“Who doesn’t love chocolate?” asks Jenny, as she rips open the wrapper on the Cherry Ripe bar with her teeth.
I snap my book shut. This is the third night in a row she’s scoffed down food in the library. “I didn’t say I don’t like chocolate. I said there’s no eating or drinking allowed.”
She slides a piece of the offending candy bar into her mouth and sucks on it, her eyes rolling back in her head. “You’d change your mind if you tried a piece.”
I grit my teeth. “Rules are rules, Jenny. You’ll get us kicked out if you keep it up.”
I glance towards the main counter. Caspian Steele, the librarian, is engrossed in a book. Ulysses, I think. Show off.
“C’mon Liam, lighten up. It’s just a chocolate bar.”
“No, it’s not. Next thing you know, you’ll be stealing books for the high of getting away with it.”
Jenny huffs at me and stuffs the remainder of the chocolate into her mouth like a two-year-old.
I shake my head. “Remember how Caspian kicked that old couple out of the library for eating jelly beans yesterday?”
“They were gross. I would have kicked them out too,” says Jenny, her lips pouting into a perfect O that zips straight to my groin.
I tear my gaze away from her mouth. If only I had the courage to ask her out. “They weren’t gross. The poor guy was having a hypoglycaemic attack, and all Caspian cared about was his rules. No food. No talking.”
Jenny’s lips curl into an impish grin I can never say no to. “Don’t tell me you’ve never broken the rules? Not even once?”
“I’m not perfect. I just don’t want to get kicked out of the library. I like coming here.” I reach across and squeeze her hand, “With you.”
Jenny shivers and leaps out of her chair.
She twirls her long, honeyed hair around her finger, “Let me show you one of my favourite books.”
I follow Jenny to the back of the library where ancient science textbooks are stored. Given the layers of dust adorning the shelves, I doubt Caspian ventures down here often.
“It’s nearly closing time, Jenny.”
She claps her hand over my mouth. I stumble and several books crash to the floor.
Footsteps hurry towards us. “Who’s there?”
We stand as still as the books that haven’t been touched in decades.
Eventually the footsteps recede.
“Jenny, have you lost your mind?”
She grins at me. “Don’t worry. You’re not in any danger. Except, for breaking the rules.”
“What do you mean?”
“God, you’re so dense. I’ve been flirting with you, you idiot. I like you.”
The lights flicker out, followed by a loud thump as the front door closes.
Moonlight trickles through a nearby window imparting enough light for me to catch the gleam in Jenny’s green eyes.
“Tell me, Liam Collins, have you ever done it in a library?”
© Karen Lieversz 2020