The alarm buzzed Kate into the morning light. She hit the snooze button with the palm of her hand, turning over to sleep for five more minutes. She was not a morning person and always dreaded getting out of bed. Once up, she was fine. It was just the getting up part that was so difficult. Groaning, she finally decided to get up before the alarm sounded again. After taking a shower, Kate dressed in her favorite denim jeans and a short-sleeved cotton top. Since the boss was away, she decided to stray from the bookstore dress code of khaki pants and polo top.
Breakfast was a power bar and bottle of organic orange juice. Noticing it had become colder overnight, Kate ran back to the house.God, it’s freezing today, she thought to herself as she grabbed her fleece jacket from the coat tree in the hallway and made her way to her car.
Kate bumped the thermostat up as soon as she locked the door behind her at the bookshop. Shivering, she turned on the lights, deciding to keep her coat on until the shop warmed up. Although she arrived at eight, the shop didn’t open until ten, which left her two hours to stock the shelves with new inventory.
There were only two boxes of newly released novels to unload today, so Kate had some time to fix herself a mug of hot tea in the small break room before unlocking the door and flipping the closed sign to open. On an average day, the shop saw twenty or so customers, making Kate’s job easy. She usually studied when there were no customers, or read the new releases. Someone would always ask her what she thought about the latest fiction on the new release shelf, so she liked to be able to give an honest answer. Some days she spent her entire shift reading, especially on rainy days when the shop usually had little to no customers.
Today’s sky threatened more rain.I may just have today to myself, Kate thought as she pulled a copy of the new arrivals from the shelf. She pulled her stool close to the counter as she read the inside of the book jacket, sipping her tea.
The ringing of the store phone startled Kate, causing her to drop the book she was reading.
“Grammer’s,” she answered with a wavering voice. Silence greeted her on the phone line “Hello?” Receiving no reply, Kate returned the phone to its cradle. Before she could return to her book, the bell on the door announced the arrival of four middle-aged women, coming to buy the new book that Kate was now reading. With a copy of the new book in hand, each woman made her way to the counter.
“So how is it, dear?” asked one woman when she saw the same book in Kate’s hand.
“Well, I’ve only just started reading, but it’s good so far,” Kate offered, smiling weakly.
“Good enough for me,” the lady replied, handing Kate her credit card.
The other ladies followed the first’s example, and within ten minutes, Kate was once again alone in the shop. She was about to resume reading when the front door opened with the sounding of the bell. Kate almost groaned aloud, but caught herself when she saw the man who entered. Kate managed a “hello,” trying not to stare too hard. Catching her breath, Kate walked out from behind the counter, and slowly approached the man, who had made his way to the classic literature section of the shop.
“Can I help you find something?” she asked the dark eyed man.
“Do you carry the works of Erasmus?” the man asked, his accent betraying a soft Irish lilt.
“I think we have it in our rare book section, but I’ll have to check,” Kate answered, suddenly feeling uncomfortably warm standing next to the man.
“That will work.” the man answered. “I’m just looking for a copy to read while I’m here on business.”
“Ok, well, I’ll grab it for you. As soon as she left the man’s side, she felt cool again.What is wrong with me, Kate thought.You would think I had never talked to a guy before.
Returning with the book, Kate offered it to the man. His fingers grazed Kate’s when she released it, causing her cheeks to redden. The man smiled when he saw the effect his touch had caused her. Kate turned her back on the man, making her way to the register, hoping the red would fade from her heated face.
“Can I help you with anything else?” She asked him when he joined her at the counter.
“I think this will do for now,” he replied. “Have you read Erasmus yourself?” he asked Kate with a small grin on his face.
“No,” she answered nervously.
The man paid cash for the book, looking intently at Kate as she placed his money in the register.
“Have a good day,” Kate told the man as he made his way to the door.
“Yes, you do the same,” he replied, looking back at Kate one last time.
The door closed behind the man and Kate let out her breath. She didn’t realize she had been holding it after she had spoken last.
“Wow,” Kate breathed to the empty shop, “wow.”
The rest of the day passed like a dream to Kate. A handful of customers came in throughout the day, but she didn’t really notice them much, especially since none of them purchased anything. They could have walked out with armloads of books, and Kate wouldn’t even have noticed. She longed for the clock to read eight so she could race home and call Elise. Elise would definitely want to hear about the strange man who had made Kate so nervous. She struggled to recall what he looked like so she could describe him in perfect detail.
“Dark hair, dark eyes, tall, mature, Irish accent, Faustus…”Kate repeated to herself as she walked to her car.
Arriving home in less than ten minutes, Kate slung her coat and keys onto the small table in the foyer, making a beeline for the phone in the kitchen. She didn’t bother using her cell at home, because of the bad reception in the area. Although Kate lived only a few miles from the center of town, she lived in what was considered the backwoods that bordered the small town.
Elise picked up on the first ring, answering with an expectant, “Hello?”
“Elise, its Kate, are you waiting on a call or something?”
“Uh, no,” Elise answered unconvincingly. “What makes you ask that?”
“Oh, nothing. You just answered really fast, that’s all.”
Kate waited for a second before continuing, “Well, anyway, I just wanted to tell you about this guy that came in the shop today, unless you’re busy, or something.”
“No, it’s fine. Go ahead,” Elise assured Kate.
“Ok, so you know how you asked me last night who the perfect guy would be?”
“Yeah, what about it?”
“Well, he came in the shop today.”
“What? No way.”
“He did, I swear,” Kate giggled.
“Well, what did he look like?” Elise prodded.
“I told you last night. He looks exactly like the description I gave you last night. And he has an Irish accent.”
“Wow…so who is he?” Elise asked.
“I have no idea. He paid in cash, so I don’t even know his name. And chances are I’ll never see him again. He said he was in town on business, so….”
“Oh, my God, Kate! You just let him get away without asking his name or getting his number?”
“You know I would never ask a guy for his number, Elise.”
“So, how do you expect to ever see him again?”
“If it’s meant to be, it’ll be. I’m not about to chase after some guy I don’t know, even if he is perfect.”
“Kate, you are the dumbest person I know sometimes,” Elise ranted.
“You honestly expected me to throw myself at him?”
“No, but asking his name wouldn’t have been a crime, Kate. At least that way, you could Google him or something. Ireland’s not that big. It probably wouldn’t be that hard to track him down.”
“Elise, Ireland is bigger than you think, and plus, just because he has an accent doesn’t mean he still lives there. Good grief. You are unbelievable.”
“Ok, well, it’s your loss. Don’t come sobbing to me tomorrow when you realize what you’ve done…or what you haven’t done.”
“Like I said, if it’s meant to be, I’ll see him again. It’s as simple as that.”
“Ok, Kate. Hey, are you going to the Halloween party at town hall tomorrow?”
“I honestly haven’t even thought about it. I’ll be working until five, but I guess I could swing by afterwards.”
“Do you have a costume? Cause if you don’t, I can bring you one of mine,” Elise offered.
“I may drop in for a few minutes. I probably won’t stay long. Mom’s coming home early on Friday, and I have to pick her up at her office, so I can’t stay out too late.”
“Look for me if you do come. I want you to see my costume. It’s so killer,” Elise raved.
“Ok, well, I guess I had better go. I’ve got laundry to do and I haven’t eaten dinner yet, so I’ll talk with you later.”
Kate sighed as she hung up the phone, thinking about what Elise had said about the mysterious guy. I probably should’ve asked a few questions, she told herself as she reached in the fridge for leftover pasta from a few nights ago. Oh, well, too late now.
Two loads of laundry were washed, dried, and folded before Kate looked at the clock on the mantle. Eleven o’clock, she said aloud, time for bed. After finishing her nightly toiletries, Kate plopped onto her bed and grabbed her journal and pen for a quick scribble before turning out the lights.
Worked double shift today. Gorgeous guy came in the shop today, asking for ‘Doctor Faustus’ of all things. I didn’t get his name…or number, of course. That’s so typical me. I actually blushed around this guy. I can’t remember ever blushing about anything in my life. Maybe I’m coming down with something. Work tomorrow, but only one shift, thank God. Mom’ll be home Friday. Can’t wait to see her. There’s some Halloween party tomorrow at town hall, but I probably won’t go. That’s all for now.
Oh, did I mention that guy had an Irish accent? Man, he was gorgeous.
The night passed without any strange incidents or dreams. Kate woke before the alarm went off and felt vibrant and refreshed. The feeling of dread she usually experienced on a workday was absent and she hummed to herself as she took a short shower and got dressed. The idea of work pleased her, but more than that was the idea of the man who had come in the shop yesterday. She dressed a little more formal today, wearing her only pair of designer jeans and a delicate knit sweater. Pulling her fleece coat on, she decided to add her striped scarf to the ensemble now that it was so much colder outside.