Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Complicated Intentions Part 2. -by Ivy Parker
There were smiles for little kids, walks with old men to find books on spirituality, and the usual patronage. Fines were a different matter.
Tori shrugged her way through work and did her best to keep busy, checking in books.
She moved in a rhythm, unstuffing cards from books, stacking them in fiction, nonfiction, juvenile and easy readers. She checked them through at a steady pace. One after another from the stack to the shelf for the shelver to roll in a cart to the other end of the library.
A library card dropped out of a fiction book, The Best American Mystery Short Stories of 1996. Tori stooped, then looked to the side to see if the shelver was watching.
Gordy was watching. She sensed it. Amazingly, she found the feeling intriguing.
She sighed, picked up the card and stared blankly at the name.
"Paul Auster." She smiled, feeling a soothing magic in the name.
"He's an existentialist, isn't he?" Gordy asked leaning over her shoulder.
She shook the feeling that Gordy was invisible, and only appeared when he wanted.
"I guess, but this can't be the same Paul Auster." She couldn't imagine the real author out here in the Midwest.
"What if it is?"
"Yeah, right. I don't think so." Light with laughter, she almost felt dizzy, maybe crazy in love.
"Well, let's see what he's checked out." Gordy took the card and zapped the barcode. He brought up the list of books on the computer.
"Looks like Mr. Auster has some fines."
"Maybe he's still in the building." Tori looked around, trying to imagine what Paul Auster looked like. She saw his picture before, but a picture and in person were two different things.
"Yeah, well, I doubt it. He's not going to pay. Who'd pay fifty dollars in fines?"
"He didn't check out any of his books. There's one on Consumer Reports," Gordy pointed out.
Tori brushed her fingers through her chin length hair. She stared at Gordy's delicate fingers. She never thought of him doing anything but hiding behind his long wavy hair, slipping from his ponytail. She took the card back.
"You going to put it in lost cards?"
"Maybe." She wanted to pay the fines and keep the card for herself. "Don't worry about it."
"I won't. Better get busy." His lips curved. When he smiled, she wondered if it was an invitation to visit him in the shelves. Magic, she assumed. She sighed, anything could happen.
I'm holding Paul Auster's library card, she said to herself with satisfaction; it was a fine day. She watched Gordy walk away with a cart of books. She slipped the card in her hip pocket.
It was almost four. She could leave before five. She hated the library five o'clock rush. She was out the door by four. She hesitated for a moment. Terrence.
Tori couldn't shake her dread.
And then it happened. She stumbled into Gordy as he pushed against the door.
"You're in a hurry?" he asked. His lips parted. She thought she heard him say something else, but there was no time. Terrence was waiting for her.
"Yeah, well..." She shrugged not wanting to explain, but the sensation halted her. Gordy's magic didn't lurk in the library shelves. She imagined leaning against a shelf, him kissing her, books falling. Something connected. It seemed impossible to walk away.
Hurrying down the steps toward the parking lot, she felt his hand pull her back before she tumbled down the cement.
Her breath caught as she looked up at him. His lips moved but she only heard her heart beat.
He blinked and everything seemed to slow, each step they took away from the library took longer and longer.
Before she realized it, she was in the front seat of his old Gremlin.
Her eyes felt heavy. His plush lips moved and when he kissed her, it felt like a warm sleep. She could breath again. Laughter came over her. He drove with one hand and held her with the other. She watched the passing cars, heard a car horn, but he drove into the traffic, past the stop light, past a shopping center toward a residential area.
In minutes they were in his parents driveway and skipping up the steps to his garage apartment.
It was too late to think about Terrence, she sighed, looking at the narrow kitchen stacked with dirty dishes. The unmade bed and dirty underwear and old newspapers sprawled along the floor.
Gordy peeled back what was on the bed, she heard glass crack, but it didn't matter.
"I don't think we should be friends anymore." He grabbed the collar of her blouse and started to unbutton it.
"Nobody ever said that to me before." She shook her head. Her hair swirled around her face.
He smiled at her and pulled her close. She was lulled by his kiss and found herself undressed in seconds.
"I think-" But she could only laugh in between his heavy kisses.
"Don't think." And she didn't. They twisted in the crumbs on the bed.
He still has on his glasses, she thought, pulling them from his face, but he pushed them back on.
"No, I want to see you."
When he relaxed and fell to his side, his skin was pink with sweat. She settled back against the pillow. Her body was at peace. Maybe he'd given her a part of his magic. It was a peace, but a strength she could hardly control.
Her lashes quivered. Tori took a deep breath and absorbed the calm.
When she awoke, she looked at her watch.
"Oh, my God, it's after six!" But she felt too drained to move.
"What's wrong with that?" His hands touched her face.
"I missed the bus."
"I'll drive you home." He pulled her into his arms and she relaxed a little.
Terrence. Her eyes widened. She tensed, rubbing her hand against her dry lips. Sweat poured from her face. Dinner was waiting.
"I need to go now, but..but just drop me off, okay?" It would have to work.
It had to, she thought.
"Okay, if you say so." He kissed her but she was afraid to stay. It would start all over.
It was a quiet ride home. She sat next to the window and watched the street lights. It seemed very sad now. Her sinuses started to congest and she wasn't sure if she was allergic to the city or missed his apartment.
"You're all right, aren't you?" She felt his hand on her back. Her body tensed. There was no time to relax.
Her smile was brief. She felt his hand reach for her and she took his hand, kissed it. She missed him already and she wasn't even out of the car.
"Everything's going to work out." But she couldn't quite shake the feeling that a storm was brewing. His touch was hot, but she felt like ice.
"You'll call me?"
"I don't know." She shook her head. "I'll think about it." He stopped at a stoplight. She opened the door. "I should go. I really have to go."
"When can I see you? Can I come over?"
"Sometime..soon..okay." She tried to smile, and slammed the door shut. The light was green, but she knew he didn't want to leave.