Disclaimer: None of the characters in this story are based on real life people.
I work at a well-run, popular bookstore. Located on the corner of 6 th street and Rugged Way, it’s in the center of downtown. We get a lot of customers from all round the city, as one of the largest bookstores, and also gain the attention of tourists from the nearby airport. We offer some of the best maps and guides at the cheapest prices, and a nice selection of Arizona gifts.
To those of us who live in Arizona, we wonder who would ever want to come to this horrid 110ºF weather state? But then again, I suppose we do have some interesting historical locations, and a coyote or two.
So although I work in a bookstore, I work in the “souvenir” department. I have a small counter that I technically share with my two department coworkers, but since our shifts rarely overlap, mostly I get it all to myself.
When our shifts do overlap, I get great enjoyment from watching these two strange coworkers. The guy, around 31 years old, is gay, while the girl is 20 and boy-crazy. They will spend hours together staring at the attractive boys and men that come into the bookstore.
Although that is fun, I would much rather be alone at my counter. When my coworkers are not there, I have better opportunities to mingle with coworkers from the books department, as well as talk to the customers. And there are indeed some attractive men that come in time to time.
This story is on a Monday. It was a hot day in July, and the excitement had worn down from Independence Day a few weeks ago. The monsoons were late and sorely missed, as I walked in the blistering sun at 7:30 am (yes, it is so hot in the morning) from my house to the bookstore. The two mile walk had turned into a daily ritual of sweat, starting out in the warm dry air as the sun peaks over the mountain ridge, making me think Oh no, this isn’t so bad, then the sun rising higher and beating down upon me until I reach the enlightenment the refreshing, sweet air conditioner gives me at the bookstore.
My manager sometimes scolded me for my clothing, but I mean, why wasn’t I gonna wear short-shorts and a thin, loose tank top in this weather? Plus, I was 19, in my prime, plenty to show off if you get my meaning. It didn’t give me unwanted attention since I didn’t dress like a slut, but I knew what I was working with when I talked to The Boys.
The Boys were the 5 young male employees in the bookstore. Their newest addition had quickly overtaken the group and become their leader it seemed: he was popular and talked a lot about parties and stuff, which really got the others interested. I wasn’t interested in him though… instead I had my eye on the quiet, self-assured 21-year-old called Daniel.
He didn’t seem so attractive on first sight. Nice haircut and typical, clean American face, but only about 5 foot 11, not that tall, his figure looking pretty basic and thin. It was amazing to watch him lift huge boxes of heavy, hard-back books. He could lift more than the leader of the pack could, and when he took off his shirt, one realized their mistake in judging his attractiveness with it on.
At 8 o’ clock when my shift started, I quickly scanned the bookstore for him. He had taken the last week off from work, and I had been preparing for today… today I was going to make my move. I was super confident, wearing bright red high heels (I would regret the stilettos at the end of the day I was sure), simple jean short-shorts, a rather low cut red, flowery top, and these beautiful ruby earrings I got for my birthday in June. Yes the theme was red, and I loved it. Such a bold color.
I cashed into the register, swiftly counting out 300 hundred dollars and following all the little necessary procedures. So many little receipts to be initialed or signed, but then again, money was serious, and since the bookstore was doing so well, it was double as important to keep up security measures.
When I was done and started asking the customers if they were finding everything ok, it was 8:30 so no big crowds, this beautiful
boy walked in. ‘Probably gay,’ was my unashamedly biased first thought. He wasn’t macho or strong looking, just had this gorgeous face and combed back silvery blonde hair, bright bright
intelligent blue eyes, and a slim, delicate body. You’ve probably misunderstood me by now, see I like buff guys, but this guy was just so gorgeous.
The tall guy lingered for quite a while, smiling at me and denying the need for any help. He moved away from souvenirs and focused instead on some highly philosophical books, which was disappointing, since it was the farthest he could get from my counter. Maybe he didn’t like me. The thought was a bit depressing.
Then at 9 I saw Daniel had started his shift, and I was excited again. God, he looked nice! I loved his dirty blond hair and hazel eyes, and the shirt he was wearing today really showed off his chest muscles and abs. My eyes strayed lower, and I smiled to myself. His jeans were kinda tight for a guy.
I sauntered over to him, making up the excuses of returning books to their locations and asking customers if they were ok. When I reached him, I leaned down on his counter, propping up my elbows and peering up into his dark green eyes. He smiled at me.
“Hey how’s it going Aya? Did you miss me?”
“God yes,” I told him mournfully. “I was like a lonely raspberry. You wouldn’t understand, but my friend told me yesterday that raspberries die from loneliness. Isn’t that the saddest thing you’ve ever heard?”
Daniel laughed. “You’re weird,” he told me, and then sorta looked me over. “You look nice today. Or do you always look this nice, and I just forgot?”
I pouted. “You probably forgot all about me Daniel! After all, a week away on the romantic beaches of California, staring at the girls in string bikinis…” I trailed off in despair.
“Now you forget that I went with my parents. I would much rather have gone with you,” he said with a slight smile. “But before I forget, here’s a little something.”
Daniel took out from his pocket something metal and shiny. It was a tiny, bling pin with the words “Ocean Girl” written across a star. I loved silly little things like that and Daniel knew it. He presented it to me.
“Oh my god that’s so cute. For me?”
“No, for the pretty girl with the red top” and he unexpectedly took my arm and pulled me closer to him. He steadily fastened the pin onto my shirt, reaching without embarrassment into the side of my V-neck top, his fingers so close to my breasts. So warm against my skin and his face inches from mine, his lips reachable if only… I felt my heart pound and I lingered, not wanting to pull away. It had been a while since I felt the warmth of a man near me, in fact 2 years since I broke up with my ex in my senior year of high school. Mere seconds after that I backed away, not wanting my actions to imply anything more than slight initial shock, but just be enough to stir the hidden thoughts in a boy’s mind.
I focused on the pin. It looked like real silver. “I hope this wasn’t expensive, it’s not silver is it? Plated silver maybe…”
Daniel smiled at me, “Yes it’s real silver” My heart skipped a beat with pleasure that he would pay so much attention to me, I felt a bit annoyed by how I was being so affected by him when today I was going to seduce him! I should gather myself, I thought, and I quickly caught sight of a potential needy customer in the souvenirs section. “Gotta go!” I departed.
10 am and I hadn’t ventured back to Daniel’s counter. I had been watching him like a vulture though, saw some teen girl looking at him twice and swept down upon her to drag her away to the Arizona postcards on the far side of the bookstore. Then ten minutes later George the Boys’ pack leader appeared, late as usual, to charm the female customers with his quick easy smile.
I relaxed a bit then, I had more reason to go and chat when they were both at the counter. So I strolled over every 15 minutes or so with a “Sup?” or “Hey someone left this book in the souvenirs section, do you know where it goes?” George seemed partial to me, coming to call on me in Souvenirs every now and then too. Daniel was reserved and would mostly just smile at me.
I took some souvenir items to the back of the store since I wanted to replace them with new goods from an order that had come in. It was nearing 11 when I would get off from work for 2 hours and I was getting pretty hungry. At the back, box upon box were stacked up to the ceiling, full of dusty old books and tons of copies of the new popular books.
I was right back in a corner, absent-mindedly humming “Marry Me” as I struggled to lift a box of Arizona mugs onto the top of a stack. My heels weren’t helping so I took them off, trying to climb up a bit to get to where I wanted to place the mugs. My arm just brushed against another stack, but it was so unstable it was enough; I saw the top box beginning to topple in the corner of my eye. Down it fell… BOOM!!!
And I didn’t even register that Daniel had somehow been there, pulled me out of the way and into his arms, such strong toned arms even if they were on the thinner side, holding me tightly and safely. I gasped, hugging him, my eyes wide with shock.
The moment passed so slowly I thought all the dust had settled and Daniel looked at me closely, “Are you ok? You need to be careful; you know how easy it is for things to fall back here. Heck, you were trying to climb up cardboard boxes.” I just nodded and held onto him tighter, I really needed the comfort. I might not scream or anything but fright passed through me like it does any other girl, and looking round it didn’t help the box was full of volumes of a dictionary, hefty, hard books that would’ve hurt me pretty bad.
A few minutes later when I was calmer, Daniel let me go and lifted the box to a safer location. “My heels!” I exclaimed, and rushed to pick up the pieces of stiletto from the sorry red wreckage. “What’ll I wear?” I asked Daniel.
“I’ll buy you a new pair,” he said immediately. “After all, JC Penney’s is right next to us. What time do you get off?”
“11,” I said, he nodded, “Yeah I’m off at 11 too, back on at 1, you’re probably the same I’m guessing? We can leave in a few minutes, I’ll buy you new shoes and take you out for lunch, what do you say?”
“No, no, I don’t want you paying for that, I’ll buy my own shoes,” I protested, but it was little use, Daniel was as stubborn as a mule sometimes, and it quite applied now. “Besides,” he added, “I only used my parents money last week, so I’ve everything from my last paycheck just sitting in my wallet.”
It took a while but I did at least get him to agree to go Dutch with lunch. And maybe I’d pay him back for the shoes later. Although I was upset my wonderful red shoes were gone, god I love shopping for new shoes. And, I thought sneakily to myself, I would get some time to be with Daniel.
So at 11, I left my nametag in the counter drawer and trotted out the bookstore barefoot. Daniel followed behind me, asking if I was ok and worrying that I would cut my feet or something silly. Pshh, I wouldn’t die from walking on pavement barefoot, or so I thought until I realized it was the middle of the day, and the pavement was scorching hot and ready to fry an egg. I hurriedly limped to every possible shadow I could find, cursing Arizona and the hot sun. Even though he was still a bit worried, Daniel couldn’t help but laugh at me as I struggled. “You have the most hilarious expression right now,” he told me.
We walked into JC Penney’s a bit awkward, me sighing as my feet lay on the cool, pale tile floor, Daniel quite amused at both me and the shop attendant that was staring at me. I wasted no time in getting to the shoes section.
Have I mentioned how much I like shopping? Shoes in particular, since there are always so many different designs and styles and colors, beautiful and practical shoes alike. Immediately what caught my eye was a beautiful bluish purple pair, glittery, small 2 inch heels and a big flower on each. Then the boots though… brown leather, no heel but laced and fancy rim, made to fit around the ankle, which I really liked. So many boots seem to be made in a way that my heel lifted out of the boot with each step!
It must’ve been light torture for Daniel to have to follow me around as I rushed from heels to boots to tennis shoes to flats and back to heels, but he smiled and commented on each shoe. My ex, yes two years later and I’d still think of him, would never pay any attention to me when I shopped, he’d just give me 60 bucks and tell me to “shop until you’re blue in the face.” Daniel actually had opinions on the shoes, “Too plain,” he told me, “Go with the heels, they look so good on you.”
So I ended up getting the purple low heels. At least they were cheap, only around 30 dollars. I loved them! I slipped them on after Daniel had purchased them, and we made for the entrance doors to leave and get some food. But I was really thirsty so I told Daniel to wait for me, I’d run to the water fountain by the bathrooms and drink a little water. He came with me instead.
When I had drunk my fill, I straightened up and Daniel turned to me abruptly. “You’re really cute you know,” he said, looking straight into my eyes.
Surprised, I broke eye contact and blushed. Somehow this was all backwards, he was making a move on me, I was supposed to be in control, but I didn’t mind one bit. His hand was reaching out to mine and I took it, he pulled me close to him, his other hand automatically supporting my waist and drawing me in. I looked back into his beautiful hazel eyes, the bright green jewels sparking out to mingle with the brown outer edge of the irises, and below them his pale but red lips and I was captivated, time was stopping, time was gone, non-existent, this moment was forever…
And our lips met, my soft full lips tenderly pressing against his gentle lips, and it did not strike me how sudden and impulsive this kiss was in the middle of JC Penney’s, by the water fountains by the bathrooms in the middle of a white-washed hall. My heart was racing away, my hand intertwined in his, my feet reaching up on tiptoe, the heels weren’t high enough. My body was struck with the anguish of a long ignored desire, and I could feel it in him too, our kiss was transitioning from one of tender care to something quite different. The passionate heat between us was flaring up, and I felt his hand at my waist begin to stray, trailing up to cup my breasts in his large palms.
“Ahem.” An apologetic axe came crashing down and split between us, shattering the world of our kiss. We fell apart, and it was the pretty boy I saw earlier in the morning, rather embarrassed and obviously intent on getting into the bathroom we were blocking.
“Ah,” said Daniel, turning beet-red. Looking at him I felt my cheeks glow too, and he was so cute, what guy blushes when another guy catches him kissing a girl?
We moved out of his way, I caught the boy looking at me with a strange sort of interest; normally I would interpret that sort of look as flirtatious, but in this situation? I was too preoccupied with Daniel.
“Uhh let’s go to lunch,” said Daniel, smiling at me. He took my hand again and we walked out of the store. I was reliving that kiss over and over again and my heart wouldn’t stop, badump, badump, badump, on and on, was I the only one that could hear that fast drumbeat? I looked at my watch and it was 12 o’ clock exactly.
*** If you liked the beginning of this story, keep checking for the 2 remaining parts: “A Day at the Bookstore: The Afternoon”, and, “A Day at the Bookstore: Good Night”. Find out if Aya manages to seduce Daniel, or gets seduced instead, and how the “pretty boy” who seems so interested in her ties in.
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<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/love-stories/a-day-at-the-bookstore-the-morning.aspx">A Day At the Bookstore: The Morning</a>