Joanna was browsing through the astronomy section, oblivious to the pair of blue eyes following her every move, only to look away whenever she was on the verge of discovering the owner. She chose two books, the ones that seemed more appealing to her, and took them to the cashier. Taking out her wallet to pay for the books, she didn’t even notice the man behind the counter, looking at her nervously, the same blue eyes that were following her before.
He scanned the books and removed the price tag.
“That would be…45,69 $”, he said, as he looked for a wrapping bag.
Joanna gave him the money, offering him just a silent smile, looking at him, but not really seeing him. He opened his mouth to say something a few time, but decided against it. He rubbed his palms together, looking down, as she started for the door.
“Thank you for…”, he found himself almost yelling after her, which made Joanna look back, startled. “For…buying…real books and not…getting a Kindle…yet…!”
Joanna watched him fudging with words, than let out a laugh. “Thanks…I guess.”
She went out the door, the spring air invading her whole body. She reached for her sunglasses and took a few more steps, before stopping, trying to look directly into the sunlight. She felt dizzy for a second, as the light was making her oblivious to the world around her. Her mind started wandering to those lazy, summer days, days spent entirely by a pool. Would she ever get that again? How about winter? Will there ever be any snow again?
“Hi! Listen, I’m really sorry…”
“Oh, man!” she jumped back to reality, taking off her sunglasses and dropping her paper bag with the books.
He quickly got her books bag and apologized again. After the initial shock of being pulled out of her reverie so sudden, Joanna recognized the cause of her distress as the young man from the book shop.
“Here”, he handed her the books again. “I’m…I’m Sean…I just…I wasn’t following you…or…um…well, I was…”
Joanna resorted to just looking at him, eyebrows raised, trying to understand where he was going with all of this.
“I meant…Hi! I was just trying to apologize for earlier…I kept trying to figure out what to say to you for…for a while now and I thought…complimenting you about not owning an e-Reader…”
“I do have an e-Reader”, Joanna smiled, full knowing where he was going with all this.
Sean closed his eyes and shook his head, amused. “I see you at the bookstore…a lot. And then I see you having lunch at the small restaurant by the corner…”
“Yeah, I work around this place….”, she offered, smiling in encouragement.
“And I kept wanting to talk to you, but you’re always so intimidating…”
Joanna decided to take everything playfully. “Oh, really? Why? Because I work in a corporation?”
“You work in a corporation? No, because there seems to be so much going on in your mind, but you just try your best not to show anything.”
Her smile faded as she started feeling less and less sure of herself. Who did this guy think he is? Was he patronizing her?
“Anyway…I just…I’d like to have dinner with you…or lunch, if you prefer.”
“What changed your mind?”
“What?”, he shook his head, not really understanding her question.
“You say you keep seeing me here, but you never had the nerve to do anything about it until now. What’s changed?”
“Well, a friend of mine bet me that I’ll ask you out when hell will freeze over so I guess something like that did happen”.