About Chance Meetings
by Misa Izanaki
Halloween is a busy time for bookshop owner Nathan. He has decorations to put up and displays to make, and he figures he's doing okay until he drops half of his festive mess on a customer's head. Max is beautiful and more like Nathan than anyone he's met in a lot of years, but Max thinks he's in love with someone else. Will Nathan lose Max before he ever really has him?
It was a beautiful day. The trees were wearing their fall colors, golds and reds that stood brightly against the dreary sky, and the air was crisp with just a hint of the cold to come. Of course, Nathan was too busy to enjoy any of it. Halloween was a few days away and book sales were up. People looking for costume ideas, party themes, books on witches and rituals, or just old books of ghost stories to scare the children with all seemed to home in on Nathan’s shop. It wasn’t overly surprising; he was known for having a very extensive selection. All the activity was good for the shop, but it left Nathan little time to himself.
He also had Halloween decorations that needed to go up. The inside was easy, the shelves naturally collected cobwebs so all he had to do was avoid dusting for a few days. After that it was just a matter of a few well placed skulls, rubber bats and maybe a squeaky rat or two. The shop was already old, and it didn’t take much to give it the proper feel.
That was the easy part, Nathan still had the front of the store to deal with and that meant wrestling the old ladder out of storage. He hated that damned thing, which is why he had been putting it off for so long. No excuses now, though, not with Halloween only a few days away.
Well, not really, being half vampire did have its advantages. Nathan could heal almost any injury; he was strong, fast and he could extend his life just by taking in a little blood now and then. Part of him wondered if he would still be running the old bookstore and putting up Halloween decorations fifty or a hundred years down the road. He could see it happening. Hopefully he would get around to getting a new ladder by then.
The ladder creaked again and tilted dangerously. Nathan grabbed onto the wooden sign hanging over the door to balance himself, dropping his fake spider webs in the process.
“Sorry , I—“ Nathan blinked at the young man, who was now wearing most of his sign decorations, and almost fell off his ladder. He was the prettiest young man Nathan had ever seen.
Leaf green eyes glanced at him from a fine boned, almost elven face as slender fingers pulled the filmy webbing from silky, blue-black hair. “Um, a little help here…”
“Sure thing, are you okay?” Nathan hopped down to help untangle the gorgeous boy from his webbing.
The more predatory part of his brain found humor in that and the clean and slightly spicy-sweet scent the boy had didn’t help things. He smelled and looked good enough to eat… Nathan pushed that last though away quickly and busied himself with rescuing his cobwebs from the boy’s shoulder-length hair.
“I’m fine, just a little startled, that’s all.” The young man smiled brightly at Nathan. “It’s not everyday I have fake spider webs dropped on me.”
Nathan shrugged. “It could have been worse. I could have fallen on you.”