Jane skipped up the stairs leading to Reynolds public library, trying hopelessly to stay out of the rain. She got to the giant Victorian double doors and hurled herself inside. Once safe from the dastardly precipitation, she leaned back against the stained glass to catch her breath.
It was dreary outside, worse than dreary, it was downright depressing weather. Occasional sleet, and continual rain, the clouds were all one shade of putrid gray… the grass, only just now withering from the cold, couldn't decide if it was still winter, or we were about to plunge into Spring.
These February months were always the worst weather.
As a mystery author, Jane Cade wasn't against the occasional dismal day, but Glynn, Massachusetts, her place of residence, seemed to be this way about 60% of the year. Whether it was the fact that she didn't know many people, or that she was new in town (the correlation was not lost on her) that was contributing to her dark mood, or just the fact that the latest book she was writing had gone stagnant, it only made the weather that much harder to bear.
And so, in a last ditch effort to resurrect her novel she had headed to the town's public library to see what she could dig up in the way of a muse or, really, even the atmosphere. Maybe that could help her move on past the unknown blockage she was facing.
As she was pursuing the aisles, trying to find the mystery section, she noticed a suspicious looking character doing much the same thing. She kept a discerning eye on him until he ducked into the Crime section. Unable to resist, and noticing that, as chance would have it, the mystery aisle was right on the other side, Jane mirrored his movements right into the mystery aisle. She could see the horizontals of him through the book racks. He was definitely on a mission, as he was browsing alphabetically. She decided to keep one eye on him as she tried to find a book that would meet her own requirements as well. After all, how would she look if she was following him around the library with no book? She noticed he had almost reached the end of his row and, fearing she'd lose him, she grabbed the first book she saw and made to leave her own aisle.
As she rounded the corner, she happened a glance down at the book she had chosen, and noticed it was a collection of Arthur Conan Doyle's, Sherlock Holmes. Before she had a chance to register the coincidence, she collided with a solid moving mass that sent her pitching to the ground.
It really was disappointing how little the town library offered in the way of Crime-related works. There seemed to be no end of the Punishment segment, but how to actually get into crime was apparently something no one wrote about. Of course, maybe that had something to do with the fact that many unsuccessful criminals were considered illiterate, or publishers were afraid to put the successful ones on the market for fear of copycats. But then there was also the overall knowledge of Glynn's close proximity to Gotham City in New York. It was only a quick few hours drive and they could join the ranks of the criminally insane.
The latter was Dan's absolute and unequivocal goal.
Ever since he was a young boy he had wanted to take part in a heist; a kidnapping, a robbery, a burglary, a ransom, a hunt, a caper, whatever name you could think of he wanted to play an integral role in it. The excitement, the notoriety… what could be better? To match your wits against the law… it was a romantic perspective maybe, but Dan had always be an all or nothing kind of guy.
However, at the moment, Dan was a fed up kind of guy. He couldn't find what he was looking for. Perhaps it would be better if he just went to Gotham? Perhaps… but as much as he was loathe to admit it, going into that kind of situation with no knowledge of what he was getting into frightened him. Not to mention, unless he did his homework and knew how to approach these rather unique set of criminals, he would end up as just another low life bottom feeding henchman. And that just wouldn't do.
It was becoming clear he wasn't going to get his answers from this establishment. Dan turned on his heel, aiming to take a short jaunt down the mystery aisle before he left, as it was right next to the crime aisle. Perhaps he could at least take a note out of something Stephen King-esque, the Master of Horror.
As he was seething his way into the mystery aisle however, he ran headfirst into a small, brunette ball of fury and haste, apparently on her way out of the aisle.
He had seen her on the way in, probably a lot of the guys in the library had, but sprawled out on the floor she was much more detailed. She was small, Dan wouldn't have guessed more than 5 feet, and she had a thick mane of hair that, upon closer inspection wasn't brown at all, but a deep red with a black undertone that caught the light in a way that he liked very much. She had glasses, though now they were thrown askew and she has hastily trying to correct them as she stumbled out an embarrassed apology. Dan offered her his hand to help her up.
It took Jane just a moment of being on the floor to realize she had collided with the man she had been stalking. Wow. Mystery mistake numero uno, no doubt. Cover! Her subconscious screamed at then, APOLOGIZE YOU NIT!
"I'm so sorry!" She choked out, fixing her glasses. "Oh my God, I never even saw you! Are you okay?" She accepted his proffered hand and pulled herself to her feet, raising her eyes to his. His eyes were very blue and very clear. It was like looking into a mirror. A mirror that was trying very hard not to laugh at her.
"I'm fine," he assured her. "I'm also Dan. Pleasure to meet you miss…"
"Cade! But please call me Jane because that's my first name. Jane." Wow. You're cool. She sneered at herself.
This time Dan couldn't hold the smile back and she marveled at the way it went all the way to his eyes. She took a moment to really study him, despite her embarrassment. He wasn't tall, maybe only a few inches taller than herself. He had a shock of blonde hair, so light it was nearly white, that was haphazardly parted in the middle and came down a little over his ears. The guy was a little on the paler side. The way his mouth relaxed gave him a natural smile, and he seemed to have an easy way about him, but the thing that got her were those eyes. He could smile all he wanted, but there was something about those eyes that made her wonder if she shouldn't watch her step. Whether it was a level of passion she was uncomfortable with, or just the way they looked like they were seeing right through her… but still… they were the most beautiful color….
"Come to dinner with me, Jane," he uttered earnestly.
It took her a minute to register what he said. How sudden! If only she had known the way to get asked on a date was to hurtle headlong into someone!"But…we just met." Lame. She knew it. The look in his eyes told her he wasn't going to take no for an answer.
"The perfect time to get to know each other then. Look. I'm not generally this forward, but you're a pretty girl and I haven't had a date in a long time. Please? We can go anywhere you want to go."
Jane searched his eyes for an answer. It had been a long time since she went out as well. Easily a year, maybe more. The last memorable date she had been on was in high school, nearly five years ago now.
Why not go? Her subconscious asked her. Because you just met him! Jane had to stop herself from rolling her eyes. Oh, Reason. Glad you could join the party. While Jane was busy mediating her overly crowded mind at the moment, and her subconscious and reason were glaring hateful daggers at one another, Dan was shifting from foot to foot uncomfortably.
"Er… did you already have plans tonight?"
It was obvious in his hesitancy how awkward Jane was making this, so she decided to throw caution to the winds and take him up on his offer. "Sure, how's eight?" She hastily scribbled her address down on a piece of paper and handed it to him before she could think about it too much.
Dan took the paper and smiled. "Eight is great."
AN: Okay, so I'm not trying to be a terrible person with Ye Olden Tyme Author's Note, but I wanted to mention that this story marks a lot of firsts for me, and all I ask is a patient audience. I lead an incredibly busy life, so bear with me and I'll finish what I start. Also, I realize this may be a very dismal chapter for those of you who were expecting a Riddler right off the rip. It's going to take a few chapters for him to come into play, but I guarantee if you stick around, the wait will be worth it. Okay. Enough from me! Enjoy the next chapter!