It was simply a miracle of fate, or so Giovanni thought, that one day they happened to bump into each other on the library’s stone steps on their way out of the library after their eighth meeting, the wrought iron railing between them. Giovanni wondered if he could count this as their ninth meeting even though it was on the same day.
Henry had straightened his jacket and nodded to Giovanni, and didn’t offer a complaint when Giovanni caught up to walk beside him for a few blocks. After his customary few moments needed to gather his courage, of course. Never mind that Giovanni lived in the opposite direction, he could find a bus back to his apartment.
There was a breeze that rustled the leaves of the trees lining the path they took. It teased Henry’s hair and a few dark locks fell over his brow. Giovanni felt unable to look away from the image Henry’s handsome profile and mussed hair provided. The sounds of their footsteps on the pavement gave Giovanni something to count, something to focus on so he wouldn’t get to overwhelmed by being so close to Henry in what he considered an informal setting.
The butterflies in his stomach from walking with Henry made him feel almost light headed but he found it to be a good kind of feeling.
They walked in silence for a few minutes before Giovanni thought he noticed tension gathering in Henry’s shoulders. It was then Giovanni realized perhaps, even though he simply wanted to spend more time with Henry, it was too forward of him to walk Henry home. He mumbled something about a forgotten appointment, wished Henry a quiet ‘good day,’ and turned to head home.
He walked so fast, trying to escape the embarrassment of his overzealousness, that he almost didn’t hear Henry’s soft,
His heart was pounding all the way home.
On their fourteenth meeting, Henry smiled at Giovanni.
It was a small upturning of the corners of his mouth, but to Giovanni it was the most sincere and warmest smile. It seemed to light up their small corner of the library and Giovanni was blinded by its beauty.
All because Giovanni had remembered the book Henry had been reading the last time they’d met at the library. He only remembered because that day their chairs had been closer together than usual and Giovanni hadn’t been able to look away from Henry, taking in everything about him. From the gentle slope of his neck as it met his shoulders, the slight curve of his spine as he sunk back into the cozy leather chair, to the book in his hands.
Giovanni wondered what it would be like to have Henry hold his hand in the same delicate way he held the copy of Thus Spake Zarathustra.