life in a bookstore

I like cancelled plans. And empty bookstores. I like rainy days and thunderstorms. And quiet coffee shops. I like messy beds and over-worn pajamas. Most of all, I like the small joys that a simple life brings.
—  Unknown
Three Words, Eight Letters

Author’s Note: Reid x Reader. When the Reader says “I love you” Reid struggles to return the sentiment. But there’s more than one way to say it. You just have to listen.


He can translate five languages with ease and can read 20,000 words per minute. He can recite Shakespeare and poetry and memorize entire film scripts without batting an eye. And yet, there are three words he just can’t manage to string together.

She thinks it’s a mental block, that something in his mind just won’t let it happen. Or perhaps it’s something in his heart. Something scarred, and something scared. They’d been together for six months before she found the courage to say it to him. They’d been sitting together on a park bench, watching the world go by. He draped an arm over her shoulder, and she’d nestled close to his chest, sighing. It was the most natural thing in the world, to be by his side.

“Spencer?” she’d said, glancing up at him.

“Mm?”

“I, um… I love you.” She had pulled back a bit, gauging his reaction. His eyes widened and red crept into his cheeks as he sat there stammering, looking wholly shell-shocked. “It’s okay,” she added, “You don’t have to say it back! I just thought you should know.”

Spencer had looked down, pulling at his knuckles. “It-it’s not that I don’t want to. It’s just that… I can’t. I’ve tried to tell you so many times, but the words, they won’t come out.” He was quiet for a few moments, before saying, “I think it’s because of Maeve.” His late girlfriend. He had told her their story a few months into their relationship, the night they unearthed the demons of their past together. “She said it to me, but I never had the chance to tell her that, and ever since then I just… I can’t do it. I’m sorry. Because I do… I really do, I just…”

His voice jumped higher and his eyes began to water. Sensing his distress she’d leaned in and silenced him with a kiss. “Shh. I know. It’s okay. You don’t have to say it. I just wanted you to know.” There’s no need to rush it. When he’s ready, he’ll say it.

Months pass, and he still cannot manage it. She’s gotten rather fond of telling him despite the sentiment not being returned. Those words seem to come so easily to her, as though trying to make up for his silence. She can’t stop telling him how much she loves him. When he shows up to her apartment with her favorite takeout food, when they’re the only two sitting in the library, between ragged breaths after he’s kissed her so deeply the world melts away.

He never says it back. And yet, he says it all the time. She just has to listen.

“I love you,” she laughs, as he finishes telling her a funny story on their walk back from dinner. He’s accompanying her back to her apartment, and the air is rapidly cooling off. She shivers, wearing only a dress and light jacket. When the sun went down, the mild fall temperatures went with it. Spencer stops and pulls off his coat, laying it across her shoulders.

“Darling, you don’t have to-”

“Don’t worry. I’m not really cold at all,” he assures her, removing his scarf as well. With care he wraps it in circles around her neck, smiling at her. Instantly the cold in her bones is replaced by warmth, and she buries her nose into the fabric of the scarf. It smells like ivory soap, coffee, and autumn. Just like him.

“Thanks.”

Spencer takes her hand once more, and they start off down the street. “Of course. I don’t want you to get sick. You need it more than I do.” He takes his coat back when they reach her building, but he conveniently forgets about the scarf, a fact which she’s all too happy about to believe it was an accident.

She hears it then.

She hearts it when he comes back after a long case, she throws her arms around him. “God I’ve missed you,” she says. “I love you so much.”

He kisses her forehead, and when he pulls away she notices the bag in his hand. “”I brought you something.”

“Why?” she asks. “It’s not my birthday or anything.”

“Open it,” is all he says. She peers inside, and withdraws a book. Staring at the cover, her mouth falls open.

Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse. An old, worn copy. She opens the front cover and stares at the first page. It can’t be. “But this is… this is a first edition! Spencer, it must’ve cost a fortune!”

He shakes his head. “You’ve always told me it’s your favorite book, and that you’d do anything to get a first edition copy. Well, on the case I helped save the life of a rare bookstore owner, who insisted on giving me a book as a gift. When I saw this one, I knew I had to get it.”

“Why?” she repeats. In her arms she clutches the book tight, not sure whether she wants to hug it or him more.

“Just because,” he says. “I wanted to see your smile when you opened it.” The book is temporarily forgotten on the armchair as she loses herself in kissing him.

She knows it the day he comes over to find her curled up on the couch, crying. It’s been a difficult week and her best friend, Isa, has been in a terrible accident. Things are up in the air. Isa is in the hospital. Spencer doesn’t ask any questions, he simply walks over and sits down beside her. She continues to sob as he pulls her onto his lap and wraps up her in an embrace. His heart beats through his shirt, and he runs his hands up and down her back in slow patterns, whispering gentle reassurances in that low voice he typically reserves for victims and grieving families. In his arms, she is safe. Warm and protected. No matter what the world throws at her, she knows he will be there to lift her up and keep her steady.

The very presence of him soothes her. He wipes her tears with the sleeves of his shirt and pushes her hair back from her face. They sit there in silence, her head on his chest, his fingers tracing circles on her skin until her breathing returns to normal. No words are needed at all. He knows her, knows what she needs. And she knows in her heart exactly how he feels.

She is certain of it when they’re at an event for her job, and one of her colleagues starts ranting about how medication is useless for mental illness. Robert goes on and on, saying that all people need to do is think positively and do things like yoga. Everyone is overdiagnosed, overmedicated, and overly sensitive.

Spencer feigns a sudden interest in the view from the window in the hallway as an excuse to escape the conversation. He glances down at her, quickly looking her over. “Are you okay?” he asks.

She bites her lip and inhales slowly. Anxiety has been a struggle for most of her life, and it was only with therapy and medication that she started to heal. Since college, things have been much better, but she still remembers the darker days, when she wasn’t sure how to keep going. To hear people say such ignorant things about mental health still stings.

“I’m alright,” she says. “I’ve heard worse things. But thank you for getting me out of there. I love you.”

Spencer interlaces his fingers with her own and they stare out at the city together. “I’d do anything for you. And I don’t want anyone to hurt you. What you feel is valid, and nobody should tell you otherwise.” He’s always doing that with her. Her protector, her knight in a vest and cardigan. There is no doubt in her mind that when he says anything he means anything.

They are sitting in his living room and they’ve both had a stressful day at work, and he’s making herbal tea in the kitchen. “I love you,” she says, grinning, when he sets the mug down before her. Spencer frowns and shifts uneasily in the armchair he’s in.

“Doesn’t it bother you, Y/N?” he asks.

“Doesn’t what bother me?”

“The fact that I still haven’t said it.” Oh. That. “We’ve been dating for over a year, and I still can’t manage to do something so simple. I know it must be frustrating, and I don’t want you to think I’m not as committed to you or to our relationship. You’re the most important thing in my life, and I don’t want to lose you. But I can’t say it yet.”

“Spencer,” she says softly, resting a hand on his forearm. The fabric of his sweater is soft between her fingers. “I know it. I know how you feel about me. You don’t have to say anything before you’re ready to. There’s more than one way to say I love you, you know. You tell me all the time. Not in those words, but I get the message.”

He seems unconvinced. “How?”

“You ask me to text you to make sure I get home safely. You call me almost every night when you’re away on a case just because you say you want to hear my voice. You hold me when I’m scared. You take me out to get Thai food even though you’d rather have Indian. You memorized every song in Les Mis because you knew it was my favorite musical. In all those gestures, I can hear it. And I can hear it when you make time for me no matter how busy you are. Sometimes you say it without saying anything at all.”

She leans closer to kiss him, softly at first, then deeper, deeper. In equal fervor he responds, and though the syllables do not fall from his tongue, his lips are perfectly capable of making the message clear. Every part of her tells her it’s true, that he loves her he loves her he loves her. No flower petal plucking needed to divine it.

One day, she’s walking across the sidewalk to hand him a cup of coffee. They’re going to walk to the Smithsonian, but it’s still early and they need caffeine before they’re ready to go anywhere. He holds the paper cup close to his face, breathes in the scent of a warm mocha.

“Ah. What would I do without you?” he says, flashing her a smile. She laughs, a grin that stretches across her whole face, and the morning sunlight hits her eyes just right at that very moment, and she just looks so adorable. Something in him lifts. “I love you.”

The smile falters, and the latte she’s holding tumbles from her hands, contents spilling on the sidewalk. She blinks. “What did you say?”

Bewildered, she stares up at him, and his heart swells. “I love you,” he repeats. He can’t explain why now or how, but the words have finally come and he can’t stop them. Months of sentiments fall from his mouth. “I love every part of you. I love the way your eyes light up when you’re excited and I love the way you laugh and I love how open your heart is. I love your patience and your hair and the way you kiss me when there’s no one else around. I love all of you. I love you. I am in love with you. I’ve never loved anyone this much. I love you, Y/N.”

It feels so good to say it.

It feels so good to hear it. Water springs to her eyes before she can stop the tears. Stepping over the puddle of coffee, she cups his face in her hands. “I know you do,” she murmurs. “You didn’t have to say it. But I’m glad you did. And I love you, too.”

In the middle of the sidewalk, he pulls her closer, pressing his lips to hers. They’re both laughing and crying and something in them has changed. She doesn’t care that people pass by, giving them odd looks as they stand there kissing. Whatever locked doors existed in his heart have finally been opened. He’s healing. He’s ready.

For him, she would wait a thousand years. No demands, no ultimatums. She has heard the sentiment before, listening carefully to his actions and reading between the lines.

But oh, how good it feels to finally hear those words out loud. And oh, how she loves him.

Hurt

Where Y/N is in an unhealthy relationship, and Harry helps her realize and understand that she should be treated better.

Sneak Peak:
“You always did like Harry more than a friend should. But then you got into a relationship and you knew your feelings never went away they were just repressed.

But right now it’s like they all came back again in full force, they weren’t hiding anymore.

“Why didn’t you text me back last night. Were my jokes so bad you threw your phone out the window?” He chuckled.

You suddenly frowned remembering last night with Lucas coming home drunk. And everything after that. You didn’t want to think about what happened, because whatever you thought would help didn’t. You woke up feeling shitter then before and Lucas was still being the same, he didn’t change. You were stupid to think that him having sex with you would change that.”


-
I’ll probably do a part two. Tell me if you want that!

————

As soon as you heard the front door shut downstairs you sighed. You looked over at your phone and it was 2am. But what’s new with him coming home late you thought sadly. You hoped he wasn’t in that mood because you certainly weren’t. But that hasn’t stopped him before.

You heard him downstairs in the kitchen probably getting some water to minimize his drunken state. Oh you really hope he wasn’t drinking tonight. So you quickly locked your phone and pretended you were fast asleep. And maybe he would just climb in bed and just fall asleep too.

As you buried your head in the covers, you saw your phone light up. It was a text from Harry, and you grinned.

You always texted each other about random stuff when you couldn’t sleep at night. Harry usually busts out the awful jokes and sends you funny memes to make you smile.

Harry was a great friend and you’ve became even closer ever since you both worked together in the bookstore down the road. Your whole life you never really had a true best friend where you could tell almost everything to, until him. So you were sad you didn’t have time to reply to his text at least to say goodnight.

You laid down in silence for a little. But You didn’t hear him come up the stairs so you decided quickly to maybe send Harry a quick “goodnight text” just so he doesn’t think your not replying. But as soon as you reached for your phone the sound of footsteps stopped you. You quickly brought your hand back to the bed and closed your eyes to look asleep.

The bedroom door opened and you heard him shuffle in. You could already tell he was drunk because you could hear him trip over his feet multiple times as curse words flew out his mouth.

He walked over to the closet to take off his clothes and was left in just his underwear. The bathroom light illuminated and he walked into brush his teeth and do some other things. Usually he would just jump into bed. He never cared to get fully ready for bed if he was drinking.

Maybe he wasn’t you thought, and smiled a little. Maybe he just came home late from work and wasn’t out get pissed drunk. Which made you think that he was getting back to his old self, and that’s who you loved.

The side of the bed dipped and you could feel the warmth of his body come in contact with you. He got himself comfortable on the bed before he slipped his arm around your waist to pull you onto his bare chest. You almost leaned into his touch until he spoke.

“I know your not sleeping.” He said and you could smell the alcohol on his breathe and you cringed.

You didn’t say anything hoping he would just go to sleep and you can all just start off tomorrow morning fresh.

He sighed into the side of your neck, you thought in defeat. But then you felt him slowly start to leave kisses on your neck. While creeping his hand up the shirt your were only wearing which was his.

You thought it would just end there before he fell asleep. But then you felt his hands coming down to your underwear.

“Lucas, I’m really tired.” You finally gave up the act.

He smirked down at you “I knew you weren’t sleeping.” He said while still assaulting your neck.

Your weren’t facing him so he couldn’t see the uneasiness on your face. But that soon changed when he flipped you around to face him. Even in this dim light you could see his blood shot blue eyes and you missed seeing his ocean eyes.

They use to be so clear and beautiful before they were tainted with the red rims that is now part of him most of the days.

“That’s better.” He says to you as he leaned in for a kiss but this time on the lips. You didn’t push him away because you thought this was just a good night kiss. So when you felt his lips connect with yours you brought your hands up to his cheek and kissed him back. It was slow and gentle and you missed this. Just simply kissing him and not doing anything else.

You pulled away from the kiss to lean your head back down on the pillow because in all honesty you were getting tired. But Lucas wasn’t having it.

“Come on Y/N don’t sleep on me yet baby.” He says well placing his hands between your thighs.

“Lucas your drunk…”

“I’m not that drunk” he tells you while his hand still hasn’t moved.

You tried to reason with him. “Babe, I’m just really tired can we just do this another time. Please.” Why are you begging him, you shouldn’t be. Your subconscious told you.

“Come on Y/N, let’s just fuck around for a little bit. We haven’t in a while.” He whines while kissing your cheek.

But you remember the last time you did have sex it was like a week ago. In the car after you left one of your friends birthday parties.

Lucas said he couldn’t keep his eyes and hands off you all night. Which did make you feel pretty. But he literally made you guys leave early because he wanted you right then and wouldn’t wait. You couldn’t really say no when he went behind your back to tell everyone you weren’t feeling well so you left early, which was a lie.

You did want to stay longer, but Lucas insisted that you guys leave. You felt bad for lying but Lucas kept saying it was alright because he was gonna make you feel so good.

He couldn’t even wait until you guys got home.

You remembered he stopped driving and pulled over. Even when you told him that you felt more comfortable if you were at home in your own bed.

But he didn’t listen.

He said how he couldn’t restrain himself any longer and how he had to take you right in that car.

You remembered him saying how if you weren’t so beautiful and sexy that he could of waited.

Like it was your fault.

But he didn’t wait.

You were uncomfortable and not enjoying yourself that whole time he was inside of you, because yet again he put his own needs before yours.

So right now in this moment it felt like the same thing was happening.

“Lucas. I am really tired right now okay?!” You said in a stern voice. You tried to get him to face you so he could see how serious you were. But his face was still on your neck.

“I’ll be quick. Come on… I’ve had a long day at work and you’ve been so busy too. I miss you…” he tells you.

It was those times when he would say things like that, that you think it’s the truth. You hoped it was because you missed him too, but the old him. Maybe things are turning around for the better. But you weren’t sure.

Silence filled the room but you could still hear the sound of his lips on your skin. He moved lower and lower until he got to the rim of your underwear. He didn’t look up for confirmation but at the same time you didn’t stop him.

You have been working a lot so maybe this would make him happy again. Maybe after this he would stop coming home drunk. Maybe You were being to busy with work and everything.

Maybe this was a way to make up for it.

But you didn’t feel good because deep down you knew you didn’t want to be doing this right now.

And after it was over and Lucas pulled out of you and said those three words.

You knew something didn’t feel right.

——-

There were so many new books that arrived today. You could barely keep up with the whole catalogue and making sure you put them on the right shelf.

The book store was packed today probably because of these new books. A lot of them you had to put aside because so many people were calling them to put them on hold before they sold out.

You were humming a tune that’s been stuck in your head for weeks until you heard something behind you.

You turned around a saw a book on the floor. It must of fallen off the cart you thought as you grabbed “Everything Everything” and put it back on the cart.

You then continue with the teen fiction section making sure you put them in the right alphabetical order by the authors last name.

Sometimes you have these brain farts when you can’t remember which letter comes first in the alphabet so you have to start from the beginning and sing the alphabet song.

“A, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i-” suddenly you heard another thud behind you.

You turned around again and saw another book on the ground. But it was down the end of the aisle and it couldn’t be from your cart.

You walked over there and picked it up and placed it back where it belonged. Right when you did that a book on the shelf right beside you fell. You slightly jumped before it could hit your foot.

“What the hell?” You said out loud. You swear if it’s those kids again from a few months ago.

You peaked through the slot where the book had fallen too see who was on the other side pushing the books down.

No one was there you just saw to the other aisle. You sighed in frustration. Maybe it was a ghost-

“BOO!” Harry jumps into your view on the other aisle. You jumped and yelled and hit your head on bookshelf.

“Owww” you touched your forehead but you looked at your fingers and didn’t see blood.

“Oh my gosh!” Harry comes over and starts laughing uncontrollably. “You should of seen your face!”

You tried to look mad at him but it was hard when he looked so cute and happy laughing.

“I swear I didn’t mean for you to hit your head.” He says while still laughing.

“Well I did. And you distracted me from my work, you ass.” You couldn’t keep a straight face anymore and grinned.

“I’m sorry.” Harry pouts. “But I’m not really, after you nearly got me fired last week for setting my phone alarm to go off while I was checking out people! And “I’m sexy and I know it” came on!“

You giggled remembering how embarrassed Harry was as he tried to search for his phone to shut off the alarm as he had a line of customers ready to check out.

“I’ll get you back styles.” You point at him to make yourself look intimidating but it really didn’t.

“I’ll be ready, Love.” He raises his eyebrow and You just shook your head.

“Well the least you could do is help me put these books on the shelf. Especially the ones on the top shelf Mr.Long Legs.”

“Sure thing Ms. Shorty.” He teased.

“Hey!” You went over to the cart and got another book and so did Harry.

You checked the list to make sure you were putting it in the right place. Okay where is the name Hopkins? You thought as you skimmed through the H’s. After you found it you slide the book.

“You know I’m not short your just insanely tall-” you turned around to get another book, when you almost crashed into Harry. He was standing behind you as you you were putting the other book away. While he was putting another book above your head.

You were pretty much trapped between Harry’s frame as his hands were above you looking for the right author.

“Oh so now your trying to trap me?”

Harry looks down on you and smirked.

And suddenly you wanted look at Harry all day. His green eyes were mesmerizing. You tried to look away but when you did you just ended up looking at his pink lips.

You always did like Harry more than a friend should. But then you got into a relationship and you knew your feelings never went away they were just repressed.

But right now it’s like they all came back again in full force, they weren’t hiding anymore.

“Why didn’t you text me back last night. Were my jokes so bad you threw your phone out the window?” He chuckled.

You suddenly frowned remembering last night with Lucas coming home drunk. And everything after that. You didn’t want to think about what happened, because whatever you thought would help didn’t. You woke up feeling shitter then before and Lucas was still being the same, he didn’t change. You were stupid to think that him having sex with you would change that.

“Hey hey.” Harry lifted up your chin to see your sad expression and glossy eyes. “If my jokes were that bad you could just tell me. I promise I won’t be offended, Love.”

You blink away the water in your eyes. “What? No that’s now why. I just fell asleep. I’m sorry and you know I love your cheesy jokes.”

“Ok just making sure.” He pulled away from you and picked up another book.

“Ohh I heard this book was pretty good.” He held up the book “Before I Fall”.

“Me too, they made a movie too and I’ve been dying to see it. It’s kind of mysterious and creepy too.” You explain.

“Yeah but I don’t think it’s in theaters anymore.”

“Aww that’s too bad…” you remember seeing the trailer and maybe wanting to see it but you didn’t have anyone to see it with. Lucas hated doing things like that.

“Maybe you can come over tonight. It’s on my Apple TV and we can watch it together.” Harry offers.

You look up from cataloging to see that Harry was waiting for your answer. You knew your answer already. But your mind suddenly went to your boyfriend. It didn’t matter what he thinks you told yourself. You are just hanging out with a friend and will be done before 11 if he is even home that early.

“I mean if you have other plans I totally understand-.”

“No, I don’t I would love to come.” You say and he smiles.

“Ok I’ll wait for you after your shift is over.”

“I’ll be waiting.” You say as he walks away to finish the rest of the work he had to do.

Now all you were thinking was that you hoped four hours will go by quickly.

———-

“Do you want coke or Pepsi?” Harry yelled from his kitchen.

“Coke definitely!”

A few moments later Harry comes back with two cokes in one hand and a big bowl of popcorn in another.

He handed you a coke and said,“ your a coke girl, my favorite kind” he said jokingly and you giggled.

He also brought a big blanket down from upstairs. When it was time to sit and watch the movie Harry sat down right next to you barely leaving any room between you too. He layed out the blanket over your bodies and put the popcorn between you two.

It was now about seven o'clock and the sun was setting soon. But Harry’s apartment was so cozy and homey. You loved coming over here.

Harry pressed play and the movie started. As the movie was rolling Harry kept asking questions and making commentary that made you laugh.

“Why would she do that-”

“Harry be quiet this is the good part.” You placed your hand over his mouth and he licked your hand making you pull away and wipe your hand on your shirt.

“Your such a child!”

But then Harry hushed you to be quiet because the climax of the movie was happening.

When the movie ended you guys decided to watch The Notebook. It was Harry’s idea actually but you loved the movie too.

As the movie progressed. Your eyes began to get droopy but you tried fighting it. But you barely got any sleep last night.

So when you placed your head on Harry’s shoulder you fell into a deep sleep.

——-

The sound of a phone ringing woke you up. Your eyes were still closed as you grabbed your phone from your pocket and answered.

“Hello?” You said with you groggy voice.

“Y/N, where the fuck are you?!” Lucas’ voice boomed from the line.

Your eyes flew open. You were confused where you were for a second. But you took in your state as your laying in Harry’s lap as he’s fast asleep next to you practically holding you. You looked at your phone to see the time, and when it read 1am you nearly had a heart attack.

Holy Fuck.

“I’m so-rry. I’m at a friends and we were watching a movie and I accidentally fell asleep. I lost track of time.”

“Where are you? Send me the address I’m picking you up.” He demanded.

“No, it’s ok. I’m leaving right now. I swear you don’t need to come.” You tried no calm yourself from panicking.

“I swear to fucking god Y/N, if your not hear in a fucking 30 minutes I will-”

“I’ll be there, I promise I’m leaving right now. I’m sorry. I love you bye.” Lucas hangs up on you without saying anything.

“Is everything alright?” Harry yawns beside you. Making you realize that you were still very close to him. “Who was that? You got up quickly and started gathering your stuff.

“I have to go. I should of been home awhile ago. Lucas is worried” You frantically look for your other shoe as Harry watched you.

Harry knew who Lucas was, he met him a few times when they started dating. But he always gave him a weird vibe.

“Oh crap it is 1am. We slept for awhile did we?”

“Yeah.”

“That was the best nap I’ve ever taken. Your very warm and cozy Y/N like a pillow.” Harry said randomly.

Your stomach did a weird flip after Harry said that. You looked over at him with his hair a little messy from sleeping, and looked adorable.

You wanted to go back to the couch and let him hold you again.

“Let me at least drive you home.” Harry offered getting up from the coach.

“Of no you’ve done so much already. It’s fine I can walk.” You said too quickly.

“Absolutely not Y/N it’s 1am. What kind of friend would I be if I let my pretty friend walk home at night.”

Pretty….

“No way, at least let me call you an uber?”

“Ok.”

The uber arrived 7 minutes later. As soon as you saw there headlights you went to the door.

“Hey I don’t even get a goodbye hug?” Harry pouted.

You smiled and turned back around and Harry wrapped his hands around your waist pulling you closer to him.

“Text me when your home safe.” Harry whispers in your ear and you just nod. You didn’t want to leave but when Harry pulled away you knew you had to go.

But all you wanted was to back in Harry’s arms.

-

Part 2: https://imaginexxharry.tumblr.com/post/160663934994/hurt-part-2 Part 3: https://imaginexxharry.tumblr.com/post/160710668819/hurt-part-3