Disclaimer: Meh can haz Twilight?
A/N: So ... I work in a library and thought it would be great to write a nerdward/libraryward story. Why not? Forks Memorial Library is real, and I went to their website and gathered info to make this as realistic as possible. Granted, this is fiction, so obviously I've taken a few liberties here and there. And since I've never actually been to the Forks library, I'm pulling from the libraries that I've worked at over the years. I hope you enjoy the story. Right now, I'm looking at an every other week updating schedule, but that could change to every week. Big thanks to Chylex28 for reading my story, being honest when it sucks, and fixing my errors.
Design For Life
"When I got my library card, that's when my life began". ~Rita Mae Brown
Well, crap, I thought as I looked down and noticed that not only my shoes, but my new khakis, were splattered with mud, thanks to the truck that had driven past and splashed me. Taking a quick glance at my watch, I knew that I wouldn't have time to walk back home and change before work started. I guessed that was what I got for walking the seven blocks to work in the rain. Seven minutes later, I opened the back door to Forks Memorial Library and stalked in, upset that not only were my clothes ruined, but that my umbrella had been mangled by the wind. Tossing the umbrella in the bin next to my desk, I shrugged out of my soaked coat, and hung it on the back of my chair.
"Good morning, Edward!" the disgustingly cheerful voice of Mrs. Cope, the head librarian, called out to me.
"Morning," I mumbled back, as I pulled up my to-do-list for the day. The staff made fun of me and my to-do-list, because it rarely changed. I did the same thing day in and day out, but that was life in a small town library. After reviewing my list, I grabbed my mug and headed for the coffee pot. I hated coffee, but drank it regardless. Pouring a cup, I mumbled a hello to my two fellow co-workers. Angela, who I'd known since first grade, and Jasper, my best friend and my sister's boyfriend. Angela and I were clerks, while Jasper was in charge of our genealogy and local history department. And that pretty much made up the staff. We had a couple of high school kids who came in and paged for us in the afternoons, but it's not like we were ever really busy.
"What happened to your pants, Ed?" Jasper asked, in his southern drawl.
I scowled at being called Ed. I hated it, and he knew it. "Stupid driver in a truck splashed me when I was walking here."
"Eh, well, as long as your sitting down behind the desk, no one will notice."
I agreed with him, then went about turning on the computers at the front desk. Once that was done, I sat down and began stamping the due date cards. Yes, due date cards. Most libraries have moved into the 21st century, and have computers that print out a slip of paper with the list of books and due dates, but not us. The city of Forks wouldn't justify the cost of new computers and printers. Cheap bastards. I spent the next hour stamping cards and checking in the book drop, while Angela kept up a running commentary of her weekend. I liked her and all, but I could care less what she and her boyfriend did or what movie she saw. Noting that it was almost ten, I grabbed the keys to the front door and went to unlock it, letting the masses that were waiting, inside.
Ha! Man, I was funny. The only person waiting to be let in was Mrs. Riley. She was pushing 95 and had a crush on Jasper. She claimed that she was researching her family history, but in truth, I think she just wanted to spend all day with him. Walking back to the front desk, I let Jasper know that his girlfriend was there.
"Shut up, Eddie!" he hissed at me as he followed Mrs. Riley into the local history room.
I sat back down behind the check out desk and started filling out interlibrary forms that some of our patrons had put in. Thanks to the computer, it was a fairly easy task, and I was done fairly quickly.
I looked over at Angela. "Yes?"
"I'm going to go pull some books for discarding, so you'll be on your own for a bit."
I wasn't too worried. It wasn't like I was going to slammed with a herd of people wanting to check out. In the time that Angela was gone, three people came in to use our computers and one person checked out a book. Finally, my lunch break rolled around, and I headed to our little break room. I spent my hour reading before reluctantly heading back to the desk. I was finished with all of my assigned tasks, so I quickly checked my email.
I had an email from the University of Washington, reminding me that the deadline for fall applicants was soon approaching. I'd started my application for grad school months ago, but hadn't gotten around to finishing it. I only had two more weeks to turn it in, before I would have to wait another year. I'd thought for sure that getting my Masters in Library Science was a given, but lately, I wasn't sure that was what I wanted to do. Did I really want to be a librarian? Everyone expected it of me. I'd been working at the library since I was sixteen and had moved my way up from a page to a clerk. Even when I'd gone off to college, I'd worked at the Forks library during the summer and the UDub library during the year. I was a bona fide nerd. Which, my brother, claimed was the reason why I didn't have a girlfriend.
Finally, six o'clock rolled around, and I said goodbye to Mrs. Cope and Angela. I grabbed my coat, threw it on, and headed out the door. Jasper offered to give me a ride, but I declined, stating that I enjoyed the walk. Jasper didn't understand why I would want to walk seven blocks at night in January. Few people did. I enjoyed it though. Gave me time to think, stretch my legs, and breathe in some fresh air.
I approached my house and noticed that there was a light on in the house next to mine. It had been empty for a while now, but I guessed that someone must have moved in. Glancing at it once more, I noticed an old red Chevy parked in front of it. The same truck that had splashed me earlier. Well, that was just great. Scowling at the truck, I stomped up my steps and unlocked my door.
The week flew by, and I'd yet to see the owner of the mud-splashing truck. Not that I really cared, but I was a bit curious. Friday mornings at the library were kind of busy. Lots of parents came in with their kids, and my sister, Alice, held a morning story time that was quite popular. After her story hour was over, Alice reminded me that I was expected at Sunday brunch, and not to be late. I didn't really want to go, but knew that my mother and Alice would pester me until I gave in. I let out a sigh and told her I'd be there.
Twenty minutes before we closed, the door to the library opened, and in walked the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. She looked like an angel. She was about 5'4", long brown hair, and stunning brown eyes. She was wearing a form fitting sweater under a leather jacket, and a pair of jeans that looked like they'd been painted on. I was pretty sure I'd forgotten how to breath. I looked to Angela, hoping that she would help this angel, but she was on the phone. I wasn't sure I'd be able to get any words out if she approached me.
"H ... hi. May I help you?" I stuttered out, feeling like a complete idiot.
She flashed me a smile, and I felt my brain melt. I would be lucky if I could form a coherent thought.
"I'd like to get a library card, please."
I stared at her, while my brain tried to process what she'd said. She met my gaze dead on, and I adverted my gaze when I realized that I'd been staring at her.
"I'll ... uh ... need to see a photo ID. If it doesn't have your current address, then I'll need a recent piece of mail that does," I managed to tell her.
She pulled a wallet out of her pocket and produced her driver's license. Taking it from her, I handed her an application with shaking hands. I went to give her a pen, but managed to drop it on the counter. She caught it before it rolled off, and gave me a smile. I was sure I was blushing like a fool. I hated that I was awkward and shy around girls.
With trembling hands, I began to type her information into the computer. I noticed that her name was Isabella. A fitting name for such an angel. If I'd been paying attention, I would have noticed that she lived next door to me, but I didn't. Once I was done, I went to give her back her license, and of course, I practically threw it at her. She had good reflexes and caught it. I stammered out an apology, wishing that the earth would just open up and swallow me. She handed me the application, and I put the rest of her information into the computer before handing her the library card.
"Here ...," I paused, then started over. "Here's your card. Um ... it's good for three years and you get unlimited checkouts. You can use your card at any of the other North Olympic Libraries in the area, such as Port Angeles."
"Thanks," she said, flashing me that smile again. "Can you show me where the fiction books are?"
"Uh ... sure."
I pushed away from the desk, stood, and walked around toward her. Motioning for her to follow me, I headed toward the back of the building. I prayed that I wouldn't trip and make an even bigger fool of myself, so of course I did. I tripped on the corner of a bookshelf and almost took myself out, but her hand reached out and grasped my arm, preventing my fall.
As soon as I showed her where the fiction section was, I rushed back to the desk to be met with the smirking faces of Jasper and Angela. Jasper rolled a chair over next to mine, and braced his elbows on the desk.
"She's pretty fucking hot."
I turned to give him a glare.
"Well, she is. I'm sure you noticed. After all, she had you blushing like a little girl."
"Shut up," I growled at him.
He let out a laugh and continued to tease me, getting Angela in on it. Scowling, I stood up and stalked off to the back. I knew I was inept at talking to girls, and I didn't appreciate being made fun of. Huffing, I sat down at my desk, taking a deep breath. God, I was pathetic, I thought to myself, running my fingers through my hair. I was twenty-three, for crying out loud, and I'd only had one real girlfriend, and that was in high school.
"Hey, man. I didn't mean to upset you," Jasper said, from behind me. I turned around and found him standing there, hands jammed in his pocket, and apologetic look on his face.
"It's fine," I told him, rather curtly.
He let out a sigh. "No, it's not. I know how shy you are, and I'm sorry for picking on you."
"It's fine. I—" I stopped to gather my thoughts. "I just wish I wasn't such a loser. I mean, it shouldn't be that hard to talk to a girl, right?"
"You're not a loser, Edward. So what if your a bit on the quiet side? There's nothing wrong with that."
"Yeah, but you don't have trouble talking to girls, do you?"
"You just need to be more confident. It's not like you have any trouble talking to Angela."
"Well, yeah, but Angela's just Angela. I've known her forever, and I don't think of her like that."
"Just be yourself, man. That's the best advice I can give you," he said, clapping a hand on my shoulder before heading back to the local history room.
I really hoped that Mrs. Riley tried to grab his ass again. He deserved it. Letting out a snicker at that thought, I made my way back to the front desk.
"I'm sorry, Edward," Angela told me.
I waved it off. I was over it, for now. We worked quietly side by side until the beautiful angel headed our way. Quickly, Angela stood up, mumbled something about work she had to do in the back and left me alone.
Clearing my throat, I then asked her if she'd found what she was looking for.
She smiled and once again, I felt my brain melt. "I did. Thank you," she said, handing me the three books she had selected, along with her library card.
I couldn't help but notice what she was checking out. Classics. Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Wuthering Heights. I enjoyed the classics myself, and realizing that this made me a complete nerd, and maybe less of a man, I kept quiet regarding her choice of books.
"Here you go. Um ... they'll be due back in three weeks."
She thanked me, and I watched as she walked away, berating myself for being such a loser and not talking to her more. She was truly, the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. Letting out a sigh, shaking my head, I went back to work wishing for the day to be over.
Sunday morning rolled around far too quickly for my liking. I dreaded Sunday brunches at my parent's house. If my mom and sister weren't there, it wouldn't be so bad. Sighing loudly, I pulled my Volvo into my parent's driveway. Reluctantly, I made my way up the walk, and was immediately engulfed in a hug by my mother.
"Hi, my sweet boy. It's been too long."
I rolled my eyes. "You saw me two weeks ago."
Glaring at me, with hands on hips, she told me that was too long. I headed into the house and found Alice and Jasper snuggled up on the couch, kissing. There were somethings a brother doesn't want to see his sister doing, and that was one of them.
"Edward!" she squealed, upon seeing me. Prying herself off of Jasper, she threw her tiny arms around me in a fierce hug. What was with the women in my family? They acted like they hadn't seen me in years. Peeling her arms off of me, I sat down at the end of the couch. We made small talk until Mom called us to set the table.
Brunch was phenomenal. It usually was. My mother was a hell of a cook, and I was grateful that I'd be going home with some leftovers. Dad had just finished telling us a story about some crazy guy that had come into the hospital, when Mom asked me how work was going. Jasper, being the jerk that he was, felt the need to answer for me.
"Work's going great, isn't it, Eddie?" he said with a smirk.
I gave him a glare, and told my parents that work was fine.
"Yeah, he set up the new girl in town with a library card."
My mother and Alice perked up at hearing that. "What new girl?" they both asked, turning to me. Crap. Quickly, I told them that a young woman had come in and gotten a library card. That she had just moved here, and that that was all I knew.
"Is she pretty?" my mother asked.
Taking a deep breath, preparing myself for what was going to come, I answered, "yes." Which set off the squeals that only dogs could hear.
"What's her name?" Alice inquired.
"Isabella," was my reply. I then told them that I didn't know anything else about her. Which was true.
On the short drive home, I thought back to the woman that had been haunting me since Friday. I could easily get lost in her beautiful brown eyes, and I wanted nothing more than to see if those lips felt as soft as they looked. It was a bit depressing, realizing that that was never going to happen. Women like that, didn't go out with guys like me. I pulled into my drive and noticed a light on at the neighbor's house. I got out of my car, and went to get some books that I'd left in the backseat, when I saw the door to the neighbor's house open. Looking over, I dropped the books that I had just picked up. There, climbing into the offensive truck, was none other than my angel. My mind went blank. All thoughts ceased to exist. Time slowed down, and I watched as she pulled out of her drive. She must have seen me, because she stopped the truck and rolled down her window.
"Hey!" she called out, waving at me.
I gave a little half wave back, terrified that she'd want to talk. I was right.
"I didn't catch your name the other day."
Slowly, I made my way toward her. I hoped like hell that the dark would hide the blush that I knew was on my face.
"Oh, I'm Edward. Edward Cullen."
She gave me a brilliant smile that left me stupid. "I'm Bella Swan. Looks like we're neighbors."
"Yup," I said while nodding like a bobble head. Crap! I probably looked like a moron.
"Well, it was nice to meet you, Edward. Hopefully, I'll see you around."
"Well, those books are due in three weeks, so I'll probably see you then," I managed to get out.
"Oh, I'm sure I'll have them done before then. I gotta run, but I'll see you later," she said, putting the truck back into gear and tossing me a wave. I stood there, car door still open, books still laying on the ground, and watched her drive off. Well, that hadn't been too awfully horrible. Granted, she'd done most of the talking. Bending down, I picked up my books, closed the car door, and headed inside.
That night, my dreams were plagued with visions of Bella. Finally, at around four in the morning, I gave up trying to sleep. I headed down to my living room and turned my laptop on. My older brother, Emmett, had sent me an email wanting to know when I was coming to visit him. He and his wife, Rosalie, lived in Seattle. I went out and saw them a few times a year. I wasn't a big fan of Rosalie's, so I tended to avoid visiting them. I found her rude, brash, and a bit abrupt. I didn't understand what Emmett saw in her. He was the fun-loving, out going guy, with a great sense of humor. I shot him off a quick email, telling him that I was busy with work and wasn't sure when I'd get out there. It was a complete lie, and I wouldn't be surprised if he called me on it.
By the time eight o'clock rolled around, I was ready to leave my house and go to work. The weatherman was calling for snow, just a few inches, and I was fine with that. Bundling up, I grabbed my bag with my books, shoved my wallet into my back pocket, and headed out. Locking the door, I saw Bella standing on her porch. Taking a deep breath, and gathering my courage, I called out, "good morning, Bella."
She turned and gave me a smile. "Good morning, Edward. Off to work?"
"Yep. Gotta head into Port Angeles and get the shop open."
Telling myself, that I could do this, I did my best to make conversation. "Oh. What is it that you do?"
"I'm a tattoo artist."
What? There was no way I heard her correctly. Did she say she was a tattoo artist? My shock and confusion must have shown on my face. She let out a laugh.
"I get that reaction a lot."
My mind just couldn't get over the shock of her words. In my mind, tattoo artists were these crazy tattooed freaks with bright colored hair and multiple piercings, but Bella looked normal.
"Uh ... really? You tattoo people?"
"Yeah. I've been doing it for a while now. I love it."
I had to know. "Do you have any?"
Giving me a grin, she replied, "of course."
"Huh," was my brilliant response. Telling me goodbye, she got in her truck and headed out, while I stood there, dumbfounded over what I'd just learned.
The walk to work was spent thinking over everything I'd just learned. I was so preoccupied and caught up in my thoughts, that I didn't realize that I'd walked the seven blocks to work. I spent the morning doing my usual tasks, before giving in and googling Bella's name to see if anything would pop up. Imagine my surprise when it did. I clicked the link and it came to a site for the Arizona Tattoo Expo. There was an article all about her. I quickly devoured it. She had won some awards for her tattooing, a few years in a row. She had worked for a shop called New Moon which was run by a guy named Billy Black. It stated that she was leaving Phoenix to work for Billy's son, Jacob, at a shop called Eclipse in Port Angeles, Washington. There was a picture attached to the article, so I clicked on it and was stunned. I already knew she was gorgeous, but to see her with her tattoos was a major turn on. I'd never considered tattoos a turn on, and on anyone else, I probably wouldn't.
"Damn! She is freaking hot!" Jasper said from behind me. Crap. I was so busted. Quickly, I closed the page, but the damage was done. He pulled a chair out next to me, leaned back, and smirked.
"So, she's got tatts, huh?"
"Yeah. I talked to her for a bit this morning and she mentioned that she worked at a tattoo shop in Port Angeles."
Jasper leaned forward and stared at me. "You talked to her? When? I didn't see her come in."
"She lives next door to me," I mumbled out, not meeting his gaze.
He burst out laughing. "That is fucking awesome!"
I frowned at his language. There was no need for it. My siblings and Jasper all swore like sailors, and it bothered me. According to Emmett, they were going to revoke my man-card since I was such, and I quote, "a pussy." Another word that I absolutely hated.
"Dude! That is seriously awesome. Wait 'til I tell Alice."
I dropped my head into my hands. I really didn't want my nosy sister knowing that the girl, no, the woman, that left me speechless, lived next to me. She'd start meddling and never leave it alone.
"Don't. Just don't. I can barely talk to Bella as it is. The last thing I need is for Alice and Mom to start matchmaking or whatever it is that they do."
"Fair enough. I won't say anything, unless directly asked. I won't lie to your sister."
I nodded and thanked him. A few minutes later, the door opened and in walked Mrs. Riley. I heard Jasper groan beside me.
"Oh, there you are, Jasper dear. I need your help."
I let out a little snicker. Jasper shot me a glare as he got up to walk Mrs. Riley to the Local History room. The day was slower than normal, probably due to the snow that was coming down. Mrs. Cope had left early, so I pulled out a book that I had just started and was soon immersed in it.
"Good book?" a sweet, angelic voice asked me.
Looking up, I saw Bella leaning on the counter of the checkout desk. I marked my spot and quickly put my book down.
There was a moment of awkward silence, with us both sort of staring at each other. I hated that. I hated that I was uncomfortable around women, and that they were uncomfortable around me.
"Well, I wanted to stop in and return the books I borrowed. My own books finally arrived earlier this afternoon."
With trembling hands, I took the books from her and checked them in. It was only three o'clock, so I was a bit surprised to see her, but it was none of my business, so I didn't say anything. Jasper chose to make himself known at the moment. Coming out of the Local History room, he approached us with a smile on his face.
"Hi. I'm Jasper Whitlock," he said, holding out a hand.
"Bella Swan," she told him with a smile.
"I see you've met Eddie here." I gave him a scowl, which only caused him to laugh.
"I'm dating his sister, Alice. She does story time on Fridays. Anyway, seeing as how I've heard so much about you, I thought I'd introduce myself to you."
I was going to kill him! She probably thought I was a creepy stalker and would never talk to me again. She did raise an eyebrow, a pierced eyebrow, at that.
"Oh, really? And what has he told you?"
My face was on fire, my eyes cast downward. I attempted to look busy, but we all knew I wasn't.
"Not much. That you're a tattoo artist and that you just moved to town."
"I am and I did. I'm originally from Phoenix."
"I'm thinking about getting a tattoo," he told her.
That was news to me. I wondered if Alice knew. They spent the next forty minutes talking about different kinds of tattoos and tattoo placements. I was jealous of how easy Jasper made it look to talk to her. Finally, they stopped talking, and with a wave she headed out.
"She's really nice. You should totally come with me when I get my tattoo."
I turned to look at him. "You're really going to get one?"
"Does Alice know?"
"Yeah. She wants to get one as well. I'm sure Emmett wouldn't mind getting another one."
"Em has a tattoo?" How the hell did I not know this? Did I not know my family at all?
Jasper looked at me like I was stupid, which I was certainly feeling. "Yeah. He's got a couple. I figured we could go this weekend, or later this week. I'll talk to Ali and found out for sure," he told me, before heading back to his desk.
Shaking my head, all I could think was that I was surrounded by deviants. I couldn't imagine getting a tattoo, or even wanting to get one. On my break, Alice called me, ecstatic about the idea of going to Eclipse and getting a tattoo done by Bella. By the time we closed, I was convinced that I was adopted. There was no way I shared genetic material with those crazy people that called themselves my family.
Refusing a ride from Jasper, I started the trek home in the snow. I was about halfway home, when the sky opened up and the snow started to fall quite heavily. Pulling my coat tighter around me, I kept trekking on.
Spinning around at the sound of my voice being called, I slipped on the pavement and fell on my butt. Great. That wasn't embarrassing at all. I heard the slamming of a car door and footsteps heading my way.
"Oh, Edward! I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to startle you," an angels' voice said. Holding out a hand, she helped me sit up. Bella crouched in front of me, staring into my eyes.
"Are you okay?"
"Yeah," I lied. Helping me stand, she gestured toward her truck which was now idling next to the curb.
"I'll drive you home."
I nodded and thanked her. Awkwardly, I climbed into the cab of the truck and watched as she got into the driver's seat.
"What were you doing out walking in this?"
"Oh ... I always walk to work. It gives me time to think," I told her quietly.
"But it's snowing out!"
I let out a little laugh. "Eh, just a little bit."
She turned her gaze to me and raised that pierced eyebrow again.
"I've lived here my whole life. I'm used to it. I guess coming from Phoenix, this does seem like a lot."
I managed to make small talk with her, until we reached our houses. I thanked her for the ride, and rushed inside my house. That night, my dreams were restless once again. I hated not sleeping. It made me a rather unpleasant person in the morning. Glancing outside, I noticed that the sidewalks were fairly clear, so I bundled up and headed out. Locking my door, I noticed movement from Bella's house. I watched in horror as a tall guy with dreadlocks, walked out of her house. She followed him, pausing to kiss him on the porch before he climbed into a massive truck that was parked on the street. Seeing me, she gave me a cheerful smile and wave. I gave her a tiny wave as my heart shattered. That guy was proof that women like Bella, didn't go out with guys like me.
I started my walk to work, wanting nothing more than to turn around and hide in my house. The world seemed so cold and lonely. I didn't know why I was so upset. It's not like we were friends or anything. It's not like I wasn't used to being alone. Absently, my hand rubbed over my heart. I had fallen hard for her, and I'd only known her for a matter of days. It was like high school and college all over again. I always fell for the beautiful, unattainable girl. Caught up in my self-pity, I wasn't paying much attention to my surroundings. I stepped off the curb, heard the blaring of a horn, and then darkness set in.
A/N: So there we have it. The first chapter of this little story. To clear up a few things for those who might not know: a page is someone who shelves books. My first job, at 16, was as a page. Although the library I worked at, called me a shelver. Secondly, a library clerk is not a librarian. There is a difference. I'm a library clerk. I do not have a Master's in Library Science, therefore I am not a librarian. People call me a librarian all the time, and I'm quick to correct them. Until I get my Master's, I do not deserve the title of librarian. More often than not, the person who checks you out at the library is a clerk. As always, all reviews are appreciated. Thanks for reading!