As usual, it was peaceful in Mei's little shop. She was sweeping the floor, gathering all the little dried leaves and petals that had fallen as she'd pruned. She'd never leave a withered leaf on any of her plants, much less the ones she was going to sell. As she worked, she hummed lightly to herself - there was no one else around, and she wouldn't be humming if there were.
The door to her shop stood open, as it always did unless it was cold, to let the breeze in. Of course... it also let in a lot of dust. She made a face as she swiped her finger along the edge of one of her pots, then immediately went to the back to retrieve a dustrag. It would take her some time to clean, and she had wanted to finish the arrangement she'd begun yesterday. Well, she rather had to finish it. She would have to deliver it this evening - one of her clients wanted it for a dinner party.
But she'd started dusting now - and really, the shop needed it... she tended to avoid it until it was unavoidable. Dusting was the worst chore, in her opinion. And besides, it made her sneeze. As it was, her back was to the door - but she'd hear any footsteps in time to turn and greet her guest.
Post by firecracker on Oct 3, 2011 21:02:26 GMT -5
Laughing, Jia Long ran as another small explosion caused the crowd to panic. He’d made sure to place smoke bombs only, so no one was being injured, but the noise and smoke was still enough to churn up the crowd. All the chaos helped cover his escape from the guards, a small collection of jewels tucked safely into his sleeve.
“Heh, as slow as ever.” Jia Long slowed as he neared the market area. His drop off was here and then he’d have to lay low for a while. Looking around, he kept an eye out for the vegetable stand. One with more tomatoes than all the others. It took him a few minutes, but he found it and hurried over. Knocking into the loudly laughing stall owner, he dropped the baggy into his apron pocket. “Sorry!”
Hurrying away again, Jia Long grinned. He’d made it away and those guards had no idea where to look for hi-”HEY! It’s that kid! Hurry!” Oh shit! He broke into a run again, ducking through a crowd and into a shop. Where to hide, where to hide?! There was a huge flower arrangement toward the back. He ducked behind it and began taking his coat off, grabbing an apron off one of the hooks.
He managed to get it on and grab up a pair of scissors in time for the guards to burst in.
Mei turned at the sound of running feet. As a boy ducked into her shop - and made a beeline for one of the larger arrangements she'd created - she paused. What in the world? "Excuse me -" But then the sound of booted feet neared her shop. She glanced toward the boy, then immediately turned back to the door. "Good afternoon. How may I help you?" Her voice was airily pleasant, with no hint of anything but genuine curiosity.
Without skipping a beat, she glanced over her shoulder. "Here, if you would, come take over dusting so that I can help these nice customers." She held out the dustrag, meeting and holding his eyes with her own. She'd help him... but they'd be talking about this later. "Thank you for trimming the leaves on the bushes in the back so quickly. I hope you remembered to put all the cuttings into the proper bin."
All that said - enough to have given him plenty of covered time, she turned back to the guards. "May I interest you in an arrangement? Or perhaps a small potted plant? I understand that you've space in the barracks and housing for such things..."
Post by firecracker on Oct 14, 2011 23:12:52 GMT -5
Relaxing as the shop owner played along, Jia Long murmured something like agreement and came up to take the rag. He let his hair hang in his face, acting like dusting this place was something he did all the time. No need to make the soldiers suspect something was out of the ordinary. He had covered half the shop before the soldiers finally left.
Once he was sure they were gone he began to dust more naturally. It was the least he could do when she’d covered for him so nicely. Plus, it helped delay any questioning on her part. If he was cleaning her shop she’d be more inclined to wait for an answer, right?
Mei chatted with the guards, assured them that she'd seen nothing out of the ordinary, convinced one to buy a miniature tree, and generally gave off the impression of a cheerful, completely innocent, perhaps a little naive, shopkeeper. When they left, she stood in the door and waved, completely in keeping with her act. Now then... she turned to find her... assistant... dusting still. She ought to leave him be and let him finish before questioning him, right? ...
... Wrong. Mei was not the sort to be deterred when she wanted answers - and right now, she wanted answers. "So, new assistant..." She started, stepping to stand next to him, hands clasped together behind her back. "Who are you and why were the guards chasing you?" It wasn't like she minded, really - and he was a good duster, if nothing else. She could offer to keep him around just for that. She hated that chore. Really. "And don't worry. I won't go back out and get them." If she was going to do that, why lie to them in the first place?
Post by firecracker on Oct 30, 2011 21:01:16 GMT -5
Jia Long stiffened, slowly looking up at her. Tell her why he was being chased? Well he did owe her for helping him, but he couldn’t just come out and say he was a thief and a Ruthian. That would just be asking for trouble even if she didn’t say anything. “Ah…mistaken identity.” It worked with old people right? At least it worked whenever he unexpectedly ran into his grandmother before she died. That woman just wouldn’t let up on marriage and the family line.
"Mistaken identity, hmm?" Mei leaned closer to him, seemingly scrutinizing his face. After a moment, she tilted her head, shrugged, and leaned back. "Okay. I'll buy it." She giggled, then tilted her head again. "So, assistant, what's your name?"
She wasn't entirely sure he wasn't lying - but then, if he was, she didn't want to know the details anyway. If she knew details, she was lying to the authorities if she said she didn't know. It was better not to know, so it was the truth, and she couldn't get into trouble for saying it. "You can call me Mei, if you like." She didn't think it would do any harm to have him know her first name; it was on the outside of the building, after all.
Post by firecracker on Jan 20, 2012 20:59:54 GMT -5
He bowed slightly to her, which was only polite. Especially since she’d helped him out back there with helping him hide. “Nihao Mei, I am Jia Long. I do deliveries normally and happened to be in the right place at the wrong time.” Jia Long cleared his throat and turned to face her entirely, body bending in a deeper bow. “Xie xie for helping me today.” He straightened, and gave her something resembling a smile. “If you need any help with your shop or anything I’d be happy to come. I am in your debt.”
"Nihao, Jia Long." Mei couldn't help but smile at him... of course, she smiled at everyone, and at the least provocation, but that was no matter. "I'm glad to meet you." It was nice, having someone else in the shop for longer than a quick visit or purchase. Really, she ought to hire someone on as a helper...
He'd... "You'd be happy to come help...?" The timidity in the question would surprise any who knew her well. "I'd be happy to pay you whenever you'd like to come... perhaps help with the straightening and deliveries, and I can teach you a few things about arranging if you're interested..." Hurriedly, she hastened to reassure him, "But if you've other things, or another job, or you'd just really rather not, it's really all right. I understand entirely. You've already helped more than enough with the dusting today. I hate dusting." This last was muttered under her breath before she tilted her head, watching him curiously. It was up to him to decide.
Post by firecracker on Feb 6, 2012 22:21:03 GMT -5
Lips quirking in an almost smile, Jia Long shook his head.” I do have another job, but I’d be happy to come by in my free time. I don’t mind dusting so long as you don’t mind if I sometimes smell strange. I make fireworks for holidays and private celebrations.” He shrugged, reaching into his sleeve and pulling out a small bundle of sparklers. “Here, as thanks. They’re harmless enough that children could play with them if you wanted.”