Chapter 1: Somewhere Over the Rainbow
"Somewhere over the rainbow, 713.577 must be somewhere…" I stretched the tune in a singsong voice as I skipped/danced in the forbidden part of our school library. Of course, I got permission, I was merely on Shelving Duty, and being a eleventh grader, this was the only library 'duty'-they call it- that I was permitted to do.
I usually didn't sing, or dance for the matter of fact. Yet that day, I was in the stacks, non-fiction, no one reads non-fiction, and plus, this was the forbidden part of it, no one was allowed to go there-except for profs- and that didn't really matter. So there I was, dancing and prancing around, talking to myself and asking the books where their spot was. I didn't think anyone would hear or see me. I mean, I was right in between two stacks of non-fiction books. On my right stack, there were just more stacks of those boring dusty non-fiction books, and on my left stack, there was a hallway that was only used by profs and then a white old wall. No one would ever even know I was here.
"Com'on! Where are you 747.944?!" I demanded to myself. "Who takes out these dumb stupid boring books on Poplar Trees anyways?!"
"Who takes out these dumb boring books on Poplar Trees anyways?!" I heard a voice mimic my own.
Appalled, I froze in my tracks, the books stuck in my hands. Turning my head in the direction of the voice, I scanned for a being. There were none.
"Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream. Really do come true." The voice sang, the proper version. He really did have quite a good voice, rich and warm, I couldn't deny that, it was obvious as it is. He could've probably done Keel fall's duet with me at the Avenue of Stars.
"That's how the song's supposed to go." He told me as I saw his head show itself from the other side of the stack. He was in the forbidden hallway! This was- I could not even find the right word to describe it. Yet the smirk on his face made me forget all thoughts of telling him that it was forbidden. He had flax blond hair-some dipped in a light pale brown, green intense eyes and fair skin tone. Yet it was the eyes that truly threw me off, they showed mischief, which was for certain, but also amazement-true utter amazement.
"Hello? The original version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow?" He repeated, snapping me back to reality.
"Well," I started, did he just correct me? No one corrects me, no one including Profs and principals. "One can get creative." I state, indignant.
"Oh yes, one can, only if she doesn't know the song." He smartly retorted.
"I do too know the song, it is merely the fact that I want to get creative." I acknowledged.
"Really?" He questioned, his expression clearly amused.
I rolled my eyes, and shoved the Poplar Tree book back into its spot. "Were you spying on me?" I enquired.
"Do you always talk like this? It's so sentence full." He commented irrelevantly.
"It's the proper use of English, unlike some who talk in gibberish." I snapped back.
"Proper English, aye?" He questioned, raising a brow.
I huffily turned around and recommenced my shelving.
"Somewhere over the rainbow. Way up high. There's a land that I heard of. Once in a lullaby." He sang once again, mocking me.
I huffed and pointed my nose in the air dignantly. How dare him. Mock me. After shelving the last book I started to stomp down the stack to report for more duties.
"Hey!" I heard him shout. Turning around, I rolled my eyes to see him leaning against a stack. "You forgot some."
On the ground were several books.
"You-" I started. "You nuisance." I finished.
"Come shelve these books that you forgot…" He teased.
Taking a few more deep breaths to prevent myself from impaling him, I walked over with fake sweetness and picked up the books. As I shelved them into their proper places, a few more hit my head.
"Quit it!" I commanded. "You are in serious need of something to do."
"I am doing something." He bit back.
I rolled my eyes again as I shelved the books once again into their proper positions! And this time, after taking two steps, I heard a series of crashes. Slowly turning around, fearing what had happened, I found a pile of books burying the boy. He must've pulled it out too fast, because the number one rule was to pull them out slowly so the old wall high stacks wouldn't tumble over. Lucky for him, only the section on William Shakespeare fell on him.
"Finally, someone is getting what they deserve." I commented smugly as I started to walk away.
"Collings! What are you doing?!" Mr. Treasures challenged, stomping over to me.
"I-I-" I tried to explain.
"You what? Get back there and shelve those books!" He commanded.
"But I didn't make the mess!" I protested.
"I don't care! Go back there and shelve those damn books or you lose your job here Leanna Collings!" He shouted.
Reluctantly I dragged my feet back there, Mr. Treasures kept his beady eyes on me until I shelved three books. After I was sure that he was gone, I kicked the pile of books.
"Quit it!" He groaned again, using my own words against me.
"Get up, you jerk!" I ordered, kicking the pile again.
"I really do not care how much pain you are in! You are most definitely helping me shelve these two hundred books!" I stated.
More groans. Just as I was wondering if that was all he was capable of, he pulled himself up.
"You really are harsh, y'know?" He asked.
"Yes, I do and I also know that if you do not start putting some Shakespeare back onto the stack, I will go to harsher measures!" I threatened. I couldn't believe that Treasures had accused me for blame! Now not only was my job on the line but my time was too. I had promised to help Ms. Riverlin aid her failing students in the choir. Well goodbye to that now, I was stuck shelving Shakespeare with this jerk.
"Whoa! Take a chill pill, will you?" He asked, stuffing books into random places.
"A chill pill?" I asked in disbelief. "Are you seriously asking me to calm down and relax when I have to reshelve two hundred books?"
"Are there really two hundred? Personally, it doesn't look that much." He told me.
"Personally?" I snapped. "Well, personally I have much better things to do. And if you do not put them in sequence, Treasures is going to skin me alive."
"Have it your way." He said, leaving those books in their random places. "Treasures never evens comes back here, so never mind students! So if no one comes, then why do they have to be in order?"
"Because that's the proper order of things." I simply explained.
"Proper shomper." He mocked.
"I beg your pardon?" I clarified.
He burst out laughing, clutching at his sides as his dishelved hair gets even more dishelved.
"What tis so funny?" I asked, stopping my shelving, placing my hands on my hips.
He continued to laugh; I ignored him and returned back to my shelving.
"When can we stop, man?" He asked, wiping the sweat off his forehead. Being too dramatic if you questioned me.
"When theses books are on the wall." I simply told him.
"But school ended two hours ago! We're not staying till six." He protested.
"That's exactly what tis going to happen if you don't shelve faster." I told him.
"You have got to be fucking kidding me!" He exclaimed, throwing the book he was about to shelve on to the floor.
"Use appropriate language!" I sternly reprimanded.
"Whoa! Ok, mother!" He mocked.
"I beg your pardon?" I enquired, appalled.
He burst out laughing again, but this time, he was on the floor, once again clutching his sides.
"Tis not funny!" I stated pointedly, crossing my arms across my chest.
He did not stop laughing; in fact, I think he laughed even harder.
Annoyed, I continued to shove those dumb Shakespeare books into the stacks, and each one sent a 'thud' when its' side hit the stack.
"Ah, com'on!" He said, grabbing onto my arm.
I freed myself from his grasp.
"Your incompetence is not needed." I huffily said, not even looking at him.
I heard him snort, trying not to laugh.
"Tis nothing hilarious about this, you prat." I said.
This time he couldn't help but laugh, but held his pathetic laughing issues under control after several moments.
"What'd you call me?" He asked, still holding in whatever was left of his laughter.
I didn't reply, it was silent treatment now, that's certain.
"A prat, is it?" He questioned, his tone amused.
Thud, thud, thud, more books shelved.
"I must say, I am most insulted." He dramatically mimicked the way I talked.
I shot him a disgusted look. More thuds.
"But of course if you have dinner with me, I'll gratefully forgive you for your incompetence." He continued to rub in.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
"On com'on! Any restaurant you want…" He lured.
I rolled my eyes. Who does he think he is?!
Thud, thud, more thuds.
"You did insult me after all…" He reasoned.
Thud. Thud, thud.
"I wonder what will happen if Mr. Treasures finds out that his newest library assistant wasn't treating the customers well…" He wondered aloud, and I could instantly put my finger down on the smirk in his voice.
"You wouldn't dare!" I challenged, looking him straight in the eye. I assumed he wouldn't dare, no one dared challenge me. They knew what they were dealing with, or they were just cowards…nonetheless, he wouldn't…he wouldn't…
"Oh, I would unless we go have dinner…" He played.
I contemplated my pros and cons. If I didn't go eat with him, I might lose this job and earn no points for my High School Letter, which would degrade my chances of getting a scholarship, and if I didn't get that scholarship, there was no way I would be able to go to University, and that would only result to living on the streets. No, I refuse to let that happen, I will become a lawyer if it was the last thing I did.
If I did go out with him, then more trouble will occur because Jonathan Leathering had asked me out twenty times and I had declined all twenty… And if I just said yes to this guy who I don't even know the name of after he asked once, things will go chaotic. Yet then again, what choice did I have?
"We have to finish shelving the leftover books first." I reluctantly said.
Catching on immediately, he rapidly shelved the remaining books while I wondered what I did that morning to deserve all this torment…?