What's this? Oh nothing, just a flipping adorable rom com about a take-no-prisoners chemical engineering major ready to battle it out with a snarky education major over the the most coveted study spot in the library! Can loathing turn into love? Read on to find out ...
Love, Lucifer, and the Library is a FREE novella I'll be making available through my newsletter. Each month, I'll include the next part of the story (15 parts total).
Do you love battles of epic(kind of) proportions? What about multiple spit takes? If someone placed a decadent slice of caramel pear pie in front of you, would you dig into it with gusto? If you answered "Yes!" to any of these, you're sure to have a fun time with this story.
Here's PART 1 ...
Love, Lucifer, and the Library
These slow as hell sorority girls need to get out of my way before I mow them down. If you want to stop and chat with your friends, go ahead, but not in the middle of the walking path. I have to sidestep into the grass to dodge around their giggling group. Once clear of them, I push my legs to the highest level of speed that can still be considered walking.
I'm going to be late.
Why did my professor think it was okay to lecture five minutes past the end of class? Doesn't he know some of us have places to be?
My heavy backpack smacks against my spine as I power-walk across campus.
If I wasn't in such a rush, I might take a moment to enjoy the warm spring day. The groundhog was wrong because it's only mid March and the temperature is kissing the upper sixties. I actually took the extra five minutes needed in the shower to shave my legs this morning, so I could pull out a set of my favorite tweed shorts. The sun soaks deep into my skin, warming my bones.
This is one of the reasons I decided to come south for college. Not that Virginia is tropical or anything, but the winters run away sooner than in the frozen hell of Rochester. It is most definitely not shorts weather there right now. Mom is probably digging her car out of a foot of snow at this exact moment.
So, normally, I would be strolling along, breathing in the thick humid air carrying the sweet scent of newly blooming flowers and the pungent tang of freshly spread mulch. I'd smile up at the sky, where wisps of clouds do little to block out the great expanse of rich blue.
But it's Tuesday afternoon, which means there's no time for dawdling.
The library looms up tall before me built in an almost gothic style with its heavy gray bricks and rounded corners. Inside, though, it's a lot like other university libraries. Computer stations everywhere, colorful furniture, front desk staffed with helpful student workers.
I blow past them. Well into my second year here, I know exactly where I'm headed.
The elevator decides to work in slow motion, rudely ignoring my insistent pressing of the 'close doors' button. Finally, the silver doors slide shut, and I ascend at a crawl.
"Come on. Come on," I mutter to myself, a silent prayer I'm not too late. My shoulders ache from the weight of my backpack, a physical reminder of all the homework I need to get done before my 8 a.m. class tomorrow. Each semester the work load grows heavier, as if the professors enjoy the idea of me struggling to maintain my academic scholarship.
I haven’t let them break me, yet. All I need is a quiet comfortable place to focus. Give me that, and I’ll scale the mountain of work one trudging footstep at a time.
A chime sounds, and the doors inch open. I don't wait for them to finish before shoving through and jogging forward, no one around to judge me. At least, that's what I hope.
But, when I turn the corner, I find all my speedy efforts were in vain.
Across the way, sitting in a casual slouch like he owns the place, is my nemesis. The sight of him there, his long fingers fiddling with a lock of his disheveled brown hair, his round disinterested eyes tripping over the words in the textbook propped in his lap, brings on a wave of anger that slides from my now hot cheeks down to my purple painted toes.
The gall of him, to show up here again, and take what should be mine.
Search this entire library, the whole campus even, and no study spot will compare to The Chair. It's an old leather piece, with a wide single cushion and low rounded armrests. So many options exist for sitting in it. All of them comfortable in their own way. Study late into the night, and you’ll never get an achy back or sore neck because you can shift and turn and lounge in all positions.
But this study spot does not dominate all others based on The Chair alone. The placement also needs to be taken into account. With the seat pushed up against a wide window, the sitter can unlatch a section to enjoy a refreshing breeze. The clear panes of glass let in plenty of natural sunlight, making it easy to read over notes during the day. But don't worry if the sun sets, because a tall lamp stands just behind The Chair. Pull its little dangling chain and the perfect amount of light spills out from under the shade.
Anxious about where to place all your excess books? Don't let that bother you another minute. Sitting at the exact right distance in front of The Chair is a heavy wooden coffee table, whose surface is happy to support bags, books, and snacks.
And apparently feet, which my nemesis has propped up at the moment.
With him looking so comfortable, my guess is he won't be packing up any time soon. Still, I don't want to miss my chance if he does. So, I settle for a spot at a table that's within eye line of The Chair.
Sitting down on the wooden seat is like expecting to get handed an ice cream cone, but instead realizing you're clutching a head of raw broccoli.
I can feel the disappointed grimace twisting my lips. So much for studying in comfort.
As my butt complains, I shoot another withering glare at my nemesis. That's how I refer to him in my head, partly because he is, but also largely because I don't know his actual name.
At the very end of my freshman year, I discovered The Chair. Coming back in the fall, I planned to take up residence in the new found study haven as often as possible.
Apparently, I wasn't the only one with this idea. And so began the unspoken battle with mystery man.
If I had to give him a name I'd probably go with Lucifer. Because every time I see him, I wish he'd go to hell.
The amount of brain power I allot to my hostility toward him is probably unhealthy. In contrast, I doubt he even realizes I exist, or that this silent competition is something I plan my schedule around.
But who can blame him? If I had The Chair, I wouldn't take notice of the surrounding world either.
The second the elevator let out its little arrival ding, I knew it was a matter of seconds before she came around the corner. And I was right.
Pretending to be absorbed in my textbook, I watch out of the corner of my eye as she fights to contain her rage at finding me in The Spot.
Her lips press tight together, and her slim black brows angle down dramatically. But the best part is when, apparently unable to stifle her anger completely, she stomps her foot. The sight is adorable.
And it's not the first time I've seen it.
Last semester there were a few times I found The Spot already filled, so I grumbled to myself and wandered away to some other less impressive chair. Obviously, it's the best seat in the library, what with it being so far away from foot traffic, having access to a window, and sitting next to a low table perfect for propping my feet on. No wonder other students would want The Spot as badly as me. But over time, I came to realize whenever I missed out on it, the person taking up residence in the old leather arm chair was the same girl.
After I noticed that fact, it wasn't long before I became aware of her arrival when I was already sitting down. One day, I glanced up at the sound of someone approaching, and there she was, glaring at me. I pretended not to see her, dropping my gaze back to my book, but by the clomp of her heavy footsteps, I got the impression she left in a huff.
A girl her size wouldn't make so much noise unless she was stomping away.
From that moment on, I never overlooked the arrival of my contender, even if she never realized I was watching her.
It's become a sort of game for me. First: will I beat her to The Spot? Then, if I do, the question is: will Shorty get mad?
I bet she'd hate me even more if she knew that's what I called her. We haven't stood next to each other, but I'd be surprised if she clears five feet. Despite lacking in the height department, she's not what I'd call petit. Shorty has some muscle on her arms and legs. And that butt would probably be generous handful.
Today, I'm able to fully admire it. That pair of shorts, making my nickname for her even more perfect, grips her hips in all the right ways. I've never really understood the high-waisted trend, but on Shorty I'm starting to get it. Her waist is more defined, and I glance teases of her rib cage above her shorts and below the T-Shirt she's cut the bottom off of. Over the shirt she's thrown on a blazer, like she hasn't decided if she wants to be casual or professional.
During the winter months she'd wear a similar get up, but jeans instead of shorts. I prefer this. Her bare golden legs are a nice spring time treat.
I look my fill without moving my eyes off the page in front of me.
After her angry foot stomp, Shorty huffs out a heavy breath before stalking over to a nearby table. Nowhere near as comfortable as The Spot though. I almost feel bad for her gorgeous behind siting on that hard wooden chair instead of sinking into the well-worn leather I'm currently sprawled across. But, I don't let the guilt stick around.
If she wanted The Spot then she should've shown up earlier. And, I’m not enough of a gentleman to give it up. I’ve already had to vacate my dorm room, which is supposed to be my home away from home. Freshman and Sophomore year it felt that way, but my roommate seemingly transformed into a different person over the summer, and his new extracurricular activity means I can’t ever count on the place being quiet.
Across the way, I can still feel her eyes on me, burning into me like death rays as she pushes aside her curtain of silky black hair. I don't mind the heat though, seeing as how I have a nice breeze floating in from the open window to cool me down.
She obviously chose her seat in hopes that I'd be up and out soon, and she could swoop in.
I'm tempted to meet her angry gaze with a smirk before calling out to her to get comfortable, because I have no plans to relocate.
Instead I ignore her, and get back to my textbook, keen on finding how long Shorty will hold out.
I'm pretty sure I'll win.
And that's it for PART 1! If you want to find out what happens with Hannah and Nathan, sign up for my monthly newsletter (I swear I won't spam you).