“I wasn’t sure if you were serious about that New Year’s resolution.” She paused. “Which is fine if you weren’t. You know I wasn’t judging you, right? I just want you to be happy.”
“I know you do, and yes, I was serious. I’m working on it.”
“Yeah?” She smiled, linking arms with me as we neared the terminals where we could search for reference materials. “Good. Now, you just need to work on your listening skills.”
“I’ll add it to the list,” I said dryly. “Right below stop being such a slutty twink and above get a job.”
“Ollie—” Kyla started, about to admonish me for calling myself a slut or a twink, or maybe both, but the sound of someone clearing their throat stopped her. I glanced across the computer terminals, stomach sinking as the librarian gave me the evil eye once more.
“Sorry,” I hissed in an obnoxious stage whisper. “Kyla just doesn’t know when to keep her voice down.”
Kyla quietly stomped on my foot, and I grimaced at the pain. Totally deserved that. But it was worth the look of annoyance that flashed across Graham’s face and distracted me from the fact that he’d possibly heard me refer to myself as a slutty twink. No doubt Graham was already forming a relatively low opinion of me, considering I was pretty much the antithesis of library etiquette, but I’d rather not help him along to that conclusion.
Graham turned back to the student he’d been coaching through a reference search, and I exchanged a look with Kyla. “Ready to work?” I suggested.
“Now he wants to work,” she muttered, shaking her head. But Kyla was my best friend for a reason. She pulled out a chair beside her and waved me over. “Okay, so first, you want to start by pulling up this screen…”
I tried to listen this time. I really did.
But my gaze kept drifting to Graham as he patiently answered questions. Across the terminals, seated as he was, I couldn’t see that awful corduroy jacket or sweater vest. Just his messy brown hair that fell over his forehead just above hazel eyes and a set of features that weren’t entirely unfortunate. Graham was almost, maybe, kind of cute? In a helpless puppy sort of way.
Dear God, I must be desperate to be leering at a librarian.
Just then he looked up, meeting my gaze, and my heart lurched. “We have job openings,” he said.
“The library has job openings,” he said slowly, as if I had a cognitive disorder. “I thought you might be looking for a position.”
I frowned, a little puzzled by the non sequitur. Then I realized with a flash of embarrassment why he was telling me.
“I’ll add it to the list, right below ‘stop being such a slutty twink’ and above ‘get a job,’” I’d said to Kyla. Graham had definitely heard my words.
“Great, you were eavesdropping,” I said self-consciously.
He flushed. “Not on purpose—”
“So, will I have to buy a sweater vest to work here, or is that going to be provided? I assume the grandpa loafers are optional.”
Oh, god, the snark was in full force. I wanted to stop, but it was a self-defense mechanism. Some creatures had porcupine quills. Some men had fists. I had brutal, snarky wit.
“Never mind. I don’t think you have what it takes to work here after all,” he said, standing up. He’d shed the jacket, leaving just a sweater vest over a pale-blue button-down shirt. He’d rolled up the shirt sleeves, exposing strong forearms. For a librarian, he filled out his shirt better than I would have expected.
I nodded. “Not the right fashion sense.”
“No,” he said. “Not the right common sense. We value brains here, not shallow good looks.”
I gasped, shocked at the harsh burn—not that you don’t deserve it—and he walked away before I could even get in the final word.
“Oh, I don’t think so,” I muttered, shoving my chair back.
“Ollie, just let it go,” Kyla urged, but I ignored her, rounding the island of computers and following hot on Graham’s heels as he returned to the circulation desk. He didn’t notice me until he’d already taken up his station on the other side. He jumped a little when he saw me, and I smiled viciously.
“Can I help you?” he asked warily.
“Yes,” I said as sweetly as possible. “You can give me a job application.”