Courtesy of Book Riot
Luna was met with the whirs of coffee blenders and clinking heels on tiled floors when she entered the bookstore that Saturday night. The store was lit with vintage hanging pendant lights that were perched around the coffee shop and checkout desk.
The scent of rich coffee beans and baked goods embraced her. It was as lavish as the sprays of perfume and the fragrances of French vanilla candles. Jazz music purred above her as the murmurs of customers could be heard from the tables in the café.
Luna’s eyes scanned the shelves of books that were placed in front of the walls in different rows. She observed the spines of each book as they were organized alphabetically.
She took note of the different colors of each book. She pondered on the meaning of each color, the light and dark tones hidden in every closed book, and how powerful the introduction of a story can be.
She would always marvel at how instantaneously a book was able to take her away. The first few words were like a fishing hook that would reel her from the empty sea that is her life.
There is a world in every set of thick pages and hardcovers, and she has developed an addiction to exploring every place that is far away and finding comfort in living the life of someone else.
She wished that every book could never end.
Luna walked forward and stopped at one of the small tables with a book stack. She picked up the book from the top of the stack and read the title. It was the deluxe edition of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
The cover was black and featured golden silhouettes of a couple kissing. Luna gritted her teeth as it reminded her of her reality as a lonely single woman.
She turned the book around. The headline was written in golden cursive letters and had text that was surrounded by Victorian swirl borders that looked like peacock feathers.
Luna read the book when she was in high school, and it gave her reassurance that she could fall in love in her twenties instead of succumbing to the pressures of finding a high school sweetheart.
She’s now in her thirties and has not found love. If it weren’t for her parents and peers pressuring her to become a wife and mother, she would eagerly wait for love to reach her at the right moment of her life. Instead, she has attempted to find love in dating apps and has lived with constant failures that were considered laughable.
She shoved the book onto her chest and sat at a table in the center of the room.
She immediately opened the book to the first chapter and skimmed through the pages with a deep sigh. She attempted to ignore the slurping of coffee from plastic cups, the crunching of pastries sinking into teeth, and the flaps of turning pages happening around her. It was difficult.
She read through Elizabeth and Darcy dancing in the Netherfield Ball and smirked. She imagined what the book would be like if it was based only on female empowerment rather than romance.
Thoughts came into her mind of how love is filled with false promises and stress inducers. Love shouldn’t be a forced result if it's supposed to be a natural emotion.
What if love is undiscoverable? What if love won’t ever come because the perfect man doesn’t exist? What if being single is not only her present but also her future?
“That’s a nice book you got there.”
Luna looked up startled and her eyes widened when she saw that the person in front of her wasn’t an older woman or any girl who would typically try to talk to her and ask curious questions.
It was a man.
Luna stared at the green embers of his eyes as well as his chiseled jawline, well-groomed facial hair, plump pink lips, and rounded eyebrows. He wore a black overcoat with a black button-up that failed to hide his toned abdomen and large chest. He wore golden khakis and black loafers.
Luna bit her lip.
His hair was medium-length and curled like the coat of a poodle. She gulped and began to perspire.
“Thank you,” she said. “They have the book on sale.”
“Yeah I saw,” he said. “It’s a good book, but I’m not a fan of the romance.”
“You’re not?” Luna asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Not really,” he replied with a shrug. “I feel like it forces the idea of love having to be done to make others happy and it considers negative behaviors from Darcy acceptable.”
“I know!” Luna exclaimed. “Love is made to be special between two people and happen at the right time.”
“Exactly,” he responded with a smile. “But what do I know? I’m single.”
That caught her attention.
“Me too,” she said.
“How can a pretty girl like you be single?” He asked. Luna chuckled.
“Because I’m not a fan of the romance in Pride and Prejudice,” she joked while tucking her bangs behind her ear.
They both laughed. The man looks at her thoughtfully.
“I’m Cyrus,” he said while holding out his hand.
“I’m Luna,” she replied while shaking his hand. She allowed her hand to linger on his firm palms before pulling away sheepishly.
“Interesting,” he said. “Your name represents the moon while mine represents the sun.”
Luna’s smile widened.
“I was thinking the same thing!” she exclaimed, causing Cyrus to laugh. Cyrus quickly glanced at the café menu and looked at her.
“Would you like a coffee?” He asked.
Luna turned around. She didn’t even realize that she never got anything from the café.
She turned back to face Cyrus, who awaited her response with a smile. She felt her cheeks grow warm as her mind began pondering about what could happen between them. She was unsure, but she had a feeling it would be better than Pride and Prejudice.
She smiled back.