Chance Encounter: A WordPress Interactive Novel (2 of 7)

 

ChanceEncounterWPCover

CHAPTER TWO

 

Sensing that Emily was nearly convinced, Alex grabbed a piece of paper and a pen, held them ready on the counter and posed to write, his two arms stretching out like a crab as he gazed at her, waiting. He looked so silly yet confident that Emily burst out laughing, finding it hard to say no. She murmured her phone number and watched him writing it down. He then added “Emily Wydnham” below the number, neatly folded the piece of paper and put it in his wallet.

“So he does know my name,” Emily thought. “I wonder how long he’s been watching me?” She saw her reflection on the window behind Alex. The library’s bright light clearly revealed her black hair, her slim face and shoulders, her old-fashioned white blouse, and her two hands that were now tangled up in the buckles of her bag. She suddenly felt anxious, as if this Alex Borgen would pick up the phone on the counter and ring her straight away. What would he say? How should she respond?

Seeing how nervous she was, Alex smiled. He released her hands from the buckles, packed the remaining books into her bag, then watched her carrying it onto her shoulder and wincing at its weight. “Is it OK if I call you during the daytime?” he asked.

Emily immediately shook her head. “Well, not the daytime. It’s better at night. I’m always home after dark.” There was no freedom for her while the sun was up. Independence only came at the period between sunset and the next sunrise.

He refrained from asking, deciding instead to respect her choice. “I finish work at midnight. If I call you after that, won’t it bother your family?” He came out from behind the counter to see her off, concerned that she would be crushed by those books.

She lowered her head, staring hard at the floor to hide her self-pity. “It’s fine. As long as it’s nighttime.” Her voice was so low that he mistook it as a sign of shyness.

Alex watched her leaving the library, turning back to wave once, then walking toward the nearby bus station. The city was busy even at night, yet its hustle and bustle only highlighted the fragility of Emily Wyndham. Throughout the past two months he had been watching this quiet girl. God knew how hard he struggled to come up with enough courage to start a conversation, not to mention asking for her phone number. She fascinated him, inspiring in him a desire to help and protect, to do everything possible to make her laugh.

As he sat back behind the counter, glimpses of Emily kept twirling in his mind. Her pale cheeks. Her silky hair cascading over her shoulders. That solemn look on her face as she searched among the bookshelves. How she frowned and gritted her teeth while shouldering that bag. He tapped the keyboard to locate her in the database, something he had done at least a thousand times. The record showed she had borrowed more than 80 books in two months; many of them were returned on the next day, obviously containing nothing she wanted. What exactly was she studying for?

He was so focused on the list of books on the screen that he did not see the person in front of the counter. As soon as he looked up, however, all the romantic feelings in his heart disappeared, replaced by a sense of pure frustration and hatred. “What are you doing here?” he barked.

———-

Who do you think Alex saw? Should it be (1) his current girlfriend, or (2) his stepmother? Please leave a message below. Your vote will determine the story’s development in the next 600 words.

The next chapter will be posted on February 5, Friday, at 8pm AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Time, GMT+11). Voting begins right after the chapter is posted and ends at midnight AEDT the following Tuesday. The story will have a total of seven chapters, 64 possible endings.

 

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