The bookshelves were cut low and only sized to my elbow’s height, which slightly annoyed me when I searched for a couple books to buy because I noticed a strange young man, roughly my age watching me from just a few book shelves over. I noticed he was with another man, who was bent down searching eagerly for books, he was slightly better dressed than the young man, who I noticed was holding books for the better dressed man. That must mean that he was a servant of some sort. I shrugged to myself, but then I noticed the servant boy bring a fountain pen out of his pocket and he quickly scribbled something on a white piece of paper.
Feeling color rise to my face from young man’s unsettling stare. I hastily fixed some flyaway hair and began looking through the shelves again, but in my haste, I managed to bang my elbow quite harshly against the metal shelf. I glanced quickly at the boy again, this time he held a hand up to his mouth as if to stifle a laugh.
I rubbed my sore elbow and shook my head as I tried to hide a smile and went through the last couple books on the shelf.
I didn’t get as many books as I was planning on finding, but I didn’t want to keep searching, and risk getting closer to the isle where the servant boy was standing.
I cast down my gaze as I walked and shuffled through the books I had picked out at the same time. I started towards the pay booth when I bumped into something, I was blinded for a few seconds. Whatever I had bumped into was hard, but soft at the same time and oh! Mmmm. Whatever it was, it smelled good too. I backed away, it was the servant boy! Oh! My books! I had let go of them in my shock and I helplessly watched as they fell onto the ground.
“Oh!” The servant boy seemed embarrassed. “I’m sorry, miss, here let me help you with that,” He gestured towards my books on the floor and I nodded and bent down with him to retrieve my fallen books. We bent down in unison, and our heads knocked into each other.
“Ouch!” I yelped. I looked over at him and he was rubbing his head. Color flushed to my face again.
Could this get any worse? This cute guy bumps into me, offers to pick up my books and I accidentally head butt him in return.
When he opened his eyes a few seconds later he looked at me and started to laugh. I started to laugh too. This was all so ridiculous!
“What’s your name?” the servant boy asked as he crossed his legs, while picking up the last two books of mine and handing them over.
“Qwen, and your name?” I asked as I reached out for my books.
“Samuel.” He answered simply. He extended his hand, “would you like some help up then, Miss Qwen, or would you prefer to stay down here all day?”
I laughed as I accepted his hand and curtsied in return. “Why, thank you, kind sir.” We both laughed at our formality and were interrupted by Samuel’s master. “Samuel! You stop lollygagging and come back this instant! I don’t like holding my own books. Such a chore! Snip snap, young man!” The book shop keeper snapped his head up from his work and shushed the man for such a loud interruptance in his usually peaceful and quiet bookstore.
I stifled a giggle. And resisted the urge to ask how Samuel’s master reads books if he doesn’t like holding them. I got a strange picture in my head of Samuel holding the book out in front of his master as he read and turning the pages to his master’s pleasure.
Samuel looked at me and shrugged. “Duty calls,” He leaned over and took my hand and kissed it. “Until we meet again, miss Qwen.” As he walked away I looked down at my hand. He had left the small piece of white paper I had seen him writing on earlier, was what he placed in my hand. And written on it was an address.
I smiled and walked up to the paying booth and purchased my books, the worker put them in a large paper bag for easier transport. I walked out the store into the street, hearing the faint sound of the little golden bell attached to the door give a light ring. It was raining, but I didn’t notice.