Chapter Nine

Somewhere Between Shakespeare and Hemmingway

Warning: This chapter may contain profanity; it's for characterization purposes only and not meant to offend. Please continue on with that in mind.

I left school feeling very much relieved. I was exhausted from the lack of sleep, but I felt re-energized after I had spoken to Bella. It was like a part of me that I had left to wither and die was suddenly awake and vibrant again. My whole being was ignited with a drive and I finally had something to look forward to.

I waltzed into the library with what was probably a huge cheesy grin plastered on my face. Besides Bella's company, there was no other place I would rather be than there. Books for most of my life had been companions when I had no one to turn to. Through the tragedies and triumphs of the characters I had learned and confided. I went to the library every day possible; getting a job there was a plus.

Mrs. Burchett, the librarian, stared at me with wide shock. There was no need for me to check to know that the wide grin was in place. But there was nothing I could do about it. For once in a long time, I was happy, so happy in fact, that no matter how miserable my life really was, it didn't matter. Nothing seemed to be able to take away the joy that I had found. To be honest, I didn't feel like masking it either.

"Well hello Edward, you seem happy today," Mrs. Burchett said as I walked behind the desk and pinned on my name tag. Her gray hair was pulled up into a tight twist as usual and her small black glasses were perched on her pointed nose, it was her signature look. She never wore her hair differently and the two years I had worked there, she had kept the same frames. She was a simple person and I liked her for it.

"Ahh, I guess," I replied, still smiling like a fool. Mrs. Burchett looked at me as if I had gone mad. It was only normal though, she'd never seen even a hint of a smile on my face and I had been coming there regularly since I moved to Forks. Her wrinkled brow was twisted into confusion and her blue eyes continued to bore into me with her bewilderment. I chuckled at her and she snapped out of her daze.

"I've never seen you so happy before, you must have found a girl," she sighed, smiling brightly back at me. I was a little taken aback that she had guessed it so quickly, but then again, she had gotten to know me somewhat since I had came to Forks.

"Something like that," I laughed as I walked over to the cart of books that needed re-shelving. As usual, there wasn't many, roughly ten, and it would take me no time to finish.

"I know love when I see it," she replied simply, her eyes sparkling with wisdom. I shrugged my shoulders, not denying or confirming it as I pushed the old squeaky cart away from the check out desk and to the shelves.

I quickly located the books' places upon the shelves and put them away. After I had finished re-shelving, I walked down the narrow isles between the book cases and straightened up the few volumes that had been tampered with. Not many people came to the library and it was easy to keep the shelves orderly. Usually, only two or three books were misplaced or hanging out over the edge too far, at most it took thirty minutes to fix them. When I was finished, I walked back to the check out desk and took my seat. The only thing left for me to do was check out the books of the rare patron that passed through. While I waited, I could read or do homework. Mrs. Burchett didn't care as long as I was being productive and quiet. Sleeping, I had learned however, was not tolerable. She required that I at least be conscious. If I decided to stare at my thumbs for two hours, she didn't mind. Just no sleeping on her time.

I pulled out my Biology book and decided to catch up on reading. I was doing ok in the class, but I knew that if I exerted a little more effort into it I could do much better. I had given up on school and myself. I hadn't cared if I had gotten straight A's or F's. No one else cared, so why should I? However, I had realized that if I managed to snag an A on my biology final I could pull off an A in the class, leaving me with straight A's for year, except for English. That would be a D if I were lucky. Even with the D however, my GPA would be good enough to get into a decent school. Ivy League was out of the picture, but it wasn't like I could afford it anyway.

All the money I had made while I had worked at the library and restaurant I had saved. I had only spent money on my car and that was minimal. My mom had left me a small inheritance when she passed, and despite my father's efforts I received it when I turned sixteen. With that, I had bought my Volvo, my true pride and joy until Bella. I had a little left over and it joined my college funds. It was a small sum of money, but it would get me through a year at a public college and I figured I could work while in school and attempt to replace the money I used.

I knew that going to school would be hard, but I was willing to give it a shot. If not, I would be stuck in dead end job after dead end job. I didn't want to be trapped scraping by, a standing joke for my father to sneer at. Despite all that was against me, I was beginning to believe that I could succeed if I tried.

As I sat reading, I found myself astounded and intrigued by the different theories and discoveries. Honestly, I was almost bored to tears in Biology class. Mr. Cope would lecture on and on about atoms, electrons, and the like and after a while, I began to tune him out. But as I flipped through the pages, I instantly started to formulate and question what I was reading. I wanted to know more.

It was almost closing time when I finished reading. I amazed even myself by the amount that I had read. Remarkably, I completed three chapters. I closed my book and sat back in my chair rubbing my eyes. No one had stopped by during the course of my studying and I wasn't surprised. It was a normal evening at the library, lonesome.

I stood ready to go back over the shelves, not that they needed it, so that I could close up. Mrs. Burchett was sitting to the left of me, repairing old books with clear tape because the library seldom got the funds to replace them. No matter how dull the library came, she always found busy work to keep herself occupied. She kept on task as I went through to make my last rounds. It was only thirty minutes until eight and I needed to find something else to do.

Going to the supply closet, I took out the ancient Dirt Devil that Mrs. Burchett refused to retire and plugging it up, I began to sweep the vast expanse of maroon carpeting. We usually didn't do it every night. With the lack of traffic the library generally received, it wasn't necessary. But, I needed something to do. Despite being impossibly happy, I was tired. At any moment I was ready to fall over and if I didn't find a job to do, I could almost guarantee that I would.

The ancient tank of a machine thundered and broke the quiet of the library. Under its roar I oddly felt deaf. Of course I knew I wasn't because I was hearing the loud humming of the vacuum, but nothing else seemed to exist. Quickly, I pushed the vacuum over the carpet, picking up microscopic dirt. I was just about finished as I backed up allowing the vacuum to follow me, getting the last track of carpet.

I hadn't remembered a shelf being behind me, but oddly enough I bumped into something while finishing with the vacuum. I turned the vacuum off quickly and turned to survey the damage I had done. No doubt I had knocked over a book or two. But, as I had thought, there was no book shelf behind me. Instead, Bella sat on the floor looking up at me with wide shock. I could only imagine the confusion was mirrored back at her as I took in her sprawled form. Without further thought, I went to her aid, offering my hand. Blushing, she took it and allowed me to help her up.

"I came to check out a book to read. I decided I wanted to read something other than what's in my collection," she explained. It seemed as if she could hear my thoughts but then again, my expression was probably telling it all. I couldn't believe I had bumped into her.

"I'm glad I ran into you, figuratively speaking of course," I joked.

"Yeah, it's nice seeing you again too. What exactly are you doing here?" she asked, looking over my shoulder at the vacuum.

"Ah, I just randomly vacuum places," I chuckled. She smacked my arm playfully as she tried to put on a serious face.

"No really, why are you here?" she asked.

"I work here Monday through Wednesday," I answered.

"Really, I just thought you worked at the restaurant," she voiced.

"Yeah, I do. But I've worked here for almost two years now as well as bussing tables," I replied.

"It's weird I haven't ran into you sooner," she laughed.

"You come here a lot?" I asked, surprised that I hadn't noticed her.

"Yeah, usually just on Saturdays though," she replied.

"I've never worked a Saturday," I explained. Just then Mrs. Burchett rounded the corner, pointing to her watch letting me know that it was time to close.

"I'm sorry," Bella said catching Mrs. Burchett's display.

"No really, it's ok. You're the only person I've seen since I came in today besides Mrs. Burchett," I laughed.

"Well, if you could help me I'd just like to find a good book and I'll be out of here," she explained.

"What do you like to read?" I asked, more than willing to come to her aid.

"Ah, anything from Hemmingway to Shakespeare," she answered.

"What a specific answer," I chuckled.

"I don't know exactly what I want, I just want to read something different," she replied.

"So you're up for anything?" I asked as I started walking down the isle, glancing over the books for one I could suggest. So many of them caught my eye, but none of them really stood out.

"Yeah, just as long as it's not severely boring," she replied walking next to me.

"Have you read the "The Color Purple"?" I asked, the title standing out, but probably because it was literally the only brightly colored book in shelf of brown, grey, and black.

"Yeah," she replied.

"What about "The Reivers"?" I asked, my eye hitting Faulkner's section. Faulkner was one of my favorite authors. His works were very original to say the least, and if she hadn't read them she would probably find his story refreshing in content.

"I've never read it," she answered.

"I'd suggest it. It's very different though," I voiced as I pulled it off the shelf and handed it to her.

"I think I'll give it a shot. I haven't read anything new for a while," she replied taking the book.

"I hope you like it," I said as we started walking to the check out desk.

"I'm sure I will," she said as she came to a stop in front of the check out counter as I walked behind it.

"I see you're out late Isabella. Are you not coming by Saturday?" Mrs. Burchett asked as she watched me check out the book.

"No, I have plans Saturday morning and won't be able to," she replied as she handed me her library card. I scanned it and then the book, checking it out in her name. Instantly I began to wonder what her plans were and if she had made them alone or if someone else was joining her. I felt the urge to ask, but thought better of it. I didn't want her to think that I was some type of stalker. Besides, what authority did I have to ask her business?

"Oh, well that's a shame. I haven't seen you for the last two," Mrs. Burchett sighed. It was still remarkable to me that I hadn't run into Bella at the library. It seemed as if our paths had run parallel for a while and just now had merged. I was instantly bugged by the fact that I didn't really know what to consider her. Was that deliberate of her? Did she want to leave the relationship open so she could meet up with someone Saturday? As I handed back her book, I instantly felt guilty for my thoughts. I was becoming upset, no jealous, over something that was completely hypothetical. Besides, I had no reason not to trust her and no reason to question her motives.

"Thanks," she replied taking it, clutching it against her stomach.

"You'll have to let me know what you think of it," I said as she started to turn and walk away.

"I will. See you in class tomorrow, and make sure you're ready to present," she replied as she made the short walk to the door, turning to smile at me before she left.

"See ya," was all I could reply, I was stunned.

"I knew I was right," Mrs. Burchett laughed, bringing me out of my daze.

"Hmm?" I replied.

"I was right. You are in love," she smirked, giving me a "don't question it" look. Her eye brows were raised and her lips were twisted into a sly smile. How could I refute it when it was so obvious?

"Maybe," I replied as I walked away from the desk to put away the vacuum.

"You can't fool me Edward," she chuckled. I held back a laugh as I reached the Dirt Devil. Unplugging and wrapping up the cord, I stored it back into the closet.

"Ready?" she asked as I appeared at the desk. She had her coat and purse on her arm, waiting and ready to leave.

"Yeah, I just need to grab my book bag," I replied as I walked behind it and grabbed my bag, throwing it over my shoulder. We walked out the door together and I waited as Mrs. Burchett locked the door. I could have left her standing in the dark alone to do the task, but I always felt the need to stay by and make sure she made it to her car. She was sort of like a grandmother to me and I felt that I should respect her by waiting to make sure she was alright.

"I'll see you tomorrow Edward. Be good to my Bella, I've known her a long time," Mrs. Burchett sighed. She turned and walked away going to her old grey station wagon.

"Bye," I replied walking to my car. She was the second person that had instructed that I be good to Bella. Did everything think I was destined to mess up? I began to question myself as I drove quickly home. Could I be good for Bella?

As I pulled into my driveway, I was relieved to discover that my dad was still out. I really felt that my luck was starting to run thin. Really, how much could possibly go right in one day before reality interrupted? My life just didn't run that smoothly. My dad had given me a break, but I knew it was only a matter of time.

Walking into my room, I laid on my bed closing my eyes. I refused to worry about my dad for now. Everything had gone right today and I wouldn't let him cloud over it like he had everything else. Even if tomorrow was horrible and he destroyed all the happiness that I had left, at least I had today. That was all I could think about as I drifted off to sleep. Bella had come into my life and things were suddenly looking much brighter.

(A/N: First and foremost, thanks for all the wonderful reviews on the last chapter! I really appreciated it. This chapter may be considered a filler/it is a filler, but I wanted to add a little unnecessary fluff. Not that it contained a lot, but I thought it would be nice having them run into one another again. With that said, what did you all think of this chapter? Just totally unnecessary, or was it tolerable? Please review and let me know. Oh, and please look over any mistakes in this chapter, I'm still self editing, I'm positive that I've looked over something. But with that said, if anyone is interested in Beta-ing, I could really use one!! Comment or PM and let me know if you're interested!)