Of all the stories I wrote in 2020, #PictaBook is my favourite…I think LOL.
#PictaBook was written for an in-house call JMS Books had for stories where the main characters find love online. We could either use an existing platform or make up our own – I made one up.
Pictabook is a platform similar to Goodreads, but you can’t write an actual review of the books you read. Instead, you upload a picture you find fitting, and then you use hashtags to categorise the book.
In #Pictabook we have Phoenix – Nix – Ford who has a crush on his colleague. The only problem is that while the colleague finds Nix hot, he says he’s too stupid to date. Nix tries to prove him wrong by signing up to Pictabook. Being a dyslexic who’s never read an entire book, he doesn’t plan to read, but maybe he can make up a few bogus reviews.
Then he sees Jules Rose’s hashtags.
Jules is a librarian who avoids people at all cost, but once he realises Nix never had read a book, he’s on a mission. Books are meant to be enjoyed and he’s gonna find the perfect book, the book that will turn Nix into a reader or rather a listener since the first thing Jules has him do is to download an app that will read books to him.
I loved writing this so much!
They walked into the pub, and Nix instantly spotted Kyle at one of the tables. He looked pristine as always, dressed in slacks and a light-blue shirt. His short, dark hair, perfectly styled, and his horn-rimmed glasses making him look hot enough to eat.
“No!” Logan grabbed his arm when Nix started off in Kyle’s direction.
“But it’s an after-work pub night, we’re here to talk to our coworkers.”
“We’re here to eat, have a beer, and socialize. Not harass the administrative staff.”
“I’m not harassing him. He likes me.”
Logan sighed while giving him a long look. “He doesn’t, Phoenix.”
Oh, full name, he must be serious. “He does. We had a great night—”
“I’m sure you both got off famously and all, but he doesn’t like you.”
Nix scowled. Kyle liked him. Why else would he have slept with him? “I’m going to talk to him.”
“No, please—” But Logan didn’t get the chance to say anything else before Nix hurried over to Kyle’s table.
“Hi, Kyle.” He gave him his best smile. “How are you?”
Kyle rolled his eyes, and Nix’s heart beat harder. “Phoenix. You are like your name suggests, aren’t you?”
“Huh?” Nix lost himself in Kyle’s cornflower blue eyes.
“You’re never put to rest; you keep popping up over and over again.”
Nix frowned, then he shrugged. “So how have you been?”
“Since we saw each other in the office earlier? Good.” He looked away from Nix and focused on his phone. Nix did too, but he didn’t recognize the app he had open. PictaBook. It had a light background and a purple camera with a pile of books next to the name.
“What are you looking at?”
Kyle glanced up from the screen with raised eyebrows, his tone condescending. “Books. I know you’ve never owned one, but they’re this neat little invention of words strung together to create a different world you get to take part in.”
His words stung, but Nix tried not to let it show. “So it’s like Facebook but for books?” How lame!
Kyle sneered. “More like Instagram, but yes, it’s all about books.”
Kyle snorted and Nix looked at the screen again, trying to see his username but only seeing a profile picture of a naked man hiding his privates underneath a book. “Nice picture, but that’s not you.”
Kyle sighed. “Was there anything you wanted, Nix?”
“Yeah, you know…” He rolled his shoulder. “Would you like to grab a beer sometime?”
The slow blink didn’t bode well. “I don’t know how to tell you this so you understand. I’ll try to use simple words. You’re hot, and you’re an okay lay, but, honey, you’re dumb as a doornail. I don’t do stupid for more than one night, okay?”
Nix had a hard time breathing, let alone finding his voice.
“Nix, is a burger fine?” Logan called from a table across the pub. He was talking to a waitress and held a menu in his hand.
Nix glanced at Kyle, who had his nose pressed against the screen of his phone again, and walked toward Logan. “Burger’s fine.” Though he’d lost his appetite.
When he sat, the waitress smiled and hurried off toward the kitchen. Logan looked at him for a long time. “What did he say?”
“Come on, Nix. Your shiny ego is crackling.”
“He said I was dumb as a doornail, and he doesn’t do stupid for more than one night.”
“Fuck him, he doesn’t know you. If he thinks you’re stupid, let him believe you are, and move on.”
“I am dumb, and he used a condescending honey to explain it to me.”
Logan’s lips thinned and the frown that had meant someone would get beat up when they’d been kids, made an appearance. “You’re not stupid, Phoenix. Don’t listen to him.”
Nix nodded, then he grabbed his phone from his pocket. “I’m going to show him.”
“No dickpics in the pub!”
Nix snorted a laugh, making Logan grin. “He was on this app, a book app.”
“Nix, you don’t read.”
“No, but I can pretend I do.”
Jules Rose leads a quiet life working as a librarian. He’s happy to spend his spare time reading books and talking to his homicidal cat. What more could he wish for? But when his cozy Friday night is shattered by a friend request on his book community app, politeness gives him little choice but to accept. Jules doesn’t want to talk to anyone, but he can’t be rude. Besides, if he had to talk about something, books is the topic he’d pick.
Phoenix Ford is dyslexic and avoids everything that has to do with the written word, but when the colleague he’s trying to impress calls him stupid, he decides to convince the other man, he’s mistaken. All he needs is the right book to make him look smart, a perfect balance between intelligent and short. And who better to ask for help than a guy who loves books so much, he labeled one boner-worthy on a book app?
When Jules finds out Phoenix never has read a book from start to finish, he’s on a mission. He will find the right book, the book that will make Phoenix fall in love — with reading. Phoenix’s plan might have been to listen to the book Jules picked for him to impress his colleague, but that was before he got to know him. Talking about books is a sure way to Jules’ heart, but is it enough for him to agree to go on a date?