Windstar held two items in her hands as if weighing them on a scale. In her right hand was a stack of construction paper from the cheaper brand, in the other was a stack of construction paper from the more expensive brand.

Shadowstar said to buy as cheap as possible since we need money for wood and nails, but is two dollars really going to matter that much in the long run? If I get the expensive kind it means we'll have higher quality decor, but if I get the cheaper one I'll be getting more for less.

The girl ran a hand over her face before sighing and tossing the cheaper brand in the cart. She set down the expensive construction paper and hurried up the aisle. Then she pulled out a list of supplies that Shadowstar had given to her and drew a big 'X' across 'construction paper' in blue pen. The item after that was tissue paper, followed by a list of colors.

Okay, if this aisle has construction paper, that means the tissue paper should be in the next aisle, right?

Windstar pushed the cart into the next hallway of items and looked around for any sign of crinkly paper, but found nothing.

Maybe in the next aisle?

No, that aisle was full of scrapbooking materials.

The next aisle?

No, just a bunch of batteries.


No, now she was in shoes.


"Attention all shoppers, we are having a sale on earrings over in jewelry. 25% off, can you believe it?"

Windstar grimaced and started towards the construction paper again, "I hope Riverstar is having a better time than I am."

Across the store, Riverstar was, in fact, not having a good time. Windstar had given him two jobs, buy one-hundred twenty yards of cotton fabric, 40 yards of yellow, 35 yards of brown, 30 yards of green, and twenty yards of red. Then buy a pack of needles and some thread.

That was all.

Which was why the 'Closed' sign and chains barring him from entry was really upsetting.

Riverstar absolutely loathed the idea of telling Windstar that the fabric station was closed. She was already upset enough! The whole car ride to the department store it had been, 'Budget this,' and 'Taxes that!' He'd never seen his friend so upset.

Well, that wasn't necessarily true, there were the S.A.T.s, and the Dog Park Incident, and that one Cross Country raceā€¦

Riverstar shook his head. For a moment he thought about slipping past the chains, buying everything he needed and just leaving some money on the counter, but quickly shooed the thought away. He could never do that, well, at least not now. Probably back in his high school years, he could have, but not now. As a respected member of his community, he would not break the rules.

But maybe he could bend them, just a little.

The man turned and saw a black-haired employee resorting toys a few aisles over. He jogged over and tapped her on the shoulder,

"Excuse me, Miss, I was wondering if you could help me with something?"

The employee turned around and Riverstar's stomach immediately flipped.

"Oh, hey Riverstar!"

"Hey, Night."

Windstar, who had somehow ended up in the camping section, decided that the whole process of shopping was stupid, and frankly, she was done with it.

Just ask an employee, Riverstar's voice was wriggling around in the back of her head.

No, asking employees is for the weak! Windstar shot back, It's a department store, I can find the god-forsaken tissue paper.

But, another fifteen minutes of searching proved otherwise.

Windstar glanced uneasily to and from the employee help desk. They're here to help, just ask!

The short woman took a deep breath and rolled her cart up to the desk. "Hello there, I need help finding something."

The teenage boy at the desk stared straight ahead with glazed eyes, "What are you looking for ma'm?"

"Tissue paper, and please, don't call me ma'm."

"M'kay, no ma'ms. You said you're looking for tissue paper?"

Windstar rocked back and forth on her heels, "Yep."

"Alright, you're gonna go-"

"Actually, could someone just show me?"

The boy sighed like she had asked him if the Earth was flat, "Okay then, I'll get someone for you." He turned and cupped his hands around

his mouth, "Ey-yo Gorse Fur! There's a lady up here who needs help finding something!"

Windstar felt the serious need to punch the boy in the face, did everyone in the store need to know she was incompetent?

But when a man, presumably Gorse Fur, came out from behind one of the shelves, she suddenly felt slightly less incompetent. To put it in a PG-13 manner, her first thought was, Our babies will be athletic and beautiful.

"So Night," Riverstar said, scratching his head, "You work here?"

Night laughed, "Well, I am wearing the uniform."

"Oh, yeah, sure," he mumbled, feeling awkward and embarrassed and happy all at the same time.

Night lifted a box of Hot Wheels onto the shelf, "So did you need anything?"

"Oh yeah, do you know if just any employee can check me out in the fabric center, or does it have to be the people who work there?"

"Oh no, only people who work at the fabric center can check people out there, something about certain people doing certain sales. Sorry, Riverstar, if I could help you, I would."

Riverstar put his hands on his hips, "Oh dang, well, I guess I'll have to come back next weekend. Thanks, Night." He turned to leave, but a hand grabbed him and turned him back around. He met Night's green eyes, and she flushed and dropped his hand.

Night wrung her hands together and looked around the store, "Well, I might be able to check out your stuff over there. But we'll have to be sneaky."

Riverstar's eyes narrowed, "But, I thought you said-"

"Listen," Night's green eyes met his again, this time she didn't look away, "Do you want to get your stuff today or not?"

"I want them today, sure. But-"

Night grabbed his shirt sleeve and dragged him back over to the fabric center, "Good, now hurry up and pick your stuff. I'll be over here keeping watch."

"Okay, so you've got your tissue paper over here, craft glue in the next aisle, and poster board to your right. Is there anything else you need me to find?"

"Oh, what? Wait, nevermind got it. Glue's over there, poster board is here, all that stuff."

To be completely honest with herself, Windstar hadn't been paying much attention to what Gorse Fur had been saying. Sure most of it stuck, glue, paper, craft supplies, there's a map at the front of the store for next time she can't find something, but the details were all completely lost on her. Why?

Because she'd been to busy checking out Gorse Fur's ass.

Windstar had also been fighting with herself for the last half hour on whether or not she should ask him out. On the plus side, if he said yes,

they might actually get married someday; as long as she didn't introduce him to her friends. On the downside, if he rejected her, utter humiliation and self-doubt.

"So will you be needing any more help finding something today?"

Say, 'The way to your heart'. Say, 'The way to your heart'. Say, 'The way to your heart'. Say, 'The way to your-'

"No thank you."


Gorse Fur ran a hand through his spiky gray hair and smiled slightly, "Well if you need any more help, give me a call." Then he handed her a small slip of paper and walked away.




Shoes for less, ba-dup-ba-ba. Hello shoppers! I'm here to tell you about our new selection of shoes! All half off the first day they're in stores!

Riverstar meandered across the dark, empty parking lot towards Windstar's lime green buggy. Skystar had always warned him about walking around at night alone, but Skystar had always been a bit on edge. Plus, what was so scary about a night full of stars anyway?

When he reached Windstar's car he looked through the windshield to see her head on the steering wheel.

Now, most people might call nine-one-one, thinking that the poor girl had passed out or overdosed, but Riverstar knew better. He threw the bags of fabric in the back seat before he slammed the door shut and slid into the passenger's seat.

"So Windstar, how was your shopping trip?"

"I asked an employee for help, a cute as hell employee, and he gave his number.

"That's funny. Mine just forced me to break the rules. Guess they were both insane."



This has been a public service announcement.