There weren't a lot of book stores in Alachua, but we knew them well. The first book store we stopped at was a bust, but the second one was a gold mine. It was just a little place for "previously loved books" that the both of us used to go when we were younger, an old woman sat behind the antique desk near the back. Cora jumped right in and was stocking up as I slowly searched the shelves, lost in my thoughts. I couldn't get him off of my mind, it was all just so real.
Even though my thoughts were far away, I was still scanning the shelves. I was about to give up on trying to focus on the books when one caught my eye. It looked notably older than most of the others on the shelf surrounding it. I plucked it from it's spot and blew the dust off. There was no title on the outside, so I flipped through it a bit. On the very first page there was a hand written message in beautiful, old script. The note read:
To my darling Annalie, to quench your thirst for such fantastical thoughts and ideas. I want nothing more than for you to know that I shall always be around to love you. Yours forever and always, William
I smiled, Cora and I had always loved things from the past and this certainly wasn't recent. I continued turning pages until I got to the title page. I had to read it twice and was still a bit confused. I expected that it was some sort of romance novel by what William had written in the front cover, but the title was "Vampires: a Guide to Eternity."
I'm not certain how long I stood there and stared at the title page, but eventually Coral came up and tapped me on the shoulder.
"Ready? Wow, is that all you're getting?" She had an armload of books and a huge grin on her face.
"Uh, yeah, this is it." I stammered after her, but she was already to the desk paying for her findings.
I walked up behind her and waited as the old woman carefully calculated her total. Then it was my turn. I placed the book on the desk and looked up at the old woman's face.
"Is this all, sweetheart?" I nodded in response. "Well, you know, this one has been here forever, you can really just take it." She smiled and handed me the book.
"Oh, thank you, but I really have to pay you, I mean, this is an old book, worth something I'm sure."
"No, no. Now listen, if you'll actually read it, I'd rather you have it. I wouldn't want it to just sit on someone's shelf somewhere. It's a good one." She winked at me and I thanked her again as Cora nearly dragged me out of the store, ready for her next stop.
We decided to go to Gainesville, the larger city to the north where I was born, to find a few more book stores. While I was driving my thoughts were still on the old woman, the book, and him.
"Cora, do you know her name?" I asked.
"Whose name? Are you okay, you've seemed distracted all day. I wasn't going to say anything, but really, are you alright?" I knew she had noticed and was just waiting for her to question me about it.
"The old lady at the bookstore, what's her name?"
"Oh, isn't it Anna something? Anna Markis, that's it."
"Coral, look on the inside cover of the book I bought there. There's a note written to an "Annalie." The way she acted about that book… I just knew that was her!"
"Wow, that's really cool Cam. Now will you tell me what's bothering you?"
"Nothing, really, just been thinking a lot."
"About that dream."
"Yes, it all just seems so real. I don't know, Cora, I feel like I'm losing my mind."
"Aw, but baby girl, you haven't lost your mind. You can't lose what you don't have to begin with." She could always lighten my mood. We laughed together and then she looked at me and smiled sweetly and I knew that everything was fine.
I decided to take my mind off of it and enjoy the rest of our day. We hit three more book stores before I convinced her that we had to eat. It was nearly four o' clock and my granola bar had worn off long ago.
We agreed on Chinese food at our favorite local place. We decided to make a movie night out of it, seeing as we both had no plans for the evening. We always picked out a few different movies, a chick flick, a comedy, and a horror movie. That was always the way we did it, it was the perfect combination. The chick flick would make us cry, but then we'd watch the comedy and we laugh. The horror was left for last, so it was really late by the time we would watch it, making it exponentially more terrifying.