The Bookshop – 1

Flan flew through the corridor without the slightest inkling of how he found her. She did very well to conceal herself in the furthest corner of the largest bookshop in town.I did very well to conceal myself in the furthest corner of the largest bookshop in town! She thought.

See?

She fumbled the three books she couldn’t successfully read due to being chuffed about her hideaway. They fell to the floor, as did her hopes of fleeing unnoticed. He spun around from across the room. She knew she was found out.

‘Flannery!’ he yelled.

‘Flannery,’ she mouthed, mocking him.

It was Roy. What kind of a name is that anyway? She thought. ‘Royyy! So good to see you!’ she lied.

Sluggishly she bent down to retrieve her books. Roy rushed to help.

Why is he always so enthusiastic? She grimaced in an attempt at a smile as he handed her the novels.

‘Crime and Punishment!?’ he joyously exclaimed as an exhaustingly celebratory question.

‘Yes,’ Flan said begrudgingly, praying it didn’t begin a conversation.

‘Isn’t it wonderful how Dostoyevsky writes? You can’t help but struggle with Rodia! And oh, that Sonya!’

God, why do you torment me? ‘Yes, it’s all very good isn’t it? I really must be going, Roy, but we must catch up some time.’

Flan abandoned the books on a table near the exit and for once took comfort in the warm stench of the city’s underbelly.

She looked at her watch knowing there was absolutely nothing for her to do. Nothing. All she wanted was to retreat into a long book and forget Roy and the rest of humanity existed. We had one dinner a week ago and he couldn’t help but flounder me with gifts. So tiresome to get daisies on my doorstep. Get over it. How did he even know that was my favorite flower. Creep.

Flan lived in a cramped studio apartment around the block from the bookshop. She went in, put the kettle on and fell asleep on her Murphy bed.

Woken by a knock on the door, she recognized she had been asleep for hours. It was dark outside and the kettle was once again cold. She turned it on as she went for the door. The peephole was useless and normally she never opens her door, or more accurately, no one ever comes to her door, but the knock had caught her off guard, so she quickly opened the door and froze.

An awfully annoying greeting occurred that caused a pounding headache to bring Flan back into full awareness of her situation. Of course, that meant finding a way of trying to get out of this situation. How am I going to get out of this one? How did he know where I live? Think. Think.

Then, Flan realized there was a pause in Roy’s rambling. She vaguely thought she knew what he had said, but she must of misheard it.

“I think I love you,” Roy repeated in a blushing confession.

This certainly woke her up. She then did the most polite thing she could think to do. She slammed the door in his face and made herself a cup of tea.

The knocks eventually ceased, but the pounding reminder of her head made her aware of how lonely she was. Just her, a cup of tea and the sound of life coming from each side of the walls.

She knew she was bitter. She knew she wasn’t happy. But she was tired of being hurt, and this relentlessly kind man wouldn’t go away. She went to bed that night after hours of staring at the ceiling, turning stains into memories and finally into dreams.

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