Camille sat on the bed, in his bedroom, and let her feet dangled over the side of it. Her eyes tracked the progress of her feet, back and forth, back and forth. Feeling in awe at being in his bed room, she tried to keep herself from appearing fazed, certain that he would walk back from the kitchen and see that discomfort on her face. And although she didn’t completely understand why that would be bad, she felt in herself a fear growing inside her chest, swelling like a hiccup that would pop up from her throat and scare him away. So she watched her feet dangled off the edge of the bed.
Without meaning to, her eyes caught the edge of a paperback spine, lined with cracks. She couldn’t help herself from noticing the title of the book. Then the door opened and her neck snapped upwards to see him enter, holding two beers in his palms.
“Here.” He said extending one to her. He bit his lip, worried that maybe she didn’t like beer, maybe she was one of those girls who only liked white wine or mixed drinks and he tried to think if he had any of either of those and what he could offer instead if she refused the bottle. Instead she reached out hand and touched his before taking it from his hand. He smiled, relieved, and took a deep gulp while watching her do the same.
The bubbles of the freshly opened beer released the hiccup of fear in her chest, pressed on it until it popped, painlessly. Camille reached out to John’s arm and felt the soft thick hair under her fingertips and wrapped her hand around in the direction of the hair.
“I didn’t know you liked that author.” Camille said as she pointed to the book she had seen. He looked over at where she was pointing with her beer hand.
“Yeah, I’ve probably read it like four or five times. It’s one of my favorites.”
“Oh, no!” He smirked. “You’re not getting your hands on that. I know you’re book thief.”
They giggled together and she stepped closer, her back to the bookshelf.
“Really? Come on.” She tried to smile, but felt stupid and girly, and not like herself, so she stopped. Instead she took another step closer and stopped, too nervous to look up at him. One hand was still wrapped around one of his arms and she placed the other on his chest with just her fingertips and let them settle there as gently as possible.
“It’s specail.” He whispered.
He almost couldn’t feel her touch, it was so light, almost like a bug landing on his shirt. The sight of her hand brought more feeling than the actual contact and his other arm rose to touch her shoulder, trying to be almost a light, but failing.
He leaned over her, hoping to get her to look up and almost like that she did. But as he leaned down to kiss her he could see one hand drifting back, twisting towards the bookshelf.
“Ugh! Almost had it!” Camille laughed.
John smiled, bringing his beer hand around behind her back, he leaned over her, almost dipping her back while reaching his free hand to the book shelf. He saw her look up, expecting him to kiss her but instead he let the cold beer bottle, still sweating, press up against her back.
She squeaked delightfully, pressing her hips up against him for a split second as she tried to dance away from the icy touch of the bottle before shifting away from him.
“Cold.” She said laughing. With his other hand, however, he had already grabbed the book out from behind her and he extended it to her with a smug satisfaction. Camille grew quiet.
“It was my mother’s.” John whispered.
Her extended hand paused in its reach.
“No, I want you to take it, really. Just to borrow,” he smiled, “you have to bring it back.”
“Are you sure. I don’t want to take it if you’re not sure.”
“I’m sure.” John stepped forward and placed it between them, in her hands.
Her hand wrapped around the book, feeling the old, crumbly paper and the gritty sensation of used paperbacks with years of dust built up within the pages before feeling the soft sheets on the back of her legs.