The cycle of Strangers

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Chapter 3

“Why are you not into romance books?”

“It’s just a waste of time.” I shrug.

“How?”

“Most- if not all romances end with the same bad ending. What’s the point of reading when you already know the books fate? I’m just wasting my time.”

“It’s not always about the ending you know. What about the start. You can never predict how they meet, what they do in between, or how they act with one another when they’re alone?”

“Romance are books are cliché! Most of what they do can be found on BuzzFeed or articles headlining ‘clichés to avoid’.”

“Whether it’s a cliché or not, don’t you want to experience that in the future?”

I put on my thinking face, completely digesting the guy’s question. Completely trying to find the relevance of it as a whole.

“Hmmm... no.”

“So you’ve never dreamt about falling in love?”

“I guess when I was thirteen. Not now.”

“That explains your mood.”

“Hey! What’s that supposed to mean?” I scowl, crossing my arms.

“You don’t like romance, you don’t dream about it. I thought all girls do that.”

“You’re a guy and you read romance books. How’s that any better?”

“What’s wrong with guys reading romance?” The few customers inside the store, look up from the books they were reading and divert their eyes to the two of us. My eyebrows furrow.

“Could you keep it down?” I press my lips together, still looking around to make sure the stares are gone.

“Only if you answer the question.”

“There’s nothing wrong with it, you were just being sexist so I thought I should say my own back.” My eyebrows raise.

“Fair, but I actually have a reason for reading romance.”

“Which is?”

“I’m... I’m love deprived!” He winks.

“Whatever.”

“It’s true. I don’t read them out of choice!”

“Oh shut up! You probably have a whole prepared speech on how love is the best trait anyone can possess.” I clasp my hands together, making puppy eyes.

“Would you listen to it?” He raises his right eyebrow, smirking. His eyes sparkle as the light shines down into the store.

“No, I’d fall asleep.”

“No, you’d fall in love with me.”

“It’s the cockiness for me.” I shake my head. “Well I have to get back to work, more customers will be here soon.”

“I don’t see any.”

“I used the future tense for a reason.” I narrow my eyes towards him.

“Well can I get your number at least?” His grin extends while he taps his finger on the counter ledge.

“Number... not snap?”

That’s new.

“Yeah, you might not add me back on snap.”

“I can still ignore your messages.” I shrug.

“I’ll spam you.”

“Ok, come here.” I lure him in little by little, using my two fingers. His face inches closer to mine, whilst I rest my elbows on the counter. His face looks confused. Nice. I edge him on further, giving quick reassuring glances.

Once his face nears close enough to mine, I use my thumb and index finger to flick his forehead with medium force. Immediately his face backs up and he moves his hand to his head, ferociously rubbing.

“Hey! I swear that could get you fired!”

“You were harassing me. I didn’t like it.”

“One, you didn’t tell me to stop and two, that actually hurt.” He pouts his lips, fluttering his lashes.

“Get out of my face before I flick you harder.”

“I’m leaving.” He puts his hands up, flashing a quick toothy grin. In no time, I hear the bell chime and his soul has finally vanished from my personal space.

Not for long though, I hear the bell go off again and there he is. He places something slam down onto the counter. Paper.

“Here’s my number.” He rushes out the door again, causing a head shake from me. Fool.

I pick up the small white note, messily scribbled down with a black biro. I let the winter’s sun illuminate the piece so that I’m able to make out the number.

“Gio.” I guess that’s his name. Cool.

I throw the paper on the black recycling bin and sit back down on the wooden chair behind the till. Waiting.

“Who was that?” Molly jumps up at the counter, clearly curious.

“Don’t know him.” I sigh already knowing where she’s getting at.

“Well you two were speaking for a while, I assumed he was a friend from school.”

“Molls, he was just asking for book recommendations, don’t worry about it!”

“I wasn’t worrying, dear. Just wondering.” She raises her brow.

“Oh ok.”

“Why did you flick him, though?”

“I-”

“Rosa, I hope you’re not harassing our customers.”

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