The bells over my head rang lightly as I stepped into the store. Dust covered books lined every wall, and there was a small light hanging from the center of the ceiling. Strings of lights had been strung around the edges of each shelf, illuminating each title. I smiled at the small brunette standing behind an over-sized plush chair. She waved before turning around, continuing her strenuous work of stacking large books on a very high shelf. I watched her for a bit before deciding to look around.
I started with the shelf on the far left wall, slowly working my way through all the titles. Most of the books had obviously had previous loving, but I didn't mind. In fact, I loved the worn out bindings and faded letters. It added to the charm.
I kept browsing through the titles until I was startled out of my trance by a loud thump. I spun around and saw first the apologetic look of the brunette, and then a large book on the ground by my feet. I hadn't even realized how close I'd moved to the plush chair, but picked up the book nonetheless. She started to reach for it, thanking me, but I pulled it away.
"Here, let me put it away. The shelf is a little out of your reach," I smiled and she blushed and smiled back. As she stepped aside, I pushed it gently on the stack of others. I steadied the stack before glancing over the shelf one more time. About two shelves down from the stack, I noticed a small, golden-bound book. Without turning to the brunette, I quickly walked over and snatched it up.
"Is this new?" I asked, referring to the unworn binding.
"Yeah, it is actually. A regular customer brought it in a few weeks ago. Said it's from the 30's, but I seriously doubt it. The binding is too new and ornate." She replied, rubbing her slender fingers over the gold design.
"Where did he get it from?" I inquired.
"Some old house in town. He said he was moving out boxes because there was someone moving in from out of town. Not that I would know why anyone would move here." She laughed before looking me over. Her laughter stopped abruptly as I watched the gears turn in her head. She blushed even harder and looked down.
"I'm going to guess you're the fellow from out of town?" She said softly, her warm southern accent enchanting me.
"Why yes I am. Name's Jasper Crawlings. I'm from New York." I took her hand gently and shook it.
"So why exactly did you move here? Not trying to be nosy, just curious." She cocked her head slightly to the left.
"I never did like the hustle and bustle of the city. I figured a quite little town in southern Georgia was just my style, and so far, it is." I glanced around the bookstore once more.
"Well it is certainly nice to see you here. I'm Charlotte Dane. I own this bookstore and a small cottage down by the river. Nothing too fancy, but I don't need fancy." She smiled warmly again before remembering what I had originally came here for. "Here, let me ring you up."
She brought me towards a small counter and I handed her the book.
"So what was this beautiful thing doing hidden in the corner?" I asked as she punched some numbers into a cash register.
"The man that brought it in said it shouldn't be sold, but he just wanted to get rid of it. I think he believes in some sort of supernatural mumbo jumbo and whatnot, so I said to heck with it. I mean, profit is profit." She rambled on.
"Supernatural, you say? What exactly is this?" I flipped open the front page.
"A diary, he said. Why you would buy it without even knowing what it was, I don't understand." She said before finishing the punching.
"How much?" I asked, ignoring her comment and pulling out my wallet.
"Twelve." She said simply. I fished out the money and handed it to her, before picking up the book and tucking it in my small brown bag.
"Well thank you for the book. You better believe I'll be back in here, what with this plethora of books and such a beautiful owner." I winked and she blushed.
"We should have tea sometime, you know, as a sort of welcome to town sort of thing." She said shyly. I found her blush and nervousness endearing and immediately agreed.
"I'll see you around Charlotte. Very soon, I might add." I smiled and waved as I walked towards the door.
"See you Jasper. Enjoy the book!"