Hello! This is a rewrite and completion of a story I started several years ago on a different account. Enjoy!
5:55. Time to start shoving customers out, something Mr. Mushnik never could have dreamed he'd have to do.
"Come back tomorra to see the wonderful weird Audrey II! It'll be even bigger and better, right Krelborn?" The exhausted botanist nodded in reply as he moved through a crowd of reporters and fans towards the door, knowing they'd follow him right out.
"Closing time!" Seymour cried out as strongly as he could. He staggered with exhaustion with each step, barely able to move; passing the nights by letting a large flytrap drink his blood took a toll on him physically, it appeared.
By 6:04, Mushnik's Skid Row Florist was devoid of customers, fans, and reporters for the day. "Three whole weeks of customers!" Mushnik exclaimed. Please don't droop tonight, Seymour tried to silently will his plant, unsure if he could take another round of feedings, of finger prickings and blood suckings that left him weak, weary, and sleepless. Thankfully, Audrey II's pod stood upright for now. "Keep that plant beautiful, Seymour!" Mushnik called as his final adieu before leaving his shop to the storehand and his plant. And...
Audrey! He finally remembered: Audrey was still in the back room. Rushing to her carefully, so as not to stumble in front of her, Seymour called out, "Audrey, everyone's gone, it's closing time!" But when he finally got to the back room, he didn't see the blonde at the table where she normally worked. A quiet whisper came from across the room, and Seymour followed it to his coworker, whom he found sitting on an overturned bucket in the corner, her face buried in her hands.
Quietly, Seymour knelt down beside her, softly asking, "Audrey, are you okay?"
Audrey looked up with tear-streaked eyes. "Oh, Seymour! I'm, uh...I'm fine," she said, trying mask her tears with a beautiful, sad smile.
"Then why are you crying?" he asked innocently.
Wiping the tears from here eyes, Audrey responded, "I...I have a date tonight."
"And you don't want to go?"
Audrey bit her lip, the tears welling up in her eyes, and shook her head 'no' before hiding her face again and giving in to her sobs.
Seymour knew he needed to do something, but what? Maybe this was his chance to try...if she'd let him.
"You don't have to," he told her softly.
She looked up again, her face drenched in fresh tears. "If I don't, Orin'll get angry. And he'll come looking for me, and—" Audrey stopped herself before she could finish, her lip quivering as she struggled not to cry too much in front of Seymour. Her tears had begun to wash away her makeup, revealing small bruises and abrasions that Seymour had never seen before, ones she'd managed to fully hide. Fury welled up inside him, that someone, a man, could hurt this delicate beauty in such a horrible way. But this anger made him brave.
Mustering up all his courage, Seymour gingerly placed his hand on her shoulder. "Audrey," he began, "why do you let him do this to you? There are guys that'd...that would kill to be with you. You could have any guy you wanted to, a nice boy." He gave a small smile, hoping he was comforting her instead of scaring her off.
"I don't deserve a nice boy, Seymour," she retorted glumly. "Yes you d—" "You don't know the half of it!" she burst suddenly. "I've lived a terrible life. I deserve Orin Scrivello, DDS." Seymour opened his mouth to protest, but she cut him off again with, "You wanna know where I met 'im?" He looked quizzically at her, and she continued: "The Guttah."
He raised his eyebrows and inquired, "the gutter?"
Audrey nodded, "The Guttah. It's a night spot. I work there my nights off when we ain't makin' much money. I put on, cheap and tasteless outfits, not nice ones like this. Low and nasty apparel...and I..." Tears strangled the end of the sentence.
Seymour wanted to make everything bad leave Audrey's life forever. He wanted to tell her that everything would be okay, and that he could protect her. He would protect her. He wanted to get ride of Orin Scrivello, DDS, in any way he could. Perhaps a thirsty plant...Seymour quickly shook the vile thought from his mind, but he did find the words to say.
"Audrey, you don't have to be afraid anymore. You can leave all that behind you. You a wonderful person, I've always thought so. You know what I see beneath the bruises and the handcuffs? A girl I respect. And I always will."
"Lift up your head..."