Stamp inkpad, stamp book, put on cart/ stamp inkpad, stamp book, put on cart. Repeat as needed until brain begins to ooze out of ears.
I did enjoy my job, it would have been wrong to say that I absolutely hated it. Still, just like any other job, there were parts I loved and there were parts I hated. Stamping books back into circulation was one of the things I completely detested. Though it was nice when I had to travel to the second floor to put books away because I could conveniently "get lost" and spend a good amount of time hidden away in a corner reading one of the rare manuscripts we kept on hand. If I timed it right I could get twenty to twenty-five minutes in before the familiar, and painstakingly annoying voice of Jessica Stanley would filter over the intercom.
No, filter is too kind of a word. She raped that sound system without looking it in the eyes or calling the next morning.
"Edward to the front desk please, Edward Cullen to the front desk." She tried to sound like a sexy seductress but she came off like a shot-wound streetwalker.
I'd put away the book that I had been so invested in and relocate my cart with the one squeaky wheel…god damn, I hated that wheel…. Then I'd begrudgingly make my way to the elevator and back down to the main lobby where more books would, no doubt, be waiting for me.
So what did I exactly enjoy about my job in the local library? Well, I liked the smell of books especially old ones. The new ones tended to smell a bit too much like glue for my liking. I enjoyed being sent on cleaning missions because that meant I could, once again, get lost in the stacks. And I really enjoyed making displays in the front cases about upcoming attractions, author signings, release parties, and much more.
Then there were the obvious aspects such as:
- It was pretty good pay
- It was way better than flipping burgers
- Bleach blondes with fake boobs rarely graced libraries
There were obvious downsides as well
- I worked at a library so it never really got too exciting
- I felt guilty about driving my car the mile it took to get from my apartment to the library so I rode a bike no matter if it was rain or shine.
- No pot allowed on the premises
- Just kidding about the pot.
- Or am I?
- Customer complaints about late fees were always very abundant.
- Did I mention I rode my bike to work?
All in all though it really did beat flipping burgers.
"Edward! I dyed my hair what do you think?" Jessica's annoying voice was the first sound I heard as I walked into the library. It was a normal, rainy, Tuesday morning as I pulled my soaked jacket off my shoulders and proceeded to rid my unruly hair of any stubborn moisture. I made sure to aim my head in Jessica's direction. I finally looked up to see her normally mousey brown hair dyed a very bright platinum blonde.
"It's great!" I said with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. It really was great, it completely solidified the fact that, no matter how drunk I was (and I mean I would have to be very, very, very, drunk. Possibly drunk and on some form of very strong hallucinogenic) I would never sleep with Jessica Stanley.
Edward Cullen definitely preferred brunettes.
It was a gross day outside which meant not many people would be venturing out of their homes. Then again, rainy days were always the perfect reading days in my opinion.
"I wonder if we'll be busy today?" Jessica said, trying her hardest to make conversation. I gave her a smirk, I didn't want to seem like a jerk. I wasn't mean, I was just very uninterested.
"It's possible. It all depends on the rain and if it gets any worse." I said as I made my way to the break room in search of coffee.
"Morning Edward." Michael greeted me as I grabbed my mug from the cabinet and poured my normal cup of black coffee.
"Morning." I said, still a little groggy and not feeling like being conversational. Michael was a squirrelly guy ten years my senior, he was also my supervisor which gave him another reason to feel like he could boss me around. To be quite honest, I didn't mind being bossed around that much. Michael seemed like he had his job and that was it. He was unmarried, didn't even have a car, and lived in a crappy apartment that he could barely afford. I wished more for him, and I wished even more to never be exactly like him.
Michael looked at me with a suspicious glare over the frames of his thick, silver glasses. He took a quick sniff in my direction which made me lean away a bit as I stirred a sugar packet into my bitter coffee.
"Shower broken again Edward?" He quipped. I sniffed my long sleeved shirt and was displeased to find that I smelled less like my cologne and more like a wet dog who had rolled in a dead gerbil and sweaty hookers.
Cheap hookers to be exact.
"I guess I pick up a lot of interesting odors bicycling through the rain to work." I said with a shrug. Michael chuckled matter-of-factly and laid a hand on my shoulder in an attempt to seem fatherly.
"Transportation is not an excuse for bad hygiene, Edward. I bike to work every morning and I don't smell like an animal." He leaned in, "The trick is keeping a bottle of cologne on you at all times." He whispered with a final clap to my shoulder.
Yes, I aspire to smell like a cross between a funeral home and that one uncle that no one talks about until he shows up at the reunion drinking cheap Scotch out of the bottle and wearing a suit with the price tag still on it…yeah you know the one I'm talking about.
"Thanks for the advice." I said as I threw the spoon into the sink and walked out of the break room eager to avoid anymore "advice" sessions. I made my way through the main room of the library turning on lights as I went. My destination was the front desk and I was determined to get there with as few interruptions from Jessica or Michael as possible. The storm that was rolling into our small town was becoming more violent with each passing minute and I half hoped that no one would come in so I could get paid to sit at the desk and read all day long.
I reached my destination, pulled out the battered leather chair, and sat down. I hadn't encountered Jessica since the break room and I secretly fantasized that Michael had put her to work cataloging issues of "National Geographic" that were older than her.
Sighing happily I pulled out my much abused copy of Virgil's "Doomed Love" and began to read the material that I had, basically memorized. I almost thought about turning on the radio but then I realized that it was comforting to sit there with a familiar book as the heavy rain pelted the thickly paned windows. Thunder started to rumble loudly adding a nice percussion section to the rhythmic symphony that was raging outside.
I was enjoying the peace and quiet, not caring where my co-workers were just pleased that they weren't bothering me, when my cell phone went off rather loudly signaling that I had a new text message.
"Dude! Tell your crazy sister to stop burning my clothes. I don't have 9234 pairs of jeans like she does.
I laughed at my best friend's expense. That's what he got for being hopelessly in love with my crazy, pixie-like, goal oriented, stepsister.
My cell phone dinged again,
"OMG EDWARD! If u don't take Jazz shopping soon he's not going to have n e more clothes to wear! Ugh! At least u learned to listen to me about fashion a LONG time ago. I don't know what I'd do if I had to take care of 2 fashion challenged neanderthals 24/7.
I laughed out loud and the sound was a bit scary in the silent library. It was true that I had a fairly boring job, and an average apartment, but if it was one thing I had in my life that was NOT average it was my friends and my family… and I would never trade any of them for anything.
For starters there were my parents:
Esme Masen Cullen, my beautiful mother who was quite possibly the nicest person on the face of the planet. I had never heard her raise her voice to anyone and I would take the day she said a swear word any worse than "dammit" as a sign of the apocalypse. My mother had long brown hair and large doe-like eyes. She had previously been married to one Mark Masen (and yes he was just a big of a tool as his name suggested) my biological father. I cringed anytime I thought of that fucking bastard. He was now rotting in a jail cell for a drunk driving accident that he ran away from. Did I mention he left six year old me in the totaled car from said accident covered in apple juice scared shitless? Yeah, I really hoped he was taking it up the ass nightly now.
Then my mother had met Carlisle Cullen…Doctor Carlisle Cullen to be exact. The man was one of those rare, kindhearted, people that you are only fortunate to meet a handful of times in your life. He was tall and blonde with kind eyes and a soft voice (though he could sound quite authoritative when he needed to be). Carlisle worked as an emergency room doctor at the local hospital, he had also written several books on varying subjects and had inherited quite a bit of money from his father who had passed when Carlisle was twenty. To make a long story short Carlisle lived quite well and he made sure his family was well taken care of. My mother married Carlisle when I was nine years old and his daughter Alice was seven.
Alice Cullen was one of those rare gems that either belongs as a loveable sidekick or as a patient in a mental institution. She had short, spiky, black hair that I assumed she got from her biological mother who had skipped town on the back of a Harley that had belonged to a woman with a fairly convincing five o'clock shadow, when Alice was two. Alice also had a voice that could carry so well that I could perfectly understand her shrieks all the way upstairs in the closed bathroom with the radio up full blast and the shower running. She was as kind as her father and had a passion for living that was unmatched by anyone I had ever met. She was loving, smart, and acted like she was on crack most of the day (which was probably one of the most appealing things about her). I wondered, on more than one occasion, if she didn't shoot up straight black coffee at the breakfast table. Most of the time, growing up, Alice was perfectly content to skip about the house singing songs to herself, ones that she had more than likely made up. She also loved to shop constantly and I feared that her credit cards would just one day cut themselves up in hopes they would find peace. The good thing was that Alice did have very good taste. The bad thing was that, prior to meeting Jasper, she had focused all of her attention on fixing my wardrobe. It wasn't that I didn't mind the clothes it was that it wasn't exactly easy to fold my six-foot-something frame into her tiny yellow Porsche and her choice of music wasn't always pleasing to my ears. You can imagine my delight when Jasper had happened along.
Jasper Hale was a simple, goodhearted man that I had met in college in a history course. We had hit it off when he made a comment about our boring professor looking like Teddy Roosevelt which had resulted in my Diet Coke spewing out of my nose. He played guitar, was from Texas, and fell hopelessly for my sister the moment he had met her. Alice had also been smitten the moment she had laid eyes on the Texan. I had, of course, silently rejoiced that Jasper would be taking my place as Alice's living shopping bag carrier. Jasper was tame, Alice was bat shit crazy, and they were absolutely perfect for each other.
I was enjoying a trip down memory lane, my cup of hot coffee, and my choice in literature for the day when the bell on the front door dinged loudly. It was the first sound I had heard in a good while and it startled me into spilling some of my coffee onto the desk,
"Shitfuckdamn." I cursed as quietly as I could manage as I mopped up the spill with the roll of paper towels I found in the third drawer.
I looked up from my spill to see a young woman around my age perusing the shelves in front of me.
"Good morning." I said.
She said nothing.
"Is there anything specific you're looking for?" I asked a bit louder, maybe she just hadn't heard me.
She turned enough so that I could see her face. I could see that her eyes were a deep brown and her lips were pale. She shook her head "no" and went back to her perusing.
I walked out from behind the desk and made my way toward her. She was very interesting looking, beautiful in her own way.
"Gross day out isn't it?" I asked, trying my hardest to start a conversation.
Dear God, I'm starting to act like Jessica.
She said absolutely nothing.
She picked up a book called, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" and began to skim through it.
"That's a really good book. I bet you'll love it. It's different." I said.
She nodded once and that was it.
"Well if you need anything my name is Edward…and…yeah…" I fumbled and walked back over to the desk.
She continued to browse the stacks and I continued to wonder what the hell was wrong with me. I didn't smell THAT badly and, as far as I knew, I hadn't said anything offensive.
"You know if it keeps raining like this we're going to have to build an ark." I laughed a bit.
Did I just make a fucking biblical joke? What the hell?
She said nothing.
"Good morning!" Jessica asked mystery girl as she passed her on the way to my desk.
The girl still said nothing.
Good, maybe it wasn't just me after all.
Then again Jessica's voice may just be too high to register with certain people
"Edward I need the author list for this month so I can update the calendar." She said. I handed it over without looking Jessica in the eyes. I was too busy trying to figure out the one patron of the library.
"Thanks." Jessica lingered for a few moments, realized I wasn't interested at that time, and left in a huff.
Finally the girl made her way back up to the front desk where I was seated. She had "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime" as well as a few others. I was happy to see that she had kept the first one.
"Do you have a library card?" I asked.
She shook her head "no" without looking up at me.
"Well could you fill this out for me really quick then?" I asked pushing a form her way.
If you just want to put 'Ice Bitch' under the name I'll know it's you. I thought.
She pushed the finished form my way and I printed her out a card.
"So are you new here? I don't think I've seen you around before." I said. I wanted her to say SOMETHING, anything at all. I didn't care if she only said "yes" or if she said "fuck off asshole" I really didn't care. I just wanted her to speak.
She nodded once and I snapped the pencil I was holding in two out of frustration. I glanced at the card at her name.
"Well Bella Swan I hope you enjoy these." I said as I scanned her selections. The beep of the scanner was the only sound I heard, "These are due back by next Tuesday." I said.
She took the books from me and began walking toward the exit.
"Have a nice day!" I called.
She said nothing and the doorbell dinged once again signaling her departure.
"What just happened?" I asked myself. Had I not had a date in so long that women wouldn't even SPEAK to me now?
"Hi!!" Jessica called as she passed through on her way to the filing cabinet.
Obviously not. I thought, Unless… I shook my thoughts questioning Jessica's sexuality out of my mind.
Guess she was just a bitch. I concluded.
But I had some strange feeling I was wrong.