For Friday Flash Fics today, there was an image going around Twitter that was definitely sparking a lot of conversation and we decided as a group it was worth using as inspiration. I’m so glad we did, because it’s not just an awesome image, it’s a stereotype smashing image and I love those.
He was at the desk.
Jeremy tightened his grip on the books, and took a long, deep breath.
Maybe this was a bad idea? It was totally a bad idea.
He had decided to leave, to go put the books back, but he took one more glance and…
The librarian made eye contact.
He’d been seen.
Jeremy started for the desk.
This was officially the world’s worst idea.
“Oh my God,” Jeremy said, and stopped walking. “No way.”
Wyatt walked right into him, and then grabbed him for balance. “Dude.”
“Sorry,” Jeremy said.
All around them, the parade was in full swing. Music, dancing, signs, floats and rainbow balloons—especially the purple, blue, and pink of this year’s focus on Bi Queers—slipped further ahead of them.
“Nothing,” Jeremy said.
“You look like you’re about to pass out,” Wyatt said. “Spill. What is it?”
“That’s him. There.”
“Him?” Wyatt stared to where Jeremy was pointing, across the street where others were watching the Pride Parade go by. “Could you be more specific?”
“The guy. From the library. The librarian.”
“Oh! Mr. Button-down beard man of the title-reading?” Wyatt redoubled his efforts. “Where? I don’t see him. Is he near the scary guy with the tattoos and the beard?”
“That’s the thing.” Jeremy swallowed. “I guess now I know why he always wears the long-sleeved button-down shirts.”
“What?” Wyatt turned back to him. Then it clicked. He looked across the street again. “No way. Him? But… He looks like… I mean…” He tilted his head. “Are you sure that’s him? I mean, a librarian? That’s… That’s a biker.”
As they watched, a pair of women walked up to the man in question, arm in arm, and tapped his shoulder. They spoke for a few seconds, and then he nodded, turning to follow them.
The snug black shirt the guy wore had a skull on the back, half made up of words.
Across his broad back, the shirt read, “Librarian: The hardest part of my job is being nice to people who think they know how to do my job.”
Wyatt turned to Jeremy.
“Okay. I guess that is him. Dude. He’s scary.”
“You think?” Jeremy could think of a few different words.
None of them were “scary.”
It had started with the beard. That was always a weakness, but that wasn’t the only thing. Jeremy had liked the way the librarian smiled. And he did smile. Genuinely, and kindly. Also, he quietly read out the titles as he scanned them, which was not only kind of endearing but he did it carefully, so no one else would hear but whoever was checking out the books. It was almost a whisper. When Jeremy was second in line, he’d enjoy just listening to the low rumble of the man’s voice, but he never made out the words.
And the librarian wore glasses to work—but not to Pride parades, apparently—and as Jeremy approached the desk, he had a silly thought about a kind of Clark Kent persona thing going on, except instead of a blue suit with an S, if the librarian ripped off his shirt he’d reveal all that ink and…
Was it hot in here?
The button-down long-sleeved shirt in question was brown today. Like his eyes. And his beard.
“Hello,” Jeremy said, nearly choking on the word.
“Hi,” the librarian said. They didn’t wear name-tags, and Jeremy had never quite gotten up the guts to ask him his name, and since they usually had less than a minute of interaction at the end of each of Jeremy’s visits to the library and the librarian already knew Jeremy’s name because it was on his library account, it wasn’t likely to happen.
So, the plan.
The stupid, stupid plan.
The librarian gave him a little frown.
Right. The books.
Oh this was such a stupid plan.
Jeremy put them down, carefully. Checking for the hundredth time he’d gotten it right.
“Okay,” the librarian said, dropping to his low whisper. He scanned Jeremy’s card, then started scanning the books. As always, he read the titles in his sotto voice.
“Happy People Read and Drink Coffee.” Beep.
“How Do You Like Your Coffee?” Beep.
“Coffee Date.” Beep.
“Sure,” Jeremy blurted. “I’d love to.”
The librarian blinked. It was the first time Jeremy had ever seen him look anything other than professional and kind and sort of Zen. He looked up.
“Did you just..?”
“I did,” Jeremy said. “Or, technically, you did. I just accepted.”
The librarian let out a little laugh.
“Smooth,” he said. He didn’t seem freaked out. Or offended.
“Do you like Bittersweets? In the Village?”
“Yeah,” the librarian said. His smile was a full on grin now. “I do.”
“Are you free Saturday, maybe?”
He rubbed his beard. “I am.”
“Okay. Saturday. Eleven?”
The librarian nodded.
Jeremy picked up the books. “Before I go, can I, uh, return these books and get something I actually want to read?”