Finn slowly made his way up the apartment staircase, carefully placing his feet on each step. He had two bags of books, one on each arm, and another pile cradled in front of him, blocking his view. Today, he got to take in a surplus of old, unwanted books from the bookstore. They smelled like a cellar and were still covered in some dust. Their pages were yellow with age.
His foot made its way to the third floor, but caught on the step, sending his body forward. His elbow smacked hard against the ground and his books spilled all over the floor.
“Ahh, shit…” Finn muttered, rubbing his elbow. I probably should’ve asked for help bringing these in… He began to grab the books closest to him on the floor. Kieran came out of his apartment.
“Need some help?” he asked.
“Oh, hey Kieran! …yeah, I probably could,” Finn said, laughing. Kieran crouched down and started gathering books.
“There’s a hell of a lot of these…” Kieran said.
“I like books.”
They finished cleaning up the mess and Kieran walked over to Finn.
“Gimme those,” he said, referring to one of Finn’s bags.
“Huh? I can take them.”
“Just give ‘em to me.”
Finn handed him the bag and walked to his door, taking out his keys. They entered the apartment and set the books down on the dining table.
“Thanks,” Finn said, smiling.
“Want me to help put them away?”
“Eh? You don’t have to do that. It’ll probably take a while.”
“What do you do, alphabetical order?” Kieran asked.
“…yeah,” Finn said. “I need to record what I have, first.”
“Ah. Yeah. This is a lot.”
“I’ll be right back,” Finn told Kieran. He walked down the hall to the study and picked up his laptop. When he returned, Kieran was sorting the books. Finn took a seat with his computer, and started to type. Kieran handed him books.
“Oh, do you remember my friend Luke?”
“I think so,” Kieran answered.
“He told me today that he’s gay,” Finn said.
Kieran was silent.
“I don’t have a problem with it, you know? But I am a bit sad he didn’t tell me before,” Finn added. “I get why, I just wish he felt more secure about it.”
“…yeah,” Kieran responded. “Why tell me?”
“I’ve just been thinking about it all day. I know you probably don’t care, I just wanted to talk about it. I think I can trust you.”
After Finn finished making his inventory, they started to put books away in the study.
“You know… I think that, for now, I’ll put these at the end. Separate the new from the old. This way it’s easier for me to find them,” Finn explained.
Filling the shelves became relatively quick work. Kieran sorted out the books and handed them off to Finn.
“I have a question…” Kieran began.
“Are you happy with your life?”
Finn paused for a moment. He didn’t really see that one coming. He thought about his response.
“I think so. But, people always tell me that I’m too much of an optimist,” he said, laughing. “Why do you ask?”
“Just wondering…” he replied, passing off another book.
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