Eight o'clock classes hadn't yet started, and those students unfortunate enough to have them were just starting to crawl out of bed and get their daily routines started.
The Marketplace was sparsely populated at this time of day. Mostly a few stragglers came in, grabbed their caffeinated beverage of choice, and headed off to class. A few, for whom breakfast was a critical part of their day, stayed, lingering over toast and eggs.
A girl with long, straight hair and clear, grey eyes, sits in the center of the room. She is by herself, her tray neglected. A book is propped upright, leaning precariously against a paper bowl half full of milk-soggy cereal. She is quite obviously not in the mood for company, nor noticing the lack.
The other girl arrived in the cafeteria. She had badly dyed black hair and wore an almost obnoxious shade of cranberry red lipstick that didn't suit her. Her tray was dotted with her choice repast - bagel and annoying small envelop of cream-cheese, large Mountain Dew, and plate full of strawberries - was bored. And wanted company more than she wanted to appear polite. Instead of looking aside and seating herself at another table, eating breakfast alone for the third time that week, the seventh week in a row - astonishing how constant her lack of breakfast conversation was - she sat next to the reader.
"Is this seat taken?" she asked. It wouldn't have mattered much if the answer was yes. She sat with the intent of taking it over by hostile force if necessary. "Love that book," she continued, jerking her chin at the paperback. "I read it twice last year." That was true enough. What went unsaid is that she'd read it five times the year before that. And probably a dozen times altogether. She read a lot. And re-read a lot. First because she had a limited allowance and if she'd purchased new books every time her bedside table was bare, she'd never have money for other things, like food and clothes. Secondly, the books seemed somehow like old friends. Reading again was like having a conversation with a someone she hadn't seen in a few months. Or, at least, she assumed so. She'd never really had a friend.
The reader sighed and closed the book. "Good morning."
And that's how I met Liz, who would become my best friend.
In case you don't know, I'm the one who had no qualms annoying someone else who was reading. I have always loved to read; I still read avidly. But I found that particular morning something else about myself; I also love to talk.
So today, I'd like to talk about this: My best friend's second novella has been released today. I'm so pleased for her I could squeal.
(Her first novella, Of One Mind, is also available, as well as the companion short story that was written for charity... )
Now, her stuff's not for everyone, but if you like exceptional love stories and you don't much care about the gender of the two people in love, these books are truly wonderful. (Personally I like Safe Harbor better...)