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"You must read pretty fast. This is the second time this week you've been in here."
"Well, they're not exactly complicated reading." Carly smiled as she fished some forints out of her bag. When she had arrived in Budapest, she had been dismayed at how expensive new books were. A friend had introduced her to this secondhand English bookstore and she was now a frequent customer.
"I can recommend something more intellectual if you like." The shopkeeper, Laszlo, was reading the back cover of one of her chick lit selections.
"Despite their flaws, my brain is too full for anything deep." Carly was going through books at a voracious rate to keep her mind off everything else. She figured it was better than numbing herself with alcohol or stuffing herself with food.
"What don't you like about them?" he inquired.
"I seem to have established a pattern." she started. "They're mostly set in London, or somewhere in the UK. Throw in a parental crisis of some kind, an obligatory mention of Eastenders, and the heroine ending up with the best friend/chemist/co-worker that she has been dismissing all along. Bam! You got yourself some chick lit!" she smiled.
Laszlo grinned. "You should write one that goes against the formula. But make sure the friendly bookstore owner ends up with the coffehouse girl. " The last time Carly was here, she had walked in while Laszlo was ringing up the attractive clerk from the kavehaz across the courtyard. After she left, Carly had teased him for flirting with his customers.
"Of course!" she exclaimed. "Should they have two children or ten?"
"I've always wanted two" he replied. "A boy and a girl. Maybe it could be about all the misadventures they create in their father's bookstore."
"It sounds like you've got a better idea for a book than me." She thought for a moment. "You could write it and then stock it in your own store!"
"I'll secretly slip it into every customers bag until it's number one on the lists!"
"No, until you're on Oprah!" she laughed. It occurred to her that this was the first time she had laughed out loud in a long time. It felt wonderful.
She glanced at her watch. It was much later than she had thought and she wanted to get home in case Alex called.
"Thank you, Laszlo. I'm sure I'll be back soon." She wrapped the plastic bag around her books and carefully placed the parcel in her bag.
"I think you've bought all the chick lit in the place, but I'll see what I can find for you. Take care now. "
"I will and you do the same." Carly put her sunglasses on and pushed the door open. Stepping down the entry stairs, it took her a moment to get her bearings. Budapest had many beautiful buildings, but she often felt disoriented. It was hard to use the ornate building with gothic details as a landmark because they were all like that. The theatre across the street caught her eye and she knew she had walked past it earlier.

She strolled down the cobblestone street, momentarily thinking of nothing but the sun on her face. The hot temperature was a stark contrast to the cool interior of the bookstore. It quickly became too hot and she crossed over to the shady side of the street. She heard soft music playing and looked to her right. An iron gate was half open and Carly could see inside to a lush courtyard with a fountain.
The almost tropical feeling was a surprise compared to the gray stone exterior of the building. She wanted to go in and look around, but it looked like it might be private and she hadn't learned enough Hungarian to say "Sorry, I was just looking."


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The following comments are for "Selected scenes, untitled as yet pt 2"
by kadybay





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