Leah stood behind the desk of her workplace. It’d been a long day and she couldn’t help but to be slightly irritated. Patrons came and went, some were pleasant to work with and others, not so much. Unfortunately, she had to deal with those who seemed to want to bite her head off and their irritation rubbed off. She was on edge, no amount of an hour break would rectify that.
Three more hours. She told herself. It became a mantra. Then she could go home, take a nice warm bath, with a glass of wine and a good book. She sighed just thinking about it. The young woman felt someone stand before her, she looked up from her computer screen plastering a friendly smile on her face. “Hello, how may I help you?”
“I’d like to get a library card.”
“Sure, do you have picture ID that shows your current address?”
The young man before her nodded with a familiar grin. Leah couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but something about him seemed familiar. His dark brown eyes, his deep ebony skin… something niggled at the back of her mind but she pushed it away. People came and went in and out of this library branch, who knows she may have seen him come in…but to have never gotten a library card. Maybe not.
He passed his driver’s license across the desk to her. She hated when people did that, her hand was outstretched, but he chose to ignore it and sit it down?? Ugh. Leah bit her tongue, no need to take her irritation out on this guy when he just got here. She still had to take a minute to make his card.
“Have you ever had a library card with us Mr… Morrison?”
“Maybe when I was a kid but it’s been a long time.” She nodded, putting his name into the system to check for an old remaining account. Nothing came up. Leah glanced at him, his name also ringing a bell. It was a name that scratched that part of her brain that was often scratched when something bothered her, or when she was writing and she was trying to figure how to get past a nasty case of writer’s block.
Leah worked on getting his information into the system. She passed a scrap of paper to him requesting his phone number and email address but he didn’t write anything. Her hazel eyes looked up to him when he didn’t move to do anything. Um hello?
“You seriously don’t remember my number Leah?”
“Excuse me?” He grinned, it was devastating and it sent a shiver down her spine. He leaned against the counter, his face not to far from hers. She frozen, nervousness creeping into her face, her fingers frozen above the keyboard. Ugh. He smells so good. She tried to keep herself from rolling her eyes at herself. Leah wasn’t sure what to do, her boss often came from his office in the Circulation workroom, if he came out now and saw this… he would surely say something to her later and she was not interested.
He didn’t say anything so she filled the awkward silence.
“Listen Mr. Morrison, I don’t know who you are but I need your phone number and email in order to finish this card for you.”
He chuckled, it was a deep sound that rumbled in his throat. She never heard something so sexy. Keep it together Leah.
“You know, I remember you always loving books and being a nerd but I wouldn’t have thought you’d become a librarian.” She frowned, she was so confused. The mystery man could obviously see her confusion and for some reason it tickled him. She wasn’t even a librarian, she was just a Library Aide, big difference.
“I-I don’t understand.”
“I seem to remember, sitting on a bus, waiting for our group to leave and we were talking with some of our friends. Then somehow the conversation turned to a truth or dare thing and someone dared me to…”
It slammed into her brain like a freight train. She remembered.
“Dared you to kiss me.”
“Yeah… you freaked out. I think you actually slapped me.” Yeah she did slap him, slapped him pretty good. She remembered the look on his face, on everyone’s face when she reacted that way. They were good friends back then, he was the one of the few guys in their group who she could talk too without feeling awkward. He was so easy going, and they fell into an easy relationship. He was about two years older, though a year ahead in school and very much a ladies man. It was kind of irritating but he never treated her like that. They were friends.
“Wow. You knew who I was as soon as you came in here didn’t you?”
“It’s very hard to forget you Leah. Besides, that smile is pretty memorable.”
Leah pursed her lips. She really didn’t remember his phone number though. They didn’t really go their separate ways on good terms. “Listen Xavier… it’s been about seven or eight years since I last saw you. If you need this card, then I need your number.”
She looked up at him and he looked disappointed. It was a good thing there were other coworkers around to help considering how hung up she was right now. He pushed away from the desk and stared at her. Her brown skin was still beautiful, her hair was different now. Back then, she had a relaxer and wore it long and straight. Now, she embraced her natural hair, it was a curly afro, she wore long braided earrings and still looked great in blue. The last time he remembered seeing her was when she came to his high school graduation. He was surprised she did that. He was surprised when he found out the feelings she harbored for him as she never said anything. He even remembered their fight. It was brutal because she was scary.
“It’s alright. I don’t need one. I just, I saw you in here a couple of weeks ago and…”
“And you wanted to talk? You’re going to get me into trouble. We’re not teenagers Xavier. Can’t do this sort of thing.”
“Relax. I don’t need you to scold me.”
“It’d be like old times.”
Leah handed him his driver’s license and he stashed it back into his wallet. They both stood there for a moment before she noticed someone standing behind him, they looked upset and impatient. Xavier glanced over his shoulder noticing the newcomer as well. He turned back to the young woman and released a sigh.
“I guess I’ll see you around then?”
He put his hands into his pants pockets before backing away, his eyes still on her before he turned to leave the library. Leah released a breath she didn’t realize she was holding. She pulled up her friendly smile and turned to the patron. “Hello, how may I help you?”
This is part 1 of this interaction. Keep an eye out for the second part.