Chapter 4 : Notes that weren't delivered.
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Chapter image by .asperity @ TDA
Audrey and I have a system.
Since there are six adult classes (this also includes the teen Book Club and Movie of the Month club) and four children’s classes, we split them up.
Each of us gets two adult classes, two children’s classes, and one teen club. I got movies which is really quite fun because all you have to do is sit there, eat pizza, and watch the movie with the kids.
However, every Tuesday and Thursday I have to read to a bunch of five year olds (it’s really just babysitting). I swear they are out to get me. They’re good kids, but sometimes they say the most embarrassing things.
Like the time Madeline Eve asked me what snogging was and if you did it for long enough would your lips really fall off? She told me her sister was talking about it.
Or when Mike and I (my jerk of an ex from a long time ago) were dating and I was worried because Jack McCarthy (he’s seven now) had a giant crush on me and I was right to be worried because after the reading group, Jack walked right up to me and told me (in front of Mike) that Mike and I weren’t meant to be and that Mike was a jerk.
It was humiliating and he was completely right.
Jack McCarthy was replaced by his younger twin brothers who are identical and act like little Fred and George’s, except they have a huge crush on me.
Anyway story time is comprised of 10 five year olds, Ginny Weasley, and a one year old Teddy Lupin—but only on Tuesdays. Madeline, whose parents are psychiatrists always tells me that if I feel stressed to call them. Jennifer is a child genius but her parents put her in the reading group because they want her to get used to being with children her own age. Jacob who takes reading group way too seriously and will burst into tears if we don’t start at exactly eleven o’clock. Annie Higgs’ father was an old Hogwarts (well I really can’t say friend or colleague because we didn’t know each other) student.
Athena knows him though. She threw a coke at his head in fourth year. She doesn’t like Slytherins especially ones that disagree with her. And I may have given her the idea to throw the coke.
And then there’s Alec, who won’t share the snacks he brings to the reading group, and it drives everyone nuts. One time, Jacob McCarthy lost it and wrestled Alec to the ground. I tried to tell Alec that we shouldn’t bring food in the library, but then he pointed out that Athena was always eats her pudding here.
And then there’s Emma, who never talks except to say really wacky things like “my cat is reading my mind”.
I should seriously ask for a raise.
“Hi Alec,” I said when he walked in with his mum and a bag of crisps.
“I’mf nof hairing” he said as a spray of crisps went flying at me. Again, raise worthy worker standing right here.
“Now Alec don’t talk with your mouth full,” said his mum giving me an isn’t-he-just-the-sweetest-thing look as I dusted crumbs off of myself.
I personally think she should send the kid to boot camp.
“What are you reading today?” said Alec after he swallowed.
“Every Boy’s Got One,” I said. Obviously I wasn’t thinking, but hey, the kid asked me what I was reading.
“Just kidding,” I said, realizing what I said and instantly trying to fix it. “We’re reading something else.”
“That sounds interesting,” said Alec still shoving crisps in his mouth.
“No it’s not, sweetie,” said Alec’s mum, giving me a look that clearly said ‘what the hell were you thinking?’
Dear god I need a life.
When we are not checking books out for people, or organizing the new books Audrey and I will talk. It’s easy work.
The mornings are the best because no one’s here so while Frank (my boss) catches up on his sleep in his office, I normally spend my mornings reading or playing chess with the computer. I’m pretty sure it cheats, but Audrey said that was insane because it’s a machine, and machines cannot cheat.
Or can they?
A bunch of teenagers ran inside the library and like the cool person I am I told them off.
“No running the library,” I called after him. I really would like a life, seriously.
While I’m here can I ask for a boyfriend?
And a book deal? And my own apartment? And people that don’t raid my chocolate pudding. And a unicorn.
I mean is that really so much to ask?
Percy is here, of course. I thought he had a job. Apparently I was wrong, he keeps looking at his watch, then at the clock, then at the chair where Audrey sits, and then at the ceiling. Then he repeats the whole cycle again.
He’s like Slim Shady, at first you’re entertained, and then you want nothing more than to hit him over the head.
She’s late, he murmured.
“It’s the morning, everyone’s late,” I said, trying to sound like I didn’t care. “She probably had homework.”
You gave her the note right? Asked Percy, giving me a look. I froze, damn it I forgot the note. Percy is going to kill me, I don’t want to be killed just yet. I just met Hunky Back Boy.
“Yeah,” I said, hesitantly. “Of course I did. What did you think I forgot?” I scoffed, he gave me a look.
“Did you forget?”
“Come off it Pen.”
“It’s in the back pocket of my jeans, I’ll give it to her when she comes in.”
I apparently hold up wonderfully under pressure, I should work for the British secret services or something.
“I knew it,” said Percy, dramatically. Just then Audrey came in, and Percy mumbled some excuse and left. Audrey was bright red.
“What happened to you?” I asked, surveying her burnt face. You look like you got roasted on the beaches of mars.
“I went on a date last night,” said Audrey excitedly, I mentally face palmed myself. “He was such a gentleman, there aren’t many like that left in the world.”
“What happened to Percy?” I asked, hopelessly, first Hunky Back Boy turns out to be an old classmate and now this, I am really considering having Percy kill me. “You said he was cute.”
“He had all yesterday and weeks before that to ask me out,” said Audrey, taking a stack of books and flipping through them. I actually hit myself in the face that time.
I’m a horrible person.
I’m Slim Shady-
“ZIP IT!” I yelled at the offender, which turned out to be my boss. I pointed a finger at some browser and prayed that he didn’t know it was me.
“So,” said Audrey. “Someone told me that you saw cute boy’s face.”
“Yep,” I replied in a monotone.
“And that you two talked.” Audrey was clearly waiting for me to give her a detailed explanation.
“Do I need to throttle you before I get something that’s different then yep?”
“Si,” I said, “and did this birdie happen to be named Athena?”
“Shut up and just tell me what happened.”
“He went to my secondary school,” I said. “Now he’s a reserve goalie for the England football team.” Ok I know that wasn’t true but it was the closest I could get to what he actually was. I told him I was a DJ at the place Athena works at and then I told him I’d written a book.”
“Dear bunnies that was dumb. Now which one was it?” Asked Athena. “Or did you not give a title?”
“…Larry Rotter and The Sociable Pebble.”
Audrey opened her mouth, closed it, and then opened it again. “Explain.”
Well it’s about a boy named Larry Rotter, he’s a Time Wizard and goes to school called Galiwarts, he also has a time traveling broomstick called the TARDIS, and he also has a companion called Amy Reasley-
I stopped talking because of the look Audrey was giving me, one of pure amusement. Did you think of this off the top of your head or did you spend time thinking about it? She asked, biting her lip to keep from laughing.
“Top of my head,” I muttered, shrugging.
I’m not telling her I spent most of last night thinking of Larry Rotter and The Mug of Time.
“Your boss ate all my pudding” said Athena slamming the door as she came out of the employees den. “There’s not even vanilla in here! I swear he’ll eat anything in sight!”
What a hypocrite.
I like kids, but reading out loud is a pain in the arse. First you have get everyone to sit down (10 minutes), then you have to get the McCarthy twins to stop fighting with Jacob (15 minutes), and then—since Jacob has no clue that he should close his mouth when he’s chewing—I have to listen to him chew throughout the entire story which makes me want to yell because he sounds like a cow chewing cud.
But instead, I just grin and bear it.
“And that, is when Cinderella lived happily ever after with a man she had only known for one evening,” I finished, closing the book.
Because that story is just so realistic. Don’t judge me, I don’t actually get to choose the book, If I did I would be reading aloud my history homework.
“Do you think that we can take life lessons from that book?” Asked Jennifer.
There’s always one kid that has to ask that question, most of the time I have to think of something on the spot.
“No. Personally, I wouldn’t marry a guy that I had only known for an evening. I mean, come on, what if he’s a drug dealer or an axe murder or something?”
“What’s a drug dealer?” Asked Maggie. Great.
I really need to learn to keep my opinions to myself. Like last month, when I read Cat in a Hat, and the kids asked me what I would do if a talking cat came into my house.
I told them I would probably hit him in the face with an umbrella and call the cops.
Ginny gave me a look that was half amused half shocked.
“I would marry the prince, but only if he was cute,” said Evelyn. What I need to realize is that these are little kids, and that they are entitled to have their fantasies.
But really, Cinderella? It sounds like a disease—and that’s coming from a muggle born.
I was really more of an Arabian Nights kid myself.
“What’s a drug dealer?” Maggie asked louder. Shit. Never quite got out of that question now did I?
“It’s like an egg beater,” I improvised while praying that she wouldn’t go home and ask her mum what a drug dealer was. Ginny snorted with laughter.
“Really?” asked Maggie.
“I have one at my house, it’s very useful for vegetables.” What the hell am I thinking? Vegetables?
“So do I,” said Ginny, who, thankfully, was trying to back me up. “It’s great for slicing.”
“I don’t like vegetables,” announced Jacob, stuffing another handful of crisps in his mouth and consequently getting crumbs all over Jennifer.
Ah, the beauty of children.
“Hey, Jacob, you got crumbs all over me!” said Jennifer turning around in her chair. If you’ll take my personal opinion I think Jennifer’s a little whiny.
“Sorry,” said Jacob with his mouth full spraying another mouthful of crumbs at her.
“Do you have a prince charming Ms. Pen?” asked Fanny. Kids they just have it out for you don’t they? Or maybe it’s just me.
“No,” I said “I don’t, because I am a free being. I mean, come on, who needs guys? All they do is weigh on you and complain.”
“You have us,” said one of McCarthy twins. I can never tell them apart.
“She means someone that she can snog,” said Madeline in a bossy tone. I’m pretty sure that Madeline doesn’t even know what she’s talking about. She’s probably only saying what she overheard from her sister.
“Ew,” said the other McCarthy twin. “What’s that?”
“Nothing you need to know,” said Ginny and I at the same time.
“So,” I said, “that’s all for today. See you guys Thursday.”
“Hey Wood!” said Jennifer, getting out of her seat and looking behind me.
“You do realize we have the same last name, right?” Oliver said. I turned around in my chair. Why me?
And why does he have to look so sexy when he leans against the wall like that?
What have I done to deserve my life? For once, I would like to not have a relationship with a guy that doesn’t include me getting embarrassed or him being an arse.
And a unicorn, don’t forget the unicorn.
The kids followed my gaze and saw him as well.
“You know him Jen?” I asked her, puzzled.
“He’s my older brother,” she replied. “Mum’s making him pick me up.”
“I didn’t expect to see you,” he said, looking at me.
“She’s doing story-time!” said Jen. She looked back and forth from my over heated cheeks to his cool demeanor.
“You don’t like her do you?” asked one of McCarthy twins. This is where I tell myself that slaughtering children is not the answer. Nor is locking then in a small box and forcing them to live off of bananas and vanilla pudding.
“’Cause we got dibs,” said the other twin.
And where in Merlin’s sake is my damn unicorn?
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