23 year old’s eyes flew open when the opening bars to Under Pressure reached her ears. She smiled and turned it up before she jumped out of bed, dancing over to her drawers to grab her running gear. The young woman swapped her PJ’s for them and pulled her hair into a high ponytail, all the while singing the lyrics to the song.
Before long, her trainer clad feet were pounding down the pavement, music blaring in her ears. “Morning Azira!” she called to the bookshop owner as she passed.
“Morning Tessa!” the angel called back. She ran along the embankment and past her little florist’s shop, Leilani. A black Bentley passed by slowing down as its occupant, a demon named Crowley turned his head to look at the blonde. Now he’d seen his fair share of human females in the thousands of years but none of them had caught his eye like she had. And it nearly made him crash the car if not for his quick flexes.
Once Tessa was done with her run, she went straight for the shower to freshen up. She then had a quick bite eat before heading out to work. “Hey, guys”, she softly greeted to the flowers and plants inside her shop as she prepared the place for opening.
It was where Crowley saw her next, adjusting the window display. He watched, fascinated as she gently caressed the leaves and petals. That was the kind of care and devotion that he gave to his plants. And yet some of them saw fit to have spots on their leaves. Maybe this young lady might be able to help him? With that idea in mind he headed off to his home to choose a plant to show her.
Tessa hummed a tune under her breath as she carefully pruned her bonsai tree on the counter by her till that is until the bell over the door rang, signalling that a customer had entered. “Good morning”, the blonde greeted, looking up “Welcome to Leilani. I’m Tessa, how may I help you?”
“I was wondering if you could help me with this?” Crowley asked producing a small potted plant “no matter what I do, I couldn’t stop these infernal spots”.
Tessa took the plant from him, setting it down on the counter. “Those are quite common”, she said touching the leaves.
“Can you get rid of them?” Crowley asked.
“Course I can”, Tessa replied “it’ll only take a minute”. She took the potted plant into the back room and the demon wandered around the shop, inspecting the plants and flowers while he waited. “Here you go, all done”, Tessa said making him look over at her.
Crowley took the plant from her and saw the leaves were spot free “thank you”, he said, thankful he didn’t have to resort to removing the leaves or destroying the plant completely.
“You’re welcome”, Tessa said.
“How much do I owe you?” the demon questioned.
“You don’t owe me anything. For such a small job, it’s on me”, Tessa answered.
Normally, Crowley would be content to have something for free. Heck, he often used his powers to get just that but for some reason he didn’t feel right about it this time. “Let me give you something for it”, he said taking out some money from his pocket “please”, he added holding it out.
“Alright”, Tessa said, seeing that he really wanted to give her money for it. When she reached out to take the money, her fingers brushed his and the demon felt sparks upon contact. A warmth blossomed in his chest suddenly bloomed in his chest. It wasn’t painful. Rather it was very comforting. He stared into her blue eyes feeling this undeniable pull toward her. To be honest what he was feeling should make him uneasy but it didn’t. In fact it was like for the first time in over 6,000 years, everything had fallen into place. “This is quite a bit much for one little plant”, Tessa remarked bringing him out of his thoughts.
“Well, I’ve got a few more plants that could do with your help”, Crowley admitted “that should cover it all”. That was a lie. He didn’t have any more and he wasn’t about to let her give the money back. Actually he’d be more than happy to give her more…he’d give her anything she wanted.
“That will more than cover it”, Tessa said, going over to the till to pop the money inside “shop hours are 9 till 5, Monday to Friday. Just bring you plants in and I’ll work my magic. What’s your name?” she asked “just so I know who to expect next time”.
“Anthony Crowley”, the demon replied “and you’re Tessa, right?”
The blonde nodded “Yes”, she confirmed “Tessa Nightingale”.
Tessa Nightingale…lovely name for a lovely lady the demon thought. “I’ll see you later Tessa, with more plants”, he said.
“I look forward to it”, Tessa said with a smile. Crowley returned it and left the shop. Not long after he left, Veronica Blake swept in, carrying a large binder. Tessa barely suppressed a groan. She was the worst customer that she ever had. The woman always had the most outrageous requests and demands that they be done in a timely fashion. She also had a habit of changing her mind so many times that by the end of it, Tessa had the overwhelming urge to strangle her.
Veronica opened up the binder to show her some centrepieces. “I want 50 of these done”, she ordered pointing one particular arrangement “and one of those for the main table”.
“Of course”, Tessa said noting it all down “I’d say you’re looking £800 to £900 mark price wise. Its also gonna take up to a month”.
Veronica looked at her shocked “that’s not good enough. You will have them done same time next week and if you’re lucky you’ll get £450 for a job well done”, she said, haughtily.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to take your business elsewhere”, Tessa informed her “I cannot do what you ask in the timeframe you’ve given me”.
“You will get these done by next week otherwise you may find that you’ll struggle with next month’s rent”, Veronica threatened. Tessa’s jaw clenched and her hand curled into a fist.
“I’ll do my best”, she said in as calm a voice as she could manage.
“Good”, Veronica said, scooping up the binder from the counter and walked out of the shop. Tessa sighed and dropped her head on the counter with a dull thunk.
“Afternoon Angel”, Crowley greeted as he wandered into the bookshop. He’d been in a very good mood since meeting Tessa that morning and to be honest he didn’t want to stop feeling that way.
Aziraphale raised his brows at how chipper the demon looked which was rather out of character for him “Afternoon Crowley”, the angel greeted back “you seem unusually happy today”.
“What’s wrong with that?” Crowley asked leaning against a post, arms folded.
“Nothing at all”, Aziraphale replied “just a bit out of character for you. So whats got you in such a good mood?” he asked. Crowley opened his mouth to respond when Tessa walked past the window. Immediately his head turned towards her, a smile creeping onto his face. It didn’t take a genius to work out that it was the florist that had gotten the demon in a good mood. “Tessa? Oh, no, no, no! you stay away from her”, Aziraphale said sternly.
“Why?” Crowley questioned.
“She’s a good person who deserves to be loved and cared for”, Aziraphale answered “not to be corrupted by the likes of you”.
“Oh a little bit of corruption is good for the soul”, Crowley remarked “Wouldn’t mind being Tessa’s”, he added with a mutter which the angel heard.
“Please, Crowley don’t do it”, Aziraphale pleaded “you can do it to someone else, just not her”.
“I gotta go”, Crowley said, ignoring him “got to choose a plant for Tessa to fix”. Aziraphale watched him go with worried eyes.
“Oh, I do hope he doesn’t hurt her”, he said to himself. Maybe he should warn Tessa about the demon…?
Tessa sank down onto her sofa, propping her feet up. She picked up her mug of tea and took a sip of the hot liquid. The blonde sighed. That was just what she needed after a long day of work, dealing with nice customers in between she-who-shall-not-be-name’s order.
She shifted the mug into one hand while she switched on the TV, turning it to the movie she’d been watching the night before. Once the movie was over, Tessa dumped her mug in the sink and went to bed.