“Careful.” Carstella told Tuff as they worked together to put the counter on the stand for the shop.
They lined it up perfectly and then Carstella Got down to drill the counter top in place.
“What would I do without you?” Tuff said as she got up from finishing her task.
Carstella shrugged and put the drill in her belt before telling Tuff to bring over the shelves for under the counter.
He did as she asked and watched silently as she did her work. They had decided that the store should be the last thing that is completed. They wanted to move out of the apartment as soon as they possibly could.
They got the basement and the second floor done completely before they started moving things in. When the third floor was completely finished they were completely moved in. The only things really left to do was build the stairs to connect the street to the actual house, change the lock and add rubber insolation to the boarders of the main door, and finish setting up the dressing rooms and the clothing racks for the sales floor.
“How ’bout we take a break, Stell?” Tuff asked leaning against the counter.
“We’re almost done though?” She said sitting up and looking at him.
He shrugged before saying, “We don’t have much left to do.” He told her, “Why not take a little break and eat something?”
Carstella looked at the floor for a moment before she looked back at Tuff and shrugged, “Alright.”
“Great!” He exclaimed and shot up grabbing the red eyed girl and all but dragged her up the stairs after him.
He quickly sat her down at the dinning room table and hurried into the kitchen.
Carstella pulled her tool belt off of her waist as some of the tools were digging into her. She knew he had made something earlier that day while she was down stairs marking down and drilling the holes for the counter.
Tuff came back in with two steaming plates.
“Pelmeni?” Carstella asked in surprise.
Tuff smiled as he sat next to her, “It’s a ground yak filling, I hope you don’t mind.”
Carstella smiled and laughed lightly at it before picking up her cutlery and digging in. She loved Tuff’s cooking and hadn’t realized how hungry she was until she smelled the food.
“Done.” Carstella said as she drilled the last of the shelves into the floor.
Tuff as sweeping the dust up and wiping down the shelves.
The only things left to do was to reinstall the doors, wipe them down, and make the stairs for the outside which they would need to rent a ladder for.
Tuff tossed the last of the dirt in the trash bag.
“I’ll get started on dinner.” He told her and headed up stairs.
Carstella went through the tarps covering the front door and then tacked them back in place.
She hurried to the far side of the property and inside a small shed a few meters from the house. Carstella had ordered a four inch thick, two by five foot board form the lumber yard.
She had drawn out patterns and words on it. Over the past couple days she had started chiseling away at it. The sign was going to be done today. Within an hour it was done.
‘Thorston Boutique’ Was written in the center with intricate lines, swirls, flower petals, and a needle and a spool of thread connected to the needle along the bottom.
She was happy with it, the only thing left was to show Tuff.
Carstella dusted herself off and hurried inside and up stairs.
“Almost done, Stell.” Tuff called back, “It just has to set up.”
“Good.” She said to him, “Then I can show you something.”
He turned around and gave her a weird look, before he complied and followed her down and outside.
Carstella opened the door to the small shed and stepped aside so Tuff could fully see the sign.
Tuff’s jaw dropped.
“Did you?” He asked unable to finish his sentence.
She nodded and smiled, “Is it okay?” She asked, “We never agreed on name, but you said you wanted it to be a boutique. I just thought”
“It’s perfect!” Tuff exclaimed And pulled the red eyed girl into a hug, “You outdid yourself, Stell. Thank you so much.”
Carstella returned the hug and buried her face into his shoulder.
“It’s not problem, I just hope you’re ready for the demand.” She told him.
“You keep out doing yourself.” Carstella said to Tuff as they were hanging up clothes.
“Just doing one of the things I love.” He told her.
There were dresses of many different colours, sizes, patterns, skirts of every kind, blouses and sweaters of every kind. Many different kinds of button downs, jeans and dress pants, sweaters, jackets, vests. Just about every kind of clothing item someone could imagine was out on the shelves and racks.
Day after tomorrow would be the grand opening. Everything was set up, only thing really left to do was finish the railing going upstairs.
Things were going better than either of them could ever have thought. Tuff had been making more cloths every day after work back in L.A. and again when they started renovations here. Carstella had kept up with her translations, decoding, and explanations. She was actually working on books to decode gang letters, the differences between gangs and mafias, meanings of tattoos and their placements, origins of gangs of mafias, their beliefs and hierarchy systems. But the books were put on hold because she was busy helping with the renovations.
Carstella had suggested that Tuff could be downstairs in his workshop working on new pieces and tailor jobs while she ran the tills, she could use that time to work on decoding and explanations, she might even get ahead on her work load and start her books around the gangs and mafia. Tuff was unsure about it, but knew he would eventually need the time she was giving him for work.
Tuff stared at the dark haired girl as she finished up hanging the garments. He knew there was something he had to do before they could actually call Berk and the store their new life.
The moon was full and a light chill filled the air. Summer was coming to an end, and the long winter was about to hit.
Carstella and Tuff sat on one of the cliffs looking out to the ocean and night sky.
They had spent that evening at Gobber’s restaurant with the rest of the gang and everyone else, their parents, Stoik, Spitelout, Mulch, and Bucket.
On their way home they decided to watch the moon for a while before heading inside.
“Are you okay, Tuff?” Carstella asked the blonde, “You’ve been really quiet all night.”
Tuff swallowed hard before he turned to face the dark haired girl next to him.
Tuff reached out and grabbed her left hand as it was closest to him.
“Stell,” He started, “I love you, more than anything else. And I can’t picture my life without you. I know you’ve had a hard life and had been abused and hurt, but I promise if you choose to stay with me I will do everything in my power to keep you safe and happy, because that’s all I want. Carstella, I talked to Stoik and Spitelout, and they said they were okay with it because they know I wont hurt you. So, Stell, would you marry me?”
He pulled out a blue velvet box and opened it to reveal:
“Tuff?” She said in surprise.
“I know it’s not a traditional engagement ring, but it belonged to my great great grandmother and my mom wanted me to use this to ask you, if you want to.” He added quickly.
Carstella lunged forward and wrapped her arms around him tightly.
“I would love to!” She exclaimed as she started crying into his chest out of sheer happiness.
Tuff laughed loudly and pulled her away slightly so he could kiss her lips lightly and then slid the ring on her finger. It was a little too big on her finger, but it didn’t matter. They were both more than ready to continue their life together. It was their new life and a new chapter to add to their stories.