Myra watched as Adam, a boy around ten, walked into the library. He had dark brown hair and bright blue eyes. Today made every day for the past two weeks Adam had come into the library. He would hole himself in the junior fiction section and read. He checked no books out and refused to sign up for a library card the first time Joy asked him.
“Back again, I see,” her friend and coworker Joy commented.
“Yes, and he picked out a new book to read. He stays long enough to read a few graphic novels then he heads home,” Myra replied curious about the boy.
“Do you know who his parents are?” Joy asked, checking in books and placing them on a return to the stacks cart.
“No. He started showing up last summer. During the school year, I only saw him once a week. Now we are back on summer vacation and he has returned.” She tapped a manicured hand on the counter, watching the young boy.
“Go over and talk to him. He looks close to my daughter Stella’s age. We need to find out why he is here without his parents.” Joy encouraged her, pushing a junior fiction cart her way. Myra sighed and walked over to the junior fiction section. She put away books until she got close enough to see he was reading a graphic novel about dragons.
“I love those, have you read the novels?” she asked, placing the book in question back on the shelf.
“No, is it different?” he asked, closing the book with a finger to mark his place.
“It has more details and I think it is more exciting,” she answered, handing him the first book.
“Too long. I won’t finish it in one day,” he commented with a worried look on his face.
“You can check it out. I’ll give you an application for a library card. Take it home and have your mom fill it out. Bring it back to me and you can have a library card,” she told him, giving him a soft smile.
“I don’t have a mom,” he whispered, and her heart hurt for him.
“Have your dad do it then,” she replied, not deterred from trying to get him a library card.
“He is too busy.”
“Then I can come over and make him sign it. Everyone should have access to a library card,” she announced, irritated that Adam felt his father would be too busy.
“No! I’ll ask him, I promise. He is busy with his job.” Adam explained.
“Let me know if I can help. Does anyone care for you besides your dad?” She sat next to him, her cart was long forgotten.
“My Aunt Ellie is home for the summer but she has baby Ava to care for. I don’t want to be in her way,” Adam told her with a sad smile on his face.
“Have someone sign the form and I’ll get you a library card. I want you to be able to expand your reading to include longer books too. You might enjoy Harry Potter too. Those books are long and take time to read,” she explained, and his eyes widened.
“My grandma and I read the first one together. Some words were hard for me,” he shared and her heart melted. He was the sweetest child, and she felt an overwhelming need to comfort him.
“I get an hour for lunch. Would you like to read the second book together?” She found herself offering and knew it was right to offer when he smiled brightly.
“Good. I’ll come to find you with the second book at eleven-thirty. After that, you take the form home and get it signed. The author Georgia Howard is coming in to showcase a new book series. She is going to be here tomorrow at three if you want to come,” Myra shared. Her lynx was becoming attached just speaking to Adam. A motherly feeling came over her, one she’d never felt for any children coming into the library.
“I know her stepdaughter Daisy. Aunt Ellie watches her sometimes, too. Along with Bentley, Sophia, Eli some days,” Adam explained, and Myra suddenly knew who Adam’s father was.
“Your dad wouldn’t happen to be Rob Zephyr, would he?” she asked and Adam stiffened. Rob Zephyr was what all the single women talked about. Myra had seen him from afar at a Mate Me event.
Today was the first time in a while Myra attended a Mate Me event. Josie had come into the library with flyers for her newest party. She was hosting a Cinco De Mayo party. Dressed in a flowing covering dress, she stepped into the Mexican restaurant the event was being held at. Her eyes connected with Rob’s. He had his brown hair up in a ponytail and his electric blue eyes pinned her to her standing table. She remembered hearing some girls at her table talking about his muscles and how he looked like a pirate. She’d stayed back even when her lynx insisted she go talk to the bear shifter. Too many desperate women were throwing themselves at him. She didn’t want to be added to the list. She knew they went to the same gym, she’d been on a treadmill running her usual six miles watching him lift weights. He had been with his brother Marcus.
“Are you going to tell him?” Adam asked in a tony voice.
“Not if you don’t want me too. Can you tell me why?” she asked, standing up to return to shelving books.
“He made me join a swim class,” Adam replied with a disgusted look.
“Do you not like summing?”
“No. My mom accidentally drowned in a pool.”
“I can see how pools would be scary, but don’t you want to know how to be safe around them?”
“Yes, but he just drops me off and goes to work,” Adam explained and Myra understood.
“I see. You want him there in case anything happens. So you come to the library since we are next door and hide. How do you trick him into thinking you are learning to swim?” she asked, keeping all judgment from her voice.
“Easy. I walk home to Aunt Ellie. She is too busy with all the kids and she doesn’t notice me come home.” Myra stared at him in surprise.
“That must be a long walk,” she commented, internally she worried about his safety.
“Not for a bear like me. I’ll shift for the first time when I am thirteen,” he stated proudly, and Myra laughed.
“Okay then. I’ll come by at eleven-thirty and we can start reading the second Harry Potter book,” she told him and left to finish her work with a massive smile on her face.
Eleven-thirty came and Myra looked up to see Adam making his way over to her desk.
“I’m going to lunch,” she told Joy and walked away from her desk.
“Let me grab my lunch and we can eat outside. The library is cold, and it’s a beautiful summer day,” she said and they walked over to the staff room. She grabbed her lunch, and they went outside. Adam was silent, looking around with watchful eyes.
“Worried your dad might see you?” she asked, and he nodded.
“We can sit in the park. There are plenty of people around we won’t stick out,” she suggested.
“I like the park,” he replied, and she felt him relax.
“Come on.” She led the way to the park, settling under a tree. She smoothed her skirt and Adam dropped next to her.
“Okay, here.” She handed him half her turkey sandwich. He stared at her.
“You don’t have lunch and I never eat all of mine,” she explained, and he took the sandwich.
“You eat first and I’ll read, then you read to me and I can help with hard words,” she informed him.
“Okay.” He bit into his sandwich with gusto. The two passed the hour reading and when her alarm went off Adam groaned.
“I want to know what happens next!” he whined.
“Next time we can read more,” she assured him, standing and dusting off her skirt.
“My next swim lesson is Friday, can I come then?”
“I should tell you no, but only if you promise to get your dad to sign the form to get you a library card,” she replied.
“I’ll try,” he answered, and she sighed.
“Let me know if you want help,” she told him.
“I will Miss Myra. Thanks for today,” he replied and hugged her around the waist. Myra paused and smiled down at the boy. He released her, and she watched him cross the street and head out of town. Myra waited until he was out of sight before she went back into the library to Joy waiting for her.
Let me know what you think!