Today, have a story I wrote. It is completely pointless, sappy fluff, but I had fun with it. Like this one, it’s an alternate universe with characters some friends and I created.
The title comes from this absolutely adorable song:
After dropping several books in the return bin, Clara headed straight to the Staff Picks shelves in her favorite library. A new book stood in Derrick’s section, and she snatched it up, barely glancing at the title as she hugged it happily. The title and content didn’t matter; she would read it.
For the past year or so, she had read every one of Derrick’s staff picks. It had started with a book about The Lord of the Rings, and after that, she discovered that he had great taste. Only a few times had she not liked his recommended books.
She had never met him. She came to the library on Tuesday mornings, and he apparently worked some other time. She half wanted to meet him so she could tell him how much she appreciated his indirect book recommendations. But at this point, she suspected she would be a bit starstruck, because if you could develop a crush on someone based solely on their taste in literature, she definitely had that problem. It would be awkward.
But as she approached the checkout desk half an hour later, carrying too many books, there he stood.
He was even more attractive in person than in his picture.
In vague panic, she almost turned toward the self-checkout station. But no. She could at least meet him. She didn’t have to say anything, but she should give herself the opportunity.
So he’s tall, dark, and handsome and has great taste in reading. So what? she told herself as she walked to the counter.
So what?! herself screamed back. She did her best to ignore it.
Derrick was polite enough as he scanned her items, if not talkative. But he paused when he reached the book Clara had pulled from his shelf. He quickly resumed his work, saying, “That’s a good one. I hope you like it.”
“I’m sure I will,” Clara replied. “I always enjoy the books you pick.”
He paused again, looking at her curiously. “So it’s you.”
“My friend Alex has been telling me for ages that there’s a girl who checks out every one of my staff picks and that I should meet her. Apparently that’s you.”
“Oh.” She knew Alex. Sometimes they chatted while he scanned her books. He seemed fun. Absurdly, she felt a bit betrayed. She swallowed and, aiming for a lighthearted subject change, asked, “You don’t normally work this time, do you?”
Derrick shook his head. “I work evenings. But Alex had plans with his brother for the day, so we swapped some shifts around, and I ended up here. I’m sure that was completely coincidental.”
Clara had no idea how to respond to that. She started to slide books into her bag instead of replying.
“Clara, right?” Derrick asked.
Her head shot up. “How…?” He gestured toward his computer screen with a slight, amused smirk. “Oh. Yes. Clara.”
Derrick nodded. He tore off her receipt, grabbed a pen, and printed a phone number at the bottom of the slip of paper while Clara stared, mouth agape. “There,” he said. “You can text me and let me know how you like the book. If you want to.”
“Okay. I will.” Somehow she had just committed to that? Hopefully she could make herself follow through.
Derrick slid the receipt into the last book and handed it to her. “Have a nice day.”
“Thanks. You, too.” Clara smiled. Derrick smiled back, and it was adorable.
Clara practically floated to her car.