The Book of Gateways (Installment 1)

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Chapter 1

The handsome prince leapt from his white steed ran towards his princess hugged her and spun in circles for what seemed like forever and then gently let her down only to bring her perfect pink lips close to his, just within touching distance then-

“Cesar! Cesar where are you? What do I pay you for?? Get your butt down here now! I have another cart for you! Cesar!” The man’s Russian accent reaches me from downstairs.

            “Why is it that every time I am about to finish a perfectly good back, that man calls me?” I huffed closing my little blue book and put it gingerly on the nearby counter. “I’ll be back for you.” I point at it and start walking towards the stairs.

            “Ah finally she has emerged from her own little world! Cesar, why do you work here?” The man scratched his balding gray hair.

            “To spend every waking moment with you of course!” I wink at him and he chuckles.

            “I don’t know what I am going to do with you my dear.” He says as he sits down at his desk.

            “Well Miloslav, I suppose you’ll just have to let me continue working here! After all I love books, you love book, and you need me.” I say starting to wheel the cart away.

            “Ah that is what you think, but I can do just fine. But while you’re here I may as well enjoy your company.” Miloslav chuckles as he returns to his work. I walk the cart over a few paces and turn down a small little dusty brown aisle. My eyes started running over the decimal system trying to find the returned books’ resting place.

            “I didn’t even know people still used these old almanacs.” I call over my shoulder.

            “You’d be surprised actually.” Miloslav’s uninterested voice drifts over the book cases. He’s such a conversationalist I think to myself and begin putting the books back. Milo’s Book Shop, is a moderately stocked book store that most people treat like a library… or at least I do. From oldest books and almanacs to the newest novel, science book, or any other kind of thing you can imagine. In fact I’ve always admired Milo for his ability to find the oldest and newest thing known to man. Especially for little old Oakland, Maryland. I know, I know what is a Russian doing in Maryland? I have no idea, but by far Milo is the best at what he does. There has yet to be one book that I’ve disliked that Milo has suggested.

            “Excuse me; do you guys have a section on ancient history?” A head poked down my aisle.

            “Um ya… just give me two seconds ok?” I say placing the book on the shelf that I had in my hand. The man who poked his head in had brown faux hawked hair, ears pierced, and tattoos down his right arm. Multi-colored flowers, swirls, and a few other things collaged together on his bicep. Hardly the person I would think to be interested in ancient history but I delay no longer and pass by the young guy and walk a few aisles over and crouch half way down the aisle.

            “Here’s all the ancient history we have in right now.” I point to the bottom row I’m crouched by. He crouches too.

            “Is there more books missing?” He says pointing to the empty section.

            “Ya…I kind of… have them right now.” I laugh slightly embarrassed and tuck a strand of my brown hair behind my ear.

            “Wow, so you have like what? Three or four books right now?”

            “Five actually, one that’s not yet been placed on the shelves. If you want there are a few tables you can take books to and read them there.” I said pointing around the corner.

“Well that’s very nice of you, but if you could tell me when you’re done with those books I’d be really interested to read them.” He smiles.

“Are you asking me for my number?” I cock my head waiting for an answer. “That’s a little sudden don’t you think? I just met you and you already want to give me your number?” He laughs. I turn red, a really really bright red and stand up.

“Well if that’s all you need I’m gunna go back to stocking the shelves.” I turn abruptly and try to scurry out of sight.

“Maybe I’ll see you around though?” He calls after me. What does he think this is a dating service? I don’t answer and continue to walk briskly back towards the location of my book cart leaving Mr. What’s-his-face in his ancient history world. So bizarre. The rest of the day goes by like any other and I stock tons of shelves, ring a few people out, and finally pick my book back up to finish it. I sit down quietly in a comfy little brown love seat on the second floor and pick up where I left off.

The handsome prince leapt from his white steed ran towards his princess hugged her and spun in circles for what seemed like forever and then gently let her down only to bring her perfect pink lips close to his, just within touching distance then- “So you read novels too?” I hear a familiar voice and then the sound of someone plopping down on the chair across from me. The devil is a liar! Who in the world has to interrupt me AGAIN? I look up only to see Mr. What’s-his-face again and he’s smiling at me holding a couple different books in his hands.

“Is there something I can help you with sir?” I try to not look annoyed.

“Nothing at all! You said there were places to read, so I’m reading.” He smiles making himself comfortable in his bright red chair. It’s like his chair personifies his personality…until now that chair was fine but now it annoys me.

“Um, ok, enjoy… I guess.” I say and poke my nose back into my book. A little time passes by but I still feel uncomfortable even though he hasn’t said a word so I peek over my book to see him looking at me. Not in a creepy way but I still feel like I’m in a Petri dish being dissected and prodded by a group of scientists. He smiles. It’s so irritating.

“I’m a teacher over at the community college. I just moved here from California.” He starts a conversation.

“That’s cool… You moved here from Cali? You must be insane.” He laughs.

“I got tired of the big city feeling. I just needed a cool down session. I got an offer from here and so I took it. I like it here so far. I’m Riley Pierson by the way. But you can call me Piers.” He sticks his hand out to shake. I hesitantly shake his hand. It’s warm and a bit rough. Maybe he’s a mechanic? So a pierced, tattooed, college professor, mechanic, who likes ancient history, and is interested in me? What a weirdy. I release my hand and sit back into my love seat.

“So what’s your name?” He asks clearly no longer interested in his books. I sigh, it looks like I won’t be finishing my book today.

“I’m Jazleen. You can call me Jazleen.” I smile trying my best to seem sincere. In reality people call me by my last name “Cesar” or they call me “Jazz”. But he’s a stranger and not someone at this point that I’m too sure of.

“Cesar! I’m going to lunch can you watch the desk for me?!” I hear Miloslav call from his desk. You would never know this was a little library by how much we shout here.

“Ya sure Milo!” I yell back “Excuse me I have to attend to that.” I say nodding towards the stairs and stand to gather my stuff.

“Alright, see you around Jazleen.” He says and smiles again. He does have a really nice smile I think and quickly shake the idea out of my head

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