. “Seriously, not in the mood for this Alex…” I said as I flicked on the lights to see a confused looking guy standing in the doorway, “…who are you?”
“Ryan,” the guy said with a smile on his face, “sorry, I called earlier and someone said you guys were open until ten… I saw the sign but I figured I could try anyways….”
“Oh…” was all I could say. He seemed familiar but I couldn’t place him – definitely not a customer. “Well, we closed early but what can I do for you?” I asked him, feeling silly for being in my polka dot PJ bottoms and slippers but I went and sat behind the counter anyways, “please, have a seat” I said, gesturing to the stool on the other side of the counter.
“Oh thanks, but I really cant stay” Ryan said quickly, tearing his eyes from mine, “I uh… have some costumes designs I would like you to look at and see if maybe.. perhaps.. I could contract you to do them. It’s pretty urgent. Can I leave them with you and come back tomorrow morning to go over the details?”
I stared at him confused but I couldn’t turn down any business at this point, “Sure,” I said and I hesitantly took a large black designer book from him. “We open at eight thirty and close around eight tomorrow night, I’ll be here all day.”
Our fingers brushed ever so slightly as he had handed me the book and my fingertips still tingled from the contact. Ryan offered me a friendly smile and quickly turned on his heels and walked right back out of the door.