Gage blinked a few times. Typically, he wore contacts or hid behind sunglasses, in an attempt to avoid others being aware of – and commenting on – the condition of his eyes. Yet, once again, here this woman was… somehow completely oblivious to his insecurities. She went as far as to call them “truly magnificent,” which was a set of words that he almost never heard stuck together, especially not to describe his features. Gage only nodded, silent and now self-conscious, as he took another drink of the warm tea. The drink made him feel at home, like something his mother would have made him after a long day of playing in the snow. Everything about this woman left him feeling warm and welcome: her cozy book store, her soft chairs, the warm mug she all but forced into his hands, her smile, the way she talked… Gage cleared his throat, realizing that his face was turning a different color and it was not because of the warmth of the drink.
Gage took a slow breath, calming himself with the smell of the tea, as Kinsley pulled something out of her bag. With one hand, he reached for the offered book and placed it in his lap to turn the pages, not willing to give up the warm mug just yet. He pretended to only be half-listening to Kinsley as he turned the pages, but he hung on every word.
[i I really like piano].
Gage found himself smiling as he shut the book, running his fingers absently over the cover.
“Any chance this book is for sale?” he asked, wondering if a book that came out of her own bag was being offered to him. Did she trust him enough to offer a personal book, or was this just a different attempt to sell something?
“I would bring it back if you’d like me to. It did come out of your bag, after all.” Gage was smiling. He couldn’t help it, with the way she talked like she was always worried about the impression she was making, an awkward sort of tone finding its way into her words. Gage left the book in his lap as he sipped at the tea, enjoying this long vacation from the real world.
Gage was about to say something else, about how he was trying to bait her into asking him to return – or even to stay longer – when the blonde grabbed his hand and pulled him from his seat. Gage came willingly, the mug still grasped tightly in his hand. The book that was in his lap fell to the floor, hitting the ground rather quietly as he was led away.
Once the pair were surrounded by books, Kinsley started going on about the different sections and Gage made a note about her specific love for romance and the genre. [i Ah, if only you knew], he thought as she spun around, much to his entertainment. He noticed that she was blushing lightly when she said, under her breath but just loud enough, [i “God, I love books.”]
Much unlike himself, Gage reached forward and brushed a bit of the woman’s soft, blonde hair back behind her ear, a piece that had come loose with her twisting and turning around. He let his fingertips linger against her pink cheek, murmuring something that even he couldn’t make out. There was a long moment where he just looked into her eyes, enjoying the soft green, unhindered by his own heterochromia.
Slowly, Gage brought himself back into reality, tucking his free hand into his pocket with an awkward clearing of his throat. He had only just met this girl, after all, but she was mesmerizing. Even if this was to be their only meeting, Gage knew that he could never forget her.
“I’m, uh…” Gage wanted to say he was sorry, but he wasn’t. He wanted to tell her about his life, to come clean about who he was, but he didn’t. Instead, he let the silence stretch on, pretending to suddenly be very interested in the books that surrounded them.