A Few Lines from The Bookstore Lady by Diane Bator
When the hunched over, balding pharmacist next door called
out, “Good morning, Katie,” her hand flinched and her heart raced. It took her
nearly a full minute to remember she’d been Katie Mullins for two months and
she’d better answer before he got offended.
“Hi.” She nodded.
The drugstore opened at eight every morning and it was now
quarter to ten. Must have been a slow morning if he had time to stand in the
doorway with a large cup of coffee rather than hanging out behind the back
counter. “You’d best convince Ray to get some air-conditioning for that store
before your new books curl up and warp. It’s beyond me how he’s never lost half
his books every summer.”
“Dust absorbs the humidity.” She smiled wryly. “I don’t
think we can afford air-conditioning this year.”
“I know a guy who’ll give you a quote. He’s not bad looking
once you get past the bug eyes and scars. I can call him, if you’d like.”
“Maybe some other time.” Like when hell froze over.
He waved and went back into the drugstore.
Katie drew in a deep breath. The air was fresh from last
night’s rain and the hint of a breeze mussed her hair. In two months, the only
thing to find her was the sunshine and a case of withdrawals that made renovations
hell. Nate, bless his heart, had had more compassion while she fought “the flu”
than any man she’d ever met.
She blew a strand of stray copper hair out of her mouth and
jiggled the door lock. Another thing that needed to be fixed before winter. She
should have done it during renovations, but it hadn’t seemed as important as
books and workmen. Luckily, Nate worked cheap and she hadn’t had to dig into
the money from Dunnsforth. The money was tucked up in a box in the backroom,
fastened with half a roll of duct tape. She’d ask him to fix the lock when he
delivered her order later.
The door opened with a groan. “It’s about time.”
Tricia McGill follows with A Few Lines next week.