Story a Day May: Holly and the Book of Love

Here endeth my stories for the month. Going to rest my voice and my fingers now. Hoping I’ll be back to typing for real in a month or so. Thanks for sticking with me.

Love ya, MomGoth

Holly and The Book of Love

Holly Jahangiri’s hands shook. As High Head Librarian of Council City’s Earth text Living Library, she had developed nerves of steel. One cannot be business manager and dorm mother to a building full of people who had each memorized an Earth book and lived to recite themselves to others without becoming resilient, perceptive, and well-nigh unflappable.

Yet the small slip of paper she now tucked into the waistcoat pocket of her purple waistcoat had set her hands to trembling and her heart to fluttering.

It was from District Criminal Investigator Pel Darzan, and it involved neither books nor an infraction of the law.

I’ll be at a table for two at Pisnick’s Grotto at tea time today. Will you join me?

Pisnick’s Grotto! The most romantic place on the planet Llannonn! And on Flowering Season’s Smooch Day, one of the four traditional days of Llannonn’s year for entering into cohabitation contracts!

Holly arranged her trademark purple feather boa in a particularly fetching manner, tucked a purple Late-blooming Gilleyflower behind her left ear, and slipped out of the library.

She usually used her own pedicar for personal business, but today she took the library’s hover car, not wanting to work up a sweat on her way to the most romantic place on the planet.

As soon as she alighted outside the grotto, she ordered the hovercar back to the library, a sop to her nearly — but not entirely — unbending conscience.

A doorman ushered her into the restaurant, handing her a pair of night-vision glasses to wear while her ears adjusted to the romantic gloom.

Holly looked around.

A woman at a dim and distant table had a familiar-looking chin but, as she wore a hat with a dipping brim and dark glasses (how delicate her eyesight must be!) and, as courtesy forbade staring, Holly merely nodded at her and continued her scan of the room.

There he was, just removing the glasses from his large dark eyes. He wasn’t in uniform, but wore a mildly dressy deep purple tunic with a lilac shoulder sash, one of Holly’s favorite combinations.

Holly felt herself blush as she sat across the table from him, removing her own glasses the better to see him with.

“Well, here we are,” he said, his own olive complexion turning a beautiful dusty rose.

“Here we are,” she agreed.

In unison, they said, “You know the high esteem– ” Both stopped and laughed shyly.

A waiter came to collect their eyeglasses.

“As guests of the chef,” he said, “We have a very special menu prepared for you tonight.”

And it was special. Not the most expensive dishes on the menu, but perfectly to Holly’s taste.

They spoke awkwardly of ordinary things, aware of the attentive waiter’s hovering nearby.

At last the dessert was finished and cleared away.

They stared at one another, fidgeting, and then Pel Darzan did something Holly had dreamed of for years: he slipped out of his chair, went to one knee, took her hands, and said, “Will you contract to cohabit with me, effective immediately, automatically renewable annually unless one of us requests to withdraw in notarized writing?”

Nearly breathless, Holly whispered, “Yes! Yes, of course I will!” and moved the Late-blooming Gilleyflower to behind her other ear.

“Now that we’re partners,” Holly said as they left, “you must let me reimburse you for today’s tea.”

With a stricken look, Darzan said, “I thought you paid for today’s tea.”

With a swiftness only a High Head Librarian can master, Holly snagged the elbow of the woman with the familiar chin who was just passing them on her way out.

After a brief close look she said, “I knew I knew you! Detective Chief Inspector Pel Darzan, meet the Moonlight Kisses Romances. Moonlight Kisses Romances,” she explained to Darzan, “unlike our other Books, who each memorize one text, memorizes a new text each month.”

“I know,” he said. “My mother is devoted to them.”

“Ah,” said Holly. “And now we know how a Book knew your feelings for me and how she got a message to you to meet me here today at tea time.”

“It was just wrong for the two of you to be apart,” said Moonlight Kisses Romances, “so all the books had a whip round to pay for this tea, knowing how it would end. You’re welcome.”

Holly released the Book’s elbow and took Darzan’s hand.

“Thank you,” they said in unison.

MY WRITING PROMPT TODAY: Although I may have gotten these two together before, I was feeling it today.


I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Story a Day May: Holly and the Book of Love

  1. Dan Antion

    May 28, 2023 at 7:32am

    What a lovely story to end a month of extra-effort writing. Thanks for this, Marian, and thanks for your support of the TDWC. We don’t have awards, but if we did, I’d give you one for writing above and beyond the call of duty. I wish you all the best and I look forward to your return to the keyboard.

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Holly Jahangiri

    May 28, 2023 at 7:35am

    Well it’s about time they formalized their feelings with an automatically renewable cohabitation contact! The real me is coming up on #39. I think my reticence kept my alter ego from the altar far too long! Smooches!

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  3. Damyanti Biswas

    May 29, 2023 at 12:35am

    I love this! A wonderful story and ending, thank you for sharing. And thank goodness for Books… they make everything better!

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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      May 31, 2023 at 10:46am

      Some of my best friends are books. 🙂 I’ve been listening to audiobooks during my recovery. Like Living Books, but you don’t have to feed them or do their laundry.

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  4. acflory

    May 30, 2023 at 5:06pm

    Your imagination really does leave me with my jaw hanging. You really are an extraordinary storyteller, Marian. 😀

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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