What Kind Of Day Has It Been
Prompt: Library

His hands felt dirty and his throat dry. Turning the page, the air became clogged with dust particles and Sam had to lean back to let them settle without inhaling them. He doubted anybody had used these books in an extremely long time. Friends and the occasional professor had told Sam that he had a tendency to over-research, but he was well-versed in the art (and harboured a secret love for) pouring over hardbacks. Leaning over the ancient law text again, Sam began scanning for any relevant information, making notes on an increasingly messier page. The other thing he had been told was that he had an awfully scrawly script.

The morning stretched into the afternoon, the afternoon aging until the mature sun filtered in through the high windows. Sam continued to work through his books, ever now and then exchanging one for another. Page after page was filled, until he began to wind down and acknowledge just how exhausted he was. He'd been working all day with barely anything to eat – be he was confident that he had all he needed to get a top mark.

Putting down his pen, Sam reclined in his chair and stretched; he felt joints and bones crack, loosening from his stiff posture. The library around him had begun to grow dim as the sun sank below the windows and the high, sodium-yellow lights began to dominate the hall. Students around him had been slowly leaving for the last few hours, and Sam was now the only one left at the grand timber desk, his books strewn far and wide. Sam's favourite times to come to the library were in the early morning or the late evening. There was something undiscovered and overwhelming about sitting practically alone in a hall of knowledge. It was the record of all people had learnt and thought and imagined for centuries. And it didn't pose a threat to him either, although if his professors could find a valuable source he'd ignorantly overlooked, he'd be in the dangerous position of doing mandatory extra-credit work. He would have argued over this concept, however he had learnt with law professors to simply let it be.

In the darkening room, there was a figure of light that appeared up one of the aisles. Sam looked over to see a girl thumbing through the shelved books. She was tall and slender with a sheet of radiant golden hair that flowed down her back. In her arms were a few books and she added one to the pile before bringing them all over to the table Sam was seated at. Once he realised she was approaching, he hastily picked up his pen and returned to his own book, eyes still watching her through his fringe. She sat directly opposite him, her eyes shining even here, and her smile evident though her mouth was barely upturned. Once she sat down she chanced a glance in his direction, however Sam feigned concentration and didn't think she'd thought anything of him.

A few minutes passed and Sam realised he'd been watching her the entire time, rather than reading or taking any further notes. Snapping himself out of his daydream, he remembered that he'd done all the research necessary, and began collecting his books into a pile.

"Is this all one assignment?"

He hadn't noticed her looking at him, but sire enough her eyes were firmly trained on the number of encyclopaedias and legal texts mounted in his arms.

"Oh – yeah, yes," he stuttered out, caught off-guard. He smiled at her gently inquisitive expression, eyes stuck in hers.

"Seems like a lot."

"Yeah, well, I like to make sure I've got everything I read."

"I'd say you're pretty set there," she nodded with raised eyebrows.

"Yeah, yeah," Sam repeated through a nervous laugh, unsure of what to say. Her voice reminded him of fruity bubblegum; like berry and peach and tropical mix. It almost enchanted him – not enough to still his hands, but enough to make him forget what he was supposed to do once he'd picked up all the books.

"So... you're studying law?" she asked, tipping her head slightly to read the titles he was holding.

"Oh yeah, I'm a law student. Pre-law, really."

"Well," she giggled, "good luck with your assignment."

"Thanks. Uh, you too," he nodded at the work in front of her, to which she smiled.

Turning around and walking in what he would soon realise to the wrong direction, Sam lapsed into a daze, unsure of what to think. He didn't even know her name on what she was studying. He hadn't shown any interest at all. Mentally berating himself, Sam swore he'd be back tomorrow (or however long it took) so he could find out.

But who needed an excuse to come to the library?