The bookstore continued its remarkable success after Jim and Pam had been married. The seasons that followed their union brought ups and downs, but the quaintness of the bookstore and its customers remained constant. Through the loss of grandparents and hospital visits, nothing helped them get through as much as the bookstore always did. The bookstore was like the glue that held their lives together when everything else seemed to fall apart. When they miscarried their first child, the employees gathered around them. When they both fell ill the next season of life, their friends gathered around with their years of retail experience to ensure the bookstore was still open. Through the years of operating the store, the community they had garnered helped guide them when life didn’t go their way.
If it weren’t for the jazz music that reminded Pam of rainy Sundays, the smell of coffee beans roasting on a Saturday morning, or the absolute grip that soft knit sweaters one size too big had on her, Pam wasn’t sure she’d be excited for the upcoming of her favorite season, Fall in the bookstore. It was the season when the store had first opened when she’d met Jim and everything good that came with him. Yet, the past few Fall seasons had been full of turmoil and turned her favorite time of year into one of wondering, “what would be next”?
Every year though, Pam made sure to try and keep her spirits up, and this year was no different. The bookstore seemed to transform itself when August 1st hit. Jim had helped Pam take down the greenery she’d let flow from shelf to shelf, across the coffee bar, and along the stretch of the checkout counter for a more festive choice of darkened fall assorted leaves with pine cones spread throughout. She broke out her battery-operated candles that were timed just right to come on as 5 pm hit. Even though the bright sunlight still shone in, as the season continued and gave way to darker skies each week, the candles would be an ever-constant reminder of the light the bookstore brought into this world for many.
It was during the middle of August, and the store flickered with Pam’s candles. The smell of the seasonal maple drink their new barista was making wove its way through the air, permeating every inch of the store with a sticky sweet smell. To top it all off, Pam was wearing one of her cozy emerald sweaters though it was nearly 85 degrees out. She didn’t mind that a bit of sweat dripped down her face or that the air conditioning wasn’t perfect here. It was her haven, regardless of the temperature.
Attempting to cool down, Pam sipped her iced pumpkin chai, her hair in waves along her face, and pushed a strand back before commenting to Jim, who was there helping her with the new display. “What books scream Fall to you? What would you want to see if you had an absolute choice of what bookstores displayed?”
Jim took a few steps to view the stack of books she had as potential options.
“Well, I suppose that depends on what style you’re going for. Do you want a color or a theme for plots? Because my first idea is to make it visually appealing to bring the customer’s eye in, but the plot is what people typically go for...” He paused as he tried to make eye contact with Pam, whose eyebrows knitted inward. “…what if we did both? Or we have a “pick our next display” challenge where people can vote on the social platforms?”
With that suggestion, Pam’s eyes lit up, “And this, my dear husband, is why you are in charge of marketing.” She stood, smiled her toothy smile that she knew he loved that showed a hint of her tongue, and wrapped her arms around his waist.
As their marriage progressed, they found Jim had a knack for marketing and selling. He’d quickly taken over the social media platforms and grown The Mossy Booknook to an international level. They now had “lives” or whatever that referred to, Pam wasn’t entirely sure, on all their social media platforms each week where Jim would talk to local authors. As time went on, it grew to widely known authors and Jim because of the face of The Mossy Booknook. Pam loved how involved he was in the store. This place and environment she loved with the one she loved most. Sometimes her heart couldn’t take how lucky she’d become.
However, sometimes the stress of keeping up with the social media pages, author meetups, book club meetings, and groups they ran through the store was overwhelming. Pam could recall when the store was a mere seed and nothing more, and now it had grown into a blossoming Maple tree. Strong, beautiful, and vibrant.
“…so competition then?” Jim questioned, his eyebrow raised as he pulled her back out of her thoughts.
“Sorry, hon, yes, absolutely!”
At that moment, Pam hadn’t realized this would become the defining moment for them. The Fall season would show them both how much one decision could change the course of their lives and the future of The Mossy Booknook.