The Guy From The Lipstick Aisle

Submitted into Contest #37 in response to: Write a story about someone who keeps coming across the same stranger.... view prompt



“I am so sorry. Let me pick that up for you, miss.” He said. He had bumped into me which caused me to drop the lipstick I was looking at. He picked up the lipstick and handed it to me. I looked at the color and I put it back and grabbed a brighter red color. I saw the man out of the corner of my eye. He was just staring at me. 

“What? Can I help you?” I asked, putting the lipstick into my cart. He blushed and looked away from me as I stood there, confused.

“I was wondering, what kind of lipstick would look good on me?” I was surprised at the question, but it was not a question I could ignore. I nodded, pleased to help the man. 

“Okay. Is this the first time you have ever worn lipstick?” I had to ask him questions before I chose the color. Because that would help me figure out where to start with the brand. He nodded. “Alright, so we will start with the liquid lipstick because that is a good beginner. Now we need to find a few good colors, so you can decide which one you like the best.” I grabbed a bright shade of red and held it to his face. I shook my head because it didn’t look right. I grabbed a berry red and held it by his face. It made him look pale. I got a hot pink color and held it to his face. It looked great, so I handed it to him. I found a coral color and it looked good. I felt adventurous and tried mauve. It was bad. Finally, I found a vibrant pink and it looked good. 

“Okay. What do you think? Good, yes?” I asked. He smiled and nodded his head. I smiled because I was proud of my work. “What are you using it for? Do you need help with any other makeup?” 

“Well, I… I’m not exactly sure. I just had an urge to come get it. Also I don’t need any other help. Thank you so much!” He left and I shrugged. I could tell that he was lying to me. But I didn’t know him and strangers don’t have to tell the truth to each other, but he was just very bad at lying. I peeked out the aisle and he was nowhere to be found. The lipsticks that I had picked out for him were sitting on a shelf, next to a makeup bag.

 I continued on with my shopping. I bought eggs, bread, chicken, an avocado, the lipstick and a new pair of gloves for kick-boxing. I ripped my last pair. I checked out and left. I loaded my groceries into the car and I put the cart in the cart return. I got into my car and drove back to my apartment. I was going out with my friends tonight. It was Friday and I had the next two days off. 

We were just going to a bar. We did this every other Friday. I didn’t drink, though. I really couldn't drink. I work as a police officer at the Pittsburgh Police Department. I work the day shift. I arrested a guy that assaulted another man in the grocery store. He was under the influence of drugs. I usually just order water and onion rings when I am out with my friends. But onion rings are awesome, so at least there’s that. My friends are all crazy. There is Mila. Every time we go out, she wears the most makeup and a short little dress. She works as a hairdresser. Then, there is Catalina. Cat is shy, but she dolls up on Fridays. She wears makeup and a skirt, usually wearing a tie-dye shirt. She is a barista, but she’s still working for her doctorate to become a dentist. Estelle wears jeans  and a sweatshirt. She always has her makeup done perfectly. She’s a Lawyer. I wear jeans and a sweatshirt as well, except my makeup is never as put together as hers. 

Once I get to my apartment, I put away my groceries. Then, I get dressed and do my makeup. I check the time and I have to get going, or I will be late. I hurry out the door and down the stairs. I get into my car and start the ignition. I drive to the bar and meet up with the girls outside.

“Oh my gosh! It’s Will!” Mila shrieked. She hugged me and asked how my day was. I told her about the guy I arrested and she giggled. Cat and Estelle weren’t there yet, so Mila and I sat on the bench outside of the bar. 

“So I saw this guy in the salon today. He was taking his younger sister to get her hair cut and -” I had stopped listening to her because I saw the guy from the lipstick aisle. He was walking into the bar. He looked in my direction, but I don’t think that he saw me. I stared at the man until I was sure that he was in the building. Then I realized that Mila was trying to get my attention. 

“Will. Earth to Willow. Ah. There you are again! So this guy asked me If I was free on Tuesday. I said yes. So now I am going to the movies with him on Tuesday. Isn’t that cool!” 

“What’s his name?” I ask. Most of the time she has to check her contacts list on her phone to remember the name of her date.

“Um. I think it’s Josh. Or maybe it’s Blake. It could be… Well shoot. I don’t know his name. I do know his number. We talked for a while and apparently he works at the police station. Would you know him?” She pulled out her phone and muttered something.

“Well, we have like four Joshes and there are two officers with the last name of Blake. They’re married, though.”

“Will! Mila! Hi guys!” Cat said as she sat down on the bench. “Where’s Estelle?”      

“I don’t know. I’ll call her.” I say. I go to my contacts list and pull up Estelle. I hit ‘dial’ and I put the phone on speaker.

“Hello! Will? I am almost there. I got caught up with work.”

“Okay. That’s fine. Can we go inside? It’s getting chilly. We’ll tell you what table we are at.” I replied.

“Yeah! Of course. Don’t freeze your butts off! Go in.” 

“Alright. See you later, Stel.” I said, looking at Cat and Mila. 

“Bye Stel! Love you! Muah!” Mila shouted at the phone.

“Love you, bye-e-e-e!” Cat said in a whiny voice. 

“Love you guys!” Estelle said back. I hung up the phone and we went in and got a table. It was only five minutes after that Estelle came in and found us. 

“Hey guys. I am so sorry!” She said. She was talking about something when I saw the guy from the lipstick aisle. He was staring at me from his seat at the bar. I wanted to make sure that he wasn’t staring at anything else, so I excused myself to the bathroom. His head followed my path of motion. When I got back from the bathroom, the girls were staring at me funny.

“That guy over there obviously likes you. Go ask for his number.” Mila said. I shook my head, horrified at that idea. I told them about the lipsticks. I told them that he was a stalker. They all thought I was delusional. 

“Well if you don’t get his number, I will. He’s cute.” Mila said. I rolled my eyes at her and shook my head again.

“Mila, you have a date on Tuesday. If you already have a date, you can’t get another guy’s number.”

“Oops. I forgot! I better put a reminder into my phone.” She got her phone out and fiddled with it. 

“I’ve got to get back to Lemons. He’s going to be mad at me. Bye guys love you!” I said. I gave them all hugs and left the bar. Lemons is my cat. I partially lied to my friends. If the stalker follows me to at least three other places, I’ll call a friend from work. Also, Lemons will be mad if he doesn’t get his dinner by ten.

I hop into my car and drive to the gas station to get gas. I go inside to pre-pay, and of course, the lipstick guy is getting a slushy. I put gas into my car and I drive to Taco Bell. I park the car and go inside to get some Limited-Edition Nacho Fries, and I see the lipstick guy at the drive through window. Finally, I head home knowing that the lipstick guy wouldn’t follow me to my apartment. By now I have figured out what his car looks like. I also have realized that this car has been following me to work every morning for the past week. I took four left turns and the car hadn’t stopped following me. I take three more right turns and a left turn, before heading home completely. I park my car, grab my Taco Bell bag and head upstairs to my apartment.  I unlock the door and head in. I pet Lemons on the head and set my things on the table. I then fed poor Lemons, because he was hungry. I headed to the kitchen and sat at the table. I pulled out my Nacho Fries. I was really hungry because I didn’t eat at the bar. I was too paranoid by the stalker, so I forgot to eat.

“Lemons! No! Don’t do that! Sir!” I hissed at my cat. He was in the top shelf of my bookcase and he was about to knock down one of my antique bookends. I rushed over to the book shelf, jumped onto the couch, and grabbed Lemons from the shelf.

“You are a turd, Mr. Lemons.” I said, as I set him on the couch. I caught a glance of myself in the mirror on my wall. My brown hair was frizzed. My mascara was smeared on my left eye. My eyes were red from exhaustion and stress, making my green irises brighter. And my cheeks were splotchy and red with hives. I shook my head as I hopped off the couch and went to the kitchen. I took some Benadryl and I went to my room to get into pajamas. I washed my face and pulled my hair back into a messy ponytail. I went back to the kitchen to fill a mug with water. I put it in the microwave, so I could have tea. 

It had already been an hour and a half since I had got home. I was going to drink my tea and binge watch Criminal Minds. I jumped when I heard a knock at the door. I just knew that it was the stalker. The guy from the lipstick aisle. I knew it was him. I grabbed a steak knife from the knife holder, just in case he was a serial killer. I tip-toed to the door and peeked through the peephole. It was dark in the hallway, but I could just tell that it was him. I slowly unlatched my lock. I threw open the door.

“WHAT DO YOU WANT, YOU STALKER!” I shouted at him. He backed away wide eyed, hands in front of him in surrender. He pushed his glasses up on his face and gulped. 

“Are you, by any chance, Willow Cassidy Ebberson?” He asked. He had a gift bag next to his foot. “Can you put that knife away? You’re kinda freaking me out.” He asked. I threw the knife into the apartment. 

“Are you armed? Are you willing to let me pat you down?” I questioned. He looked confused. “I will repeat myself. Do you have any weapons on you?” 

“No. Why would I need one?” He wasn’t a very smart guy. Or a law enforcement employee of some sort. I rolled my eyes. He reached for his pocket.

“I thought you said you weren’t armed.” I said, as I grabbed his arm. His eyes went wide and he blinked, dumbfounded by my statement. 

“I’m not. I am grabbing my wallet. I have a letter from my mom to me. She recently passed away, and had two letters left behind.” 

“So. That isn’t my problem.” I turned to go back to my apartment. He grabbed my arm. 

“Yes it is. My mom didn’t have any other kids. But your name is on this letter, so you must be important. Also read my letter once you are done.”


I’m sorry that I left you and dad. I regret it. Leaving you. I don’t regret leaving dad because I remarried and had a son. His name is Robert. I hope he finds you and gives you this letter one day. I hope you two become close. I heard that you are a cop. I am so proud of you! But, continuing on, I have hidden letters that I have written to you and your brother. Both of you. Ever since you guys were born. I love you both. I might not see you again. But I hope the letters fix everything. 



Tears were running down my face. I was only four when she left. Her image barely remained in my mind. I was raised by my dad. Now I had a brother. He was standing in the hallway of my apartment building. He was handing me tissues and patting my back. He was leading me into my apartment and making me sit on the couch. 

“I didn’t - I’m sorry for yelling at you. It’s my P.T.S.D. I'm sorry.” I cried. “Your name is Robert, right?” I asked. He nodded. I looked at him. We had the same eyes. Green. And that was it. No other resemblances. He handed me the gift bag and sat in the recliner that was next to the couch. I opened the bag and there was a map. I looked up at Robert.

“What is the map for?”I asked. 

“It’s the first clue. To find the letters. We’ll start tomorrow. To look for clues.” He announced. 

“Okay. You’re going a bit fast, we haven’t met each other before. Meet me at Hank’s Diner at 8:30. We will get to know each other first. Get me time to trust you. Then we can start.” I said. 

“You don’t trust me?”

“No. Not yet. But I will. After our quest.”

April 15, 2020 04:10

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Laiba M
21:42 Apr 25, 2020

Hi Rebecca! I loved the story, it was really good! Some of your sentences were a bit simple but overall I loved how you built up different feelings around the guy!


Artemisia Pearl
05:14 Apr 26, 2020

Thank you! I am glad that you enjoyed my story!


Laiba M
17:07 Apr 26, 2020

You're welcome! :D


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Hayley Igarashi
21:20 Apr 22, 2020

Hi Rebecca, it's your friendly Critique Circle partner. :) I'm really glad I got "assigned" your story. You have a clear sense of story structure, and I enjoyed how you slowly built the tension around the mysterious guy in the lipstick aisle. You also have some lovely lines: "I could tell that he was lying to me. But I didn’t know him and strangers don’t have to tell the truth to each other." I love this idea of what strangers owe to each other. What an intriguing concept! My last note: Keep writing! I can tell, just from this s...


Artemisia Pearl
21:32 Apr 22, 2020

I wrote a sequel to it for the reveal of a long kept secret prompt. Feel free to read it! Also, thanks for the feed back and I am glad that you enjoyed it!


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Ay Jay
23:05 Apr 20, 2020

I like how you continue the story with the next prompt! I think you could work on some of the smaller details- for example, a bit of the punctuation was off- but otherwise, great job! Keep writing!


Artemisia Pearl
13:54 Apr 22, 2020

Thank you!


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