A/N: So, Mina and Packy requested this one. It's going to be a drabble story. I have a nice cushion on this one, so we'll see how that goes.
Edward was doing his best to help an elderly man compose his first email when the woman first tried to get his attention.
"I'll be with you in just a moment, ma'am."
"This can't wait."
He had to struggle not to roll his eyes. A quick glance confirmed what he suspected. He knew the type who thought their concern or desire had to be the most important thing in his world. "I'm with this gentleman here, but if you'll give me a moment—"
Her voice became loud and shrill. "There is a predator in the children's section. If you can't be bothered to care, I can just call the police. In fact, I should have done that from moment one."
Edward straightened up. He had the urge to call her bluff. Sure. Call the police. See what happened. He could only imagine the shrieking she'd do then.
Deciding it wasn't worth the headache—and that it was a good idea to check out her claim just in case she was right to be concerned—Edward straightened up. "I'll get our intern to come over and give you a hand, okay?"
The man winked, smiling ruefully. "You take your time, son."
Edward kept an eye out over the woman's shoulder as she went on about the "monster" lurking in the kid's section, and how there was no way a "man like that" could be up to anything good. He wasn't there with any little ones.
Spotting the intern, Bella, Edward gestured to her. He pointed at the old man and his emails before turning to give the irritated woman a placating smile. "Okay, ma'am, I'll check it out."
The children's section of the library had plenty of brightly colored nooks littered with comfy places to read. As could be expected, all the furniture was miniature-sized to fit its typical occupants. That made the sight in front of Edward more hilarious than frightening.
Sure enough, a monster of a man—if monster could be taken as meaning merely large—had folded himself onto one of the tiny couches. His knees came up to his chest, and it couldn't have been that comfortable, but he seemed far too engrossed in his book to care about things like comfort.
Edward could see why the woman leapt to the conclusion she had. Not only was the man huge, but he was littered with tattoos and piercings. For Edward, it only made him more intrigued, but there were a good amount of people who thought ink and holes made a person bad.
Although, studying a few of his tattoos, Edward had to concede it might behoove him to err on the side of caution. The lines of some of them weren't as straight as others, as though they were done crudely. There could be a lot of reasons for this, not the least of which was that they could have been done in prison.
Still, the man was obviously in a world of his own. He had the cutest smile—a cute smile on a big bear of a man, what even was that?—curling his lips as he flipped pages. Edward was even more bemused to see it was a Harry Potter book that had him so entranced. That explained what he was doing in the kid's section anyway.
Edward was strongly inclined not to bother the man who didn't look to him like he was doing anything creepy. But the woman who'd made the complaint had followed him. He had to hope a polite question would appease her without insulting him. To that end, Edward cleared his throat.
The man looked up, blinking startled, blue-gray eyes. His gaze darted down and quickly back up. Then, his smile turned into a full-fledged grin, dimple and all. Edward's breath caught.
"Hi," the man said.
"Hey," Edward said. Then he winced and shook his head, remembering what the hell he was here to do. "Oh, uh. Right." He cleared his throat, mentally admonishing himself to get a grip. "I just wanted to make sure you know that we have reading nooks all around the library. Some of them might be a little more comfortable."
The man's wide grin turned into a smirk as he glanced over Edward's shoulder. "What you mean is, some people would be more comfortable if I was out of sight, out of mind."
The man waved a hand as he got to his feet. In spite of himself, Edward stepped backward. Not because he was scared, but because the man was tall. Tall and broad. His hair shorn a little too short for Edward's taste, but no one had asked him anyway.
"It's okay. I'm used to it," the man said, and he sounded as though he meant it.
"Whoa. Sir?" He laughed. "Seriously, it's okay. I just got excited. I've been trying to get my hands on this book for three years."
Before he could school his reaction, Edward's eyebrows shot up. "Three years?" The Harry Potter books had all been out forever. It wasn't exactly hard to get ahold of them.
The man looked rueful. "I'll move to the other section," he said again. He was moving before Edward could manage to get another word out and was out of sight in another heartbeat, though not before winking at the woman who'd complained.
A/N: Many thanks, as always, to Packy, Mina, Betsy, Eleanor, and MoH.
So! Thoughts so far?