Moira Banks pushed open the front door to her home, which was in fact a narrow townhouse in the Cobble Hill neighbourhood of Brooklyn. She had just finished her last day of school. Summer was officially here and she couldn't be more grateful. Shutting the door behind her, she threw her backpack down on the front bench and made her way into the kitchen. Grandad was sitting in his usual spot, where he sat everyday waiting for Moira to come home from school. As predicted, he had put on a pot of tea and had her favourite teacup waiting in front of the chair opposite of him. He was reading the paper, but when he heard Moira enter the room, he folded it down and titled his head so he could see past his glasses.
"There she is," he exclaimed. "Miss Summer Vacation has arrived."
Moira couldn't help but smile. Grandad could be a little cliché at times, but she loved him for it. She sat down in the chair across from him. Grandad reached for the pot of tea and began to pour her a cup of her favourite, cocoa rose tea.
"And how was your last day?" Grandad asked.
"It was as I expected," I sighed.
Grandad finished pouring and proceeded to put a teaspoon of sugar into the cup. "And what did you expect?" Grandad inquired, raising a brow in amusement.
"Everyone was excited," Moira stated matter-of-factly.
"And that is predictable, yes" he stated, "however, you seem unsatisfied with this outcome?" he questioned. He had just finished adding milk to Moira's tea.
"Ah, perfect, you always make the perfect cuppa tea. Thank you, Grandad. No, I know everyone was going to be excited today, and I am too for the break, I suppose I'm just a little sad to stay away from the school library for the entire summer. I had just started helping Mrs. O'Leary with the shelving on my lunches. She was very kind to me today though and let me sign out ten books of my choosing for the summer! However, she gave me strict instructions not to tell anyone else about this, because students aren't allowed to sign out books over the break. I promised I wouldn't, but I didn't think I needed to tell her the truth in that moment," Moira explained, now pausing to take a sip of her tea. She could smell the hints of rose petals and chocolate aromas lift off the cup as she brought it to her nose.
"And what truth might that be, my dear?" Grandad asked, again with that amused look on his face.
"The truth is she doesn't need to worry about me telling anyone, because I don't really have any friends from school."
Grandad's face quickly turned from amusement to concern. He reached across for Moira's hand and held it firmly in his. "Moira, darling..." he started to say.
"Oh Grandad, don't. You know that this is something that I am more than content with. Besides, I prefer my books anyways. They are always there when I need them and they keep me great company. They also never get into disagreements with me and they are never late for any occasion. Oh! And of course I have you, Grandad. The best of friend anyone could have." And with that, Moira finished her cup of tea, rose from her seat and kissed her Grandad on the top of his bald head. "Thanks for the tea, Grandad. I'm just going to take my books upstairs and organize my shelves around to make some room for my new editions for the summer," Moira said.
"Sounds good, dear. I'll call you when supper is ready."
Moira half-skipped to the front hallway, picked up her backpack, and then practically sprinted up the stairs to her bedroom. On the front of the door was a sign with her name on it. It was from when she was a young girl, when she first came to live with Grandad. She doesn't remember first coming to live here. She's only ever known to live with Grandad her entire life. According to Grandad though, she was timid when she first arrived, unsure of both Grandad and her new home in the little townhouse. Grandad wanted to make her feel like it was not just a house, but truly her home, and so he bought her this sign for her bedroom door, to mark her place, her own spot within the house to call her own. The sign said "Moira" in bright blue letters, with the most beautiful illustrations of books all around. It was a bit childish, but Moira couldn't bare to take the sign down.
Moira opened the door and walked in. Her window was pushed wide open and the blinds were drawn, letting the afternoon sunshine in and the most wonderful cross-breeze. It was a small room, but besides Grandad's office, this was her favourite room in the whole house. It was hers. Though most of the books in their house were kept in Grandad's office, Moira kept her own personal copies of books in her bedroom. Grandad had bookshelves specially made to fit. Her room was tiny, some would say the size of a closet, but Moira preferred nooks and crannies compared to large open spaces. Her room was cozy, just the way she liked it. She quickly made her way over to her shelves, eyeing them up and down, deciding what needed to move over or be adjusted to make room for her borrowed books from the library.
Moira meant what she said to her Grandad at the kitchen table. Books were her soul's content. Her true friends, ones she returned to over and over again and could always trust, besides Grandad that is. Moira had always been a voracious reader and she had her Grandad to thank for that. Grandad used to be the Head Librarian at the New York Public Library, but when he had to take care of Moira, he retired to stay home and raise her. The pair of them were bookworms. As long as Moira could remember, her and Grandad would read every night together before bed. When she was young, he would read picture books to her in bed, in his office, sometimes outside on the front porch on beautiful summer nights. As Moira got older, they moved onto chapter books. Reading adventurous tales like Treasure Island, Grimm's Fairy Tales, and the adventures of Robin Hood. Sometimes, Grandad would read aloud to her, sometimes Moira would read to him. Often, they would sit in his office and sit in the green velvet armchairs, each reading their own books, absorbed into different worlds, but always telling each other all about them after they had finished.
As much as Moira loved books, she had never been to the New York Public Library. Moira had always wanted to go, she longed to visit, but Grandad never took her. She used to bug him often about taking her, but he always swiftly changed the subject. The last time she asked him was when she pushed and questioned as to why he never took her. There was a look of sadness on his face that she had never seen before. She had never seen Grandad look so upset. She never did ask him again after that. Moira knew from that day forward that Grandad retired and left his job at the library, not because he wanted to and that he was ready to retire, but because he had to because of Moira. She never asked him to take her to the library again. Instead, Moira took advantage of her school library. She was constantly hungry for books. Grandad also received special deliveries of books to the house from the library. A perk to being a retired Head Librarian, she assumed. Grandad always made sure to request special books on Moira's behalf and she was grateful, so it wasn't like she never read books or borrowed books from the library. Still, she always wondered what it was actually like to be there. To see the rows upon rows of shelves. To sit in the infamous Rose Room...
"Moira! Supper time, love!" Grandad yelled up the stairs.
Moira stood back and took in her newly arranged shelves."Perfect," she said to herself. "Coming!" she yelled back. With one last look at her shelves, she hurried out of her room and down the stairs to the kitchen, where dinner was waiting for her.