"There's a new bookstore a couple of blocks down. I plan on checking it out today," I told my roommate as I walked towards the kitchen. Gabriella and I were paired in a dorm together at the start of our first year of college. We quickly became the sisters we never had and have stayed attached ever since.
Gabriella's slippers slid across the floor as she made her way to stand beside me. She rubbed her eyes as she yawned. No one would classify us as morning people. "Did you have coffee? You're already dressed and going to some random bookstore."
I rolled my eyes. "No, because someone, who shall not be named, didn't buy creamer yesterday. Plus, I saw the bookstore also has a small coffee shop inside."
Gabriella looked everywhere but at me. She knew I needed my coffee every morning, so she promised to get more creamer on her way home. But here we were this morning sans creamer. "I'm sorry, Kens."
When I passed behind her to get my purse, I said, "Next time, I'll glue a sticky note to your damn forehead."
Gabriella laughed as she walked towards the living room. "Get going, Kensington. Bring me a muffin back."
"I don't even know if they sell muffins, Gabs." I hated when Gabriella used my full name, so I slammed the front door before she could respond. Since the new bookstore in town was only a few blocks down, I decided to walk there.
I took a deep breath as I soaked in the sun's warm rays. Spring was my favorite season. The birds singing their tunes to each other, the scent of blooming flowers, even the occasional rain shower comforted my soul. I always thought Spring was the gateway to new beginnings or rebirth.
As I waved across the street to Mrs. Jones, she hollered, "My grandson is coming for a visit this weekend!"
I chuckled at her feeble attempt at hooking her grandson up with me. Suit and tie banker Peter wasn't going to ever do it for me. But I didn't have the heart to tell my neighbor. "Sorry, Mrs. Jones. Unfortunately, I won't be in town this weekend."
Before Mrs. Jones could try to convince me to ditch my made-up plans, I increased my walking speed. I knew better than to underestimate the 85-year-old's negotiation skills. Mrs. Jones wasn't above bribing me with her homemade banana nut bread. Yes, it was that good.
A smile stretched across my face when the bookstore came into view. I slowed my pace to appreciate Coven's Tomes and Brews. The outer decor was simple, with earthy tones for the brick and front door. The store's name and hours were painted on the front window in elegant script.
As I stepped inside, I instantly inhaled the natural scents of lavender, vanilla, chamomile, and nutmeg. My eyes widened at the decor of vibrant green vines traveling throughout the rows of books. Along the walls, some branches met at the center of the store, entangling together to make a tree. The store's employees dressed in flowy, deep-colored gowns that nearly reached the floor.
I stood frozen to my spot, allowing the eccentric book store to invade my senses. I had just noticed the coffee nook when a lady came beside me. I looked at her name tag, seeing her name was Fiona. "Welcome to Coven's Tomes and Brews. May I help you find anything?"
"Oh, no, ma'am. I only need a coffee."
Fiona smiled as she pointed towards the back corner. "You will find our selection of brews in the back left corner. After you find a tome, you are more than welcome to sit in the back right corner."
"Tomes and brews?"
Fiona knowingly nodded as she said, "Well, of course, books and coffee."
"Okay," I said as I slowly nodded, "thank you for your help." I walked towards the area Fiona pointed towards for me to go. It quickly became apparent that the workers were taking the magical theme of the shop very seriously.
After the oddest conversation with the barista, he handed me the House Witch Brew. According to him, it was perfect for the change of the season, allowing the possibility of rewriting a chapter in life.
I tried my best not to look at him like he had grown two heads. Instead, I politely smiled, thanked him, and walked towards the bookshelves as he called out, "Have a blessed day full of what the heart desires most Kensington."
I nearly stumbled when he said my name, but I didn't stop to ask how he knew it. I didn't stop to say anything. I clutched my coffee cup, greedily took sips, and walked through the aisles of books.
As I walked down the third aisle, it felt like a book was calling out to me on the back wall. And even though part of my mind told me I had gone bonkers, my curiosity had me striding straight towards the book.
I stared at it for a moment or two before finally reaching for it. But as my fingers brushed its spine, another set of fingers did the same.
"Oh, sorry about that. Go ahead."
For the second time in this shop, I froze. I knew that voice. I hadn't heard it in six years, but there was no way I'd forget it.
I slowly turned towards the voice, only to see my high school sweetheart, first and only love, Jackson. "Jack?"
Jack's enigmatic smile stretched across his face. His brown hair was a messy kind of beautiful, while his blue eyes soaked every inch of my body.
Before I could figure out what to do, Jack tugged me towards him. Coffee and book had been forgotten as I eagerly melted into his warm body. "I've missed you so much, Kensy."
"I've missed you, too, Jack."
"Can we go talk somewhere? My place? Your place? The park? Shit, Kensy. Anywhere. I only know I'm not willing to let you go like I stupidly did six years ago."
Without uttering a word, I stepped out of his arms, grabbed his hand, and tugged him towards the exit. I never noticed the knowing smile the barista and employee shared. All I knew was the only thing my heart ever called out to was Jackson. And there was no way he wouldn't know that.