April was flipping through a book, reading a few lines here and there. She kept turning the book, looking at the price written on the back, biting her lower lip. She couldn’t make up her mind at all. She did some mental math, calculating her finances, than put the book down, deciding it was too expensive. A hand that came from somewhere in the back picked up the book again and read the title.
“Pascal Bruckner – The Paradox of Love?!”
She turned around and felt her heart pounding in her chest. There he was, eyebrows raised, questioning her about her choice of literature, looking more ravishing than ever, in jeans, a white shirt with a blue tie and a dark blue blazer with the sleeves pulled up by his elbows.
“It‟s an internationally acclaimed book. And it‟s too expensive for me. But what are you doing at a book fair? Are you lost?” she smirked, batting her eyelashes.
“Ha, ha, funny. No, I‟m looking for something on TV journalism; I slept through that course in college and I can‟t seem to find any literature I might have from then. And this book‟s like…22,99. What did you do, spent all your money on shoes?”
“No”, April frowned and crossed her arms. “I just have some extra spendings this month. I‟ll get it in December, everything‟s cheaper at Christmas. Or I‟ll find some Black Friday deal, whatever.”
“Maybe it‟ll be gone until then…”
“I think I‟ll take my chances.”
But while April was trying to emphasize that she has time to get it, he had already taken out his wallet and was buying her the book.
“Wait, what are you doing?” she tried to stop him.
“Why take chances when you can have it when you want it?” Were they still talking about the book? He handed her the book smiling, but she didn‟t take it right away. “Take it, really. It‟s the least I can do. You don‟t have anything from me, I didn‟t even get you a birthday present…”
“We weren‟t really…best buddies on my birthday”, she noted.
“Well, yeah”, he went on, “but you bought me a present for my birthday and we‟d only been dating for two weeks or so…so…I have to get you something…Think of it as a belated birthday gift….six months later…” he grinned.
She was still just looking at him, trying to understand whether he was acting upon a hidden agenda or something, but she couldn‟t sense anything there.
“Fine, don‟t take it”, he said as he started pretending to be reading the summary on the back. “This should be a nice bed time reading…”
April snapped and took it from his hand with a sudden move. “I didn‟t say I don‟t want it! Thank you, it‟s very nice what you just did and I appreciate it.”
“See? Now that‟s much better!” he laughed.
The tension between them was starting to feel a bit too much to handle. April was the first to talk, breaking their nervous laughs.
“So….I‟m going to….” April pointed towards the exit.
“Yeah, I should, too”.
“Ok, well…thanks for the book.”
“And….see you around…” He turned around to leave, but she closed her eyes, bit her lip and tried to stop him. This was insane; no one said they couldn‟t be friends…
“Would you like to…do you have to be somewhere?”
“I have to be at work in a couple of hours…”
“You‟re working on Saturdays now?”
“Yeah, um…no, a colleague needed a shift change….and I kinda got bored of playing basketball every Saturday…”
She smiled and nodded. He changed his habits. That was something she didn‟t expect. Maybe what-s-her-name…Amanda, had something to do with it?
“I was thinking…I wanted to get something to eat and…maybe I could buy you lunch…as a thank you..for…for the book…”
He looked at her for a few seconds, trying to decide whether accepting her invitation was a good idea or not. He thought to himself that saying „yes‟ would probably be one of the worst ideas he‟s ever had.
“Fine. But I‟m paying”.