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Chapter 2 Josephine

I lied to Nate when I said I had work to catch up on at school. I didn’t want him to know where I was going because the bookstore is the one place where I can go and not have to worry about what’s going on anywhere else for a while. When I’m there, I don’t have a care in the world and I’d like to be able to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Honey Bees Bookstore is only a seventeen-minute walk from my house. I’m there pretty much every day and on weekends when Mrs. Lawrence needs the extra help. I also spend most of my free time there reading every book that I can get my hands on. I have read so many novels in the last couple of years; that I could probably fill my room from top to bottom.

I see Mrs. Lawrence through the window just as she turns the light on to the cute little book-shaped, OPEN sign in the window and then comes to the door to unlock it to let me in. She’s wearing her favorite oversized wool sweater and her hair is always so neatly tied up in a bun on top of her head. And not once have I come in here and seen her without a smile.

“Good morning Mrs. Lawrence.” I say as I walk in.

“Good morning, dear. It’s nice to see you so early again.” She says in her usual cheery tone.

Mrs. Lawrence and I have a quiet, friendly relationship. I started coming here a couple of years ago every day before school, spending at least an hour in the morning and most days I would even come back after school. The weekends are when I would spend almost the entire day here and I enjoyed every single minute of it. I would spend hours browsing through the books to see what looked interesting but I couldn’t always purchase them because I never had any money of my own at the time.

The one morning I had come in before school and Mrs. Lawrence asked if I could help her with some inventory that she was behind on. Of course, I helped her catch up on everything she needed. After all, she would always let me stay here as long as I wanted and never complained when I couldn’t actually buy anything. From then on, I would help around the store without being asked. I would realign the shelves, put back anything that the customers decided not to buy or didn’t put back in the correct place after looking at them, and sometimes Mrs. Lawrence would even send me down the block to pick up pastries she had ordered that morning. She would always tell me to help myself to whatever I wanted as long as it was a sweet treat that I would enjoy.

After a few months she even confided in me and told me that the bookstore had been in her family for three generations, but since her husband had passed away a couple of years ago, she’s left to take care of everything all on her own. That’s when I decided to come in regularly and get right into a routine of completing daily tasks without her having to ask me and a couple of weeks later, she offered me a job. Of course, I happily accepted and I have been working here ever since, and I absolutely love it.

A few packages were delivered this morning before I left to pick up the pastries at the bakery, so I signed for them and brought them inside. I start unpacking the boxes and un-wrap each book, finding myself staring at the gorgeous covers. The colors are amazing and both look like they belong together, each complimenting the other. When I read the title, I realize that this is an author that I haven’t read anything from yet. Lullaby Series by Anna Monroe. I flip the book over to read the description on the back and I am even more intrigued than I was just seconds ago.

I neatly line the shelves with all of the new copies, stacking them just right so the covers are sure to catch customers’ attention. Mrs. Lawrence said these need to be put out before anything else in the stock room gets unpacked because they are the first two books of a series that will be coming in over the next few weeks to complete a display later on.

I never used to read the blurbs, but a while back Mrs. Lawrence told me to never judge a book by its cover after she noticed that I only sat down to read the ones that looked the most interesting to me. Then she handed me a book that had a dark green cover with pale yellow writing on it called Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I can honestly say I would have never read it had it not been for her telling me that it was the most liberating novel that she had ever read and it was one of her favorite books to read over and over again. She told me to take it home that day and that if I liked it, I didn’t have to return it.

I went home that day and read the entire thing from cover to cover. I would have never picked it up, much less read a romance novel before reading this one but after I did, it opened my eyes to an entire new world. I go to Mrs. Lawrence to ask if she wouldn’t mind that I borrow a copy before I place the last stack on the shelf.

“Do you mind if I take these with me to read at home?” I ask her from across the room, holding up a copy of each to let her see which ones I mean.

“I ordered a few extra copies of that series. You go ahead and keep them if you like.” She tells me. “I have a feeling you may enjoy reading that authors’ work. Really quite talented that one, she keeps you coming back for more.” She says excitedly as she waves her finger in the air over her head. I feel my face light up when she says I can keep them. I’ll have to remember to do something nice for her to pay her back. I always feel kind of guilty when she lets me keep a book, so I try to show her how much I appreciate it. I thought I loved reading before I met Mrs. Lawrence, but she has introduced me to so many wonderful authors and I just can’t get enough. I thank her as I break down the last of the boxes for recycling and gather my things up to leave for school.

“Have a nice day Mrs. Lawrence.” I call back to her.

“See you later dear.” She says as I walk out the front door.

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