“Looks like someone's finally moving into that shop next door, Jere,” Alvarez said as she craned her neck to get a better view out the window from her position on the couch in the waiting area of the tattoo parlor.
“Nice, finally. I think that vacant store was scaring people off from ours. Hopefully they’ll clean it up nicely,” Jeremy responded, then added, “Do you think we should drop by now to say hi and ask if they need help or anything? Or should we just wait until they’re more settled? I wonder what they’re planning on doing with the place, imagine how convenient it would be if they opened up, like, a cafe or bakery or something there; the walk to the place on the corner every morning is so long .”
Laila walked into the waiting room of the tattoo parlor and laughed. “Okay, Knox, calm down. I don’t see anyone except movers over there now, anyway. And you ,” she said, turning a playful glare into Alvarez’s direction, “Get those feet off the coffee table.”
“Aw, babe, c’mon, I only just got comfy,” Alvarez whined, widening her eyes and pouting at her girlfriend. “But, something else would be comfier,” she said, her expression turning from innocent to mischievous as she grabbed Laila’s hand and pulled her onto her lap, laughing.
“Fine, fine, I see your point…” Laila said, wrapping her arms around Alvarez and pressing her face close to her neck.
“Yeah, okay, well I don’t have any appointments till 2 so I’ll just leave you guys to it. Maybe I’ll go check out who’s moving in…” Jeremy laughed as he walked to the front door, whistling at them as he left.
“Whatever, asshole, see you later!” Laila shouted at him, muffled by her girlfriend’s neck and the door closing behind Jeremy.
Jeremy Knox was the owner of a small tattoo parlor, Trojan Tattoos, that he ran with the help of his two college friends, Laila and Alvarez. Together, they had kept the shop running for three years and built their own steady clientele and name for themselves. Now 26, he and his shop had finally gotten past the rougher years of owning your own business. While Jeremy himself didn’t have many tattoos beyond the half sleeve on his upper arm, the tattoos he did have were all beautifully intricate, done by Laila and Alvarez at the end of their apprenticeship, which he would gladly show off and boast about to anyone willing to listen about his, quote, “amazing, wonderfully talented friends, really they’re just the best tattoo artists you’ll find..." really, he could go on.
The vacant store next door, however, had always been a bit of an eyesore for him. It had briefly been a boutique owned by a very nice middle-aged woman selling lots of polka-dotted, monogrammed clothing, but she went out of business shortly after Jeremy moved into the building connected to hers. It was a shame, because she and Jeremy would have coffee together once a week to share gossip, but they hadn’t kept in touch. She left behind a small, fairly open floor plan shop with a small apartment upstairs, likely mirroring the setup of Jeremy’s apartment atop the parlor.
That of course meant that whoever had bought the store wouldn’t just be Jeremy’s business neighbor, but they’d be living next door to each other as well. Alvarez and Laila had their own apartment not too far from their parlor, and Jeremy had lived with them when they were all still apprenticing together, but as soon as he got the chance to have his own place, he wasn’t going to waste the opportunity. He loved them more than anything, but sharing an apartment with the couple when he had been single a majority of that time was… well, he invested in ear plugs, at least.
Jeremy wandered onto the sidewalk in front of the two shops and watched as the the two movers unloaded the truck and began taking boxes into the building. There wasn’t too much work for them to do, Jeremy noticed. Whoever was moving in seemed to have only wanted to take the essentials with them, with a bed frame, nightstand, dresser, bookshelf, and a table with a couple of chairs being the extent of furniture they brought. The movers unloaded a few boxes as well, but still, Jeremy was curious who the minimalist moving in was. He wanted to ask them to help him declutter his own room, honestly; he was too sentimental to throw a lot of his knick knacks out, especially if they were a gift from one of his siblings, even the terrible macaroni art. Jeremy laughed a little to himself thinking of some his younger siblings earliest attempts at art, and began walking towards one of the movers.
“Hey, do you you know when whoever bought this place is going to get here? I work at the shop next door,” Jeremy said, flashing a smile at the man and jerking his thumb over his shoulder to Trojan Tattoo.
“Uh, no sorry man, I don’t. He just wanted us to have his shit in there for whenever he gets here,” the mover shrugged.
“No worries. Thanks anyway, man.” Jeremy gave the man another grin as he turned to go, glancing back at the no longer vacant storefront.
The next day, when Jeremy walked by his new neighbor’s shop carrying his coffee on his way back from the cafe that is actually super far from Jeremy’s place no matter how much Laila and Alvarez insist it’s basically just across the street, he noticed that all the boxes the movers had left inside the store had been put up and that whoever had moved in had already started getting the place ready to open. Jeremy still had no idea who had moved in or what the store was, but he figured he’d run into the person eventually.
He didn’t, actually. Either they were just missing each other or the person was staying inside, Jeremy didn’t run into the new tenant at all that week. It wasn’t until the store had a new sign reading La Jonquille and flower displays in the window did Jeremy find out that it was a flower shop opening up next door. There was a sign in the window saying the grand opening would be in two days, and Jeremy was already pulling out his phone to check what times he didn’t have any appointments that day.