| If you were to ask her why a woman from Texas was in Glasgow alone, she would smile and say she was researching theatre arts techniques used to teach Elizabethan drama to middle school aged children. She might add that there was an interest in classroom management as well, maybe even teacher/parent relationships. All of this would be true, of course; however, if you could hack your way through the brambles that protected her heart you would know that she was running, no, hiding from a pain that haunted her. That is, if you could safely course those brambles.
She had been in the City of Green Fields for a week and had worked hard to accumulate a vast store of knowledge, insights, and strategies. It had been a wonderful reprieve from her tattered life and she felt that she'd earned a bit of free time. It was a wonderful day; she felt semi-alive and decided that she would go for a walk around the city. To the surprise of those who knew her, she often took walks by herself. She liked the emptiness of being alone, not loneliness mind you, but just being alone with only her thoughts. She left her hotel on Shelley Road and began walking, nowhere in particular, just walking. When she reached Leicester, she took a left and continued her journey enjoying the sites, actually, the people. She didn't know how long she had walked, an hour or more she guessed, but she found herself in front of a bookstore. No, bookshop, they called them bookshops here. It was a wonderful place not like the sterile corporate bookstores of the States; this had character and style. Even the name possessed character, Voltaire & Rousseau. Tacked to a door was a small sign that read, "We sell rare and used books.” She walked through the doors to find books stacked in every available space, including on the floor. The musty smell of adventure filled her. She could get lost in such a place, as trite as it may sound she felt herself stepping back in time.
She had become lost in the stacks when her eyes fell upon an unbelievable treasure. It was a copy of John Leland's Itinerary. Not the real thing, of course, but still an edition she could never have found in the States. She had been a lover of Arthurian legend since she read her first story at the age of ten and had accumulated quite a few variations on the theme over the years. The Leland book was not only a great bit of writing concerning Henry VIII's Britain but contained an excellent description of the area thought to be Camelot. Her mind whirled as she reached for the book. As her hand touched the spine, she heard a voice from behind her, "That's an interesting choice." It startled her so she nearly dropped the book as she spun around. She found herself looking into the sky, eyes so blue that they took her breath away. Then she saw the smile, a little crooked, but so endearing. She wanted to kiss that smile and be taken up into that sky.
"Yes, I guess," Oh, very clever, Emily, she thought with irritation. Her mind suddenly screeched to a halt, why do you even care how you sound? In the moment it took for her eyes to look down at the floor in thought and look back up, he was gone. Not vanished gone, just walking away. Her hands hugged the book close to her chest. It was just a look for heaven's sake. She released a hiss of disgust at her sophomoric reaction and kept browsing.
It wasn't until she saw him again that she realized that she wasn't looking at books anymore but hoping to find him. Damn. This is ridiculous. She turned and headed for the clerk. If she didn't remove herself from this situation quickly, she was going to make a perfect ass of herself. She made polite conversation with the clerk, who hadn't taken the course in customer service demanded by American retailers. In fact, she got the distinct impression that he would have preferred to be left alone. She was still so elated over her find that the man's discourteous behavior did not matter, with a smile and her prize in hand, she walked to the door just as her hand reached out to open the door she felt his hand touch hers. It was electric, absolutely electric. The soft sound of his voice caressed her ear, "Would you care for a cup of coffee?” She meant to say, "No, thank you.” However, heard herself saying, "Yes, I would love that.” Well, wasn't this just wonderful, she thought to herself with irritation.
"My name is William," he said as she passed through the door. She hadn't meant walking past so quickly. Hell, she hadn't meant to say yes and now she was practically running down the street with this man with the heavenly eyes, crooked smile, and sexy Scottish accent. Sexy, did she say sexy.
"You must be an Olympic speed walker," he laughed
"Oh, well, no. Sorry...." Oh, very pithy there, she slowed her pace.
"Much better. What brings you to Glasgow, Tex?"
She had to stop and laugh because the sound of a Scot saying "Tex" just caught her off guard.
"Tex? No one calls anyone 'Tex' except in the movies"
"Well, you didn't give a name" He chuckled, "I had to improvise."
She offered her hand, "Emily. My name is Emily" She once again found herself looking into his wonderful face wondering how his kiss would feel.
"Actually, I like to get to know a girl first."
"You said you wanted to kiss me."
“I did? Out loud?”
Kill me now, God, just send a big old bolt of lightening, and take me out. Before she could try to salvage any sort of self-respect, his hand brushed away a stray lock of her hair softly tracing her cheek with the back of his hand.
"Ach, me wee Emily, you are the corker aren't ye.” They started walking. He was laughing and shaking his head. To her surprise, they were holding hands, and more surprising she didn't mind at all.