Bookstores & Migraines

Submitted into Contest #249 in response to: Write a story around someone (literally) bumping into someone else.... view prompt

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Gay Romance Fiction

Adam has been staring blankly at this dusty bookshelf for about ten minutes, trying to decide whether or not he should leave June here. They’ve been walking all around El Paso today with June’s determination to find an outfit that “speaks” to her. Luckily, they found one within the first two hours of the trip. Unfortunately for him, she forced him to continue the shopping trip for another two hours. Finally, after four hours of judging his sister's looks and giving his opinion on the outfits, she agreed to go home even though she didn’t really care what he thought.

Adam thought he was finally free to go back home and get in bed before his shift at the bar, but no. Of course not.

June stopped on the sidewalk, not even a mile away from the car. A quaint little bookstore that Adam had never seen before stood before her. She insisted they go in, claiming she had a “feeling” about the place, which didn’t make sense. There wasn’t anything special about the bookstore to him; he didn’t know it existed until now.

 Adam had said no at first, but he’s not good at saying no to his older sister. She’s a persuasive individual.

So, twenty minutes later, Adam stares at a bookshelf, trying not to let his legs give out from underneath him from exhaustion. He worked eight to four last night at the bar and has to do it all over again tonight. At this rate, he’ll only get two to three hours of sleep before work, which won’t do.

He decides that he’ll drag her out of here kicking and screaming if he has to because who the fuck stays in a bookstore this small for more than twenty minutes?

The bookstore is tiny. Maybe only fifteen tall oak shelves wind about the place, making maneuvering very hard. The shelves are full of used books and some magazines, vintage and newer. A cashier's desk in the right corner near the entrance and a massive window behind the desk brings a lot of natural light to the small room. It’s all very cramped and smells heavily of mothballs, which Adam cannot stand.

He huffs and finally turns away from the dusty bookshelf he had been seething at for ten minutes. Still, of course, instead of storming off into the magazine section to find June as planned, he runs directly into a guy holding a stack of books that he hadn’t noticed was standing next to him. The books fall everywhere, and in a rush of panic, they both crouch down at the exact same time and hit their heads together. The guy sucks in a breath and swears under his breath.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry.” Adam apologizes, rubbing his forehead. The guy in front of him looks up at Adam, and it’s Adam’s turn to swear under his breath.

The guy – a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, fucking adonis of a human being – has a small gash on his forehead, and Adam feels horrible for accidentally damaging a Greek God’s face.

“It’s okay; I should have been paying more attention.” The British Greek God says, starting to pick the books up. He carefully stacks them in his arms and stands to his feet, and fuck; his legs are so long.

Adam also shuffles to his feet, “Uh, I’m pretty sure I’m the one who ran into you. So, again, I’m sorry.” The guy stares at him briefly before giving him a small smile, and Adam can feel his heart beating faster and the sweat building in his underarms.

“No worries.” The blonde says as a thick drop of blood from his forehead falls onto one of the books in his arms, and he finally notices that he’s injured, “Oh my.”

Adam takes the stack of books from the beautiful stranger, “Here, let me help you with these. You’re bleeding pretty badly. Oh, I’m so sorry.” Adam can’t help but apologize to the guy. He blankly stares at Adam like he’s never heard an apology before, or maybe he doesn’t know how to accept one.

“It’s really fine, just a scratch. I’ve got band-aids.” The man says, touching his forehead, only to look at his fingers, blink twice, and mumble, “Oh.”

“Yeah, let’s go get those band-aids. You let me carry these.”

Adam then follows the man he injured with the stack of books in his arms to the desk by the entrance. He watches as the man goes behind the desk to get the first aid kit.

“You can just set those down on the desk. I’ll get to them later.”

Adam sets the books down, doing what he was told. The man, whom he can only assume works here, has pulled out a first aid kit and is already dabbing the little gash with an antiseptic wipe. Adam watches as the stunning store clerk pulls out a band-aid from the kit.

He tries to think of something to say, anything to say, because now he’s just staring stupidly as this beautiful man cleans the wound Adam inflicted on him. He watches as the clerk fumbles with the band-aid wrapped, squinting at it with his tongue sticking out just a bit. It’s really fucking cute. Adam needs to say something.

The blonde is still struggling with the band-aid, fingers slipping every time he goes to get it open, “Bloody fucking hell.” He mumbles under his breath. Before Adam can stop what he’s doing, he reaches across the counter and takes the band-aid from the clerk.

“Here, I’ve got you.”

The blonde’s eyes follow Adam as he casually opens the band-aid behind the desk. “Look at me and stand still.”

Adam swears he sees the blonde blushing and tries to ignore it, but, again, he’s really cute.

The cute bookstore guy looks at Adam, a few inches taller than him. Eyes as blue as the Caspian Sea, straw blonde hair that shone in the golden hour sunlight that peeked through the front window of the shop, cheekbones that he swears could cut diamonds, sporting a navy-blue cardigan that engulfed him and made him look way smaller than he was. His cheeks were slightly flushed as he looked at Adam, waiting for him to put the band-aid on his wound. Adam is shell-shocked at how fucking beautiful this man is.

Adam snaps out of his trace when the cute bookstore guy clears his throat quietly. Adam blinks a few times before he gently reaches up and puts the band-aid on his still, slightly bleeding forehead, “I’m sorry again; I seriously didn’t notice you standing there. Are you sure you’re alright?”

The blonde looks at Adam and smiles again, this time a little brighter, and Adam is melting in the rays.

“You’re fine, love. I need to stop sneaking up on people anyway; you’d be surprised how often something like this happens to me.” He chuckles; Adam is convinced this is a fever dream.

Adam!” His sister’s voice rings through the air, bringing him back from the clouds and showing him this is not a fever dream. “Oh my god, what did you do?” She asks as she rushes up to the desk with a stack of magazines.

For a second, the cute bookstore guy gets this look on his face that Adam can’t decipher. It’s gone in an instant, though.

“I accidentally head-butted him going to find you because I have work in five hours,” Adam says, defending himself. June’s eyes dart between the two, and the cute bookstore guy speaks up before she can say anything else.

“In his defense, I wasn’t paying attention before it happened. He also carried the books I was holding to the desk and aided to my wound.” He gestures to the band-aid, “I suppose chivalry isn’t dead.” He jokes. Adam can’t help but chuckle at that, earning an elbow jab to the side from June. She turns to the cute bookstore guy, setting the stack of magazines on the counter between them. “I’m so sorry about him. I’ll pay extra for these and your troubles.”

The cute bookstore guy laughs and says, “It’s really fine. Let me ring these up for you, though.”

June starts to scold Adam like an embarrassed older sister would, but he’s not listening. He’s watching the cute bookstore guy as he rings up the massive stack of magazines. He has a small smile, the one he wore when Adam apologized to him. His hands stumble as he picks up the magazine, just like when he opened the band-aid. He squints at the old cash register –the kind that you have to type the price into it, no scanner – leading Adam to wonder if he needs glasses and what he looks like in glasses.

Before he knows it, the cute bookstore guy is bagging the magazines in a paper bag and handing them over to June with a smile. “Thank you for your purchase; I hope to see you two again!” His posh accent brings Adam’s heart to a faster pace. He never knew he had a thing for accents until now.

“No, thank you!” June smiles back at him, “We’ll definitely be back!”

She turns to Adam, “Come on, let’s get going since you were so eager to get home for a nap.” She says, now ushering Adam out of the store.

Before he exits the store, he takes one last look at the cute bookstore guy. They make direct eye contact for a few seconds, lasting a lifetime for Adam. The last thing Adam sees before June pushes him out of the store is the cute bookstore guy giving him a small wave and the same bright smile from before.

The ride home is filled with June ranting and raving about how many new vintage magazines she bought from the bookstore. Adam isn’t listening; he tries to, but he can’t.

He didn’t even get his name. How could he have been so stupid? He had so many chances to open his mouth and ask for his name, but no, he spent the entire time apologizing and staring at him like a piece of meat. The guy probably thought he was a weirdo.

Adam lets out a loud groan, putting his face in his hands. This grabs June’s attention.

“Are you good? I know you’re tired, but damn. We’re almost home, you big baby.” She says, turning onto their road.

Adam drops his hands and shakes his head, “I fumbled the ball, Junebug. It was in my court, and I fucking fumbled.”

June looks at him quizzically, “What are you talking about?”

Adam sighs as they pull into the driveway of their shared duplex, “Nothing. It’s nothing.”

June looks puzzled but shrugs it off, mainly because Adam is always this dramatic. It’s nothing new. They both leave the car, grab the mountain of bags from their shopping trip out of the trunk, and pile into the house.

Adam looks at the time, “Fuck, I have to nap.” He groans, pulls out his phone to set alarms, and runs up the stairs to his bedroom. “Please wake me up if I’m not up. I'm going by seven. I’m begging you. I can’t be late again.” He calls down to June from the top of the stairs. He hears a prompt ‘Roger that’ from downstairs, and with that, he shuts his bedroom door.

He strips down to his boxers – he gets hot in his sleep – and gets in bed. Once his head hits the pillow, he feels just how exhausted he is. His body hurts, especially his back. He makes a mental note to buy shoe insoles for work before drifting off to sleep.

Only to dream about a beautiful blonde prince with piercing blue eyes sitting under a willow tree with a book in his hands.  

May 09, 2024 04:37

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