Chapter 2 - Josh
First, all I see is black. Then, stars. Then, her.
She has dark, curly, shoulder length hair that hides her face. As we both straighten up, I can see she is wearing loose jeans and a big grey sweater, even though it's 90 degrees outside. Hiding clothes, if I've ever seen them. My little sister Eliza would agree.
I stand there awkwardly before I realize it's my turn to say something.
"Christopher Columbus?" I ask, saying the first thing that pops into my mind. The girl looks up.
Oh, god. She's insanely pretty. I feel my face burn.
"Um… right," she says. "It's stupid. Really stupid, and kind of embarrassing.” She takes a breath and shrugs. “It’s from Little Women. Jo says it sometimes. It’s a synonym for either 'oh my gosh' or 'wow,' I think. I started saying it ironically, but now it comes out on its own.”
Wow, that’s cute. “At least it’s something good,” I say. “My friend Amanda says ‘let’s get this bread’ way more than any human being ever should.” I half grin, half cringe.
“I can guarantee you that my friend says that more than yours,” the girl says, turning towards the bookshelf.
“Christopher Columbus, really?!” I widen my eyes. “I don’t think that’s possible!”
“Please no.” The girl crinkles her nose.
“Just wanted to see what it was like,” I say, scanning the bottom shelf. Amanda quotes vines like nobody’s business, and I devour YA romance novels in single sittings.
We are very different, but we make it work.
“Was this the book you were trying to get before we almost killed each other?” I ask, holding up something called Catching Jordan. The same book I tried to grab, coincidentally.
“Yes, actually,” the girl says. “Um, are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. And it was my fault too, you know. Here.” I hold out the book.
She doesn’t take it. “You were reaching for it too, weren’t you?”
“Eh. Any of these will do,” I say, gesturing toward the shelf in front of us. Seriously. I don’t even know what this book is about yet. We smashed heads before I could even pick it up.
“I’ve actually already read the book,” she says. “I was going to reread it, but I don’t have to.”
“Really?” I say, raising one eyebrow. Well, trying to raise one eyebrow. I’ve never really mastered it.
“Yes, really,” the girl says. Someone coughs nearby and she flinches, looking down. “It was pretty good,” she says softly. “If slightly confusing. If they got rid of the football and replaced it with orchestra or something, it could go on my list of favorites.”
“Football?” I say, turning the book over. Unfortunately, the synopsis is covered by the library sticker. “Ew. No thanks. Please take the book.”
Someone coughs again, and the girl hunches over, crossing her arms over her chest.
“At least tell me what it’s about,” I say. “The sticker is covering the back.”
The girl sighs and starts talking. At first, she is stiff, her arms crossed and her eyes flat. Soon she seems to warm up, talking more animatedly, uncrossing her arms and moving her hands. Then, her eyes light up as she describes what must be her favorite part. She’s grinning and wow, this stranger is the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.
I don’t hear a word of her explanation.
Someone coughs one more time and the girl inhales sharply. “I have to go.”
Her footsteps are impossibly quiet as she walks away.
For once, I leave the library with only one book.