Remington and Carter
It was a five-minute walk to Judy’s Antique Store. Every morning, I would take a right, walk down the street and turn left until I reached the store at the corner of the road.
“Cassidy, you’re here!” Judy exclaimed as I entered the antique shop.
“Yes, yes, it’s a good morning! You remember Mr McRobert from last week, don’t you?”
“You were practically swooning over that old grump.”
“Well, he purchased the porcelain vase twin set!”
“That set has been here for eons. I can’t believe someone would want it.” I made my way to the cashier’s desk and sat down. Summer break was the best for this exact reason. Working in the best store in town, little to no interaction with people my age, surrounded by beautiful antiques, and of course, I got to see Remington every day.
“Judging from the look on your face,” Judy smirked, breaking me out of my thoughts. “You’re thinking about Remington again, aren’t you?”
“He’s my date for the summer.”
“Once you get enough money.” Judy laughed, unlocking a cabinet to my left.
“I still don’t see why you won’t give me a discount, Judes. I’ve been working here since I was fourteen! Every time I walk past the store, I’ve always stopped to admire Remington.”
“Remington is special. You know that, Cassidy.”
“The Remington Envoy HC47 was invented in 1808 and was the typewriter that-”
“So you’ll give me a discount?”
“No.” Judy rolled her eyes. “Enough about Remington, Cass. The air conditioner broke last night. The new employee will be fixing it today.”
“New employee?” I asked, facing my boss.
“He’s seventeen, the same age as you. What was his name again? Carl? No, Charlie? Hold on, wait, it’s on the tip of my tongue.” There was a moment of silence as I watched Judy struggle to remember.
“Carter! Carter Moreau, that’s his name.”
“You’re getting old, Judes.” I teased, and she tugged my ponytail, making me yelp out in shock.
“See these grey hairs, Cass?” She indicated to her head, which didn’t have a single grey hair in place. “These are because of you.”
“Aww, you’re welcome.” I replied slyly, and Judy laughed.
“Alright, sharpen up, missy. He’s here.”
“Who’s here? Your sweet Mr Mc-” I looked up and froze midsentence. Walking through the door was a tall, fair-skinned boy with green eyes and ebony black hair.
“Hello,” he said to Judy. “Nice to see you again, ma’am.” He looked over to me with a wicked gleam in his eyes. “Carter Moreau, nice to meet you.” He held out his hand for me to shake, and I shook it firmly.
“Cassidy Larson. The pleasure’s all mine.” Our eyes locked for a brief second before he looked away.
“Is that a Remington Envoy?” Carter asked my boss, who chuckled.
“Are you a fan of typewriters, Carter?” Judy winked at me, she knew what I was thinking. I watched Carter check the price tag as he let out a low whistle.
“That’s a hefty sum of money you’re selling it for. It almost makes me think you don’t want anyone to purchase it, Ms Judy.” He flashed her a pearly white beam, and something inside of me squirmed.
“Actually,” I butted in. “I’m going to buy it.”
“Is that so?” He challenged, his eyes shining with that same wicked gleam.
“Yes, I-” Judy cut me off as she clapped her hands together.
“Now, now. No fighting children. I have to pop by the post office for a few minutes. Cassidy, stay at the register. Mrs Knox will be here soon, she called me earlier. Carter, fix the air conditioner. When you’re done, you can help Cass organise some things. I’ll be back in a jiffy!” We watched Judy practically glide out of the antique store.
“Are you really planning on buying that typewriter?” Carter asked as soon as the door shuts.
“I am, not that it’s any of your concern. Its beauty is extravagant, and I plan on getting it for my birthday.”
“Which is when?” He asked as he opened up the ladder.
“Wouldn’t you like to know, Mr Moreau?”
“I would, yes.” He replied. “I plan on getting it before you.” I stared at Carter, the audacity this boy emitted.
“Judy’s known me for years! She’ll give it to me.”
“Don’t be so sure,” he smirked, turning his back to me. “If you haven’t got anything better to do, could you hold the bottom of the ladder for me?” Grumbling to myself, I reluctantly stood behind the ladder, holding it steady.
“If you fall on me, I’m going to kill you,” I growled, “I happen to like this job.”
“That almost sounds like a challenge, Miss Larson. Alas, I have my pride to think about, so you won’t see me ever falling off a ladder. Besides, I wouldn’t want to give you the idea that I’d fallen for you.” His voice was husky with cockiness, and I was tempted to topple the ladder over, then and there.
“Do you take pleasure in hearing the sound of your voice, Mr Moreau?” I scoffed, wondering how long it took someone to send a letter.
“Screwdriver,” He said in response, and I handed him the tool. “To answer your question, yes, I do. It’s great for jobs like these with customer service and all.”
“I doubt any customer would want to talk to you,” I muttered under my breath. “Why didn’t Judy hire a quiet and polite boy instead of you?”
“What would be the fun in having a coworker who didn’t talk to you?”
“You’ve been here for seven minutes, and you’re already a pain in my ass.”
“Please, darling, you have to admit I’m a bit fun.” Carter laughed, arrogant bastard.
“If a shy boy worked here, we would enjoy each other’s company, realise we have several things in common, and we’d become life-long friends.”
“Why can’t we do that?” Carter asked with a smug grin.
“Let’s see,” I huffed. “You want to buy the one thing in the store I’ve been saving up for. You’re loud, cocky and arrogant, not to mention you get on my nerves. There doesn’t need to be another employee here. Judy and I were doing just fine on our own.” I retorted, letting go of the ladder as Carter came down.
“Well, you’re wrong then, since she hired me. Everything else, for the most part, was true.”
“So you agree you’re obnoxiously rude and narcissistic?”
“I said, for the most part, but you have to agree, my voice is attractive. Don’t deny it, Cass.”
“Don’t call me that.”
“Would you prefer Miss Larson?”
“I would prefer you didn’t talk to me unless it was necessary. Now pack up your tools Mr Tinkerer.”
A few minutes later, the bell on the door rang. A smile grew on my face as I rushed over to greet the customer.
“Good morning, Cassidy!”
“Hi, Mrs Knox. How are you?”
“Fine, dearie. I gave Judy a call earlier. It’s Millie’s birthday tomorrow, and I was thinking of getting her a mirror as a gift.”
“Of course, Mrs K. Judy set aside two for you to choose from if you’ll follow me.” I guided the old lady to the mirrors, ignoring Carter, who had stuck his tongue out at me.
“Who’s the handsome lad with the ladder, Cass?” Mrs Knox whispered.
“Carter. New employee. Awfully rude.” I sighed.
“He looks like a fine, young gent to me. His eyes remind me of my George. I’m sure you’ll learn to like him.” Mrs Knox smiled, to which I wrinkled my nose.
“Which mirror, ma’am?” I asked, changing the subject.
“The first one, please. Ask Carter to carry it for me.”
“I can do it myself, Mrs Knox!”
“Alright then. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.” I picked up the mirror, grunting at its misleading appearance. It was heavier than it looked. I had walked about ten metres before I set it back on the floor.
“Do you need help?” A husky voice suddenly whispered in my ear. Without thinking, I put up my fist, which collided with Carter’s face. He brought his hand up to his nose, cursing.
“Sorry! That was an accident. You scared me!” I apologised hastily. Carter exhaled slowly.
“It’s fine,” he said slowly. “Do you want me to carry that or not? Ms Judy nor the customer would be happy if you broke it.” Where was Judy anyway? Knowing her, she’d probably sent three letters and was spending the rest of her time striking a conversation with every single person in the post office.
“Here, take it. I’ll start the register.” I carried the mirror over to Carter.
“Shouldn’t it be on already?”
“I was distracted.”
“You were talking to me, Miss Larson.”
“Shut up.” I snapped, noticing the ghost of a smile appear on Carter’s face because we both knew he was right. Stupid new employee with his stupid voice and stupidly good looks. Disgusting.
A week passed, and I was slightly better friends with Carter as I was closer to buying the Remington Envoy.
“Cassidy,” Carter called from the storeroom. “I need your help to carry this old piano.” I stormed over to him reluctantly. “Here, you carry this end,” Carter instructed, and I wordlessly obeyed, gently lifting the small piano off the floor. “Keep going, keep going, and stop. You can let go now.” He let go of the piano. “Cassidy, you can let go.”
“I can’t,” I hissed, “my finger’s jammed in this tiny little gap!” Using my free hand, I tried pulling my finger out of the piano, to no avail.
“Here, I’ll help you,” Carter said softly, trying to lift the piano’s top board. “Give me a second.” In one swift movement, he grabbed my hand and pulled it out as he opened the piano. “There you go.” He smirked, and I stared at him.
“Thanks.” I stuttered, pulling my hand out of his grasp. I rushed back to the counter to see Judy, who had a bemused expression on her face.
“I see you, girl. You liked that, didn’t you?”
“No, I didn’t. No one likes getting their finger jammed.”
“I meant him holding your hand, Cass. Don’t play dumb.”
“I’m not playing dumb. I didn’t like it!”
“See, now you’re getting defensive.” Judy smiled, and I rolled my eyes.
“Look, there’s a customer I need to assist. Why don’t you stay here at the cashier?” I scoffed, walking away from my boss.
“Hi, there, how can I help you?” I approached the customer, who had black hair and green eyes like Carter.
“Hi, uh, is my brother, Carter, here? I need to speak with him.”
“You’re Lance, aren’t you?” I asked curiously, and he nodded. “Hmm, Carter’s mentioned you once or twice.”
“Good things I hope. Carter doesn’t talk to anyone!” Lance laughed, and I smiled at his enthusiasm.
“I’ll go get him for you, stay here.” Lance nodded again as I went off to find his brother. I found the storeroom empty and saw Carter stacking some old pieces of vinyl into a neat pile.
“Hey,” I called to him, and he turned around. “Your brother’s here looking for you.”
“Pretty sure he’s your brother, yes.”
“Did he say what he wants?”
“Nope, just go over to him already.” I gave Carter a playful push, and he sighed.
“I’m going, I’m going.” He chuckled, and I realised this was the most friendly interaction we’d had all week.
The next day, I walked into Judy’s Antique Store, smiling contently. I’d checked my savings the night before, and I was one paycheck away from buying the Remington. Not to mention my birthday was in two days, so I was right on target.
“Morning, Cass.” Judy waved sleepily, my boss was always tired on Friday mornings.
“Good morning, Judes. Hi, Carter,” I said to him as he grinned wickedly. “What is it?” I asked as I approached him.
“Today’s the day, Cassidy.”
“That means nothing to me, Carter. Elaborate.”
“I’m buying the typewriter today.” He said with adamant victory. I stared at him in shock.
“No, absolutely not! How did you even get enough money?!” I shrieked, and he smiled that coy grin again.
“I had a job before this one.”
“No, this is insane! My birthday is-” I stopped mid-sentence. “I am so close to buying the Remington. Back off, Moreau. Judy, tell Carter this isn’t fair!”
“Cass, it’s not up to me if Carter has got the money before you.” My boss shook her head. “I don’t want to play favourites.”
“Three years, Judy, that’s how long I’ve been working here. My aunt has known you since you were children! This is the ultimate betrayal!”
“I’d like to pay now, please,” Carter said sweetly, as Judy unlocked the cabinet with the typewriter securely locked inside. “Open up the register, Cassidy.” I was about to throttle someone with black hair and green eyes. Every day, for the past three and a half years, I’d been admiring the Remington’s beauty inside that glass cabinet. And now, all that wishing and saving was going to waste.
“Hand me your payment.” I huffed, typing the total sum into the register. He wasn’t a cent short or a cent over. “Well, it’s all yours now. Are you happy now?”
“Quite. I’ll leave it here until my shift ends.”
For the rest of the day, I didn’t speak to Carter. We conversed politely when it was necessary, but I was silently enraged that he’d beaten me. I pretended not to notice how he held the door open for me, stacked things that Judy had asked me to pack away, and how he remained a safe distance away.
“Cass,” Judy murmured as we closed up for the day. “Don’t be mad, okay?”
“I’m not,” I said through gritted teeth. “I’m not mad, just disappointed.”
“And that’s understandable, but stop glaring at Carter’s back. That won’t do anything.” I shifted my gaze from Carter, who was walking away and turned to Judy.
“I was so close, Judes. So close.”
“I know, Cass. I know. I’ll see you on Sunday. We’re not open tomorrow.”
“Something came up.”
“I can run the store for you, that’s how we normally do things.”
“Have a day off, Cass. You’re going to be working on your birthday, anyway.”
“Oh, alright. See you on Sunday then.”
I turned right, walking down the street and turn left until I reached the store at the corner of the road. Whether or not it was my birthday, a silent disappointment trailed behind me like a lost dog. Today would be the first day the Remington Envoy wouldn’t be in the cabinet. It may have been a little dramatic on my part, but I had been so close. Sighing, I opened the door to the antique store, noticing how quiet was. I couldn’t be the first one here if the door was unlocked. I walked over to the counter, but no one was there. I checked the storeroom, and the small staff room, but again, no one was there.
“Hello?” I called out. “Judy? Carter?” No response. Frowning, I noticed a small sticky note stuck on the register. “Go to the record player section.” The note said. I followed its instruction and found another note stuck on a box. “Go to the literature collection.” I made my way over and saw the next note was stuck on the shelf. “Turn around.” I swivelled around, and suddenly, there was a loud bang as confetti flooded my vision.
“Happy birthday!” Judy cried, appearing out of nowhere.
“I got you a present.” His husky voice said in my ear, and I looked up to see Carter holding a wrapped present.
“Really?” I asked shyly.
“Unless it’s not your birthday.” he winked, handing it over to me. “Open it.” I did so, neatly tearing away the wrapping paper. Inside was a simple, cardboard box.
“You have to open that too.” Judy smiled, and I pulled the lid off.
“You didn’t!” I gasped, staring at Carter.
“B-but you said-” I shook my head. “You said…”
“You said you wanted to buy the Remington!”
“I didn’t say it was for myself,” Carter replied smoothly, and I stared at him, starstruck.
“You bought the typewriter for me.” I blinked, wondering if this was a dream.
“You did tell me you’d been wanting this for three or so years.” I set the box on the floor and hugged Carter tightly. He stumbled back for a second but returned the hug.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I cried.
“Happy birthday, Cassidy.”
“Cassidy, you’re here!” Judy exclaimed as I entered the antique shop.
“Yes, yes, it’s a good morning! Do you remember Mr McRobert who bought the porcelain set?”
“You were practically swooning over that old grump.”
“Well, he asked me out!”
“Oh my God, really?!”
“Wait, wait, how old is he?”
“Younger than you would think.” Judy smiled, and I rolled my eyes. I made my way to the counter and saw Carter sitting on the table.
“Excuse me, off the register.”
“But I like it here.”
“And I like it when you don’t sit on the table, but we can’t always get the things we want.”
“You are a difficult woman, Cass.”
“But you like me anyway.” I laughed, opening the till.
“I bet you like the Remington more than me,” Carter mused.
“Do you even need to ask?” I chuckled, and he punches my shoulder playfully.
“Sharpen up, kiddos. It’s another week, we have antiques to sell.” Judy pumped her fist into the air.
“Yes, ma’am!” Carter and I both shouted, smiling widely. Maybe it wasn’t just the Remington I’d been admiring for so long. It was the antique shop as well.