Steve opened the door of the bookstore with some trepidation.
He wanted some new reading material, but it was still hard, sometimes, to come to terms with how many options there were to choose from in the twenty-first century.
He'd been recommended books to look into to catch up on some things he hadn't gotten around to learning about that he'd missed while he'd been in the ice.
He supposed he could've just gone to a library, but there was something about owning books. He also reasoned with himself that he might want to reread one of the books.
So, now here he was, walking into a quaint little bookstore he'd found.
A bell jingled merrily as he entered, and he felt himself relaxing slightly as the noice from the street was blocked out with the closing of the door behind him.
"Welcome!" A cheerful female voice called, and he watched as a woman stood up from a desk toward the front of the store and smiled at him in greeting.
"Hi," He replied, feeling a bit flustered.
"Do you know what you're looking for?" She asked.
Steve pulled a folded piece of paper from his pocket and smoothed out the creases.
"I have a list right here."
"Excellent. May I read it?" As she stepped closer, he noticed the name-tag read Darcy.
"I'm Darcy," She told him matter-of-factly, noticing where his eyes had drifted. "This is my second job." She said conversationally as she glanced over his list.
"It's nice to meet you, Steve."
They smiled at each other, and he felt his remaining tension vanish as they talked. Darcy was friendly and helpful, and it put him at ease.
"These should be easy to find, if you'll follow me?"
She lead Steve around the store, stopping to pick up a book on his list as they walked down the isles.
"Are you a history buff?" She questioned, glancing to him with another smile.
"You could say that." He said, feeling the same awkwardness he always felt when someone brought up the things he'd missed.
'There's nothing wrong with that." She replied, thinking his awkward response was because he wasn't comfortable with the fact that she'd called him out so easily. "History is interesting."
"It is." He was still feeling awkward, but it was the kind of awkwardness he'd been used to all his life.
He didn't know what to say to women. Sure, he tried, but the words wouldn't come out the way he wanted to a lot of the time. Even though he wasn't the sickly, skinny man he'd been before, he still felt that way from time to time.
"You like reading?" Darcy's question brought him out of his thoughts.
"So do I, this is the perfect job for a bookworm."
They walked up to the register after finding all of the books on his list, and he felt his stomach sinking in disappointment.
Darcy handed him back the list and began scanning his items.
"So," She talked as she worked. "How'd you find this bookstore? I know we're not one of the bigger chains."
"I've been looking for out of the way places lately." He answered. "You can find a lot of little stores if you keep looking."
"That's true." She smiled again.
She told him his total and began bagging the books.
"Are you doing anything later?" He inquired, seized by a sudden burst of courage. No matter how he felt about himself sometimes, he was no longer the guy the women wouldn't look twice at.
"I get off work in an hour." She replied, surprised. "Will you still be around here?"
"I can be. I don't have anywhere I need to go."
"Great." Her smile was back. "Can you meet me back here in about an hour?"
"I'll do that."
He felt excitement building. She hadn't turned him down and seemed interested.
"Great," Darcy repeated, sounding like she was a bit flustered herself, like he'd been when he'd first entered the store.
"I'll see you then."
After seeing her nod, he turned and walked slowly to the door.
"Holy shit." He heard her whisper as he left. "He's so damn sweet..."
he decided to sit on a nearby bench and start reading until it was time to meet Darcy again for their date. He couldn't stop smiling as he read.