AN: Here goes.
This is unbeta'd.
We will be updating (at least) daily.
We own nothing.
Between the Covers
The cool air is usually refreshing when I push open the big wooden and glass door.
But not today.
Today – even though it is unbearably hot outside – it's raining.
And as the cold air washes over me, I shiver. Goosebumps cover inches and miles of exposed skin barely concealed by too-short shorts and this flimsy tank top. Ideal for summer…not for unexpected afternoon showers and ice cold libraries.
I hide at the table in the far back corner by the periodicals while I dry. If I lean over to the left, I can see him. Although, if I lean over too far, he might see me.
I only lean a little.
Sun-kissed hair the color of terracotta tile is all I see. He's leaning over a book. I wish I knew what he was reading.
I open my canvas beach bag. Instead of towels and suntan lotion, it holds a book. One book. I checked it out yesterday. I read it last night. Well, I mostly read it. I basically just skimmed the important parts. I know the story by heart.
Did he think about the title?
About the content?
Pushing my damp hair behind my ears, I walk slowly, slowly, slowly to the counter. He doesn't look up. I bite down on my lip hard.
I place the book on the counter and softly push it toward him.
And then he looks up with eyes the color of fresh-cut grass. I think they grow wide for just a moment, but that's probably just wishful thinking.
"Daughter of Fortune," he says, as he types something into the keyboard. "Card?"
I reach in my pocket and pull out the card. With fingers that shouldn't tremble, I slide that to him as well.
"Bella Swan," he says.
For a moment, I wonder how he knows my name. But then I remember that I'm not an idiot and my name is on the card.
"You just checked this out yesterday."
"I did," I tell him. "I'm a fast reader."
He smiles, but then quickly looks back down. And I try to sneak a peek at what he's reading. But I can't.
He pushes the card back to me without making any more eye contact. I take it and quietly walk away.
I'm not trembling now.
Maybe I've warmed up…or maybe I'm no longer nervous.
Probably a little bit of both.
I walk up and down the aisles. My fingers touch all the books on the fourth shelf from the bottom.
Until I reach the section that I'm looking for.
Searching and scanning, I trace the titles until my index finger lands on the one I want. I take it, holding it close to my chest and breathing in deeply. I walk back up to the desk and I slide it to him along with my card.
He looks at the book.
"Summer," he says. "Edith Wharton is overrated."
"That's funny," I say, looking down a finally seeing his book – Stranger in a Strange Land. "I've never heard of Robert Heinlein. You must like authors who aren't rated at all."
Without looking at him again, I take my new book and throw it my bag. I head back outside, thankful it's not still raining.
Maybe tomorrow I'll learn his name.