This story has been sitting in my brain for months (ever since I started collaborating on it with my dear friend, Sierra), and I’ve recently been given permission to work on it myself, so I rethought the whole premise (the main character falling in love with the reader) and discovered that I wasn’t ready to go into speculative fiction like that, so it’s turned itself into a more normal YA light romance novel. I think I’ll have a lot of fun writing it whenever I get around to doing so, because it’s a lot brighter and happier than most of my story ideas. Basically, this girl, Sadie, and her older sister, Dawn are orphans. Sadie works part-time in a coffee shop (she and Dawn share an apartment, so that’s her contribution to the finances). She frequents a used bookstore, and comes across this guy named Archer and his brother Ed in it one day. She and Archer clearly like each other, but then Archer gets into a car accident and goes blind. Most of the novel revolves around the repercussions of the accident and how love can still grow under the most difficult circumstances (that’s a wayyy oversimplified version of it, but this kind of thing is supposed to be simple, so…). And here is Ze Snippet.
I stand in front of the old bookstore – Ye Olde Bookshoppe. I pull my winter coat more tightly around me as the wind whistles around the corner of the shop. I really shouldn’t be standing around out here, staring up at the antique sign and waiting for who knows what.
I step inside quickly and am greeted by the familiar tinkle of the bell set to go off when the door opens. The comfortable smell of musty old books greets me. There are hundreds of books stacked in great heaps on both levels of the store. I glance around, ready to make some new friends and meet some old ones – literary friends, that is.
Something makes me pause. The unfamiliar smell of food – hamburgers and fries, my sense of smell informs me – wafts across the close, stale air. Mrs Hudson, the proprietress of the bookstore, never eats in here and so, more than a little curious, I follow my nose.
It leads me straight to the front desk, the desk that’s usually covered with even more stacks of books, although these are mostly rare first editions, complimentary bookmarks, a few scattered business cards and several pencils and pens.
But now all the clutter is cleared away, the precious books are in a glass case under lock and key and there are two burger wrappers gracing the top of the desk along with a mostly empty milkshake cup and some bits of French fry. Sitting behind the desk is a young guy, probably close to my age, with dark hair and light blue eyes.
He looks up. “Oh! Um…can I help you?” he asks, trying to hide embarrassment under the guise of assumed professionalism. He looks nice enough but my main question is – what are you doing here?
“No, not really. It’s just-”
“Really. I can help you find a book if you want.”
“I thought Mrs Hudson was here?”
“No. Mom retired a few weeks ago. She left the store to me and my brother,” he explains. “You caught me on lunch break.”
“Oh, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I was basically done anyway.” He grins.
“I see you’ve cleaned up all the mess,” I say.
“That was actually my brother. He’s sort of obsessive-compulsive about cleanliness. I’m more relaxed about it.” He laughs, waving his hand around to pull my attention to the wrappers and empty containers.
“I can see that. Well, I’m going to browse around.”
“Sure. And seriously, let me know if you need any help.” I nod. “And now I’d better get all of this cleaned up before he sees it.”
Leaving Mrs Hudson’s rather quirky son to clean up the mess from his lunch, I move deeper into the back of the bookstore, toward the classic books. I’m planning to purchase a few more Jane Austen books and Great Expectations if I can find them.
And then another guy materializes seemingly out of nowhere.
“Hi,” I say, not sure who he is. There’s a slight resemblance between him and the guy back at the desk so… “You must be, um, Mrs Hudson’s other son, right?”
He nods. “My name’s Archer.”
I hold out my hand, and he shakes it. “I’m Sadie.”
Archer nods, and then says, “So you’ve met Ed?”
So that’s his name. “Only a few moments ago. I didn’t know you were actually here.”
“Yeah, I spend most of my time inventorying and classifying the books. Mom left everything in a real mess so it’s a 24/7 job. I’ve got the comics and classics sorted out so far – now I’m moving on to biographies.”
I notice the three books in his hands. Jane Austen: A Life, Queen Elizabeth I – The Virgin Queen and Victor Hugo: Life Of France’s Leading Author.
“Don’t let me keep you from your work,” I say.
“Oh, it’s time for my break,” he replies. “Actually, thanks for coming here when you did. I work through my lunch break all the time, so the interruption was useful.” He gives me a warm smile. Genuine. The kind of smile that makes me want to smile back. So I do.
“See you later,” I say, as he disappears back up the narrow aisle, toward the front entrance.
He turns for a moment and wave. I find myself hoping that I’ll see him again.
I quite like it. You?
P.S. I finished No Greater Love today. Please don’t ask…