Maedhros watched Fingon leave, then turned back to the computer. He would find the book for him, if only for a chance to chat with him again.
He had finished his PhD last year, before opening Beleriand Books. Maedhros loved the store, the trips to the estate sales and garage sales looking for books, the conversations with the customers, the relaxed pace of the days at the store. He found he did miss the time with his fellow students, the camaraderie of his colleagues at Cuiviénen and the social life though.
Truth be told he hadn't had much of a social life since deciding to open the bookstore. Months searching for a location, planning the layout, obtaining inventory, categorizing his collections, painting, trolling flea markets and yard sales for comfortable furniture—it had taken up a lot of his time but he didn't regret it.
Things had finally settled down a bit. He still took his inventory-finding expeditions but the bookstore was turning a small but steady profit each month. He didn't need to be there every day—he had employees and brothers enough to man the place but he liked it. He liked being there. He had created his ideal bookstore and it felt like home.
It would be nice to talk to somebody other than his family though. He kept in touch with his former professors, mostly by email. Almost all of his colleagues in the Classics program had scattered around the country, scrounging for the few positions available in academia or toiling away as adjunct professors halfway across the country.
Except for Azaghâl. Azaghâl had taken the adjunct position at Cuiviénen that Maedhros had turned down when he decided to open the bookstore. Azaghâl was busy—trying to impress as an adjunct in the hope of a permanent, tenure-track position, a baby girl at home and juggling Telchar's variable schedule as a nurse—all that left him very little time to spend with Maedhros.
Azaghâl would come to the bookstore about once a month; they would grab coffee or lunch and it almost felt like old times, when they roomed together. He and Telchar would have Maedhros over for dinner once in a while, when Telchar wasn't working night shifts. Maedhros would babysit little Narvi and give them a night out here and there. He loved children, despite the fact that he had practically raised his six brothers. Narvi was such a quiet, easygoing child that Maedhros quite enjoyed watching her for them.
It was nice having his own place, even if he had to share it with Maglor and Tyelko. Maedhros liked living in Formenos but it was just far enough from Tirion that it was a bit of a hassle to go downtown just for dinner or a night out. Not that he had ever really gotten into the nightlife in Tirion anyway, even when he lived on campus or in the apartment he shared with Azaghâl.
But he did miss the gatherings at his place, staying up late into the night having intelligent and sometimes fascinating conversations with his friends, the weekends playing Ultimate in the parks, heading to the bars to watch the games, seeing foreign films at the restored cinema downtown. He missed the events on campus too-concerts, visiting lecturers, watching Tyelko play hockey, the theater productions at Cuiviénen and downtown. Formenos certainly had things to do-if you liked to shop, to eat, to go out on the lake. It was a great place for families with kids; he had loved the summers here at the lake house that he had now inherited from Grandfather. But with only one cinema and theater in the summers only, it didn't provide quite the same variety of entertainment as Tirion.
Maedhros didn't want to move back to Tirion. The commute was only a half hour with the monorail but still. He liked having the bookstore in Formenos. There were so many bookstores in downtown Tirion, used and new, that Maedhros was sure he would be struggling to pay the bills each month if he had opened the store there instead. Rents were higher than in Formenos too. No, it had been a great idea to open the store here. With the added ease of a house he owned nearby it had really been a perfect option.
Maedhros hadn't really made any friends in Formenos yet either. He had met some people since he had opened the store. His neighbors by the lake were all nice, mostly families with young children and a few retired couples, but they didn't have much in common other than where they lived. With the exception of some local shop owners, almost everyone who lived in Formenos actually worked in Tirion.
He had gotten to know many of the shop owners, meeting them at the gatherings the city business development council held periodically. Maedhros was the youngest one there by at least a decade and he knew they found him a little odd. They knew the story and many quickly realized he didn't actually have to work to make a living and the fact that he did, and seemed to enjoy it, puzzled them. They were polite and friendly but their interactions didn't go much beyond that. Others had openly expressed surprise he hadn't stayed in academia and were perplexed that he was "wasting" his education on a used bookstore. He didn't talk to those people at the gatherings much anymore.
As far as anything beyond friendship? It had been awhile since he had been interested in anyone that way, he had to admit.
Maedhros shook his head and turned back to his computer. He would find this book for Fingon and for less than the ridiculous £125 that Harrington's had it priced. This was the challenge he loved. He had a chance to convert a disappointed customer to a satisfied one. And to be honest, he was really looking forward to seeing Fingon again.
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