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Nadia had very nearly been late for work, but considering how exhausted she looked when she showed, Lucas decided not to comment. They needed to do a few training things before they opened, but showing her how to work the stereo, sign in and out, and run the cash register wasn't going to take long, so they had time.

"Have you ever worked a cash register before?"

Nadia grimaced. "Um, sort of."

"Sort of."

"Not in a professional capacity?" She gave him a tired smile. Lucas shrugged.

"Okay, it's pretty simple. . . ."

Throughout the process of familiarizing Nadia with the store, Lucas kept an eye on her, trying to work out why she seemed so twitchy. It could have just been her default setting; she'd been twitchy when he'd offered her the job, but then, she'd just been caught shoplifting.

"Okay," he said finally, after she'd made her choices for the music theme of the day. "What's got you so rattled? I'm not going to bite you."

Nadia laughed softly. "Nothing. It's . . . nothing. Just . . . guy-friend issues."



Lucas gave her about two seconds. "Issues are another tradition at Empire. Usually we let them fester, until they grow into subscriptions, and we shave our head and hold fake funerals. But I'm thinking we'll leave that part out on our first day."

Nadia bit her lip and stared at the CDs for awhile. "It's this guy. Walter."

"You like him."


"And that's a problem."


Lucas tilted his head. "Is this because he 'rocks the socks'?"

Nadia's head snapped up, with a real smile this time. "What?"

"Green kid, the day we opened. Asked for a custom button that said 'Walter rocks the socks'."

Nadia lowered her gaze again. "That would be Victor. Walter's boyfriend."

She pushed the buttons on the CD player in silence for a moment.

"I see." Lucas thought for a moment. "Will this be a problem for you, working here?"

"Um, no, I don't think so."

"Good." Lucas crossed his arms and gestured to the store with his head. "Let's get opening, shall we?"

[ooc: and a brutal god-modding it was!]


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