If you had to take another customer yelling at you for the pricing on toilet paper you were going to lose it! Working at the Stop N Shop should’ve been an easy job; it paid well and barely ever had a full store of customers. But certain shoppers just liked to be a hassle. Mark your coworker looked at you sympathetically, his mossy brown hair falling flat as he ran a hand over it.
“Sorry about that Y/N, you know how Ms. Green can get.” You huffed. Of course you knew how she could get, you were the one who ended up dealing with her the most! Every time that woman set foot in the store your reliable boss and ever loyal coworker would mysteriously vanish. At this point you wondered if you'd be able to blackmail a raise for your suffering.
“Whatever, she’s just upset her husband was the one to cheat this time. Honestly I don’t know why she acts that way when she sleeps with half the city council.” Mark chuckled, his pale freckled face turning a light shade of pink. Sometimes he looked so cute, if only he had a more mature personality to him. It really was a shame how much you knew he was into you, guy had gotten a thing for you from the first time you ever set foot in the store. A part of you wanted to feel bad, but the stuff you both so obviously disagreed on prevented you from having a drop of guilt. He was defensive just as you were, you'd both had your fair share of spats by this time.
“That's bad Y/n.” You shrugged as you eyed the clock. You had been working for about four hours now and had dealt with that horrible woman for two, you deserved a break. As soon as the minute hand landed on the five you took that as your sign. You shot Mark an award winning smile hoping he wouldn’t protest at your upcoming statement.
“Hey I’m going to take my break now.” And of course your smile dropped, because Mark always had to protest in some way. You tried your best not to roll your eyes as Mark twitched his nose in agitation, his brown eyes shooting you a disgusted glare. He knew what you liked to do on your breaks. This is why when you thought of him being cute the word sometimes always popped up. Because right now he was looking real ugly with that judging look on his face.
“You really should quit you know, it’s an awful habit.” Just as bad as his porn addiction really, you thought bitterly. Well it wasn’t like porn could give you cancer but still, what you chose to do with your lungs was your business. Why did it even matter to him really, you weren't dating and you were already set that you never would.
“Hm, Mark are you my boyfriend?” You asked innocently, fighting back a snicker as he blushed.
“Uh N-no…” You loved how easy he was to fluster. You could cut off a heated argument just by simply complimenting him or batting your eyes. It was sad really.
“Mhm, are you even...fucking me?~” You teased in a sing song tone, your lips curved upward mischievously.
He wished. You watched him turn scarlet as he shook his head, the box he'd picked up almost slipping from his hands. Poor boy was sweating and looked positively feint at this point. You sighed and decided to show him some mercy by not drawing out his torment.
“Then kindly keep your whole bad habit speech to yourself.” You felt a small pang of guilt at the hurt on his face but you were tired of hearing the same spiel he’d try to force every time you’d go on break, it'd probably annoy you less if he could've at least switched up his 'talk' every now and again. But Nope, same words and sentences in the same order. Wow you could tell just how stressed you were and how badly you really needed the nicotine. You just weren’t up for the whole ‘I wanna be your boyfriend but you’re a smoker so I’ll fix you first’ speech. Not that it mattered anyway.
Not that anything really mattered.
You'd probably apologize to him later if you remembered. With a polite wave you slid off your apron and hung it by the employee entrance, your boss also being against smoking had insisted on you not wearing the shops logo while indulging in the habit. You hated the apron anyway, so win for you!
Quickly before another customer showed up you rushed out the back and rounded the corner straight to the park. It was another benefit of working where you did; it wasn’t too far into the crowded city that it felt dreary just to walk out of it or too crowded to even go into it. Not to mention the city's largest park was only a road away.
Honestly you had liked the park the moment you had seen it when you’d gone to apply. It always looked as if the trees were in full bloom and the grass was never covered in litter or trash. Despite that it was already fall. The city really kept it cleaned up the most out of any of the others scattered throughout this kingdom of pavement and steel. It was a refreshing splash of color in a world of gray. And now it was your sweet escape from the stress of work. From the stress of people in general really.
You hastened to the smokers area, a small designated spot situated in the center of a small ring of trees just by the parks lake, and smiled at how deserted it was. you panned your eyes back and forth as you twirled and spun on the spot making sure you couldn't see anyone nearby at all before letting out a small whoop.
This was great! You were all but guaranteed peace and quiet. You reached for your pack in your back pocket and frowned, your hand coming away with a crumbled ball of collapsed plastic. Your eye twitched.
It was empty.
Why did it always have to be on Thursday? You looked around for another smoker and pulled up short.
On a bench perfectly placed in front of the parks small lake a figure lounged, a small cloud of pure white smoke curling upward from them. Odd, you could've sworn you had been alone. You licked your lips nervously as another thick white cloud bellowed up from them, twisting and fading into the cold fall air. The sight was enough to make your lungs itch in want and mouth twitch wantonly. Any question you had to their almost sudden appearance vanishing.
You were honestly contemplating how much of a hypocrite you’d be, to go over and bug the person who’d possibly come for the peace and quiet to relax just like you had. But at the same time you were craving a cig bad. Two hours of an old hag bugging you over toilet paper? You deserved one. Not to mention a familiar throb had started to take up residence in the back of your head. There was no way you could work if you got a smoker's headache. Those were worse than regular migraines.
Slowly you made your way over trying to be as quiet as possible not wanting to startle them. This was the city of course so muggings were still a thing. As you got closer you looked at the smoker curiously, your eyes widening in surprise. He was a monster, a skeleton specifically, with a cigarette dangling precariously from his mouth. You blinked. You weren't aware monsters had started migrating so much, then again the city had adopted a free employment initiative for the new species recently.
The only thing that convinced you he was a monster and not a joke someone set up was the way the cigarette would burn for a moment and then a puff of smoke would slip out from between his flat teeth…and wisp out of the top of his white shirt. If you stared hard enough you could see a bit of a collar bone peeking out. You held back a giggle, you were seeing actual exposed bone! The closest you'd ever been to such a thing was the discovery channel. The thought should've probably creeped you out but it was so shocking and new it made you giddy practically.
He slouched lazily against the back of the bench, his hands pocketed in his deep blue jacket. His skull was white as what you’d expect of bone and he wore a wide grin on his face, his cigarette tucked seemingly between his first and second left tooth. He looked as if he was sleeping with his sockets shut as he breathed. Wait his sockets were closed? You wondered how he had eyelids briefly. Or why he even needed to breath. Did he have a random pair of floating lungs beneath his shirt?
You looked at your feet awkwardly once you realized you were gawking. You’d rarely seen monsters before; they were rare to see inside city limits usually staying in the rural Ebott area. So was it really that much of a surprise you were doing it? But would bugging him be offensive? Staring was often considered rude but you personally felt randomly approaching someone you didn't even know was more so. Just as you struggled on rather or not to walk away his right socket halfheartedly opened, a white speck of light sliding along the bottom and rising up to focus on you. He had lights in his eyes? You shook your head, trying to clear your thoughts. Great, it was too late to back out now. Might as well go for broke.
“Hey…uh awkward as this is I was wondering if you had a spare?” You asked cheerily as you waved your empty package for emphasis. His eyelight panned over to it and then back to you. He was…silent. You forced your smile to remain on your face as he continued to stare. After a torturous moment he slowly slid his hand out from his jacket and held up a single cig for you. The stick held up languidly between smooth white phalanges.
You took a moment to observe his hand; it looked like a skeleton hand but the bones were slightly thicker, the obvious joints were dark but surprising most of all was the fact he had bone like skin lacing between his metacarpals giving the appearance of a ‘fleshed’ out hand. Thinking back on the glimpse you’d seen of his collar, you noticed and began to assume all of his bones were thicker than what a typical humans would be. You could even glimpse what looked like a palm cupped upwards from his holding. How interesting. Your smile became less strained and more genuine.
“Thanks!” You said gratefully as you reached out to take it, noting how warm his bones felt as you brushed them and the hardened texture. As soon as you had a hold on it he repocketed his hand, closed his open socket and went back to lounging. You looked down a moment at the spare space on the bench and then quickly and quietly claimed a seat.
“Don’t mind if I sit here do you?” The monster shrugged as he billowed out another cloud, the smoke twining smoothly between his teeth. You guessed his silence was acceptance, or his shrug was literally indifferent seeing as you'd already taken the seat. You lit your smoke and groaned in satisfaction as the ache in your lungs and the pounding that had started in your head eased. The sensation was like a splash of cool water and you reveled in it.
You sat silently just enjoying the scenery before you were finally temped to glance at the skeleton beside you. He had the same socket cracked once more and watching you. Maybe he was curious about you? The thought made you smile wider, you were definitely curious about him.
“I’m Y/n by the way. You have a name?” He closed his socket again and this time he chuckled as his grin lifted at the corners. You waited for a response but soon accepted you weren’t going to get one. That’s okay, maybe he was shy around humans. You knew your race wasn’t exactly the most welcoming let alone accepting bunch.
You both lapsed back into silence and continued to smoke till finally the skeleton reached up and withdrew the butt of the cigarette from between his teeth. You watched as he stood and flicked it into the nearby trashbin, the butt landing perfectly along the rim where it spun for a moment before slipping downward into its new home.
You snorted, that was pretty good! Casually he turned and began to walk off but you really couldn’t resist getting his attention before he vanished.
“Hey!” He paused to glance back at you, both his dark sockets now opened where his eyelights rested. They were kind of bewitching how they floated freely but remained fixed even as their lights flickered and gently pulsed. You really liked them.
“Thanks again…mister skeleton.” You smiled. His sockets widened for a moment, a single amused snort sounding from him as he turned and resumed his walking. Well, that had been a bit awkward but exciting. You stared at the water in front of you. This spot was definitely relaxing. Or maybe it had been the new company? He really intrigued you, a skeleton but not really. A smoker without lungs maybe? You wondered if you’d see him again.