8. Chapter Eight
My mom was livid when I told her I wasn’t going back to school. She was so mad that she threatened to come pick me up and stop paying for my apartment. But then I told her I didn’t need her to pay for it because I was getting an advance from the publishing company for my book. The truth was that it was for food and supplies and not rent, but she didn’t know that. And as soon as I told her I was writing a book, she did a flip and wanted to throw me a party.
Jaime told me I needed to celebrate. So she came over to my house to dye my hair pink for me while we watched the superhero movies that she liked. Since my hair had grown out and was still wildly curly, I was kind of concerned about how it would turn out. But it looked radical. Like cotton candy. I loved it. So of course, my mother hated it. But that was one of the joys of not having to live at home anymore. Even though she was still paying for my apartment, I was free to make my hair look like cotton candy without requiring permission.
Coming up with recipes for my book was going to be the tricky part. I decided to hit the library for some research and ideas. But I wasn’t even sure if the library had cookbooks. Either way, I had to start somewhere. So I walked down the street to the local library and stepped over to a shelf where a guy was putting some books away.
“Excuse me?” I said. He turned to look at me. He had dark hair and dark eyes hidden behind his glasses.
“Yes?” he replied.
“Do you have cookbooks here?”
“Sure, yeah. Upstairs. I can show you if you want.”
“Yeah, that’d be perfect.”
He put down the book he was holding and led me to the staircase. He hopped up them expertly, and I tried to follow along without dying on the landing. Luckily, I was only slightly out of breath when we reached the top.
“What exactly are you looking for?” he asked as I followed him to the section.
“Um—I’m not sure. I’m doing research for my cookbook. I need to come up with a theme and get some ideas. Things that are modern and easy, I guess.” He nodded slowly.
“Well, the bookstore probably has newer books. Unfortunately, a lot of ours are super old. Like sixties and seventies old.”
“That’s okay too.” He showed me the section on cookbooks.
“This is pretty much it. Most of it is outdated.” I lifted a random book.
“So you’re writing a cookbook?” he asked. I nodded as I flipped through the pages.
“Yeah, I was going to culinary school. But I dropped out and got this deal instead. I’m kind of excited about it even though I don’t really know what I’m doing. Or if it’ll even work. I just know that I have to pull it off, or I’m going to owe them a lot of money.”
“Well, if you need a test subject, I’d be more than willing to help out.” I laughed and watched him walk back toward the stairs.
“Hey, wait,” I called after him. He turned around and looked at me again. “Um—this is probably going to sound weird, but I really could use someone to test recipes on. If you’re serious about that offer, I’d like to take you up on it.” He looked at me for a second before nodding.
“Cool. So can I call you?”
“Sure. Here. I have a card and everything.” He pulled it out of his pocket and handed it over. His name was Sean. He was a library technician. I didn’t know what that meant, but the card was kind of cool. I smiled and nodded.
“Thanks. I’m Piper, by the way.”
“Sean.” He reached out his hand so I shook it. “I don’t think I’ve seen you in here before.”
“No, this is my first time here actually.”
“Well, when you find what you want just come find me and I can set you up with a library card.”
“Okay, I’ll do that.” He gave me a gentle wave before disappearing back down the stairs. Then I smiled to myself when he was gone.