Just for you on Valentine’s Day, a saucy free read. My flash story “Stacks” takes place in the library (one more reason to love your local library). Here’s a teaser; if you want to read on, click the link for a PDF of the issue of the Wildfire Newsletter with the whole story. Of course it’s also in my 99¢ sampler Four Play (click the picture to buy).
“Do you know where I can find books on nineteenth-century children’s recommended reading?”
He was back again. Selena looked up from the dog-eared folder of cataloguing changes with a sense of pleasure that had nothing to do with taking a break from her least favourite task. “Nineteenth-century?” she asked, smiling with genuine warmth at the tousle-headed young man with the chocolate brown eyes and the intriguing scar on his chin.
“Yeah,” he said, ducking his head a little as a slight blush lit his face. “I’m brain-storming a project for my Victorian lit class.” Selena loved the way his lop-sided grin crinkled his cheek. His name was Armando and he had made a habit of showing up during her shift for the last couple weeks. He even bought her a coffee last week, but the conversation had been stilted and mostly one-sided.
Her side. I could talk the hind leg off a dog, Selena thought. He seemed interested, but things were not progressing. “Well, the most likely search would be in the Victorian era magazines. We have a good collection of them in the stacks. A gift from a prominent alumna,” she added before mentally appending a shut up, Selena. It wasn’t parents’ day after all.
Armando’s brow furrowed. “Where’s that? I don’t think I’ve been in the stacks before.”
Selena started to give the complex series of twists and turns necessary to get to the third floor stacks, but stopped herself in time. “Let me show you, it’s a bit confusing.” She nodded to Brent, to indicate that the reference desk was his and stepped out beside Armando. “Follow me.”
Was that an eager look on his face? Selena wasn’t sure if she was imagining it, but kept up an easy stream of chatter as they walked along, drifting from nineteenth-century children to her cousin’s quinceañera over the weekend before they finally arrived at the dark wing. She pressed the button on the first set of movables and it whirred into action.
“What’s that?” Armando said, those scrummy chocolate eyes open wide.
“Too many books, too little space. They installed the movable stacks over the summer. We’re going to need even more.” Selena led the way down to the little alcove where the Victorian women’s magazines were bound and shelved. She turned around once Armando had stepped in beside her. “See, if you send the shelf back,” she hit the button, “it gives you a little private reading library.”
Selena turned around to see Armando staring at her, his eyes so shiny they looked wet. He seemed to have difficult breathing. She was just about to ask him if he had claustrophobia when he spoke, his words echoing in the tiny chamber.
“Every time I try to talk to you,” he said slowly, stopping to swallow, “I get tongue-tied. I want to sound intelligent to impress you, but all I can do is imagine what it feels like to touch your skin.” His whole face took on a pinkish hue….