The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts and figures
and instructions for dancing
The bar was dim in the early evening light. It wasn't quite dark outside, or inside, for that matter. There were dull green lamps hanging over the few pool tables, those of a complementary gold hue hanging over or behind tables and booths.
It was a fairly quiet establishment, compared to the usual cop bars that Detective Kevin Ryan usually visited.
Sure, he liked hanging out with other officers. It was cathartic. A group of them would hang at the bar, or throw darts - anything really – and just spin stories. They'd tell of their cases, of their suspects. On the average night, one could hear the most colorful of conversations.
But sometimes, he just liked to relax in solitude. Kevin wasn't sure his partner knew he came here. Usually he just told Javier that he was going to head home early, or go visit with his parents. And being a fellow homicide cop, Javi just responded with a nod and a comradely pat on the shoulder.
Tonight, he was parked at the edge of the bar, perfectly cornered against the wall. There was a cold beer in the tall glass to his right. He hadn't truly touched it yet. The moment he got himself seated he got lost in his reading.
That was his guilty pleasure. Reading Shakespeare. If he thought back far enough, he could recall his first encounter with the works – in the seventh grade he was cast as titular Romeo, awkwardly sharing his first kiss with cheerleader Gwen Corcoran. It was terrible. A mash of nervous lips lost in shaky lines and bad costumes. Somehow, he ended up fascinated with the language of the writer, and spent countless hours through his school years in and out of libraries, completely absorbed in it.
Even today, in the midst of murders and criminals, hell, even back when he was in narcotics, he found some solace in re-reading pieces for the fifth or sixth time.
Tonight, after the murder of a teenager, he needed that escape.
So here he was.
People were here, it's not like the place was completely devoid of activity. A few regulars perched across from the bar tender, some small groups of men shooting pool.
And a very giggly group of women at a round booth near the door.
Upon reaching the end of Act I, Kevin set the book down. Just a short break to actually take a sip from the drink that had been sweating beside him for the past ten minutes. He was just opening up his book again, eyes lingering over the scene description for the second act, when a body brushed his side.
"Oh," she sighed, "I'm sorry." He looked over, finding a petite woman stumbling over her three inch heels. "I can never quite keep my balance in these damn things. Don't know why I let my sister talk me into buying them."
A breathy, flowing laugh escaped her lips as she spoke. Kevin couldn't help but smile and offer his hand to help her.
"Oh, and now I'm just rambling like an idiot. You probably think I'm such a ditz." Her voice split when she had caught the bartender's attention. "Another round for my table please?"
The aged man behind the bar nodded, proceeding to fill glasses.
"I don't think you're a ditz."
"What?" She nearly jumped at his response, turning to look at him.
"I said I-" Kevin was caught completely off guard. She had big, beautiful eyes that weren't quite green, but then, weren't quite blue either. There were tender, subtle dimples to her cheeks, and golden, sun-kissed waves framing her face. "I said…hi. I'm Kevin."
She blushed to a shade of pale red that he found absolutely adorable. "Hi," she extended her hand, "Jenny." Her smile, Kevin noticed, was a brilliant white, and contagious. He felt like he was sixteen again.
"What are, umm…what are you reading?" Jenny motioned to his book, and adjusted her position to lean against the bar.
"Oh," he looked startled, "Macbeth. I'm kind of a Shakespeare dork."
There was that giggle of hers again.
"Ah," he cried, and slapped his hand against his forehead, "that sounds, completely lame. I usually don't tell people that. Now that I'm thinking…I don't think…anyone, knows that."
She laughed again, rested her hand on his arm where it rested on the bar top. "I think it's sweet. And really kind of…inspired. I always had a hard time understanding Shakespeare in school."
Neither of them truly noticed that now she had propped herself up onto the stool next to his, or the group of girls she had been with, now descreetly watching them.
"See," he looked into her eyes, "the trick is reading it more than once. You have to read it slowly once, to grasp what's being said, then read it again to fit in the meaning and feel the emotion. It's pretty powerful stuff."
"Maybe I just haven't had the right teacher." Their shoulders were touching, ever so slightly.
"I-um," he stuttered, taken by her touch, "Macbeth is actually a tragedy. There are other works of Shakespeare that are more subtle, or not as, I guess you could say depressing?"
"And what would say…Romeo and Juliet be?"
Kevin's book was now long forgotten, along with his drink, and apparently, Jenny's party. "By definition, it's a tragedy, but, I feel like there should be an acception for uh…" he let a nervous cough into his fist, "romances."
There was silence as the two simply shared a look. He didn't believe it before, but now…now, Kevin was starting to believe in love at first sight. Who could ever know that so much could be said without words.
"Jen?" A strange voice interrupted their moment. They both spun around, looking at an equally short woman, only with hair of a dark brown, holding an extra purse and coat. "We're going to head back to Kim's place." This new woman paused to give Kevin the proverbial 'once-over'. "Are you coming, or should we just expect you later?"
The three other women waiting by the door looked to be whispering to each other, in between soft laughs and smiles.
With a sigh inside, Kevin gave her hand a tap. "Go on, get back to your friends." When he smiled at her, she smiled at him, and he felt his stomach pinch.
Jenny still looked at him when she spoke. "I'll meet you guys outside in a second." The woman only nodded, practically skipping out the door with the others like a group of six-year olds.
"Here." She grabbed his copy of Macbeth from him, and using a stray pen sitting on the bar, scribbled something down on the inside cover.
Before he knew what was happening, Jenny was leaning over, brushing her lips with his cheek. And then…she was gone, and Kevin was left watching her leave the bar.
When he finally felt the oxygen return to his brain, he reached for his book. There was a flutter in his chest when he peeled back the front cover to read what she had written.
And there it was, in royal blue ink.
I'm free this weekend. Give me a call. Please?
212. 418. 5555.
There was a beautiful twist to the tail of her 'y', and a small heart in front of her name.
Carefully, so as not to smudge the still drying pigment, he ran his thumb over the letters.
He waited what he thought was a suitable amount of time for the ladies to be completely gone, before he exited as well.
Walking home that night, Kevin Ryan clutched his precious Shakespeare to his chest, and smiled.
But I, I love it when you read to me
And you, you can read me anything
So, this is based on a really beautiful song by the same title - "The Book Of Love". I really love the song, and I really had fun writing about these two. I hope you liked it as much as I loved writing it. There are going to be three chapters in total, so, please, please, please, stick with me.
Reviews = Love
Also...technically...it's Monday! And we all know what that means! KNOCKDOWN! Enjoy everyone!