Fractured 8

The same girl eyes me from the help desk. Our eyes meet again. Shit. She probably thinks I’m stealing or something. A few moments later, she’s a few steps from me.

“Hello, are you finding everything okay?”

“I am, thank you,” I shift my gaze down to the small stack I have begun to accumulate. “Actually, I do have a question. Is there a way to reserve books, preorder or wish list?”

“Definitely, follow me.”

She directs me to the main hub area with computers. Some are used by staff only and others with the store website are locked to prevent other sites being browsed. Figures they wouldn’t want me comparing prices in store. I thank her and she walks behind the hub desk. I quickly find my favorite authors and similar books. I create an account and save the books to my wish list. I squeal in glee, drawing the attention from my book security consultant.

“You really love books, huh? You should check out Westfield. He’s one of my favorites,” She says while grabbing a book from under the counter and adding onto my stack. “You went to Trinidad Academy, didn’t you?”

I clear my throat softly. “Yeah, I’m an undergrad at the university now,” I finally manage.

“I knew you looked familiar. Cecilia, right?”

“Lia, yeah. Sorry, I don’t really know who you are.”

“Jillian, but Jill’s cool. We were in concert band together,” she hesitates, “Kind of. I was the student manager. Set up all of your music stands, wheeled around the piano.”

“I always wondered how things magically got done.”

“Definitely not magic, pianos are fucking heavy,” she muffles over her words. “Hey, I get off work in a few minutes, wanna catch up?”

I hesitate. “Sure, I guess. I need to look through these, anyway. I’ll be at the cafe.”

“Seattle’s Best, I’ll get you one,” she winks at me and leaves to usher some children who have begun to wreak havoc in the children’s section.

What was that about?

Wiping the table of crumbs, I take a seat. Fresh muffins, coffee, chocolate. I swear people turn as my stomach growls. I look into my wallet. I probably have a few dollars on my debit card. Definitely not enough to buy any books today, let alone a muffin. I set my head down on the stack of books and close my eyes. I take a deep breath, trying to feed on the fumes of the cafe. The aroma only makes the growling stronger so I divert my attention to the books instead.

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