That First Meeting

This scene takes place when Foster and EJ meet for the first time in the library.

 

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“Yes, you can check out anything in the periodical section, but only for three days,” I told the young redheaded freshman. I always forgot how much hand holding they needed at the beginning of every year.

“Thanks,” he said in return, and then left the desk area of the engineering library where I worked. It wasn’t the greatest job, but it filled the time and that was all I needed it to do. Take up hours of my life and my mind.

I returned my focus to the computer, and dove back into my research on stoichiometry for extra credit in an upper level chemicals class. Typing in a few key words, I was easily drawn into the subject matter, totally ignoring the person to my right. I sensed her there, but she could wait. They all could wait.

“Hi,” her voice uttered next to me. “I’m EJ. I was just transferred here from the main—”

“The main what?” I asked, not really paying attention and clacking away at the keyboard.

“The main library. I’m scheduled to work tonight, and it’s my first time here. Am I supposed to check in with you?”

“Likely.” I sighed clicked a few keys and then moved the computer’s mouse to open the system wide employee schedule. I didn’t recall us getting an new person today. Last I knew I was solo indefinitely. However, the school did have rules and guidelines to follow in regard to staffing. “Hang on. Let me check something.”

I tapped a few letters on the keyboard and found today’s schedule, finding that there was indeed someone else on the schedule and apparently she had decided to show up.

“Found you,” I announced. “Yep. You’re in the system. I must have missed the notice while helping a student.” It was a total lie. I ignored all alerts because they were usually of annoying nature, reminding us to keep a tidy workspace. I hated them. “Evelyn Jane Cunning,” I read her name aloud and then continued to read her student bio. “Goes by EJ. Art history major. Fine arts minor. Senior. Off-campus living. Three-point-nine GPA. Honor student.”

“That’s me.”

“Great.” I swiveled around in the chair, taking a look at my new coworker for the first time.

Okay, not what I was expecting.

The girl was hot. Not in a conventional way like in a men’s magazine with busting cleavage. More like in an exotic way. Her hair was obviously bleached to rocker platinum blonde, but she wore hardly any makeup on her face. It was an interesting dichotomy. Her clothing was snug in the right areas, her breasts were well-shaped under tight-fitting t-shirt that boasted a self-portrait of Van Gogh with the #SELFIE printed below his image. She matched it with a black leather skirt, that was short in a good way, along with a pair of some trendy fashion boots that were likely some brand name all girls raved about.

But she was hot, if you were into her type. Which I wasn’t. I wasn’t interested in any type.

“Welcome to Howard Library,” I continued, trying not to stare. “I’m Foster. Things here should be pretty straightforward since you have worked over at the main library. It’s the same system but in a smaller space. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.”

“Your name is Foster?” she asked, skeptical. “As in, the beer?”

“Yes.”

“You don’t sound Australian.”

Okay, the gal was a little weird in the head. What kind of logic did she use?

“I must have left my accent back at my apartment.” I turned back toward the monitor. “Along with my crocodile, koala, and kangaroo.”

“Well, that makes all the sense in the world.”

“Yes, deriving facts from absurd logic—that must be your artistic side.” I assessed her again. There was something sincere in her tone. I knew she was being sarcastic, but I didn’t have the energy to feed into her humor. “It’s a family name.”

“Can I call you Fozzie?”

“Can I call you Evelyn?” I quickly snapped back. I knew there had to be a reason she went by EJ and not her given name. Her outfit and aura did not say Evelyn in anyway.

“Not if you want me to answer.”

“It’s safe to say, the same goes for calling me Fozzie.” I felt myself smiling. It was a strange and somewhat unfamiliar feeling. I don’t think I had done much of it lately. “I’m not a Muppet.”

She laughed and it was delightful, but I didn’t know how to react. So, I just went back to work.