Chicago Heat(3)

By: Jordyn Tracey

Chapter Two

Feeling much more like herself, Fawn stepped up to her mirror while buttoning her long sleeved blouse. Today would be a good day, she determined. The library would be quiet with no drama. Well, maybe until school let out and all the high school kids came in, but still she could handle that. Her boring grey skirt may hug her curves a little more than her boss liked, but it did hang to just above her knees, so he couldn’t fault her. Besides, the man had dropped subtle hints that he wouldn’t mind them getting together for drinks after hours. She had pretended not to get what he meant. He liked the view, so she wouldn’t get into trouble.

However, the small time library that always seemed ready to close if they didn’t get more funding was not where she wanted to stay the rest of her life. She had to land a better position. Something in research at a university would be awesome and would utilize her degree. She grinned at her reflection. “Let that stupid cop look down on that. I’m not the ignorant skank he thinks I am.”

At last satisfied with her appearance, she strolled across the room and slipped into her shoes before passing into the living room and scooping up her purse. She’d called her cousin to go pick up her car, hoping it hadn’t already been towed and that whatever was wrong with it wouldn’t break her tiny savings—again. She needed to stop trying to live beyond her means and just catch the L which ran right near her place, but public transportation made her crazy. That was just asking for her to lose it and go upside somebody’s head.

With no car, by the time she made it to work, she was a half hour late. Her boss eyed her as she came in, and she cast him an apologetic look. “Sorry, Mr. Peterson. I had car trouble, and even though I left home early enough to get here on time, there’s just no accounting for the unexpected.” She laid a hand on his sleeve. “You know what I mean?”

Confusion clouded his eyes, and he blinked at her for a few seconds. “Yes, of course. I told you to call me Les, Fawn. I want you to feel we can be friends, close friends.”

But calling you by your last name keeps you at a distance. She smiled but didn’t acknowledge his words. “Well, I’d better get right to work and make up for lost time. Thanks for being so understanding, Mr. Peterson.”

She spun away and hurried to the back room to store her things before heading to the cart of books that needed to be re-shelved. At close to one o’clock, she stood behind the information desk, idling on the computer. Soon she would get her lunch break, and she couldn’t wait since the two slices of buttered toast she’d eaten this morning had digested long ago.

Holding her head with a hand, she didn’t immediately look up when a patron walked to the counter. “May I help you?” she asked.

The deep voice that responded sounded familiar. “Yes, we need to know where your books on dinosaurs are. So far, we’ve only located fictional books. We need nonfiction.”

Fawn gasped. “You! What are you doing here?” In front of her, dressed in a black collared shirt and black jeans, freshly shaven, was the cop from last night. “Detective Jake, right?”

She remembered his name just fine but wanted to dig at him for making her mad. How could she ever forget how good he looked, and how he had rejected her like she was trash he wouldn’t be caught dead with.

His dark brows crashed low over his eyes, but he didn’t seem angry. More amused like he knew what she was up to. “It’s John. This is a public library. Why wouldn’t I utilize it? I could ask the same. What are you doing here?”

Without thinking about it, Fawn put a hand on her hip, but then she shifted her gaze to Mr. Peterson passing nearby. She had to maintain professionalism at work. “I’m working.”

He smirked and leaned on the counter, bringing them too close for her comfort in these surroundings. “Hm, now that is interesting. Temptress by night, respectable librarian by day.”

“Get your mind off your fantasies, detective. I’m not that type of woman. I told you that last night, but you didn’t believe me.” When he laughed, she couldn’t help staring at how his lips curved and his eyes crinkled at the corners. She put him at thirty-five or so. After some moments, she remembered he had said “we” when he first walked up, and she noticed the child beside him. Her eyes rounded. “Your son?”