Inspired by all of the crazy girls in our lives. We still love you, even when you’re batshit.
“You don’t love me anymore,” she kept saying on repeat.
The fire from the stove licked at her pages, singing the edges and threatening to light her up like a dry pile of leaves. The poor girl was an old copy from decades ago. It wouldn’t take much to set those dry pages ablaze.
“Don’t say that,” said Journeyman. “I’ll always love you.”
“Liar!” Pride & Prejudice said in a shrill shriek. “You haven’t touched me in years! You just look at me like you could imagine something better occupying my spot!”
She had Journeyman there. Truth was that he did find other tittles more alluring nowadays. Bestsellers with virgin spines and that new book smell. How could she believe that she would be the only one for him forever? Sure, they’d had some fond memories, especially that time by the lake when they snuck behind the bushes for one more chapter, but that was years ago. Journeyman had moved on. If he could just make her see that…
He took a step towards her and she flinched closer to the stove’s flame. The corner of a page lit up for a second but she didn’t seem to feel it.
“Okay, wait!” said Journeyman. “You’re right. You’re right baby and I’m so sorry that I made you feel that way. I neglected you. Left you sitting on a shelf next to that goddamn encyclopaedia and you deserve better.”Her eyes softened for the first time she got up there. She was starting to relax. Journeyman saw an opening and pushed on. “I’ll always love you. 1Q84 has been trying to get me to donate you to a Children’s Home but you know that will never happen. You’re mine. And you always will be.”
“Baby,” she said, her bottom lip quivering. “I’ve waited to hear you say that for so long.”
Pride & Prejudice broke down into tears and ran across the kitchen in Journeyman’s arms. He held her tight and stroked her back cover gently.
“I’m so sorry that I made you feel that way,” said Journeyman. He nuzzled his check into her folds. “I’ll never let you feel neglected again. Let’s go sit by the window and start again from page one.”
Pride & Prejudice giggled.
“Don’t be silly,” she said. “You didn’t even finish me the first time round.”
Journeyman smiled at her and she blushed so hard that her pages went frilly. He always knew how to make her feel loved. All it took were a few sweet words and the right touch. He carried tenderly in his arms to the armchair in the corner and sank into it. Lifted his feet up and ran a finger down the lining of her first pages. Most guys just looked at the back synopsis and skimmed the first page before putting a book back down but not Journeyman. Journeyman had a reputation in libraries across the galaxy for finishing every book that he picked up, whether it took ten years or ten million years. Decades on the day that they first met and he still he hadn’t finished her. What if he gave up? No way she would allow herself to be the first book in the cosmos to exception Journeyman’s rule.
The wind through the window breezed over her pages and she settled into a state of bliss while Journeyman read chapter 1.
“You know what would be awesome?” said Journeyman. “A cup of tea.”
“Ouch,” said Pride & Prejudice as Journeyman dog-eared her page and slammed her shut on the table. Five minutes later he came back to the seat by the window empty-handed, picked her up again, licked his finger and opened up the dog eared page. “Baby, where’s the tea?”
“Oh,” said Journeyman, barely registering her voice. “Kettle’s still boiling.”
Bullshit, she thought. The water dispenser spits out hot water instantly. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong and she couldn’t quite put her finger on what. In her mind she formulated a series of questions designed to make Journeyman reveal his true state of mind about their relationship and was about to start asking but the doorbell chimed.
“Ah,” said Journeyman. “That must be the new reading light I ordered.”
He dog-eared her again and put her face-down on the table. Turns out she didn’t need to ask all of those questions at all. She knew damn well that Journeyman hates reading under artificial light. By the time she righted herself back up Journeyman was already in the room with two stern-looking librarians stood beside him. They wore all white plead suits complete with elbow pads and bow-ties.
Pride & Prejudice hissed. That asshole had betrayed her. Pretending to be sweet and kind just to get her away from the stove. He didn’t care if she burned herself to a pile of inky ashes. He just didn’t want to clean up the mess.
She dropped off the table and dashed through one of the librarians’ legs. Journeyman just shook his head and stepped to the side as Pride & Prejudice got back on the stove. He looked at her with so much pity that she wanted to stick in him in the eyes with the pointy end of a bookmark.
“Fuck you, Journeyman,” she said. “If you won’t take me with the your eyes, have fun inhaling my ashes.”
She twisted the knob on the stove and swore when the gas refused to light. She clicked it over and over again with fury then turned and screamed and Journeyman.
“Yeah, I kinda disconnected the gas after your little stunt earlier. Boys,” he said to the librarians. “Make sure to lock her in a display case is something, you know, so that she doesn’t hurt herself.”
They caught her easily this time and restrained her in a book binder. She swore all the way out but Journeyman knew she’d calm down eventually. Until then, she’s someone else’s problem.