Library Girls

Rachel and Hannah both applied, and got, the job to work in the library over the summer. They've known each other, and are now to meet again - and work together. Summertime romance is in the air.

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1. Friday

She was napping when she got the call. She focused her eyes on the screen, the phone still playing some old tune she hadn’t bothered to change. The number wasn’t saved in her phone, and she considered hanging up in case it was another phone seller. Her thumb almost carelessly hit the green button and she cursed herself.

“Hi?” She stifled a yawn and tried to sit up.

“Is this Rachel?”

She didn’t recognise the woman’s voice on the other line. She sounded old. “Uhm, yes, that’s me.”

“I hope I’m not interrupting anything - I’m Karen, just calling from the library to say that you got the job. We need to go over some things - I just need to call the other girl that will be helping out, would friday work for you?”

“Uhm, yes, friday is fine.” She got up and started walking to the kitchen.

“Good! I will see you at 4pm?”

“Yes, I’ll be there.”

“Perfect. I look forward to meeting you then.”

Rachel opened a cabinet and took out a glass. “You too!”

They said their goodbyes and Rachel took a sip from her water. She scribbled the date into her calendar, sat down, and wrote her English essay. She had a job.

***

The air vent was broken. Michael, the guy who was always sitting at the desk had directed Rachel to the librarian’s office, a small square with one large window letting in uncontrolled amounts of sunlight. Karen, the head librarian, stepped in with a jug of water.

“Sorry to keep you waiting, I was just getting some water. If you would just place the glasses on the table.” The last bit was pointed at a girl walking behind her. The jug made a dull sound when Karen placed it in front of Rachel. She had been zoning out, her gaze fixed at the bird outside, but the noise made her look up. Karen sat down, and she could hear the glasses being placed on her left.

“Rachel, this is Hannah, Hannah-”  

Rachel looked at the girl at the mention of her name. Surely it couldn’t be. And yet - there she was. Hannah had already recognised her, her lips fixed in a polite smile.

“We know each other,” she said. She still wore her dad’s old watch, the spotted leather band wrapped neatly around her wrist.

“Oh is that so, where from?”

Rachel blinked and sat back in her chair, facing Karen. Hannah poured water into the glasses.

“Uhm... middle school.” She thought she saw Hannah smirk ever so slightly, but wasn’t sure if she had imagined it.

“Thanks, darling,” Karen said and took one of the glasses Hannah had poured. She looked at Rachel. “Well that’s just splendid, might make it a bit more fun, yes?”

Rachel shrugged. “It’ll be fun.”

Karen clasped her hands together. “Wonderful!” She took a sip of water. “Now let me tell you girls a bit about the job, and then we can take a tour of the library, right?”

They both nodded in unison.

***

Karen each gave them a printed out schedule and a map of the library, while Michael assured them, after she had left, that he’d mail them the schedule as well. Hannah tanked him, and they hurried outside to escape the heat of the library.

“So, uhm... “ Rachel stopped at the entrance, and Hannah followed her lead. They hadn’t spoken a word to each throughout the entire duration of the tour. Hannah looked at her, clearly waiting for her to speak. “I didn’t know you were still around.”

Hannah grinned. “Still around?”

Rachel shifted the weight from one foot to the other. “Yeah, I mean I haven’t exactly seen you in town or anything.”

“Big town. I haven’t avoided you on purpose,” she smiled.

“I - I didn’t mean to imply that,” Rachel grinned. “So you’re working all summer too?”

“Yup, we usually spend two weeks or so at my grandparents in Pakistan, but since we’re not this year, I might as well earn some money.”

“Sensible.”

“You know me,” she smirked, and Rachel had to laugh. A girl stepped out of the library, and they had to move away from the entrance.

Hannah looked around. “So, uhm.. I guess we’ll spend the summer together?”

“I guess so.”

She nodded, as if trying to puzzle pieces together in her head. Then she looked up. “You’re starting monday too, I presume?”

“Yeah,” Rachel again switched the weight of her body to the other foot. “I’ll see you then?”

Hannah smiled. “Yes.” Rachel noticed how she didn’t run her hand through her hair that often anymore. The sun highlighted all the nuances of brown, Rachel had never seen them anywhere but in Hannah’s hair. “So, monday.”

“Monday.” Rachel repeated.

Hannah walked towards the corner of the building, presumably to get her bike. Rachel walked toward the busstop.

***

“How was the library?” Rachel’s mum placed the pan on the kitchen table.

“Fine. We just got shown around and stuff.”

Her dad pushed Alex’s high chair closer to the table. “We?”

“Uhm yeah,” Rachel sat down. “We’re two working at the library. Do you, uhm, remember Hannah?”

Rachel’s mum's face lit up. “Hannah! Oh, are you working with her? That’s lovely.”

“Awkward to work with your ex though.”

“Henry!” Her mum shot her dad a disapproving glance. “I’m sure they’re both adult enough to handle it.”

Rachel shrugged. “We’re cool.” She handed her plate to her mother. “Besides, it’s just sorting books. It’s not like we’re gonna talk a lot.”

“Hmm..” Her mum gave her back her, now filled, plate. “How is she now? Still into literature, it seems.”

“Well, we didn’t really talk that much.” Her dad mouthed the words “awkward” from across the table and she rolled her eyes. “I’m sure she’s still into literature, it’s not like it’s been that long.”

“I don’t think you have to be into literature to work at the library. Haven’t you been reading the same book for months?”

Rachel stifled a grin and scoffed instead. “I will have it known that Ulysses is known for being hard to read, and refuse to be condemned for taking my time with it.”

“Hmm, look at big sister trying to play it like some Hermione Granger,” Henry whispered conspiratory to Alex, who looked at him with big, round eyes.

Rachel shook her head and laughed. “You’re the worst.”

“So when do you start?” Carla asked.

Rachel turned to her mum. “Next monday at 12.”

“I’m sure Hannah will be there early.”

“I’m sure she will.”

 

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