Putting the books back was a dull task and one which was dreaded by everyone who worked in the library. However since it had to be done Imogene had volunteered. The trolley was full as usual for a Saturday and required a good two hours to empty. Slowly and with concentration she started to methodically complete the task.
"I said excuse me" a male voice full of irritation broke her concentration. Imogene looked up to see a handsome young man with sharp features and deep piercing eyes. He was definitely taller than her and his broad shoulders and narrow hips emphasised his maleness even more. He wore expensive looking jeans and shirt, but his face was arrogant as was his tone of voice.
"I'm sorry, how can I help?" she asked looking directly into his eyes. The girl just reached his chin, but she was medium built. Her dark brown hair in many layers hung off her shoulders and her deep brown eyes showed gentleness and care. She had thick eye lashes and full lips contrasted the typical look of a librarian. She looked very curvy in her knee length skirt. Her breasts were full and the slightly stretching the shirt and one could just make out her cleavage if looking carefully. She looked vaguely familiar to him.
"I'm trying to look for a book on the computer, but it has crashed" he handed her a piece of paper. His actions spoke for themselves. She walked over to the central desk and typed in the information and wrote down anything relevant. She walked back and handed him back the paper. He turned to leave, without saying a word or a glance.
How rude!! She despised people who waltzed in and demanded help without being grateful. She went back to the faithful trolley and spent the rest of the day sorting out the desk papers so that it would be ready for her colleagues on Monday morning and the rest of the week.
5pm couldn't have come soon enough, sometimes it was such a bore, and thankfully she worked twice a week. Slipping on her jacket she exited the library and headed straight for a coffee-anything to keep her awake.
She took off the lid and smelt the rich aroma of the blend. Walking down the busy high street, she took sips; letting the hot liquid flow down and warm her throat from the chill. She wasn't really paying attention as she collided with someone spilling her coffee in the process.
"Oh my God, I'm so sorry. I wasn't paying attention" she began in horror. How could she be so clumsy? She looked up and recognised it was the very same young man who had been in the library earlier.
"You clumsy bitch; that was hot," he snapped back. He didn't look up at first too busy trying to cool off from the burning sensation.
"There is no need to be so rude" she said, almost wishing she could spill the rest over him.
"Oh I'm sorry, but if you were looking where you were going you wouldn't have spilt the damn drink in the first place," he explained with sarcasm. His eyes narrowed on the girl for the first time. The very same as in the library, even then she'd been far off.
"I have apologised sincerely and there is nothing I can do about it" she said trying to control her anger from surfacing.
"Imogene Meyers? It's you isn't it?" he suddenly said when he realised why she looked familiar to him. She had definitely changed since school, but he now remembered her well.
"Who are you?" she asked suddenly frightened by the familiarity by this stranger.
"Don't you remember me, Imogene?" he said with a smile.
"I'm sorry, but no. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go," she quickly said and attempted to go past him. No sooner had she done so when her wrist was gripped tightly and pulled back.
"Are you sure you don't remember me? Something in your eyes tells me that you do" he said staring at her with such familiarity that it sent shivers down her spine.
"Hey baby what's taking you so long? Who is that?" a blonde screeched. She looked at Imogene with venom. She had been waiting for ages in the station and decided to come looking for him when he was running late. She didn't expect to see a woman to be the reason for his tardiness.
"I just bumped into an old school friend and couldn't resist saying hi, even though she beat me to it by spilling coffee first" he said with a laugh, wrapping his arm around the girl.
"Oh" she sighed. "Xander we're running late as it is. I'm sure your friend won't mind" she said looking back at her with contempt.
"No, please. I'd hate for you to be stuck here on my account," she said as she hastily walked away from the couple. Never had Imogene walked so fast in her life. Her eyes could not believe it. Xander Rhys.
"They told me you work on Wednesdays too" a familiar voice said.
"What are you doing here?" Imogene said in surprise when she looked up from her desk and saw Xander standing in front of her in a dark suit. His smile was more like a smug and she wished she could wipe it off his face.
"It's a public library," he said with dripping honey. He still got under her skin after all these years.
"I know, but you said they. Who?" she said rooted at her spot.
"Your colleagues; look I finished work and you're about to in fifteen minutes. How about meeting me in that café?" he said noting that she was in the same skirt, but a dark red jumper today.
"I can't" she replied quickly.
"Imogene, I'm very sorry for Saturday both in the library and afterwards. I acted like a complete jerk. I'm not a rude person, but sometimes I have off days like other people" he said with sincerity.
"Well in that case I guess I over reacted too" she said with a sigh of relief and a laugh. She hadn't realised she'd been holding her breath for so long.
"So how about that coffee?" he asked in hope.
"Actually I'm dying for a Chai Tea or Hazelnut Milk. Have you tried them?" she replied.
"No, but I gather you know where to go then" he said with a laugh.
"Yeah, meet me outside in 20 minutes," she said.
"Twenty minutes it is" he said smiling before he left.
"Wow this milk is really nice" Xander said sipping it. They'd gone to a cute little French café not far from the library where Imogene often went.
"I'm glad you like it. You know this feels weird sitting here with you. I remember back at school we moved in very different circles and you and I never got on" she said pondering about the past.
He burst out laughing at her seriousness, then tried to keep a straight face when he saw she wasn't amused, but attempting to suppress a smile herself. "Well that was a long time ago; we're all grown up" he said.
"Fine, you're right. So what are you up to these days?" Letting the Chai run down her throat and soothe her body.
"Well I work for a firm that sponsor's projects and things like that," he explained. "What about you? If memory serves me correctly you were bit of a bookworm," he said with a cheeky grin.
"Haha; actually I'm doing my PhD at IOE in actuarial maths and we're about to finish off a project," she explained.
"The IOE? My firm, or more specifically my sector, sponsors the maths department. There's a conference in three months time and I've been nominated to attend on behalf of the firm," he said in surprise.
"Small world. Yeah I know about it as I've been nominated to go. Got to get the work done by the end of the month before I can formalise the findings," she laughed.
"Are you doing anything tonight? I know this great Iranian place that does really nice kebabs with rice and barbequed tomatoes" he asked hoping she'd say yes.
"Sounds good to me. It'll be nice to catch up," she said finishing up her tea. Actually it sounded very good because they'd nearly spent two hours and she was getting hungry.
"Thank you again, but you really should've allowed me to pay as well" Imogene said.
"I know what it feels like being a student; and honestly it was my pleasure," Xander replied. He had a really nice time with her unlike his date on Saturday who spent most of the evening pouting or being rude to the waiters. Had it not been for the great sex afterwards, he'd have dumped her at the restaurant.
"Well see you around then" her voice bringing him back to the present.
"Let's meet up again" he said giving her a kiss on her cheek.
"Did you hear anything we discussed?" the voice brought her out of her trance. She had been sitting there all morning staring at her work in the lab but been unable to concentrate.
"Sorry I was miles away Blake. I... ," her voice trailed off.
"My God Gen, we can't afford for you to be having day dreams. You were assigned to my team by your tutor as an 'asset' but I'm starting to find that very hard to believe," he said sternly before walking away.
She sat back and stretched out. Her body need a strong shot of caffeine if she was ever to wake up and concentrate. All the Red-bush teas had been great for relaxing in the evenings, but were not giving her the energy she needed to sustain for research.
Xander and she were meeting up in cafes most times since she bumped into him three weeks ago. They even went to the cinema, but she didn't think they were dating because everything was very platonic especially on his behalf.
Her project was in the middle of being assessed but her leader was in a foul mood due to the stress. She knew he appreciated her, but her concentration had a tendency to wonder.
"Gen, you know you're going to the conference for a five days right? You hand in the project and then you have the time to yourself. They'll give you an informal feedback with questions, but the real assessment will be some time in June when we are all going," Blake explained.
.... There is more of this story ...