Bella never intended to fall in love with another man. She never wanted it- never thought she needed another man. Since she was five years old she vowed she would only ever love one. Robbie Hayman- the Hollywood actor who came from the village she was born in. Her favourite place in the world. But she'd move to Hollywood if Robbie asked. It would be hard, Bella realised when she was ten, but she would do it. For him.
She was eighteen when it happened. She was in her favourite comic book store. It didn't stock a lot but it was compact and unique and that's how Bella liked to view herself. She was stroking the next issue of her favourite series when she heard a cough to signal someone announcing their presence from behind her. Only, when she turned, she realised he wasn't announcing himself to her. She didn't know, before turning around, that she'd care about this technicality but when she watched a brief encounter, she realised quickly she was intrigued by the new employee.
After a woman carrying a bag of groceries heard the cough to announce his presence, the employee, awkwardly but happily grinned, "Hi. Sorry to intrude! You seem confused and uncomfortable in this shop. You wouldn't be buying a present for someone else by any chance would you?"
"My goodness, I'm so glad you've saved me! I simply don't know what I'm doing."
"Tell me about the present-receiver; I might just be able to help."
They wandered off towards the counter and Bella found it hard to look away. But she did. She put the comic back and headed out of the shop.
Bella felt frustrated. The comic book shop was the place she found it easiest to be herself. Now she felt a little angry. This new employee was dorky, sweet-looking with a gentle way. The opposite of Robbie Hayman and Bella found herself supressing the thought that said; better than Robbie Hayman.
Bella didn't go back to the shop for a few weeks but she started to miss it so much her heart was a little achy. So, she headed down on a Wednesday afternoon after sixth form and her friends headed in another direction. She went down on a Saturday the time before so she figured he might not be there that Wednesday. All the figuring in the world would not have told her that he actually was, in fact, working that Wednesday.
Bella found out as soon as she stepped in.
Well this just wouldn't do. This was going to ruin her comic book experience. Her friends called her dorky but they found it endearing. It wasn't a trait she was willing to give up. She loved her comics- they were her best friends. It was the only thing she spent a lot of money on. She took a breath and headed to the back of the shop, quietly saying hello back to the new guy when he happily said "Hello!"
Bella, despite the butterflies in her belly, kept going back, like she normally would. Sometimes the new guy was working, some times he wasn't. That's when she felt most relaxed. Until, one day, he wasn't working and yet when she turned around she saw him browsing at the front. Bella cringed. She tried to head out quickly but he saw her, "Hey!"
Bella turned slightly, apprehensive. "Hey!" Bella felt silly. Bella was known for being quite happy-go-lucky. People found her crush on Robbie Hayman adorable and she loved playing up to peoples' expectations and joking about her future with him. And yet Bella felt like she wasn't herself in the presence of this comic book guy. She felt nervous.
"I've seen you about a lot! You buy the good stuff."
"Of course; I wouldn't have it any other way.
Comic book guy laughed. "We don't get many of your sort in here."
Intrigued, Bella felt herself laugh, "My sort?"
"The female kind. You're our only regular one!"
"At least I'm doing my sort proud and getting the good stuff!"
"Why is it we are a no-go area for your sort, in general?"
"I dunno. It's sad. Comics are some of my most prized possessions. My sort are most certainly missing out. You should create a campaign to get more females in comic book shops."
"We definitely should!"
"Don't sound too excited comic book guy!" Bella's confidence was coming back.
"Oh I didn't mean it like that."
Bella giggled to show she was joking and he blushed a little. It was all very endearing. "Do you think it sucks there aren't more of my sort interested in comics?"
"I do! I really do. They're so easy to get lost into. They might be some of the most unbelievable stories to some but I definitely feel it's real when I'm reading." Comic book guy paused. "What with all of the rubbish your sort get in this world, it would definitely be awesome to get your sort in more. Then we might also get more female superheroes."
"Now there's a very good thought. We are all superheroes in our own right anyway."
"You certainly are." Comic book boy caught Bella's eyes and she felt herself keeping this eye contact. He was smiling. He was lovely. He was a boy and the loveliest one she had ever met. She was looking at her in the sweetest way.
"I guess I'd like to be a superhero. A super powerful one. And I'd show the world that powerful women are an asset to the world. They're not scary; they're smart and awesome and allowed to be strong."
"I think that sounds like the best superhero."
"You can be my sidekick if you like. I like you."
Comic book boy laughed but seemed delighted, "I would love that. Maybe we could discuss this another time? We need a plan."
"On... like a date?"
"I mean, maybe. If you'd like that."
"Let me use my superpowers to find out your name."
"Ah, of course! Go for it!"
"I'm sensing a five letter name."
Comic book boy seemed surprised and impressed. "Yes!"
"Begins with an A?"
"What? Are you actually a superhero?"
"All women are superheroes, Aaron."
Aaron was dumbfounded. Bella turned away and headed towards the door, grinning a little. As she reached the door Aaron laughed, amazed at himself. "Hey, you don't have a name badge!"
"You best do some guessing then! I'll meet you here after your Saturday shift? Six o'clock?"
"See you then stranger!" Aaron grinned and Bella felt her heart grinning; her lips grinning; her everything grinning.
Bella waved an imaginary cape and grinned, "You can call me Comic Book Girl."
Have a lovely Bank Holiday!
Women & Capes,
The Girl in the Moonlight.
P.S. I am blogging twice every day this month and you can read my last post HERE!