Author's Note: It's a little different from That Simple Magic, certainly not taking place in the same world, but I hope you like it!
PS- if this ends up being posted before Chapter 10 for TSM is up, rest assured that the 10 should be up soon.
Saying His Name
The University's library was Ami's haven, her retreat from the world beyond. She loved everything about it: the tall arched windows that stretched from the high ceiling to the floor and covered an entire wall, the dozens of different comfy chairs, the knobby chairs that would force you to pay attention, and the muted whispers. The soft whirring of computers was music and the books, art. She was as enamored of the library as Mina was of boys- this was something her friend Serena noted with a little disgust. Serena never had had much use for books.
The warm afternoon sunlight had flooded the library with a golden glow on the Thursday that Ami settled into an empty table that demanded for papers to be spread all over it. She quickly complied with the table's wishes and soon was fully absorbed in her work. She was so absorbed that she completely failed to notice someone share her table until long legs knocked her own.
Ami jumped and looked up to find her own self being scrutinized by quizzical green eyes. It was only because she possessed the greatest strength of mind that she refrained from rolling her own blue ones. "Did you need something Dr. Zachary?" she asked, a trifle amount of disdain entering her soft voice. The 'Dr. Zachary' to whom she referred to wasn't really a doctor but an upperclassman who, when first meeting her, had introduced himself condescendingly as Dr. Zachary.
"So you haven't gotten passed that yet, have you?" Zach lazily tipped back in his chair, one leg bracing his actions while the other one was still touching Ami's. He was a tall and slender young man with crisp golden curls tied into a pony tale and wide set green eyes. Upon meeting him, Mina had once remarked that he had bedroom eyes that screamed "bang me" but Ami refused to believe it. She had also been unusually upset with Mina checking him out, something Ami couldn't really explain away so she locked it up tightly in a corner of her mind and refused to think about it. "Really, darling, it's not that hard to just say Zach."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Doc," Ami retorted, moving her leg away from his, immensely relieved that she was wearing pants instead of a skirt. She hurriedly began filing away her papers into different folders, eager to get away from Zachary: he always had a knack for making her feel stupid and silly.
"Going so soon?" he asked, dropping the two front legs of the chair to the floor with a thud. "Don't run out on a fellow, sweetheart, I came to the library specifically to see you."
In spite of her best intentions, Ami couldn't quite restrain the disbelieving cough. "Why don't you try another one?"
"True, I swear it," Zach held up his right hand. "I wanted a little bit of help, you see."
"Help?" shock painted Ami's heart-shaped face. "That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard!" She knew he had higher marks than she and oh, how that had rankled.
"Don't deprive me of your brilliance, sweetness," Zach pouted. The afternoon light flared around his golden head like a halo. "Just say you'll help me. Please?"
She shook her head at the unashamed begging. "Wha- oh, I don't know," she stumbled over her words. Try as she might, she couldn't shake the image of Zach's painfully handsome face out of her head. Her cheeks flushed. "Well, um, I guess so…."
"Is that a yes?"
I'm going to regret this, Ami thought. "Yes."
"Great!" a wicked grin spread across his face and his sparkling white teeth glinted. She licked suddenly dry lips. "Meet me here tomorrow at six- and wear a skirt," he added with an inscrutable glance at her khaki pants.
"ZACHARY!" Ami shrieked in outrage, forgetting to add the doctor in her angst.
"It's settled then. Tah, tah my love!" Zach tipped an imaginary hat and strode off with his hands in his pockets and whistling a merry tune.
"Urgh," Ami heaved a book after him which narrowly missed his head. The startling noise it made when it landed threw her out of her rage and she stared at the tomb, mildly horrified and what she had done. A peek out of the corner of her eye proved that roughly half of the people in the library were glaring at her. Her blush rose to the tip of her hairline and she rushed to pick the forlorn book off of the floor. Then, with as much dignity as possible, she grabbed her bag and walked out of the library hastily. She ignored the way her bag banged against her knees considering she was deep in mental trauma. There was really only one coherent thought running through Ami's mind… I've got to call Mina! She'll know what to do.
"He wants you, that's all," Mina answered Ami's question later that evening. Mina had set the phone on speaker as she scrambled about, searching for the killer shoes for her date. There was a knock at the door and there was Ami standing with her cell phone to her ear. She flipped the cell phone closed.
"You're deliberately misconstruing this situation," Ami shook her head violently, "because I know he doesn't." It was probably all an elaborate scheme to make her humiliated. Still, she couldn't help feel a nervous flutter in her stomach.
"AHA!" Mina exclaimed as she procured a strappy heel that matched the other one in her hand. She twisted around to face Ami as she put her shoes on. "I know he wants you, you can tell from the way he looks at you. Boy, if Wolfgang ever looked at me the way that man looks at you, I'd have him in front of the alter already. Or at least his credit card," Mina grinned while Ami's complexion changed from rose to crimson to purple in a matter of seconds. She counted down in her head, five…four…three…two….
"MINA!" Ami exploded in horror. She was a tough pistachio to break, Mina mused thoughtfully, but if you knew the trick it was as easy as pastry. Ignoring her friend who was spouting gibberish about gold diggers and no she did NOT like Zach that way (once again, unwittingly using his name) and other similar things. To Mina it was all pointless because she prided herself on being an expert matchmaker and she knew in her heart that Ami and Zach would go far.
"Huh?" Mina said when she finally realized that Ami had asked her a question.
"I was wondering if you think Wolfie might be the one," Ami repeated, her nose scrunched delicately. Wolfie was the nickname the girls had given to Mina's latest beau.
"Not even close," and Mina exhaled dramatically. "He's somewhere close by, I can feel him. But it's definitely not Wolfgang."
"Then why are you even still with him?" Ami demanded. "Aren't you just leading the poor guy on?" she paused suspiciously. "And what do you mean, you can feel him?"
"Wolfgang knows I don't think it's anything serious, no I'm not, and I can't explain it," Mina answered all the questions at once. "As for 'the one,' I saw him once," her expression got dreamy, "but he was with another girl and I wasn't about to make a big scene considering I don't even know his name yet."
"Right," Ami said privately thinking that that was one of the weirdest things she had ever heard Mina say to date. The doorbell rang and Mina nearly broke her ankle as she struggled to stand up. She set her the timer on her watch for two minutes.
"What in the world are you doing now?" Ami sounded fondly exasperated as Mina sat down on a stool, blithely ignoring the man waiting outside the door.
"I can't answer right away, it would be too eager," Mina explained. The beeper on her watch went off. "Oops! Time to go, see you later Blue!" She gave Ami a peck on each cheek and then darted to the door. Ami could hear her voice greet Wolfgang cheerfully and thank him for a rose. She rushed inside to Ami and shoved the rose into her hands.
"Wear the skirt," Mina whispered and then the door slammed and she was gone though her laughter still echoed down the hallway.
Great, Ami thought, some help that was.
No need to be nervous, why am I even nervous? It's only Doctor Zachary after all, why should he bother me? What am I doing in this skirt anyway? This was really stupid, I wonder if I would have time to go home to change. Maybe I could just send one of the girls to meet him and say I couldn't make it?
"Ami, my beloved tea rose, light of my life!"
Too late, the grim thought drifted through Ami's brain and her usually mild countenance shifted to a scowl. She was inordinately relieved when Zach slung his arm over her shoulder and led her up the steps to the library without making an acidic comment about her skirt. Zach notably wasn't fond of girls parading around in short skirts and the one Mina had chosen for her had to have the record for the shortest thing she had ever worn. Not that Zach had any right to make a comment since he told her to wear it and why was she wearing it again? Though the firm pressure of Zach's arm was reassuring, she couldn't help but lose a bit of confidence when he didn't even notice the skirt.
They took a table in the back of the library, a good distance away from all the other visitors so that the area was quiet and peaceful. With little of the aplomb Zachary traditionally used to speak to her, he softly muttered the area he was having trouble with and flipped to the part in his notebook where the notes were. His leg just brushed hers. Their heads hovered close together as they poured over Zach's disorganized notes written in a nearly indecipherable scrawl.
"Doctor Zachary, I really don't see what you need my help with," Ami began, her brow scrunched with confusion. "From what I can understand from these, it looks well within your almighty genius!" If the truth be told, she was much more conscious of his arm resting over the back of her chair and the caress of his breath on her cheek than any scribbles.
"I've a confession to make my darling," Zach whispered in her ear. Ami would have leapt away immediately as a jerk reaction except that his arm had drifted from its place on the chair to wrap firmly around her waist.
"You didn't need any help?" Ami said; her head was so busy churning ideas that nothing could form clearly.
"Oh no, I desperately needed your help," he was getting closer and closer to her. "O' blessed wisdom, I must admit I've been pining for you ever since we first met. You were the loveliest creature I had ever seen even in those dowdy clothes-"
Zach's eyes twinkled as he rode over her objections. "To be honest, my heart almost stopped when I saw you in that skirt, for the first time without pants."
"This is ridiculous," Ami shook her head in denial of what was happening, hysterical laughter barely kept at the back of her throat. "This must be a dream or something."
"So you dream of me often?"
Color climbed in Ami's cheeks and she couldn't manage the words to refute the statement. Naturally, of course she didn't…. What she was really trying to say was- damn it, what was she trying to say anyway?
"Don't hit me too hard when this over, I just can't help myself," Zach murmured and then he was kissing her, gentle brushes over her forehead, trailing over her eyes to the corner of her mouth. The corners of her mouth began to quirk and soon Ami found herself lying on top of the table, the notebooks pushed aside, and the reassuring weight of Zachary pressed on top of her.
Logic was all she had left now. Pure. Simple. Logic….
"Ahem!" Ami barely registered the annoying sound since she was much too busy trying to get her mind clear. It didn't help that the things Zach was doing managed to scatter her thoughts like dandelion puffs in the wind.
"Ahem!" there was another cough which managed to break through to Zach. He sighed regretfully into her neck and straightened up.
"Ah, Mrs. Bovine, how delightful to see you again!" he said while lending a hand to help a flustered Ami off of her back on the table. A stern matron stood in front of him with her hands upon her hips.
"This is a library, Mr. Smith," Mrs. Bovine primly reprimanded both him and Ami, "dedicated to the pursuit of academia, not these garish love scenes."
"I was merely assisting Ami in learning the art of kissing," Zachary dissembled on the spot, his fingers entwined with Ami's. For her part, Ami didn't dare look at the woman in front of them or else she would dissolve into helpless giggles at the expression she knew was on Mrs. Bovine's face. "I feel that that is an art too often neglected in the finest establishments of education."
"For good reason," Mrs. Bovine sniffed. "Now either kindly remove yourself from this library or get back to work. Real work," she added when Zach's grin began to widen.
"If you insist," he gave a half bow and turned back to Ami once the librarian had left the two of them in peace. "I suppose you want to slap me or something now," he mumbled with a despondent look on his face. "I wouldn't blame you if you did. I only wish we had had longer," and his voice trailed off, his green eyes were hooded and hidden by thick golden lashes.
"Well," Ami looked down shyly to where her foot was digging a hole in the carpet, "Zach, I do know this little corner…."
"Perfect." And it was hard to say whether Zach was referring to Ami or the corner. Perhaps it was both.