“Where are we going, Jay?”
“Just wait. It’s a surprise, quit trying to spoil it.”
Kelly kinda hated surprises. She would go looking for her Christmas presents as a kid and beg for hints if she couldn’t find them. She was notorious for reading the last couple pages of a book. Who wanted to read a whole book where the ending was the hero died leaving the heroine alone? She sure didn’t.
Not wanting to ruin whatever surprise he had planned, she put on her shoes and followed him out of the house after locking up.
They walked in the brisk evening air, holding hands. Kelly had no earthly idea where they’d been going, but she definitely enjoyed his excitement, letting it spark a happiness in her.
When they reached downtown, a ten minute walk from her apartment, they blended in with the weekend crowd for a bit. Jay led her to a local celebration along Main Street. They glanced at some of the vendors, picking up some ice cream before continuing on.
They ambled, Jay’s excitement growing so much that for a crazy moment, Kelly wondered if he was about to propose. She remembered he’d asked for her parent’s number after she’d introduced them. Jay talked to them more than she did. He didn’t have much in the way of family, having spent time in and out of foster care, so she was happy he clicked so well with her parents.
Kelly couldn’t quite figure out how she’d feel if he did propose though. It hadn’t been a month, but what they’d been through had set something into motion that made her feel so connected to him. Was that enough to base an engagement on?
She was contemplating that when they reached another small group of people gathered around an RV.
The actual surprise was anything but a proposal.
“A book mobile?” It was hard to hide her disbelief.
Kelly stared at the big, white recreational vehicle with Talum Public Mobile Library scrolled along the long side. Glancing over at him, she could see how proud he was of himself.
“A mobile library, Kelly.”
Jay was practically bouncing with excitement. Like a kid who had given the best present ever, his face shone. He grabbed her hand, pulling her forward even as she looked around superstitiously for her parents. She didn’t want to rule a proposal out. Maybe there were cameras inside.
No, it really was just a book mobile.
It was very much reminiscent of the old trucks where the side flaps rose up to display all the books inside. A person could climb the stairs and enter the RV to find the perfect book to borrow.
This one was connected to the public library so you could return the books there in case the truck wasn’t out.
“Come on.” He started up the stairs, tugging at her hand to get her to follow.
Nostalgia hit so hard just being being near it. The first time she got a book was from a mobile library that used to come around the community. Her mother said the library came to her and she felt special. Reading became everything for the nerdy little girl with few friends. To have the librarian come to her, smile and greet her openly, always made the book mobile her favorite place to be.
It played a tune similar to the ice cream truck. Kelly would come running when the truck came up the street. To this day, hearing the song Do Your Ears Hang Low made Kelly long to pick up a book and read.
She let him lead her up the stairs, the tension melting as she entered a place she knew was safe.
Even with the crowd gathered around the RV, only she and Jay were inside the book mobile.
“Welcome.” A older woman with streaks of gray hair appeared. “Have a look, touch the books, find a friend, and read to the end.”
Her smile made Kelly and Jay smile I’m response. The woman reached out to touch Kelly’s shoulder, and a frisson of electricity zipped from her fingers to Kelly.
It brought up a flutter of nerves that almost made Kelly then around and leave the van. Jay stared down at her when she would’ve gone, staying her feet.
“Apologies. It’s been quite staticky in the van.”
“Staticky.” Kelly parroted with a nervous laugh.
Books filled every space. The walls were covered in book shelves that went from floor to ceiling. Children’s books say near the front just behind the driver’s seat. The next section was young adult and adventure. Adult fiction, including erotica and romance, sat toward the back.
“Feel free to look around, take off your shoes, and have a seat.”
The woman pointed to cookies and tea and then left the RV to lure people on the street in.
It was a little warm so Kelly slipped off her jacket and let Jay hang it on the coat rack at the front. On a strange whim, she removed her shoes, her sock-clad feet sinking into the soft red carpet. It was perfect.
“Let’s find something we can both read.”
Since they’d managed to get out of the book, Jay had developed a real love of reading. He would come over after work, a book in his briefcase, and sit beside her on the couch and read.
She found herself staring at him in those moments, watching the story draw him in and flit across his face. He’d finish a chapter, turn to her, and they’d engage in some deep conversations about the storyline.
Being with him like that made her happy.
“Well, what do you want to read?”
She wandered toward the back, looking at the mystery titles and the suspense. They had one of the newest books by the best horror writer on their shelves.
“Something historical.” She glanced back at him startled. “Not like that book. Something more recent.”
There were a ton of modern war books. Kelly spotted Dunkirk and others based on both World Wars. She pointed out a couple and let him pick what appealed to him.
Moving further to the back, Kelly considered picking something. She longed for a book to hold and touch. Maybe she just needed to get over her ridiculous fear that she’d get sucked in again.
Kelly scanned the erotica section, waiting for something to catch her eye.
The cover that pulled at her was an old classic by Anne Rice. The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy. The first of the series was released the year she was born and Kelly had always had a secret love for the depraved acts committed within. She considered Exit to Eden instead, but the fairytale really drew her. Maybe Eden for another time.
She swallowed, her fingers itching as she debated whether she was safe to touch it. Glancing back, she saw Jay sitting in one of the low leather armchairs. It was tempting to ask him to do it, but she did need to get over her fear.
Reaching out with her breath held, Kelly let her finger graze the spine of the book. When nothing happened she gave a surprised laugh before pulling it off the shelf. She pressed the book to her chest, pretty damn excited as she walked back to where Jay sat.
“What did you pick?”
“A naughty Sleeping Beauty,” she replied as she perched on the arm of the chair. “Dirty sex and lots of public displays of nudity.”
His eyes darkened as she mentioned those things. Kelly knew he was picturing her naked, kneeling, sucking his cock. She felt decidedly flushed now.
Jay closed the book he was reading and sat it on the little table beside him. He pulled her into his lap.
“Read me something.”
The way he whispered the command made her squirm. She wasn’t sure she wanted to read right now, but something about saying dirty things to him made her much hotter.
Kelly opened the book at the randomly.
“I want more of you than I had before. Do you know what I mean, my Sleeping Beauty?”
Kelly could picture it clearly, Jay with his hand between her thighs as she straddled his lap. Her body his to command because he had woken her from sleep.
His hand moved down to rest beneath the book on her lap. To cup her through her tights. She gasped as Beauty did.
“Do you know?” He whispered.
She placed a hand on the page, her mind completing the picture. The jolt of it caught her by surprise. Before she could take her hand away, the room began to fade.