Bibliophile Dreams

*Sequel to Bookworm Love. Cover by Sasha M. Myron* Lindsay Marshall fell in love with Sam Hamilton - too bad he's a fictional character. There's no way they could be together. Right? ©2015

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1. Bibliophile Dreams

“Every time I look at you, it’s like the first time.”

—Taylor Swift, “Mine”  

Some people fantasize about real people, being a relationship with them, becoming a part of them. And that’s all perfectly normal. After all, it’s possible that you could be in a relationship with that person.

But for me, I fantasized about a fictional character. One particular, in fact, whose name would always make me smile.

Sam Hamilton. 

I got to know Sam’s character through The Not-So-Glamorous Life of Sam Hamilton, a humorous book chronicling his many misadventures. Through it all, though, he manages to see the bright side of things, which makes his suffering more bearable for the readers.

I had purchased the book yesterday—and I was on the final chapter today. Normally I didn’t “binge read” (if there ever was such word); despite the bookworm that I am, I do have a life. But this book was so good, so well written, that I couldn’t just put it down. Every time I did, I wondered what was going on with Sam.

There were only two pages left. Just thinking about that made me feel a strange mix of disappointment and anticipation, that one you get when you’re glad you’re finishing something but will miss the ride when it’s over. I hesitated for a few seconds before finally reading:

“I don’t understand,” Kayla said. “You lost everything: your job, your friends, your status. How can you possibly be happy?”

Sam looked at her, a rueful sort of smile on his face. It wasn’t patronizing, though; he had just gone through so much that it had almost taken a humorous turn.“None of that matters, Kayla,” he finally said. “Can’t you see that?”

“How can you say that?” Kayla exclaimed. “Your life was perfect—and now it’s ruined!”

I bit my lip. Everything Kayla was saying hit home with me. How was Sam so happy all this time?

Realizing that I had reached the end of the page, I turned it tentatively. There was only one page left and a few paragraphs:

“I didn’t lose everything,” Sam said. He looked directly at Kayla, but his mind was thinking about a million different things at once. “Having everything that happened to me made me realize what’s really important in life. And it’s not wealth; it’s not a fancy job. It’s not so-called friends, or anything of that stuff.”

There it was; the last paragraph. I held my breath.

“What matters is that we appreciate everything we have in life. The world’s greatest riches and fame could never replace my wonderful relationships with people, with you.That’s what life really is about: people who you care for deeply, and people who care for you.”

For a moment I just sat there, contemplating his words. It was so deep. Had I actually just read that?

Finally, I shut the book. Though I hated to admit it to myself, I felt like I had just lost a friend. “Oh, Sam,” I sighed stupidly. I sounded like some lovesick teenager, but worse—my crush was on someone who didn’t even exist! 

But how could I not like Sam? He was just so…amazing. Everything about him. He made mistakes like everyone else, yet he kept trying to do the right thing. He had a good heart. He was imperfectly perfect.

I hugged the book in my hands. “I wish you were real,” I whispered. I know it was silly, but I couldn’t contain my emotions anymore. “If you were real… “I paused. Was I actually going to say these words aloud? 

Why shouldn’t you? a voice in my head said. You’re alone, after all.

I sighed, and finally let it out: “I would love you.”

It all happened so fast. One minute I was sitting there, cradling the book in my hands like it was some precious child, and then the next minute it started glowing. Actually glowing, like Christmas lights. Gasping, I dropped the book out of my hands. What was happening?

The book suddenly opened up, the light burning even brighter now. The pages started flipping rapidly, making a rushing sound like wind was blowing over it, and a burst of the brightest light I had ever seen laminated the room. 

I turned away, shielding my eyes with my arm. What is going on? Was I dreaming? Was any of this real?

The light only lasted for a few seconds before disappearing completely. Once I was sure it was gone, I turned back around to look at where the book had fallen. What I saw made me gasp.

Standing right next to the book, fully human, fully real, was Sam Hamilton. 

I couldn’t move. It was like my mind was frozen. I had seen what happened, but I couldn’t comprehend it.

He smiled at me. “Hello,” he said courteously. 

I didn’t move. “You’re Sam Hamilton” I breathed. Maybe saying the words aloud would help confirm that this was happening to me. 

It didn’t.

“Yes, I am,” Sam smirked. “And you’re Lindsay Marshall, right?”

My mouth fell open. “How…how do you know my name?”

“I heard your friends saying it whenever you carried my book around,” he said. “I hope I got your name right—I’m terrible with names.”

Under normal circumstances, I would have laughed, but, well, these obviously weren’t normal circumstances. Sam was looking confused at me, though, probably wondering why I was just staring there like an idiot. 

“Did I say something wrong?” he asked.

”How are you here?" I blurted out. “I mean, one minute you were in a book, and before I knew it—POOF—you’re here!” Words started racing out of my mouth. “Why aren’t you surprised that you’re here? You’re a fictional character, for crying out loud! You don’t even live here! How are you—”

Sam put a hand up to stop me. “I knew this would happen,” he said, still wearing that mysterious smile. 

“What?” I blinked. “How?”

The smile never left his lips. “Don’t you understand, Lindsay? Don’t you remember what you said right before I came here?”

“Of course I remember,” I said, feeling a little perturbed. Why was he acting like I should have known something. “I said if you were real, I’d love you. But you’re not real,” I added. “I mean, you can’t be. It’s just not possible.”

“It is possible, Lindsay,” Sam insisted. “Don’t you see? We were meant to be together.”

“But how is this even possible?” I exclaimed. Now that the novelty of shock was wearing off, I was getting frustrated. “Characters don’t just come to life from a book, Sam! That doesn’t make any sense! How are you not surprised by any of this?” I finally shrieked.

“I am surprised by all of this,” Sam admitted, sounding a bit taken aback. “But I’ve been in situations before where things don’t make sense, if you recall from my book.” He smiled at me, but I didn’t return it. “I don’t question those things, Lindsay. I spent an entire book questioning those things, and look where it got me. It didn’t help my situation at all.”

“But it doesn’t make any sense,” I said, knowing my argument was weak.

“Who gives a crap if it makes sense?” Sam said, finally sounding a bit agitated. “The point is, some things in life you just can’t understand. But when something is truly beautiful, does not understanding it take the beauty away from it? Does even understanding it add to the beauty?”

Wow, this guy was deep. “I…you make a good point,” I admitted. “But we don’t know anything about this. What if it doesn’t last? What if you’re only here for a month, a week, a day? Then what?”

“Then what?” Sam stepped closer to me, which wasn’t helping me slow my heartbeat at all. “Then it will happen. But why worry about the future?” He gestured towards the windows. “Do you ever wonder how long the flowers will last outside? How long the trees will be here?”

“Okay, not you’re getting cheesy,” I said, half-joking.
Sam allowed himself to smile again. “The point is, nothing in life is guaranteed to last forever. People don’t live forever; nothing does, nothing except for this one thing.”

I looked up at him. “What?”

Sam grinned widely now. “Love.”

And before I could say anything else, he pressed his lips against mine.

I should have stopped him. I should have protested against his whole Destiny-Brought-Us-Together crap—god, it was so cliche—but I didn’t. Even my logical, no-nonsense mind couldn’t argue with his statement.

Nothing in life is really guaranteed, especially when it came to falling in love. Meeting the right person was tricky business. What if they didn’t love you back? What if you didn’t love them back? What if they died before you got a chance to be together?

But I couldn’t spend the rest of my life worrying about that. I had fallen in love with Sam, and there he was, right in front of me, kissing me, like I had imagined so many times before. Was I going to turn away from him because I didn’t think this would last? Would I just let go of the opportunity to fall in love, to really, truly, fall in love, because I was afraid it wasn’t going to last?

In that moment, I decided I wasn’t. I wasn’t going to worry about the future. I didn’t know anything about the future. I only knew about now, and what I wanted.

Sam leaned back, looking at me. “Do you love me, Lindsay?” he asked.

I smiled. In response, I kissed him back.

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