He saw her between the classic
fiction stacks, fussing with the
miss-shelved new releases.
She was a vision in wrinkled khaki and bleached cotton. Her glasses were perched atop a nest of curly black hair arranged in a poor attempt at a bun. Frizzy strands escaped to tickle her nose and wrap around her ears like a kracken reaching out of the depths of the ocean. She was enchanting with her smudged mascara ringing shrewd gray eyes without a touch of warmth.
God save the poor soul who dared settle Steven King next to Mary Shelly's Frankenstein! He was tempted to falsely admit to the deed just to witness her unleashed fury up close, but tempered his lust with a sharp personal reprimand. Patience was a virtue after all and this stunning gem of a woman was worth the wait.
So he altered his daily schedule to accordingly coincide with her hours of operation. He arrived promptly at 8:15 and perused the modern sciences 'til 10 to noon. Whereas, he would disappear an appropriate amount of time to obtain a meal and bath. Only to return and settle into the debunked historical sciences section until closing time. His notes were always numerous and evident so the nature of his habitual visitation of the library could not be questioned. He limited his interaction with the object of his desire to only one apparently by chance passing hello and one inquiry into the origin of a book or subject specific to his studies.
He studied her closely and after over a fortnight of research and observation, he moved forward in his time line from strictly professional recognizance to possible personal interaction with the librarian of his dreams.
During a predictable lull in her routine, around approximately 10:10 am on a Wednesday, traffic at the circulation desk slowed and he proceeded to initiate contact.
Her head was bowed over a rather worn copy of Poe, showcasing the lustrous tangles of her jet black hair once again tenuously bound by a rotting rubber band. The wet clearing of his throat brought her attention away from the tattered pages of The Tell-Tale Heart to strike him senseless and mute. The icing of her grey eyes tore forth an instinctual blather and before he could regain his mind his mouth had already requested her presence at tea. Shocked at the ineptitude of his own tongue, he fought the impulse to flee as he awaited her response to such an inane request.
Lines creased her face as the sphincter muscle of her mouth tightened to an incredibly tight diameter while she measured his size and worth. The ice of her eyes were as sharp as shards of glass as they sliced past his neatly pressed slacks and skimmed over his spotless shiny shoes. He was an anomaly of contradictions as his blood iced in his veins and his skin mottled with a scalding blush under her continued scrutiny of his tucked shirt and loosened top button revealing the smallest bit of his blinding white undershirt. With a blink her frigid eyes were on his and his breath released in a gasp as she nodded her head once and snapped the badly abused book of poems closed.
And so it began.
His private obsession morphed into a reciprocated exchange of confusing emotions. Both of them gauging the mental capacity for permanent entanglement with the other through skillfully camouflaged verbal barbs and blatant physical suggestions. Knees brushed and innuendos peaked to a point of untenable duress culminating on the holiday of Saint Valentine.
Weary from the constant exchange of wit, he acquiesced to her request for sustenance at a location less public and more prone to personal displays of affection... or affliction. The latter purely relied on his strength of reason and supposition. Had he read the signs of her interest with the correct amount of disdainful affection or had he allowed the extenuation of his celibation to tint his spectacles rose?
The truth would soon be as clear as the ice in her gaze as he presented her with the richest of gifts. For in his chest now clicked away a mass of springs and gears and pins so that he may place within her hands the essence of his earth-bound self. He shuddered at the possibility of rejection.
Once ensconced in the shadows of a private bower, he presented to her–on bended knee–his gift of purest love.
Her sharp intake of breath bowed his head with the force of a leaden hand and he counted the wrinkles in her silken stockings as he despaired that this would be the last time her ever beheld her perfect ankles.
As the seconds passed in a steady rhythm his chest continued to ache. For how long would she hold him in suspended agony as he held out his heart for her to take? Despair turned to fear and curdled his lust as he closed his eyes against the erotic sight of her knobby knees. Had he misread her intentions, imposed his own lecherous thoughts over the innocence of her own?
Gathering the last of his courage he dragged his gaze up past the short pleated skirt and her moth-eaten sweater to the sweet hallow between her shoulder and neck. And he watched with transfiction as her grimace turned wry and a tear melted out of her icy grey eyes.
Would she keep and accept his gift, this organ still beating amidst a sea of saline, suspended in animation forever in an elaborate teak case?
He felt the scrape of chewed finger nails against the skin of his face, tracing along his cheek. His eyes locked on her unyielding watery gaze as her fingers taunted the skin of his neck, moving under the high tight collar of his shirt. One by one the buttons released from their holes, parting to reveal an expanse of white cotton stretched tight over one twitching nipple and one ticking pectoral.
With a tap, sound echoed within his newly hollowed chest. The tick tock in his sternum marched in time with the beat of his heart, still a heavy weight in his large trembling hands. Two more taps on the surgical steal breast plate sent strange vibrations through his body as a smile final cracked her pallid face.
His intuition had not failed him. His sense of self had not been misplaced. For standing tall before him was the love he had been seeking since he'd cracked his first clock case.