Like I said before, the basic idea behind the look of this library is based off a library connected to the one I work at.
The interior of the library was just as amazing as the exterior. Bookshelves and seating areas took up the center of the room, the shelves shorter than they usually were in other libraries. Little square fireplaces were spaced throughout the center of the room, their smokestacks reaching up to the vaulted wooden ceiling, flames dancing merrily inside of them. At strategic locations around the room were built little waterfall fountains, the flow of their water creating a peaceful atmosphere. A glass staircase led to the second floor.
Sarah looked over her shoulder at him. There was an odd emotion stirring in his eye. “You really don’t like being back here, do you?”
He met her eyes calmly. “It’s a double-edged sword,” he replied cryptically.
My boss now makes a cameo, sort of.
A woman barely in her forties approached them. She had blond, shoulder-length hair and wore a nametag on her blouse. As she drew closer, Sarah read the name Terra on it.
“It’s been a while, Cain,” the woman greeted softly.
The former knight turned his head away. “Terra,” he replied shortly.
“Why are you bothering to hide your face?” Terra asked, smiling. “One look at your gray eye and anyone who ever knew you can tell it’s you.”
He shook his head, but didn’t remove his hood.
Terra sighed. “You always hated the attention being a knight brought you.”
Suddenly, a groan came from Cain as he gripped his head and leaned heavily against the wall. Sarah and Terra both turned to him in concern.
“What’s wrong?” the head librarian asked, studying him.
Sarah, too, studied him and, sensing his need for some secrecy, replied, “He’s got a bad headache. It’s been bugging him all day.”
Terra nodded. “Come with me. I’ll make you some strong tea. It may help.”
Hmm, Cain likes his tea black. The same is true of his coffee.
The former knight obeyed her, leaning on the table and resting his head in his hands. Sarah sat down next to him, putting her hand on his arm.
“Are you okay?” she asked softly, trying to meet his eye.
He nodded, massaging his temples and then lowering his hands to his lap. Terra, meanwhile, bustled around the mini-kitchen, heating up water and pulling out sugar and tea bags. After finding out that Cain didn’t take sugar in his tea and that Sarah liked to teaspoons, the head librarian slid a mug to each of them.
This sort of reminds me of Tidus's mom in Final Fantasy X, though I don't see her stabbing Auron for not bringing her husband back with him.
After a few minutes of silence in which they sipped their tea, Cain spoke. “How are Kalin’s parents doing, Terra?” he asked, meeting the head librarian’s eyes.
She frowned. “Well, I only ever see her father,” she replied, “as he teaches at the university, but I’ve heard her mom’s not doing too well.”
Cain’s expression darkened. Sarah studied him for a moment and then looked at Terra. “What do you mean?”
Terra set her mug down. “Kalin’s father seems to be quite a bit calmer about what happened. He comes in from time to time and tells me how things are going. The last time he was here, he told me that Kalin’s mother is still grief-stricken. She rarely leaves the house anymore and sometimes doesn’t even get out of bed.” She looked at Cain. “I’d stay away from her if I was you.”
The former knight’s hand tightened around his mug of tea as he frowned. Sarah had a feeling he had no intention of following that advice.
Terra seemed to notice this as she met his eye. “I’m serious, Cain. That woman wouldn’t hesitate to kill you right now.”
I really like Cain here.
Cain nodded and then walked away, leading Sarah back out of the library, the former barmaid studying him carefully. “What do you plan on doing?” she asked once they were back on the walkway.
He frowned. “Nothing until we destroy the Cruinne.” He began to walk away from the library in the opposite direction they had come from.
“That didn’t answer my question,” Sarah protested, scowling at him.
He stopped. “If she continues on like this, she will die. She needs to confront what happened.”
“But couldn’t seeing you hurt her more?”
He shook his head. “She’s stronger than you think,” he replied.
Sarah crossed her arms. “And what are you going to do if she tries to kill you?”
“Stop her,” he replied, shrugging. He began walking once more. “I’m just glad they’re alive.” The relief in his voice silenced any further protests from Sarah. This was his family after all and he probably felt responsible for them.
More Cain Sarah banter.
“Did you used to go here a lot when you were a student?” Sarah asked as they neared the building.
He nodded. “I had apparently met Kalin here when I was twenty, but I didn’t remember it.”
She smirked. “I bet that made her mad.”
He shrugged. “Not really. She was with another guy at the time and I was still an angry prick.”
“An angry prick? You? Who could imagine that?” she teased.
“Hmph,” he snorted, holding the door open for her again.
I thought this was cute.
When the coffees were ready, Cain led her to a table by one of the windows. The two sat down there, sipping their drinks. The former knight leaning on his hand and looking out the window as Sarah looked around. Finally her eyes fell on Cain and she quickly looked away. This was suddenly starting to feel much more like a date. The former knight smiled at her discomfort.
I wasn't sure about this scene at first--Cain being that open, but I've grown to like it.
“What were you thinking about?” she asked, wanting to get the attention off of her.
The smile disappeared as he turned his head to look out the window again. “Kalin,” he replied simply.
Sarah stared down at her coffee, feeling bad for bringing it up. “I’m sorry,” she said morosely.
He shook his head. “What did I say about apologizing?” He took a sip of his coffee. “You asked me if being back here bothered me?”
She looked up to see him studying her. She nodded.
“It’s painful,” he explained. He pointed to one of the couches. “Kalin and her date at the time sat there talking quietly. Her and I came here once a few years back when she needed to pick up some materials for her job back in Adhartach. We talked about having a child.” The hand holding his mug began to shake and he set it down. “Many years ago, I was an angry, naïve, know-it-all student sitting here alone studying for finals, dreaming of becoming a knight, not having a clue what that meant.”
Sarah winced at the self-loathing she heard in his voice. “Cain…”
He shook his head. “But, it’s good to be back here. These memories are a part of me even if I can’t get that time back.”
Sarah nodded. “I think I understand. In Runach, all I could think of were the good times I had with my friends and how I missed those days. It also hurt that I would never get them back and the changes in the town just made it worse.”
Not worth betting on who will win, too obvious.
Seeing, that he was about to suggest that they head back, Sarah reached behind her and pulled the chessboard off the nearest table.
“How about a game?” she asked, retrieving the pieces now and arranging them on the board.
He raised an eyebrow. “You know how to play chess?”
“What’s with the tone of surprise?” she asked, a little insulted. “I used to play Bill all the time.”
“Very well,” he replied, gesturing at the board. “White or black?”
Sarah pondered this. Given the fact that Cain looked like he would be excellent at the game, she could probably use whatever advantages she could get. “White.”
He carefully turned the board so that the white pieces faced her and waited for her to make her move.
© 2011 Jessica M. Walshaw