It’s ten in the morning before I remember the old man from last night. I’m unpacking a new box of books, sitting cross-legged on the floor in the book shop surrounded by stacks of books and bubble wrap, while Tom sits at the counter clutching his ever-present cup of tea with his face screwed up into grumpy lines.
“I’m just saying that you’re opening yourself up too much, Blue.”
“That’s never been a complaint before,” I say lightly, grinning up at him as he rolls his eyes.
“Lovely as this glimpse is into your private affairs, I must move you on.”
“Private affairs? I’m not Prince Charles.”
“And that’s a shame. That lad talks to plants. You struggle with humans.”
I shake my head. “I’m pretty sure that comment wasn’t meant for me. Know yourself.”
“I’m very good with humans.”
“What about yesterday?” I say, putting down my scissors and staring at him. “I’m pretty sure it was you who told the lady asking if we took cash that you weren’t the Bank of England.”
“You’ve been dreaming again.”
I roll my eyes. “If I’m dreaming about you, I definitely need to get some professional help.”
He huffs and helps himself to another biscuit from the Incredible Disappearing Biscuit Tin. I don’t know where the fuck he hides that thing. One minute he’s chomping down on a Hob Nob, then I come to take a biscuit, and it’s gone. Vanished.
I eye him affectionately. This crotchety old man is one of the most important people in my life. I’ve known him since I was a scrawny, scared kid who hitchhiked my way to York and never left, pinned here by a sense that I’d found my place. Tom never asked questions, just fed me and then later on when he revealed himself to be psychic too, he became my mentor. Sort of like Alec Guinness as Ben Kenobi, but with very poor people skills. Tom and my best friend, Will, are only topped by Levi. No one will ever shift Levi from heading the list of my most favourite people in the world.