(The) Book Club by Olley

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A get well card/story for Melanie Maben.

Word count: 610

“Hey, Murdoch” Johnny Lancer breezed into the great room, spurs jangling his voice loud and cheerful announcing his presence.

The lady balancing on a stool at the bookcase let out a squeak of alarm, the books in her hands fell to the floor as she tried to keep her footing.

“Ma’am watch out!” Johnny dumped his cup of coffee and slice of cake on the long table and rushed forward to reach up and hold the lady around her waist. When he was sure she was steady he kept hold to help her step down.

“Thank you, Johnny. Oh my, you took me by surprise.”

“Sorry Mz Maben, didn’t mean to scare you, I finished clearing the Azul creek early and came on home.” He realised he had perhaps held onto her longer than was polite and stepped back. “Um, can I ask where’s Murdoch and why are you climbing up our bookcase?”

“It’s Melanie, as you well know.” She smiled at him aware of his embarrassment. “Murdoch was called out to the barn, and I am looking for some books for the book club that is starting in Green River.”

Johnny raised his eyebrows and let that news sink in. “Okay,” he drawled. He bent down to pick up the books at his feet at the same moment Melanie did the same and their heads bumped together.

“Ouch, sorry Mz Melanie.” He again reached out this time taking hold of her shoulders.

“My you have a hard head Johnny but no harm done.” She smiled at him and he grinned back.

“You just stay put please, and I’ll pick up these here books.”

There were two books by Sir Walter Scott, Waverley and The Lady of the Lake both well-worn favourites of his father. “Are there any other books you would like me to get for your club?”

“Can you recommend one or two Johnny?”

He pursed his lips and looked down at his dusty boots and slightly shook his head “Nope, I ain’t much of a reader I leave that to Scott and Murdoch.”

“Well, which do you think your brother would choose?”

He gave that question some thought rubbing his thumb against his nose not wanting to disappoint Melanie. “Scott recently had a couple of his books by a British fella called Charles Dickens sent to him by his grandfather, he told me he had been to a talk that Mr Dickens gave when he visited America and got him to sign them.”

Melanie nodded “Are you sure Scott will not mind the book club borrowing his books?”

“He has read them both already so don’t see why not, and I’m sure they will be safe with you.”

She watched as Johnny ran his finger along the book spines until he found A Tale of Two Cities and Great Expectations.

She accepted them with a slight frown “A good book can be read and re-read.”

Johnny tilted his head and waited for her to continue.

“Good stories take you to places you can only dream about. The characters come to life and claim a place in your heart. You laugh and cry with them, they become your friends.” She blushed and pushed a stray strand of fair hair behind her ear.

“Oh Johnny reading is not just for learning dry facts and figures a good story can be a great escape and comfort from the trials and tribulations in your real life, and is something you can share with others.”

Johnny took her hands in his. “Melanie I’m pleased you get such pleasure from reading. I bet your book club is going to be a great success.”

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~ end ~
February 2020

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