The Bookseller

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HER STORY 1

She sits alone at a small table in the bookstore. Her favorite table – in the quiet corner of the store, out of the way of the general browsers and other people. It’s the same table she takes each time she visits, and she can sit at it for hours at a time lost in a book and lulled by the gentle music the bookseller plays softly in the background. She likes this place. The coffee is good, the staff are friendly, it stays open late, and no-one bothers her while she’s there.

A man once did try to chat to her, but it was clear she wasn’t interested in being picked-up in a bookstore. Fortunately, the owner noticed her discomfort, and came over to interrupt the leech and led him away. On the way out later she smiled her gratitude to him, and left an extra large tip on the table. It had been the only time in the past few months of visiting the store every other evening after work that she had felt even the slightest bit of discomfort.

Normally she was the last customer to leave the place, a few minutes before the midnight closing time. Frequently, the owner was the only one left, with all the staff already on their way home. And he’d never stay anything other than a pleasant “good night” and a kind “we’ll see you again soon”.

There had even been a few occasions when she had lost track of the time and had landed up leaving after 12. Apologetically fumbling with her bag and book and belongings, she would rush to pay the bill and leave. And even then he would do nothing more than smile and say “It’s no problem at all, you can stay as long as you’d like” and “Are you sure I can’t make you another coffee before you leave, it’s cold outside tonight?”

It was on those occasions that she really noticed the man. He had an air of quiet confidence about him, and was attractive in a thoughtful sort of way. Not really her type at all – at least not the type of look that she had always been interested in before. She’d always gravitated towards men who were strong, fit, healthy, athletic. It may have been her contrived sense of needing security and protection. And it had always landed her in situations where she was not always in control of things.

Her small physical frame, and long-standing issues of self-confidence were to blame. Her head always suggesting comfort in the arms of muscular men who she believed would take care of her, protect her.

It never worked that way though. They always turned out to be domineering and insensitive, wanting to control her mind as much as her body. And they always turned out to be idiots who couldn’t hold a decent conversation even if it was placed in their hands.

The bookseller was a complete contrast. Almost nondescript at times, he never seemed to intrude or bother her when she was busy, but always seemed to be right there whenever she needed him for a refill, or to turn the music up a little because she liked the song that he was playing, or to recommend a new book to replace the one she had just finished. Always polite, considerate and smiling.

And not the false and lecherous smile of many of her many previous suitors, but a genuine smile of warmth and joy and being able to talk to her if even only for a moment at a time. A smile from the heart.

And in the six months or so that she had been visiting the place regularly, she’d hardly given him much of her attention at all.

~~~~~

HIS STORY 1

She was there again. Sitting at her usual table again.

Reading and occasionally sipping the coffee alongside her. She rarely looked up, and when she did it was to gaze out of the window at the front of the store. When she did, it was typically the gaze of someone remembering something. A gaze that suggested regret and hurt and loss and even sadness at things gone by and lost forever.

He always wondered what she was thinking about. What she was remembering. Tried to imagine what made her seem so distant and sad. Or who? Not superficial sadness, more a deep-rooted sadness. Her look said that so much had passed in her life before and she was loath to remember it all.

The books that she read gave little clue to anything that went on inside her beautiful head. Every week it was a new title, a different author, a different genre. She seemed to prefer stuff that she could escape into. Novels that would help her forget all that went on in her daily life, if even only for a few hours every other evening.

He’d watch her quietly whilst tending the store. Willing everyone else to leave as quickly as possible, even sending the rest of the small staff home early. He relished the few moments that he could be alone in the place with just her and no-one else. He didn’t think she even noticed these occasions, she was so wrapped up in her own thoughts most of the time.

And yet, even with her being so caught up inside herself, she radiated warmth and softness. And that’s what made her so appealing to him. Without trying, without pretension and effort, she lit up the small canlı bahis şirketleri shop with an inner glow so powerful, so intense that it blew him away from the very first day he saw her.

In those moments that she would glance out the window, he would stare openly at her soft features, her beautiful face. Dark shoulder length hair framing smooth, soft skin that was broken by the depth of her dark eyes and the fullness of her soft lips.

Lips he’d dreamed about kissing from the first moment he’d seen them. He remembered the first words that those soft, gentle lips formed when she first came into the shop…

“Filter coffee please,” they’d said. It was music to his ears.

The small smile that he got when he delivered the coffee order was even better.

She sat quietly at her table, reading and slowly sipping her coffee every now and then. He couldn’t help imagining those lips touching his. Couldn’t stop himself dreaming about what magic those lips could create against his skin, over his nipples, around his hardening shaft.

She looked up suddenly, as if she sensed his thoughts and knew that they were not entirely chaste. Perhaps she noticed the longing, the lust, in his eyes in the brief moment that their eyes met before he turned away to attend to another customer.

Looking back in her direction a few seconds later, her head was back down, her eyes on the book. But her face wore a soft, almost knowing smile that played seductively around the corners of her mouth.

It wouldn’t have surprised him if his face was blood red at that point.

~~~~~

HER STORY 2

She noticed him now. Noticed him staring at her intently. And for once the look of a man did not make her feel uncomfortable. In fact, the opposite was probably true – having him look at her forced her to realize that he was looking at her in a way few men had ever been able to in the past.

The usual looks she received were of the lecherous type – in the traffic, at the office, at the gym, at the shops. Men leered at her in ways that left very little to the imagination, and more often than not, made her feel very uncomfortable.

Sure, it pleased her that she had the looks, and the body, to attract male attention wherever she went. But it also made her feel almost worthless as a woman at the same time. Most men clearly saw her as nothing more than sex object, and gave very little regard to the emotion that was at her true center.

She’d used the ability to tease, flirt and turn men into putty on command in the past. Invariably it had led to unsatisfying sex, and a feeling of emptiness and sadness. Men were generally so easy for her to lead, to control, to get what she wanted out of them.

She felt nothing as they fucked her. Not emotion, not passion, certainly not love.

Sex with them had been worthless, pointless. Just a means to a frequently unfulfilled, unsatisfactory end.

Recently she’d found that she could derive more sexual pleasure by herself, than having to go through the whole charade with a man who she was never truly interested in in the first place. The bookseller, by contrast, clearly was interested in her.

The look he’d been giving her held more than the usual lust in it. The lust was still there, but there was more to it. A deeper hunger, a longing that she sensed in his eyes in the brief moment that they locked onto hers before he turned away to take care of another of his customers.

While he did, she took the opportunity to look more closely at him. His thick, dark hair framed a face etched with lines around the eyes. Lines that spoke of both joy and deep sadness. It was the sort of face that had seen things and lived things that were clearly hard, but that he had managed to overcome and find peace with. That was the word she was searching for – it was a “peaceful” face.

An inner warmth spread over his cheeks as she watched him, and she knew that the thoughts he had just been having as he had stared at her were not all entirely pure.

She imagined being kissed by him. Imagined his lips against hers, her tongue forcing its’ way into his mouth as his arms encircled her and he pulled her close to his broad chest. And the thoughts made her smile in turn.

As she returned attention to her book, she felt a warm flush run over her body, and seemingly settle itself around her groin.

It took a moment or two for her to regain her cool composure. And not before she twitched in the chair, spreading her legs slightly to allow a little air to move under the hem of the short denim dress she was wearing that day. The movement brought a little cooling to her hot thighs. Only then could she manage to find her place in the book and pretend to continue reading.

~~~~~

HIS STORY 2

The rest of the afternoon and early evening passed uneventfully in the store. Something he was not entirely unhappy about. Sure, he could have done with the customers, but that particular afternoon all he wanted canlı kaçak iddaa was to be alone with her. And for stretches of time during those short hours, he was.

Ever since she’d noticed him watching her earlier he had realized that she was having a few choice thoughts of her own on the subject. All he wanted to do was turn the imagined into the real. He’d seen her part her legs slightly earlier. Seen her fidget in her chair. Had known that her thoughts had turned, if even for a moment, to things other than the plot of the novel in front of her. And the knowledge had thrilled him.

Still was thrilling him hours later as the sun settled itself for the night and the lights of the city began to glitter outside the store’s windows. Throughout the past few hours he’d been stealing glances at her, quietly watching her, the thrill of imagining what seeing her naked would be like voyeuristic in its’ force.

Then it was nearing closing time again. Too soon.

He stood at the shelves slowly returning books not purchased back to their respective places on the racks. He noticed her through a gap in the shelves slotting her bookmark into place and slowly closing her book. She looked around the empty shop and brief concern flickered over her face when she didn’t see anyone else there. As she swiveled slowly around the room, she caught him staring at her through the rows of books on the shelf.

And she smiled.

It was a smile that spoke not only of relief that she wasn’t alone, but also joy that she seemed to be alone with him. It was a smile that would stay engraved in his mind.

A smile of joy.

She stood and slowly walked over to the shelves in front of him. They were separated by only a row of books, and he could sense her warmth even from that distance. She had an unread book in her hand and slowly reached up to replace it in the upper shelf.

Quickly, he circled around the stack and came up behind her. Her small frame had her stretching high in an effort to slot the book back into its’ place. And he almost audibly gasped at the site of the short denim dress she wore rising high on the back of her legs, showing him the merest glimpse of the bottom of her sexy ass.

As he stared at her legs and butt, he failed to notice her turning to look over her shoulder at him.

“Perhaps you could help me?” she said, softly.

He snapped his head up in attention, knowing that she had caught him staring at her. Again.

“Of course… Sorry,” he stammered, realizing that she was still trying to reach the topmost shelf.

He also realized that she had done nothing to stop him enjoying the view of her firm butt and strong legs in their high heels.

He stepped closer behind her and easily reached up to take the book from her hand. As he did, she sank down from her toes, and leaned her back against him as he slotted the book back into place. His arm stayed above her as he held onto the edge of the shelf and he relished the feeling of her tight body pressed against his.

She seemed to be lingering in the position, still pressing against him, and he could feel the warmth of her body through the thin fabric that separated them.

Then she slowly turned to face him, our bodies still pressed tightly together in the confined space. Her heels gave her extra height that brought her butt to the same level as his groin, and he couldn’t help feeling that as she turned around. She made a point of pressing first her sexy ass, then her hips and then slowly, her groin, against him.

They were almost at eye level as she turned to face him, her breasts pushing against the fabric of her dress and firmly against his chest at that point. He looked into her eyes, and almost drowned in them. They were deep pools of dark brown, and they sparkled at that moment. Sparkled and shone with humor, with passion, with lust, with desire.

He leaned forward slightly, feeling like a matinee movie idol in one of those cliched scenes that goes into soft focus as the screen couple kiss for the first time. He wanted to kiss her then. Kiss her deeply, wrap her into his arms and kiss her forever.

That’s when she smirked at him, and ducked under his arm and away, leaving him staring at the row of book spines on the shelf where moments ago she had been standing.

Still leaning against the shelf, now more for support than anything else, He turned to follow her as she gathered the book she had yet to finish and her car keys from the table before heading towards the door. She turned back to him, the smile on her face now openly teasing him, to say a quick “good bye, see you soon again,” and then she was gone.

He collapsed against the shelf in frustration as he listened to the sound of her heels echoing across the courtyard outside of the store and heading towards the quiet parking lot.

He stayed like that for minutes after he heard a car starting and then the sound of it driving off. Eventually, he dragged himself somewhat dejectedly canlı kaçak bahis over to the door, flicked the latch to engage the lock and flipped the “Closed” sign to face outside.

Flipping the stores’ light switches off as he went, he stopped at her table to clear the last signs of her presence. With only two small lamps lit in the corners of the store, he almost missed the small handbag on the floor alongside the chair that she had been sitting in.

Picking it up in one hand, with the cup and saucer in the other, he headed to the back of the store where the private door led through to a small kitchenette on the one side, and his tiny office on the other. Leaving the crockery on the dishwasher for the morning staff to deal with, he carried the handbag into his office and collapsed into the old swivel chair in front of the equally battered desk.

For a long while he stared at the bag on the desk, thinking about what it could tell him about her. Leaning over to open a drawer in the side of the desk, he pulled a bottle of Jack Daniels and the worn glass that lived with it out. Splashing a healthy measure into the glass, he sat back in the chair and slowly sipped the amber liquid.

The bourbon burned down his throat as he tried to find an excuse to open the bag and search through its’ contents.

~~~~~

HER STORY 3

She couldn’t believe it! How could she have been so stupid? Her bag had to be back at the bookstore. Had to be because that was the only place she had taken it. Now she was in her parking bay outside her apartment block without her front door keys. All her credit cards, cash and her mobile were in there too.

She silently cursed the fact that her mother had stressed to her to keep her house keys with her all the time, never leaving them in her car. “Your car is more likely to be stolen than your handbag,” she’d always said. A great theory, that sadly didn’t consider that she was more likely to lose her handbag than her car.

She looked at the clock on the dashboard. It was almost 1 am. She briefly considered waking the building supervisor and having him let her in with his pass key. But when she recalled that he was out of town visiting family for a week — she remembered seeing the note on the board in the buildings’ lobby alongside the post boxes — she slowly realized that she had little other choice.

She’d have to return to the bookstore and hope that the cute bookseller was still there. Hope strongly, else she’d be sleeping in her car tonight.

Pulling from her parking spot in a hurry, she headed back the way she had just come. Driving quickly, she reconsidered the earlier question to herself. She wasn’t a stupid woman, was always very careful of her belongings, always aware of her situation and the environments that she found herself in. Yet tonight, she’d left her most important possession under a table in a bookstore. She could even picture it there, leaning against the table leg in the same spot she always placed it.

It dawned on her that perhaps he was the reason she had left it. She could still picture looking into his eyes as she had turned from the shelf. Could still feel the presence of his body so close to hers. Could still sense his desire. His need to kiss her. She imagined what it would have been like to let him kiss her at that moment.

God knows she had wanted him to.

So why had she run from the opportunity like she had?

Easy enough to figure that out as well, she realized. She was scared. Scared of getting involved again. Scared of getting hurt again.

But even that didn’t change the fact that she had wanted to feel his lips against hers, had wanted to feel the warmth of his body pressed against her, had wanted to feel protected in the embrace of his arms. Didn’t change the fact that she still wanted that. Wanted it very much.

She smiled to herself as she drove remembering the look of anguish on his face as she had ducked away from him and out of the store. He’d wanted her as much, that much was obvious to her. The thought sent a small tingle of pleasure down her spine. She loved the thought of him thinking about her in that way, wanting her in that way. And unlike with other men, this time she didn’t even have to flirt with him or even play the cock teasing minx with him at all. She just had to go to his store regularly.

Slowing for a red light against her, she silently wondered why he had never said or done anything before tonight. He must have been thinking about her for awhile, surely? And yet, in all the time she had been visiting his store, she’d never got the faintest suggestion of his thoughts.

“Must be,” she thought, “because I’ve been keeping myself so aloof towards men recently. Serves me right I guess.”

As she eventually swung her car into the deserted lot that ran along the length of the small mall in which the bookstore was her heart sank. There was no other vehicle in sight. The store owner must have left already. Every store on the strip was dark, including the bookstore in front of which she stopped her car. She pounded the steering wheel in frustration at her stupidity, as she turned the ignition off and then slumped back in her seat, closing her eyes tightly.

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