The streets were crowded with people as always, the slow pace frustrating me after the run. I ducked into the Grand Arcade shopping centre to avoid the stream of tourists. I passed windows of various shops, heading for the other entrance which was close to Starbucks. I looked up reflectively as I passed the library and spotted William. I froze, starring wide-eyed through the library window. I realised my mouth was hanging open and snapped it shut. I glanced at my phone but Diane hadn't texted to say she was in the city yet.
He was probably doing some important research … It'd be silly to bother him. Besides, he was a vampire. Vampires and werewolves didn't have random chats. Not to mention I hadn't exactly made the best impression before. I groaned out loud, wondering why I was even arguing over something so crazy. I walked up the street and, without letting myself think on it anymore, opened the doors to the library. Bookshelves lined the walls, numbered references stuck to their spines. I could see computer terminals where you could search the books you needed. It even told you other libraries to look if it wasn't here.
There was dozens of students from the university hunched over at the tables and sofas, stacks of books between them. William was towards the back, flicking through a worn book. He seemed engrossed in the story and I considered backing out. It's not like he'd have any interest in seeing me again.
“You can either stand there starring at me, or sit down,” William said. When I didn't react he glanced over his shoulder. I hesitated, feeling my cheeks flush. Of course he'd realise I was there, he was a vampire. “Not that I don't appreciate the compliment, but it's not especially appropriate,” he added. I glowered at him and really wanted to walk away. I should've realised he'd make fun of me. I clenched my jaw and walked over, taking the seat opposite him reluctantly. He seemed to find my reaction amusing as he shut his book and placed it to one side on the table.
“What are you doing here?” I blurted. He cocked one eyebrow, the barely contained smile still there.
“Last I checked, library’s were public places,” he replied dryly.
“Don't you guys have your own library?” I asked. They'd been around long enough to accumulate a lot of knowledge. I knew they stored it somewhere.
“We don't have every book in there,” William replied. “And I like to read,” he shrugged. I starred at him, trying to match everything up. I knew that it made sense that he would have a hobby. I just didn't expect his interests to be so … normal. I decided to move onto a different subject.
“Why are you out during the day? I know this place shuts down late, but its still before sundown,” I said.
“The older the vampire, the less the sun bothers us,” he explained with a elegant shrug. Huh, guess I didn't know everything. My phone buzzed and I checked it, seeing a text from Diane. She just turned up at Starbucks and grabbed our usual table.
“I have to go,” I said, standing up. I hesitated, feeling like I should say something else.
“I'm sure we'll see each other again,” William said, that small smile back. I frowned at him and considered saying that I severely doubted it. Instead I said the thing that had been bugging me for days.
“Sorry,” I said. He blinked at me, looking genuinely confused.“When you helped me before, I wasn't exactly good company,” I explained, feeling unexpected nerves crop up. He studied me silently and I glanced down at my feet, wondering why he hadn't said anything yet. My phone buzzed with a second text from Diane, wondering where I was.
“You should go back to your normal life, kid,” he replied, surprising me. What the hell did that mean? “It was nice to see you,” he said, turning back to the book. I stared at his back for a few seconds, wondering what had just happened. He didn't show any signs of knowing I was still there, and I didn't feel prepared to ask him. I left the library, aware that the second goodbye had been very different from the first one. I raced to Starbucks and Diane sent me a grateful look when I sat opposite her.