The Book Addict(2)

By: Annette Mori

“I was reading,” Tanya answered.

Her mother narrowed her eyes and took a step closer to Tanya. She flipped over the book. “Oh for Christ’s sake. I’m going to kill your father. Metamorphosis. What the hell was he thinking? As if you’re not odd enough without him exposing you to books like this.”

“Frank,” she yelled.

The heavy footsteps of Tanya’s father ascended the stairs.

“What?” he answered.

His lumbering form reached the doorway. “Hi kiddo. Are you enjoying the book?”

Tanya’s mother glared.

“Yeah, it’s really good, Dad.”

“Are you crazy? Metamorphosis, Frank? Next thing you know you’ll be giving her Tolstoy or Chaucer.”

“Oh, good ideas.”

Her mother shook her head. “She’s eleven, Frank, not thirty.”

“Nothing wrong with introducing our daughters to the classics at an early age.”

“She should be out playing with her friends, not hiding away in this oven, reading books meant for adults.”

“I don’t have any friends,” Tanya whispered.

Her mother pushed the unruly brown curls away from Tanya’s forehead. “Oh honey, that’s because you lock yourself away and read all day long. Why don’t you go for a bike ride or something with your sisters when they get back from the pool?”

“Can’t I please finish the book? They won’t want me tagging along anyway.”

“Sure they will.”

“No, they won’t. They both have boyfriends.”

Her mother sighed. “Well at least come downstairs and talk with your grandmother and me. It’s too hot up here.”

Tanya resigned herself to spending time with her parents and grandmother until she could sneak away again and get lost in a new book. The characters came alive for her when she was reading. She often found that if she tried really hard she’d be able to jump into the pages and the adventures within.

Chapter Two

Twenty years later….

Tanya rushed to her car and pulled off her jacket. It was nearing one hundred degrees and she’d already started sweating. The inside of her Prius would feel like an oven, even with the solar panels on top that were supposed to help regulate the temperature inside. When it was one hundred outside, nothing helped.

She smiled as she remembered how hot it used to get at her grandmother’s house in Baltimore. The summers were brutal, and without air conditioning, the upstairs of the townhouse was nearly as bad as a car sitting in the hot sun all day long.

It was Friday, and she had a date with her latest book. Long gone were the days when she whiled away the hours with one of her father’s classics. Two years ago she’d found lesbian fiction. She now understood her mother’s attraction to romance novels. If only she could meet a tall, dark, and brooding lesbian who would rescue her from her mundane existence outside the pages of her paperbacks.

She was running out of books to read. E-books flooded the market, but she staunchly refused to buy them. She wanted paper. Thankfully, she didn’t have a social life, so all her entertainment budget went toward the latest romances. There were times when she had to be patient waiting for the new release.

A women’s bookstore had just opened in town. She wanted to support the unlikely business, because she suspected it wouldn’t last a month in her backwater corner of the world. Tanya chuckled at the owner’s cheesy emphasis on the magical world of fiction in the ad. Still, it was a journey Tanya enjoyed.

She didn’t have a lot of experience with women, but one night of adolescent fumbling was the only evidence required to help her understand why she was a little different than the other girls. A drunken detour in college and her easy acceptance of her own sexuality, unfortunately, did not guarantee ease in finding a girlfriend. That was okay, for now. Tanya had all the girlfriends she needed between the pages of her books. And…they were all smoking hot.

Tanya was the epitome of the stereotypical lonely lesbian, complete with a feline companion. Tolstoy, her fluffy gray cat, greeted her with enthusiasm the minute she opened the door to her condominium. She put her bag in front of his face.