I walked along the book covered walls to the back of the old library. The smell of old books makes me feel at home. I sat down at my usual table in the far corner, away from the rest of the world. Rarely did anyone else come back here. I laid my books across the table, stopping only to push my glasses back up the bridge of my nose and to tuck my long brown hair behind my ear. Time passed more quickly than I thought. I wasn’t sure how long I’d been sitting there, but my coffee had gone ice cold. I glanced at my watch. It was almost midnight. A yawn escaped my lips. Just a little bit more and I’ll head home. I had just turned to a new page in my book when a loud crash came from just a couple of rows over. I jumped. “Oh!” Curious as always, I slowly stood up and made my way toward the sound. Books were scattered into the aisle, some open, some closed.
“Hello?” I said quietly. A groan came from around the corner, I followed it. A boy was kneeling over the books and stacking them. His blonde hair was long enough to cover his eyes from her view. I coughed to let him know I was there. He looked up, falling over when he saw me. He obviously didn’t think anyone was still here.
“Oh,” I struggled not to giggle as he nearly fell trying to stand, he was taller than he looked, “I didn’t mean to startle you.” I pointed toward my table in the far corner, “I was sitting over there and heard the crash.” He brushed off his pants and nodded at me before leaning over to pick up some of the books. “Here, let me help you,” I smiled cheerfully and began picking up the books.
“Thanks.” His words were barely audible, I almost thought that I had imagined it. I smiled in his direction and continued to stack the books back on the shelf. He still hadn’t even looked at me. We continued like this, in total silence, till there was only one book left. Both of us reached for it and our fingers touched only a moment before we bumped heads. We both fell to the ground with a thud, laughing as we held out hands to our foreheads. Then, our eyes met for the first time. His dark eyes widened when they met my sea green ones. I felt my cheeks flush behind my glasses. We stayed like that for a few seconds. I finally broke the silence.
“I always knew my hard head would get me in trouble one day,” a shy smile played on my lips as I waited for him to laugh at my joke. I wasn’t disappointed. He chuckled as a half smile appeared on his face.
“Thanks for helping me with the books and all,” his voice was still quiet, barely above a whisper, but I liked the sound of it. He stood up and reached out his hand to help me. I paused, painfully aware of half grin and the chaos it was wreaking on my stomach, I reached the rest of the way. His large hand enveloped my small ones and with one quick yank he pulled me off the ground. I don’t think he expected me to be so light because when he did that, I flew into him. We steadied ourselves.
“I’m so sorry,” his voice was finally above a whisper. I laughed.
“Totally fine, no worries!” I looked up at him, suddenly realizing his arms were around me and our faces were incredibly close. “No worries…” my voice trailed off into an embarrassed giggle. I think he realized our closeness too because he took a sudden step back. I brushed off my jeans and tucked my hair behind my ear. He cleared his throat.
“Tyler, Tyler Foster.”
“Haley, Haley Martin.” I wanted to throw in more of a James Bond reference but the way he was looking at me made me forget.
“It’s a pleasure,” he grabbed my hand and brought it to his lips, “to meet you, Haley.” And kissed the back of my hand. Blood crept all the way down to my toes. No way of hiding that now… Then I noticed the red tint on his cheeks. At least I’m not the only one.
“You as well.” I jokingly curtsied and he laughed. A voice rang out over our heads.
“The library will be closing in ten minutes.”
“Is it already that late?” I pulled my phone from its place in my pocket and clicked the home button.
I sighed. “I should probably go pack up my things.” He bit his lip and nodded.
“Yeah, me too.” I nodded back. But neither of us moved.
“Maybe I’ll see you again.” My heart dropped a bit at his vague statement. I simply nodded my head in agreement, hoping he would catch the hint. He didn’t. “I’ll see you later, Haley.” He grinned, “Haley Martin.”
“I’ll see ya around, Tyler, Tyler Foster.” I gave a small wave and turned to go back to my table. I gathered up my things, a small smile tugging on the corners of my lips.
I’ve always loved the library.