• softspoken-kotomi-chan --
“Ahh— nothing like the smell of new books,” Chiaki sighed, lowering the latest novel she’d picked up and cracked open. She had taken a break from her wandering around the city and had popped into the nearest book store. After stepping out of the sun and into the cool interior, she had done a little twirl of joy and immediately headed for the “just in”s — her favorite place to start. Once there, she’d lifted book after book, opening them at their middles and taking deep inhales. This went on until she’d received strange looks from the employees — something she was actually fairly used to. “Okay, okay. That was the last one,” she finally told a particularly snippy looking cashier when she removed her nostrils from the book. “I’ll move along.” Except… she didn’t immediately do so. Instead, she took one more deep whiff and whispered, ‘i’ll be back, baby,
’ before shuffling along, knowing it would annoy the old crone even more.
Once she was out of sight, Chiaki got down to real business — book searching. Growing up, she’d always been told that she was like her mother. Forever nose-deep in a book, surrounded by the things. Finding more comfort in text than in real people. Not that she particularly had a problem with that. She quite enjoyed being compared to her mother, and enjoyed her books even more. Her mama was the type of lady she aspired to become, and books… well, they took her to a place where she could just be free. Not that she couldn’t be free in her own reality; that certainly wasn’t the case. But literature allowed her to take over a different persona — one where she could just be
, without the worry of being called weird, or nerdy. In short, book hunting was the ultimate past-time for her. So, she had to put on her serious, ‘don’t bother me, peasant
’ face. Which, truthfully, wasn’t all that difficult.
After searching through aisles upon aisles of text, Chiaki found a select few novels and cradled them to her chest like the children they were. “I am going to take you all home and love you forever,” she told them, wandering off into another section of the shop. Too focused on her new beloveds, she didn’t notice the small figure sitting by her lonesome, surrounded by books of her own. With the grace of wounded elephant, Chiaki tripped over a small pile and went flying, books falling over themselves in a large mess. “My babies!” She cried out from her crumpled heap, hand dramatically thrown out in their direction as if they could reach out to her as well. “Goddamnit!” She swore as the pain in her legs crept forward. She was going to be bruised later, and she was sure she had a cut somewhere. Which was just her luck.
With no real plans and Takashi being busy, Kotomi had decided to spend the day at one of her favorite bookstores. It had seemed like forever since she had been there, and she was beyond excited to just spend hours upon hours pouring over as many books as she could. She was in desperate need of new reading material anyway. The last time she had gone shopping, Takashi had come along, and the two of them had each bought more books than she had ever bought in one sitting before. And she had already finished hers and his… She needed more. And so, she was here, sitting on the floor in the middle of one of the aisles, several small stacks of books piled around her.
Just like every time she read a book, Kotomi was lost to the world within the first paragraph. This particular story was a suspense and romance novel about a young woman who is searching for her true identity after seeing a picture of herself as a child that didn’t correlate with any of her own memories. Kotomi’s amethyst eyes quickly scanned the pages, taking the words in at an unbelievable pace. She was eager to find out the truth of this woman’s life. What connection did she have with the photograph…?
So completely focused on her books, she didn’t even notice that someone else was coming down the aisle she had claimed. So, her books remained where they were, scattered all over the floor for anyone to trip over. Which they did. And it took Kotomi several seconds after the other person had fallen and cried out in pain and frustration before she registered that something was wrong. Slowly, she lifted her head from her book, blinking in confusion, then turned to look to where a young lady was lying on the floor. She noticed a few books thrown carelessly down the aisle, and two of her small stacks having been knocked over.
She looked back down at her book for a moment, just to dog-ear the page she was on, then closed it and settled it in her lap before turning her attention back to the strange girl. “Why are you lying on the floor…?” she asked in a soft, somewhat distant voice. “That can’t be a comfortable position to read a book in.” Scooting over a bit, she gave the cushion she was sitting on a light pat. “You may sit here with me if you’d like.”