The Storybrooke library wasn’t what many outsiders to the town would call a conventional library. It was an old Victorian style house with books filling every shelf and volumes piled high from floor to ceiling. It was a tinderbox of knowledge kept by the town’s librarian, Julie Hightower, a pale young woman with dark brown hair and a clever and closed disposition. The library was the one thing she had in Storybrooke, aside from her Dalmatian, Perdita, which truly meant the world to her. Julie’s only family, the mayor, Regina Mills, and her son, Henry, who both kept well enough away from the library.
“I’ll leave you to maintain this cove of dusty memories,” Regina said the day she handed the keys over to Julie, “There are many secrets buried in this building. None of which I want to see let out.”
Julie had few friends in Storybrooke, only the ones that came to the library to enjoy the musty smell of the grime worn pages of the tales she had to offer.
“Good afternoon, Julie,” a soft voice said as the thud of a purse hit the counter, “How’s your day been?”
“Oh, hey, Mary Margaret,” she began with a sigh, “It’s been the usual. Just another slow day. People don’t seem to care much for reading anymore.”
“Maybe they’ve lost their imagination,” Mary Margaret assured pulling one of the used books from her purse, “Say, I have this boy in my class. He doesn’t have many friends, if any an-.”
“Are you talking about, Henry,” Julie asked shelving the newly returned tome on the bookcase behind her.
“How did you know,” she buzzed with curiosity, eyebrows knit together.
“Regina’s my aunt, Mary Margaret,” Julie started, “She doesn’t let Henry come here. I think he’d feel a lot better if she would, but no one can sway her from thinking he’s mad.”
“I just want to help him, Julie.”
“I understand. Here,” she said pulling a large book out from under the counter. Julie blew off the heavy dust blanketed cover to reveal the words Once Upon a Time. “Give him this. It’ll help.”
“You think so,” Mary Margaret queried gathering the book up in her arms as Julie walked around the counter.
“I’m more than certain,” she said with a smile, plucking her coat off the hook next to the door and hit the light switch, “It helped me.”
Julie slipped on her coat and opened the door into Storybrooke, motioning her ‘friend’ out. The usual Maine chill loomed in the air and the roads were slick with a recent rain shower.
“Are you sure you don’t want to come to the clinic with me,” Mary Margaret entreated walking with Julie, “Just this one time.”
“You know I’d love to, but I need to pick up Perdita,” Julie conveyed stopping in front of the inn, “Can we raincheck?”
“Okay, but I’m going to hold you to it this time,” Mary Margaret said ambling away to the hospital.
Julie never went out to eat lunch, never went out for drinks, and NEVER went to help at the hospital. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to, she just couldn’t. She didn’t know how to interact with people. Julie opened the iron gate leading to the bed and breakfast and marched up the stairs to the door.
“Hello? Is anyone home,” Julie inquired peaking into the foyer before coming in. Perdita’s barks welcomed Julie as she opened the door and knelt down to embrace the spotted tail-wagger before putting her leash on, “I guess there was no one here, but you, huh?” Perdita yipped once more in agreement, as Julie pulled a few dollars from her pocket and set it on the counter with a thank you note, then left the inn. On the walk home, Julie glimpsed a man walking on the other side of the street with his dog. He was average height, covered in tweed, and wielding an umbrella along with his canine companion. The stranger smiled and put up a small wave at Julie and she returned the favor, longing to make it to her apartment to avoid any spontaneous conversation. When she reached the door, Julie glanced back down the street to notice the man stayed on his path and made no attempt to come over. She opened the entrance and led Perdita in, then fell back on the door closing it with a sigh of relief. ‘I didn’t know other people owned dogs here,’ she thought beginning to jaunt up the stairs to her apartment. Perdita began to growl suddenly as they closed in on the door.
“Perdita, stop it,” Julie scolded as she slid the key into the door to find it already unlocked. Turning the knob, she creaked the door open, finding Mr. Gold sitting at the kitchen table.
“Julie, good evening,” he said sipping from a glass of wine, “Your hair’s looking lovely.”
Julie bent over unlatching the leash from her dog’s collar saying, “Perdita, go lay down.”
She hung up the leash and the coat next to the door before turning back to Mr. Gold.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Gold,” she requested, putting the cork back in the bottle of wine he left on the counter.
“It’s not what you can do for me. It’s what you’ve already done,” he said finishing the glass pushing himself from the table, “This town is going to see some change, for the better. And you’ll play a bigger part than you realize. Good night, Miss Hightower.” As Mr. Gold left the modest apartment, Julie yelled down the hall, “What do you mean? I don’t want a part in anything! I just want to be left alone!”
“It’s too late for that, Julie,” Mr. Gold called back, “It’s time to face your demons.”