For Miss Iraya’s birthday~! Happy birthday pretty lady~!
Arthur is a librarian, had wanted to be one since he was young. Of course, his reasoning had changed somewhat since his childhood. When he was young, he simply loved books- loved the stories, the adventures, the way that solitude with a book was never really lonely because there are characters with you to keep you company.
For Arthur, who had been an incredibly lonely child, this had meant a lot.
As an adult though he has other reasons he enjoys his profession.
It’s one of the few professions where he is allowed- no, obligated even- to kick people out of his establishment if they’re being loud. People are incredibly hard to shut up, but a library surrounded by books, students studying, and patrons looking for a place to relax is one of the few places he can tell any loudmouthed irritant to quiet down without seeming rude.
When it is loud, it’s usually only because the local kindergarten or pre-school children have come to have a storybook read to them by Alfred- a volunteer from the university. As generally grumpy as he is, Arthur loves children, and the sound of children gasping and giggling and enraptured in stories always brightens his day.
Arthur has learned how to keep the older students in check and behaving as well now, and most of his regular patrons are bookish types like him. There’s still those who are loud and obnoxious, of course, but he has a reputation now for being strict which properly frightened many into keeping quiet. The carefully practiced scowl helps matters as well.
That is until a woman traipsed into his library who isn’t affected by his scowl at all.
She’s gorgeous: lovely curves and long legs and the perfect sense of fashion to show it off. Her skin looks soft and silky smooth, and her hair seems even more inviting to the touch. She’s put her hair up in just that way that seems as though it’s on the verge of coming loose and spilling lovely curls over her shoulders. Shining blue eyes and perfect full lips- even her eyebrows are plucked to have just the right arch to them. Simply put, she’s perfect.
Arthur dislikes her instantly, of course. She’s just the type that drives his horn-dog teenager patrons who come to “study” up the wall, and he doesn’t really want to deal with that. She looks like a socialite too, and he’d never been very good at dealing with that sort.
It had nothing to do with his own instant infatuation with her- oh no of course not. He would not be so low as to decide to dislike someone because of something so silly.
She pokes around a bit before coming to the desk with two books in hand. When she addresses him, her English is lightly accented- French if he is any judge-, and her voice is a lovely as the rest of her.
“I’d like to register for a library card,” she says, distracted studying the cover of a book sitting on the desk. “If I may.”
Arthur is beet red and trying as hard as he can not to look at her any more than strictly necessary. When he responds, his voice is much more gruff and grumpy than he intends.
“Yes, of course, ma’am, right away. I’ll need you to fill this out?”
At his tone, she finally looks up at him fully in slight surprise and arches a brow. “Oh yes of course.”
Something she sees in his expression makes her grin at him, and he furrows his brows even more, feeling as though she’s laughing at him. She reaches forward to take the form and very intentionally slides her fingertips over his knuckles. Arthur flusters and drops the form. She catches it with a soft giggle.
He refuses to even look up at her now, knowing that he’s bright red in embarrassment and not wanting to make it any worse for himself. After a moment of silence, she laughs quietly again, and he gets angrier- how dare someone be so perfect?
When he looks up, scowl in full force, she’s intently studying him. “Well?” is all he can think to say.
“I need a pen,” she explains as she leans forward over desk much more than necessary to snatch Arthur’s pen- his personal one, with his name engraved on the side and everything- right off of a stack of papers.
This time he knows for a fact she’s teasing him because there’s a whole tin full of pens and pencils right in front of her, and she keeps her eyes locked on his face the entire time. He’s acutely aware of the fact that bending like this gives him a very nice view of her cleavage, and he devotes much of his energy to having a staring contest with her.
“There are pens there,” he says in an almost pouty tone. “If you needed one.”
She grins at him. “Yes, well, this one looked much fancier. ‘Arthur Kirkland’ is it? It’s a very nice pen.”
“Yes, you may call me Mr. Kirkland. I’m the librarian here.” He shuffles the papers on his desk around in an effort to appear busy.
“Well, Arthur, I did figure as much,” she says, teasing in her tone. “I expect I’ll see a lot of you soon then.”
They finish the transaction relatively quickly, and afterwards, Arthur goes to the bathroom to douse his face with water and tell himself very sternly in the mirror that he’s being ridiculous for letting a woman affect him like that.
Her name is Marianne, and as it turns out, she does come in rather often. He’s surprised to find that she reads from many subjects- some days she’s checking out books on politics and history and other days she checks out cookbooks or dime store smut filled romance novels.
Arthur is intensely fascinated by her, and therefore, he pretends that she doesn’t exist. She makes it difficult though. On days when she’s not chatting up at the desk, she’s making noise elsewhere as though intentionally loud to force him to scold her. Some days she flirts loudly with Alfred or hums while she’s looking for a book or even chats on her cellphone. He knows it’s to get a rise out of him, and he always goes and tells her to quiet down.
When he does, she always strikes up a conversation and as annoying as she is, he looks forward to her visits.
Today there’s a crash somewhere in the library, and when he rushes to the sound, he finds her on the ground, surrounded by books. One of her high heels lays close to the end of the row, and her hair is a bit of a mess. She looks vaguely surprised.
“So sorry,” she says softly, still on the ground. “My heel broke while I was pulling a book down and I seem to have brought part of the shelf down with me.”
“This is a library you know. You really should be quieter,” he says with just the barest hint of a smile. This is what he always tells her when she’s being loud in his library.
He kneels down in front of her to gently take a hold of her foot and ankle, inspecting to see if she’s hurt. His heart is racing though to have the woman he’s so infatuated with ruffled and lying out on the floor in front of him. She makes a lovely sight even like this.
“You can hardly expect me to be quiet when I’m falling, Arthur dear.”
It makes him blush to the roots of his hair when he realizes that her skirt is riding up her legs and he sees that she’s wearing stockings with one long dark line up the back. It attracts his eyes and he wants to follow it up her leg, but he doesn’t. He’s being a gentleman. He puts her shoe back on, though the heel is coming off.
“Of course not Marianne,” he says back as he inspects the shoe and tries to determine if it would even be possible to hobble on it. “I don’t have replacement shoes though, so you’ll have to figure something else out I’m afraid.”
When she doesn’t immediately respond, he glances up at her face and jolts a little. She’s right in front of his him now. Suddenly her fingers are on his face, tracing down his jaw.
Her voice is low and quiet, and she says, “You’re actually pretty cute close up.”
She gets within a fraction of his lips and all he can think about is how much he wants to touch her hair. He leans over her now, giving into the gravitational pull she seems to have, and he can feel her breath against his lips. Only the sound of footsteps in the next aisle jerks him back to his senses, and he pulls back, flustered.
“I’ll help you stand,” he says shakily, as he rises and takes her hand to pull her up. She stumbles on her broken heel and leans against his chest.
“I don’t think I can walk in these,” she says as she slips off the shoe again and lowers her foot to the ground. Without the heel she’s just enough shorter that her face is at the perfect level to nuzzle her nose against his neck.
Which she does.
Arthur holds her shoulder, trying to gently ease her off of him. “M-Marianne if you please…”
“Please just let me catch my bearings again?” she whispers gently, both palms pressed flat against his chest.
He knows that she can feel how fast his heart is beating and how hard it’s getting for him to breath.
“Of course,” he says after a moment. He feels awkward and he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. After a moment of utter panic that he’s overstepping his boundaries, he gently places one in her hair and pats her back awkwardly with the other.
After a moment she looks up at him, eyes on his face. She leans forward and pecks the very edge of his mouth.
“Thank you for helping,” she murmurs gently as she starts to smile at him. She moves in again, and he just knows she’s going in for a kiss and there are people in the library.
He’s a professional. So professional he yanks away as though it burns and runs into a shelf, scattering even more books over the floor.
“Y-you’re welcome!!” he says with his voice unnecessarily loud. “I-I’ll just put these books back where they go and you can have my assistant check you out.”
Arthur can see she’s pouting when she leaves, but he’s already putting the books back and trying to ignore his own pounding heart.
If seeing her cleavage was enough to require a cold splash of water to his cheeks, he is going to need a shower after this.
“Damn, I was sure that’d get him.”
Marianne is frustrated- the broken heel trick works most of the time and had almost worked today. As soon as she’s out of the library she changes into her unbroken set of heels and strides to her car, tossing the bum ones in the back where she stashes them just in case. Arthur is so cute and grumpy and easy to fluster. She wants him so much she can barely stand it- an attractive albeit frumpy librarian? It’s practically a kink. He’s so unfashionable and unsophisticated with his messy hair and thick eyebrows. But there’s something about his eyes and set of his jaw that she really likes.
Arthur is too proper for his own good but it’s not like she just wants a quick bit of fun then nothing. She wants to take him home and cook for him, go out on dates, see what he’s like not trapped in an argyle sweater and surrounded by shelves. It’s easy to see he’s a softie underneath all that scowling grumpiness, and she wants to unravel him.
Still the experiment was rather fruitful. She knows now that the attraction is mutual, and that he’d just need a bit more encouragement.
Perhaps if she came back at night…
He’s about to close up. All of his patrons and his assistant have gone home for the night. The lights in most of the library are off, and he is packing away his desk. He hasn’t locked the door yet though, and he hears the faint sound of bells.
“I’m sorry, we’re closing…” he starts to say as he looks up.
The first thing he notices is her hair- windblown and falling out of her hair clip. Her cheeks are flushed from the wind, and she’s slightly breathless.
“Oh yes yes I know. I’m running late.” Marianne smiles and soon she’s at his side, touching his arm gently. “I need a reference book. French political history. If you help me find it, I can get out of your way quickly~”
Arthur can’t say no to someone looking for a book, especially not when said person is giving him such a sweet smile. With a resigned sigh, he nods.
“Of course, right this way.” He leads her back into the reference section, knowing his way around expertly. He flips one of the lights in the back on and goes to poke around the shelf. “Well these here are the books you should be—.”
“Arthur look at me.”
As he turns, she moves to press her hand against his chest as the other comes up to his face. “Honestly,” she says, eyes very clearly focused on his mouth. “I came because I wanted a bit of time alone with you.”
Arthur flusters instantly and backs into the bookshelf. The shelf digs into his shoulder as he presses back, eyes wide as he stares down at her. Face burning red, he catches her wrist as her finger tips slide over his bottom lip.
“T-this is i-incredibly inappropriate,” he stammers back at her. “T-to discuss such things here.”
Instead of backing off though, her smile grows wider. “But you do want to discuss this~?”
Marianne presses closer, and though he knows he should push her away, instead he gives into the temptation to touch the curls falling free from her clip.
After a long moment of blushing and fidgeting he finally admits quietly, “Yes, erm, if you think there’s something to discuss?” He gives her what he hopes is a charming smile, but it’s awkward and embarrassed; shy and hopeful.
Marianne finds it impossibly sweet.
“Good,” she says approvingly and curls her fingers in his collar. He barely has time to register what she intends to do before she yanks him forward by the his shirt and kisses him eagerly on the lips.
For a moment, Arthur feels frozen, but then it clicks that the loveliest woman he’s ever met is throwing herself into his arms. He wraps his arm around her waist and drags her closer. Slowly he deepens the kiss and moves to cradle the back of her head. Her tongue tastes like mint chocolate, and he realizes she planned this.
Somehow that makes it hotter.
Suddenly she pushes him tight against the shelf, and he feels her fingers slide teasingly over his crotch. He moans loud and grabs her wrist, though he doesn’t pull her hand away. She seems to take that as encouragement and starts to tease him. When she does, he breaks from her mouth to cry out softly and pull her hand back just a bit. Although she just knows that he’s about to scold her for being inappropriate, the sight of him already panting and bright red from just a few quick caresses has her pushing her luck.
“This is a library you know. You really should be quieter,” she coos at him, smirking.
Arthur blinks down at her in surprise, and then he laughs in an open honest sort of way.
“Bloody tease,” he says, voice warm and affectionate. She starts to act offended, but he’s already turning, pinning her against the bookshelf and pulling the clip out of her hair. He admires the way her hair fans out around her face and down her shoulders. “You’re infuriating.”
Then he proceeds to kiss her breathless.
(Well, perhaps not just kissing, but his sense of gentlemanly and professional propriety doesn’t allow him to talk about the rest out loud.)