Creative Writing

Because of A Book

By Gianna Liantonio

I scanned the bookshelves, knowing I’ll probably walk out with nothing.

I just like the feel of the books and the quietness of the bookstore. Even when this place is crowded, it always feels like an unspoken rule to not be too loud. Everyone knows books are a great way to escape from life and travel to our own little fantasy worlds. My nose is always stuck in a book. I get yelled at school a lot for walking in the halls not paying attention to anyone as I bump into people and mumble sorry before continuing on. My favorite part of school is the little courtyard that separates both sections of the school. Students need to cut through it to get to their next class. They have a couple benches outside and a bunch of trees and plants. Sitting there, it makes me forget I’m at school. I could read for hours out there, but I keep a timer on my phone to remind myself I still have to go to class eventually. 

As I’m walking through the aisles getting ready to leave, I go to grab a book when a hand goes on top of mine making me look up. A guy is standing there and looks at me apologetically, a blush creeping into his cheeks as he lifts his hand up. He grins sheepishly. “Sorry, I didn’t see you standing there,” he says.

I shake my head smiling. If anyone could relate to daydreaming and forgetting where you are in a bookstore, it was me. “It’s okay, you can get it, I was just gonna read the description then put it back.” He smiles and picks it up and scans it. After a few seconds, he hands it to me. Wow, he reads fast. I take it and scan it too before putting it back. It was good, but I didn’t feel compelled to buy it. 

     “Not good?” he asked, looking at me. It’s rare I strike up a conversation in a bookstore this long. “It was, but I don’t feel like buying it today,” I reply and he nods. “I get that, it takes a while for me to find the description that hooks me and gets me to buy it. It’s like a feeling, y’know?” I nod. I know exactly what he meant. “Hey, I hope this doesn’t feel too forward,” he starts sounding hesitant. I look at him confused and he continues, “Would you like to get some coffee? I’m not ready for our book discussion to end.” I smile nodding. I am usually not good at conversations with people I just met, but I feel comfortable talking to him. “Sure, I’d like that.” He smiles a big goofy grin and I can’t help but smile back heat creeping into my cheeks, hoping he doesn’t see it. 

    “What’s your name?” he asked.

     “Emory, what about you?” 

     He smiles and puts out his hand, “Elliot.” I shake it smiling. We walk out of the bookstore together and head to the local coffee shop. We walk in and order and find a table in the back by a window. We continue to talk and get to know each other. We talk about books, but mostly about our lives. He tells me he lives here with just his mom and little sister.  He’s a year older than me and heading to college in a month. I’m only going to be a senior in highschool. He got a full academic scholarship, which I wasn’t surprised about. It didn’t take me long to realize he was super smart. He asked me about me and I told him that I live at home with my parents and my little sister, which I thought was a nice thing we had in common. He asked if I looked at any colleges yet and I said a few. He was going to a school a bit away from here. He was dorming, but said he’d visit home often to see his family. I smile, trying to hide my excitement from that. I wasn’t ready for him to just go away and not come back for a while. Before we knew it, it was getting late. We were talking so long we didn’t realize the sky outside went from blue to orange and pink. We get up and walk out the door together. 

      He decides to walk me home, though I try to tell him he doesn’t have to. He didn’t mind, especially when I found out his house was the complete opposite of mine. He walked me up to my front door and smiled sweetly. “Well, this was a good day. Thank you Emory.” 

     I smile. “Thank you Elliot, I had fun.”  

    He smiles and starts to walk down the porch steps when he quickly turns back and takes out his phone. “How about we keep in touch?” 

    I nod with a smile, happy he suggested it. I wanted to a million times, but I didn’t want to weird him out. We exchange numbers and agree to stay in touch. He said we should try to hang out again before he leaves for college and I tell him that’s a great idea. 

     We didn’t see each other for a bit, but we constantly texted. We would alert each other when a new book came out or when we were reading one. I knew I started liking him, I probably started the second I saw him in the bookstore when we went to grab the same book. I knew he probably just saw me as a friend, so I didn’t say anything. 

     Pretty soon, he was leaving for college. We met up for that and he surprised me when he handed me something wrapped in a paper bag. I raise my eyebrow at him confused and he just looks at me with that goofy grin and says, “Open it.” I take it out of the bag and my eyes go wide when I realize it’s the book from that day. The one we both went to grab. 

     “I figured it must be good if it brought us to meet. Read it and let me know.” I smile big. I look at him and nod. “Thank you, Elliot.” 

     He nods and smiles looking like he’s about to say something but decides not to. “Bye Emory, keep in touch about how the book is. I may want to read it when I get back.”

     “You better get home fast then, ‘cause I tend to read books pretty quick,” I joked and he chuckled. 

     “I guess I better then.” He smiles and we look into each other’s eyes for a few seconds before he clears his throat and goes to his car. He looks at me one last time before waving and I wave back. He gets in his car and drives away. 

     I hold the book close to me and smile, never receiving a gift as good as this. Maybe when he comes home, I’ll tell him how I feel. Right now, I like what we got. 

     I kept my word and finished the book in less than two days. This book was really good. Elliot was right. I text him immediately after I finish, so it’s fresh in my mind. 

Me: Hey, I finished it. You were right. It was really good.

He replies almost instantly. 

Elliot: I knew it! Can’t wait to read it 😉

     Somehow, his little winky face makes me blush like crazy. I can’t wait for him to get back home. 

     I’ve been secretly counting down the days. He was coming home today. 

     We decided to meet up at the coffee shop we went to the day we met. I sat at the same table by the window and my eyes lit up when I saw him. I tried to contain my excitement, so I didn’t scare him. He saw me and smiled big walking over. I had the book on the table. He sat down across from me. I pick up the book and hand it to him. He takes it and smiles, our hands brushing slightly making me blush. I hope he doesn’t notice, but I notice his cheeks getting a little pink. 

     “I know this is good if you say it is,” he said. 

     “Don’t put that much trust in me. What if you read it and it’s the worst thing you’ve ever read?” I ask and he chuckles. 

     “Nothing you suggest can be the worst thing ever.” 

    I smile and sit back, secretly admiring him. He looks the same. He wasn’t gone long, so he wouldn’t change much. His hair is short and wavy, brown with a little bit of blonde in it. He had green, grayish eyes. I think he caught me staring, ‘cause he laughed at me and said, “Take a picture, it lasts longer.” 

     I roll my eyes at his corny line, but don’t realize he suddenly got up. I frown.     “You gotta go home already? You just got here.” he shakes his head and walks over to my side. I look at him confused. 

    “There were two things I was looking forward to doing when I got home. One, getting this book so I can read it.” I look at him waiting for him to continue. 

    “What’s number two?” I ask. 

    He smiles. “This.” He took my hand and lifted me up out of the chair and before I could process what was happening, he leaned in and kissed me. I stand shocked for a second before kissing back. His hand drops mine as his hands go up to my cheeks. I put my hands on his shoulders. We lift off and lean our foreheads against each other. We smile. “That,” he breathes out. 

     I smile, giggling. “I’ve been wanting to do that since you left.”

     He lifts up and looks at me. “Why didn’t you?” he asks and I shrug. 

    “I wasn’t sure you felt the same way. I didn’t want to ruin this,” I say and he shakes his head smiling. 

    “You could do nothing to ruin anything Em.” I smile and lean in kissing him again. After we lift up, we walk out hand in hand to the bookstore. 

    We started dating and when it was time for me to pick a college, I picked the one he goes to. I didn’t have a preference, and I liked being where he was. Plus, he mentioned they have an amazing English program. We walk across campus together, since we had the same English classes. No surprise there as we put our schedules together so we had the same breaks. 

    We spent most of the time in our favorite place: the library. We would sit on the comfy couches they had in there and read together. I’d lay on his chest as he lay with his feet up, leaning against the wall reading his. He kisses my head occasionally when he takes a break from reading and I smile. 

    All of this happened because of a book. 

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