Books. The smell of them. The feel of them in my hands. The quiet solace they provided, sending me out of my shy world into worlds of adventure, excitement, and romance. I loved books.
That was why, on those rare occasions that I did venture out, I went to the library. I didn’t always read or check out a book while I was there – I had many at home I had yet to thoroughly read. Sometimes, I just liked to walk among the rows of books and enjoy the potential on those packed shelves.
Today, as I skimmed my eyes over the spines, I did reach out and select a book. It was a biography of a famous violinist from Windenburg. Music was my other passion, ever since Mom had me take violin lessons as a kid, so I loved to devour books about music or musicians. I’d check this one out today.
I turned to head to the check out desk and ran right into a solid male body. Immediately, I jumped back and stuttered an apology, a blush suffusing my face.
His lips formed an easy smile. “No harm done. Hey, you look like you know your way around here. I’m looking for this book…” He checked a slip of paper in his hands. “Dust to Dust by Citizen Erased.”
I wanted to check my book out and go, but I did know where the book was – I’d checked it out a dozen times before I’d bought a copy for myself. And…I had to admit, he was cute. I wouldn’t mind looking at him a bit longer. “Oh, y-yeah,” I stuttered shyly. “I know where it is.”
I showed him over to the fiction section and took the book off the shelf. “Have you read it before?”
He shook his head. “I’m not really a reader, but I need to analyze a book for lit class. I heard this one’s good, so I figured it would work.”
“Oh, it’s more than good.” I couldn’t help but smile as I thought of my favorite character, Lucas. “You won’t have any problem analyzing it either. There are so many themes in this book.” Love, loss, selflessness. It had it all, in my opinion.
He smiled again. “I’ll try to actually finish it, then.” He held out his hand. “I’m Kurt Wilson.”
I shook his hand. It was rough, like he worked with his hands for living, and warm. “N-nora Yuen.” I flushed as I stuttered again. “Sorry. I’m not good with talking to people.”
“That’s a shame,” he said, “’Cause you’ve got a really nice voice.”
My face flamed red at the compliment. Part of me wanted to run away immediately, but another part of me really wanted to stay. “Th-thank you.”
“You read a lot, don’t you?”
“Is it that obvious?”
“Kind of, but I don’t mean it in a bad way. You seem to know your way around here.”
I nodded. “Yeah, I do read a lot.”
“I wish I could. I just don’t have the patience for it. It just takes so long, you know? I feel like I want to be up doing something.”
I nodded along with what he was saying. “I get that.”
“Although,” he said with a smile, “I think I could listen to you talk about books for while.”
I felt so flustered. I didn’t know what to do with this cute boy’s attention directed at me. Was he going to ask me out? Me? Why? “R-really?”
“Yeah,” he nodded. “What are you doing Friday night? We could catch a movie and then have dinner where you can tell me all about how books are better than movies.” His eyes said he was teasing about the last part but not about the date.
I was in shock. I’d just met this boy. I didn’t date. I sat in my room and read books. I couldn’t possibly go on a date with a boy I’d just met. So why was a yes coming out of my mouth?
“Awesome,” he said, his grin broadening. “Say we meet at the theater at six?”
I nodded at him. “Okay.” What was I doing? Oh, Watcher, I can’t possibly do this.
He took Dust to Dust and walked off, whistling a tune. I just watched him go, my eyes wide with shock. Anxiety clawed away at me. A date. I can’t go on a date. I’m not one of those girls. I’m not pretty like Loralee or Alison. Girls like me didn’t just get randomly asked out at the library. But I had said yes! I’d officially lost my mind and agreed to go out with him. And the part of me that wasn’t pants-peeing terrified was even looking forward to it.
I had just stepped onto the treadmill when the door rang. Shutting it down, I left the potential-second-bedroom-turned-gym and went downstairs. I opened the door and found Alison on the other side. We’d seen each other several times since that night, though she hadn’t been over here. We hadn’t spoken about it, either. Whether she was considering what she wanted or was pretending it hadn’t happened, I didn’t know. I supposed I was about to find out; the month was up today.
“Hey, Josh,” she said with a smile as she came into the apartment.
“Hey, Allie. You’re looking good. How are you doing?”
She shrugged and sat down on the couch. “It’s still rough, you know? Most mornings, I wake up and have to remind myself that he’s gone. Mom’s handling it okay. Did I tell you she joined a book club and a gardening club? She says she needs to stay active.”
I nodded as I sat down next to her. “That sounds like the best thing to do. For both of you.”
“I’m plenty busy with classes.” Alison was going to the local community college, though she hadn’t decided on a major yet. Suddenly, she looked up at me, her stare intent. “I haven’t changed my mind, Josh. I’ve thought about this a lot. I’m still not afraid.”
My heart skipped a beat and then started racing. “Are you sure?”
She nodded. “I’m positive. I want to do this.” Her expression flickered towards the wall separating my apartment from Maggie’s. “What about Maggie?”
“We broke up,” I told her quietly. She’d been hurt but not heartbroken, I don’t think. I’d cared a lot about her, and she had me, but neither of us were truly in love with the other.
She smiled. “So I don’t have to feel bad about this.” She leaned in and kissed me.
I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her tight against me. Everything in my world fell into place.
Dust to Dust is a superbly awesome simlit story by CitizenErased14. Seriously, if you haven’t read it, do it.