This is an excerpt from a work in progress entitled, Lost Treasures.
Hope you like it.
Sophie securely tether locked her bicycle, removed her helmet and tucked it under her arm. And gathered up her library books to return them again. Only to find herself quite diverted by the girl behind the counter.
She was very beautiful without a doubt, but in a rather unfamiliar way. Her skin was a gorgeously lustrous brown, and her features warm and friendly. But the set of her brow and the aspect of her eye, lent her a rather formidable and slightly intimidating air.
Her jaw was rather wide and her cheek bones broad and well defined. Creating the suggestion that she was a girl not to be trifled with. And her nose was rather broad and flattened after a fashion Sophie couldn’t quite place.
Her redoubtable and mildly daunting features accentuated by the arrangement of her long black curly hair. Drawn tightly back from her brow and into a pony tail as it was, making her look even more severe.
And lingering somewhat, Sophie tried to divine the girls heritage. She didn’t look West Indian, and neither did she appear African but neither was she Asian either.
But Sophie was soon distracted from her speculations when the girl spoke, still tapping away at her keyboard and staring at the monitor before her.
“Would you like to return those books, Miss? Or would you like to stand there staring at me all day?”
“Oh….sorry…..didn’t mean to stare.” Sophie replied, blushing at having been caught staring.
“That’s alright.” The girl continued jovially, as Sophie placed her books on the counter, a little flustered.
“English people love staring at me, trying to figure out where I’m from.”
She spoke with a rather odd accent, predominantly English but accompanied by something else. It wasn’t American, nor either Scottish, Irish or Welsh. Not South African and neither Cornish nor Liverpudlian either. But somehow a combination of all of these and none of them at all.
“You carry on, Miss. I’ll just sit here looking gorgeous for you.”
And Sophie lingered a moment longer, feeling like a fool. But as unable to walk away as she was unable to stop smiling. Striving desperately to think of something to say. Anything to say. Whatever it took to be near this woman a little longer.
“Still here, Miss.” The girl remarked, still not removing her gaze from her work.
“Have you figured it out yet?” The new girl queried.
“….um…figured what out?”
“Where I’m from.”
And seeking to disabuse the intriguing girl of the view she had no doubt formed, that she was a bumbling dunce. Sophie proffered her hand, and offered in a friendly tone.
“My name’s Sophie.”
“Is that right, Miss? Well, goodness me.” The girl replied, still not turning from her work, and making no move to return Sophie’s friendly gesture.
“….um….hello…?” Sophie reiterated.
At which the girl sighed and finally looked away from her screen, but her gaze alighting upon the returned books, rather than Sophie. Her eyebrows rising in surprise when she saw what Sophie was returning.
“The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights, James Knowles….good….”
“….The Mists of Avalon, by Marion Zimmer Bradley….yes, I approve….”
“….and The Mabinogion. Now that is, intriguing.”
And with her interest apparently piqued, but still ignoring Sophie’s hand. The odd girl scanned the books and inspected her computer screen
And with a warm smile the girl finally offered her hand in amity, though Sophie had long since withdrawn hers.
“I’m Elizabeth O’Malley. Librarian. Miss.”
“Oh, and before we get confused, I’m not a Liz or a Beth, or a Lizzy or anything else. It’s Elizabeth.”
And Sophie eyed the gesture suspiciously for a moment before replying in mock petulance. With a wry smile adorning her lips.
“No. I won’t shake your hand. I think you’re a very rude girl, Elizabeth. Just as likely to snatch her hand away the moment I go to take it. Probably blow a raspberry at me too.”
And with this, Elizabeth clapped her hand to her chest, and laughed fitfully at Ms Hamilton’s jovial acceptance of her rather challenging character. Eventually composing herself sufficiently to continue.
“No, really. I promise I won’t.”
“Well, alright then.” Sophie smilingly conceded before adding.
“And I’m sorry for staring, Elizabeth. That was rude.”
“That’s alright, Sophie.” Elizabeth pronounced, holding Sophie’s hand in hers, a little longer than amity demanded.
“You can buy me lunch, and we’ll call it even, okay?”
“Oh. Buying you lunch, am I?” Sophie retorted, rather enjoying the girl’s blunt jocularity and easy familiarity.
“Oh, come on, Sophie? I’m flat broke. If you don’t buy me lunch, it’ll be a muesli bar and a cup of tea. I’ll starve to death, and it’ll be your fault.”
And much amused by the odd girl’s sense of humour, and her not easily accessed but nonetheless engaging charm. In fact quite taken with her altogether. Sophie conceded.
“Alright. What times your dinner break, Elizabeth?”
“Half past twelve.”
“Alright, do you know the café next to the botanical gardens?”
“Meet me there at twelve.”
And with this Sophie took her leave, Elizabeth O’Malley watching her carefully as she did. Rather amused by the obvious spring in Sophie’s step, and much intrigued by the butterflies fluttering in her chest.
Considering that Sophie Hamilton’s bum looked very cute indeed in bicycle shorts. And that her hair was a ridiculously frightful mess, sorely afflicted with bicycle helmet head as she was.
Returning to her computer when Sophie was gone, and talking to herself as she resumed her work.
“Well, Sophie Hamilton. Reads ancient romance stories, brings her books back on time, and is cute as a button.”
“And meeting me for lunch. Can’t wait to see where this goes.”
Thanks for reading.