Authors: Chasie Noble
Copyright © 2014 by Chasie Noble
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons (living or dead) is entirely coincidental.
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September 14, 2010
I looked down at the clock in the car. It was five till nine and I was sure if this light did not turn green within the next second I would be late to work. “I hate the snooze button!” I yelled inside my car. I am sure the car next to me, full of old people, thought I was crazy. “Green!” I yelled again. I put my foot down on the gas pedal and made the car tires screech.
Two minutes to go as I parked in my usual spot and gathered my things. I practically sprinted to the back entrance of the library and scanned my badge; the lock lit up green and allowed my entrance. I walked down the narrow hallway to the employee lockers.
“Honor, are you late again?” the library director, Celia, asked. She peered around the corner as if she had been waiting for me.
I smiled at her and thought of something witty to tell her, in hopes that she would let my mistake slide yet again. “The snooze button is the best feature on my alarm clock,” I told her with the most fake laugh I have ever produced. She stared at me for a good while through her tiny glasses that sat on the tip of her nose. “I promise Celia that this won't happen again!”
She began to speak as Lilly, the new page, walked in and interrupted her: “Mrs. Lewis, I am sorry to bother you, but the city manager is on line two for you.”
“Thank you Lilly. Honor, why don't you and Lilly shelve the returns, and we will talk later.” Celia turned and left the room.
Lilly looked at me, smiled, and asked, “Ready to shelve some books?”
Lilly was a little too happy about any task she was asked to do. Unlike me, she was always on time and always in a good mood. Lilly walked out of the room and I grudgingly followed, dreading what was to come later with Celia.
As we put books back on the shelves, I stayed quiet and listened to Lilly ramble on and on about this guy she had been dating. “Honor, he is so gorgeous. He holds doors open for me. He never lets me split the bill…”
I just smiled back at her and pretended to listen. I began to wonder, though, if I would ever meet a guy that I couldn't shut up about? After college, I took this job as a librarian assistant (which I love, don’t get me wrong) but my social life on the other hand—well, I don't have one. I spend more time alone, usually reading in my apartment, than I do with people.
“Hello? Honor? Are you listening to me?” Lilly said as she waved her hand in front of my face.
“Yes, I am.”
She laughed. “Sure you are. I said we should do a double date or something. What do you think?”
I rolled my eyes. “Lilly, you do realize that in order to double date, I have to be dating someone? Last time I checked, I wasn’t dating anyone.”
We moved the cart to another section and continued to shelve books.
“What? The beautiful Honor Ellis is not dating anyone?” Lilly said in the most sarcastic voice I had ever heard her use. “Could it be that she spends her evenings reading until the early morning hours? Or that she wakes up looking like a zombie and has no time to shower because she will be late to work?” Lilly had her index finger resting on her lips as if in deep thought.
“Sarcasm does not suit you Lilly.” I tried to act upset but it was hard to hold back my laughter. She put a book on the shelf and began to walk like a zombie back to the cart to grab another one. “Nice…real nice,” I finally told her as I pushed the cart down to the next aisle.
“Ryan could get one of his friends to come along,” she said as we got to work again.
I looked at her and asked, “So how would you try to sell that one? I have this friend, who has hygiene issues and is more or less like a zombie, can you find her a date?”
Lilly snickered at me for a moment. “Ryan has met you, so he can vouch that you are at least a hot chick with hygiene issues,” she said as she laughed at herself.
“Really, it’s okay,” I told her, “I don't need you to find a date for me.”
“I just thought it would be fun.” Lilly pouted. “Every time I ask you to do anything, you tell me no.”
I looked at her again: “No.”
She rolled her eyes at me and sighed. “So what are your plans for tonight?” she asked. Before I could answer she said, “Let me guess—nothing!”
We steered the cart down another aisle. I could tell she was waiting on me to say something. I grabbed a book from the cart, one I had placed aside to read later, and held it up to her. She let out a frustrated grunt and gave me an annoyed look, grabbed a pile of books, and stomped off. I also left the cart and headed to the ladies room.
I went straight to the mirror to see if I looked as bad as I felt this morning. My hair was all over the place; it is always a long wavy mess if I don’t straighten it. I had put some makeup on this morning though. Overall, I didn't look that bad.
After the ladies room, I went back to the cart and found that Lilly had returned. She had already worked her way around the corner. The books were almost gone, and I also noticed she had shelved my plans for the night. We continued working in silence until I felt her poke my arm really hard.
“Ouch!” I yelped. I peered over at her. She quickly pointed through the books to the other side of the shelf. My gaze followed her fingertip to the alcove across from us. I saw a tall man with sandy-blond hair sitting at one of the tables. He had his back to us, but you could tell that underneath his flannel shirt he was very muscular.
“Wow!” whispered Lilly under her breath, “What a hottie…he’s man-candy!”
Irritated, I turned to her, “You can't even see his face. He might be totally hideous.” As if on cue, he turned and looked over at the bookshelf we were hiding behind. He was good-looking. No, he was more than that, he was hot! I panicked and turned back to the cart.
Lilly giggled as if she was back in middle school and murmured, “I told you he was a total hottie!”
My face felt warm, “Do you think he heard us talking? It was like he knew we were talking about him.”
Lilly peeped through the shelf again and turned to me, “I don't think so.”
I calmed down and rubbed my arm, “Thanks Lilly, I’m going to bruise now.” She just snickered and wheeled the cart away. I turned to glance back through the shelf, and he was gone.
The rest of the day went by fairly quickly. Usually, it was a good thing when the day flew by, but not today. I was not looking forward to having the
with Celia that she had promised earlier that morning. I did my best to avoid her, and generously offered my assistance to anyone willing to accept it around the library. I think she finally figured out my plan and approached me while I was helping a mother and her two little boys find books on trains.
Celia politely waited for a brief pause and said, “Excuse me, I’m so sorry to interrupt. Honor, as soon as you get a chance, I need to see you in my office.”
I quickly wrapped things up and followed Celia to her office. She shut the door and asked me to sit down. I did as I was asked and started to apologize right up front, but she cut me off: “Honor, let me just start by saying that I enjoy having you here. You are very good at your job, but I can't have you coming in late every other day. What kind of an example does that set for everyone else?”
I wasn’t sure if she wanted me to answer or not.
After a long, awkward pause, she started again, “I am going to write you up for this morning, and I hope that this will not happen again.”
I was thankful that was it. “I give you my word Celia, I will not be late again. I apologize that I have been late so often.”
She stood from behind her desk and cleared her throat. I took that as my cue to exit and stood up as well. The phone rang and Celia reached to answer. I mouthed “goodbye” and left quickly, shutting the door behind me.
Over the next week I made sure I was at least fifteen minutes early to work. I bought an extra alarm clock to insure I would not oversleep again. Lilly continued to badger me about the double date thing. I avoided any downtime at work that would give her a chance to bring it up again.
I came to work looking like a librarian assistant should, not like the walking dead as I was accused by Lilly. Celia would actually smile at me as she passed by in the mornings. Maybe I wasn’t such a disappointment after all. That or she was happy she didn’t have to sit and wait to catch me running through the employee entrance late.
It was Friday, the day was coming to an end and all my work was finished, I just had to avoid Lilly for the next hour and I was free to leave. Brenda from the youth department came over to ask if I would help pick up after some unruly teens.
“They left a total mess and took off,” she told me.
“Sure thing Brenda!”
We walked along side one another. “Do you have any plans tomorrow Honor?” Brenda asked.
I knew I had absolutely nothing going on but I tried to play it cool and acted like I was thinking over my busy (nonexistent) schedule. “I can’t think of anything off the top of my head.”
We began throwing trash away that had been left behind.
“My husband’s brother and his wife are in town and we were going to have a little get-together. I would love it if you could come by.”
We stacked books to be put away.
“I wouldn’t want to intrude Brenda. I thought you said a while back that you and your husband only see his brother every couple of years?”
She was wiping down the table where it looked like someone spilled soda, which wasn’t allowed. “There is good reason for that. They don’t get along very well. We thought we would invite friends over also to act as a buffer. So, yes, before you say anything—I am using you!” She laughed out loud. “There will be free food and booze for your services.”
I smiled at her as I shelved the last of the books away. “Well, how could I refuse that?” I smiled back at her.
“Great! Tomorrow at seven and I will text you the address. Thank you!”
We both were laughing as we heard someone clearing his throat.
“Excuse me. Could you help me find this book?”
My back was to him and Brenda stood facing him with her mouth hanging open and her eyes bulging. She said nothing, but by the way she looked I would have thought he was holding a gun. I quickly turned around and felt my knees go weak. I am not sure how long I stood there staring. It was the man from the week before that Lilly had pointed out. He stared back at me.
Clearly, he was unaffected by my presence, unlike I was from his. He had eyes that were so blue—a blue I had never seen before. He had light stubble growing from his face that was blond like his hair, which was messy but yet flawless at the same time. He had to be close to seven feet tall and his muscles looked like they might rip his clothes from the seams. He smiled and flashed pristine white teeth.