My driving skills on a normal day could be rated as questionable. I wasn't a bad driver. I was just a fast driver. I liked speed; I blame my father for that. Today my need for speed would save me from being late for an appointment to meet the owner of the house I was supposed to "sit".
Shayla, my older sister, greeted me at the door to our house - Cosmopolitan and strawberry milkshake in hand. She remained at all times creepily happy.
"Frost, you excited to house sit?" Shayla stepped away from the door, cackling like a hyena. I rolled my eyes at the nickname that I've had since birth. Shayla thought "Frost" was a cute nickname because my middle name was Isis.
"Why do they call it house sitting? And why does this Robert guy need a sitter for a house with no plants, animals, or small children?" I begged at a loud decibel as I walked into my room to pack a suitcase for the two week stay at Robert "How-you-doin" Handler's apartment. It wasn't even a house, by God.
Robert Handler attended a county gardeners' meeting with Shayla and my step-mother, Denise. I've never personally met the guy and somehow I managed to be swindled into house sitting his apartment. The only emotion I felt when I heard the news was flustered. My driving would have to come in handy when I left my house to meet the guy before he left for the airport.
"Caroline," Denise chimed from some other part of the house. Today was Thursday which meant that today was a meeting which meant that Denise would be cooking dinner for Shayla and herself and then they would take off. The only plants I enjoyed were the easily managed kind. Herbs, particularly, they don't really care how often they get water.
"Caroline, will you give this to Robert when you see him?" Denise asked from my doorway.
"Sure thing, Dee, assuming I don't miss him. I'm running late. Daniel held me late. Apparently my smarter-than-the-average-bear boss forgot math and doesn't know that two fifties make one hundred." I sighed and threw some more clothing in the suitcase I'd pulled down from the closet.
"Caroline, you shouldn't speak so ill of people." Dee tsk-ed and walked out of the doorway, leaving a parcel on the dresser.
"Please, Mom," Shayla chuckled. "Frost is a cold person."
"Shut up, Shay." I growled. I tossed toiletries into the few open spaces of my luggage.
"See what I mean?" Shay begged Dee.
"Caroline, be nice to your sister. I didn't think I would have to say that after you turned twenty."
"I didn't think I'd still be here when I was twenty," I mumbled. So what if I was somewhat disgruntled about my current location. I still loved my family. And my attempt at going to school out of state backfired. Sue me.
"What was that, Frost?" Shayla yelled.
I screamed, unnecessarily, back, "Nothing."
I zipped the case, grabbed the pre-printed map, and said my goodbyes. I could only imagine what Shayla would do with the house to herself. She would still have to clean it for Thursdays or Dee would come over and have a coronary almost instantly. Especially since the house Shayla and I share used to be the family house.
Dad and Dee gifted the house on their tenth wedding anniversary. Shayla was twenty-three; I was twenty-two. Dad still stinks it's a bad idea for us to share a house and mortgage payments. It's a daily struggle that's for sure – the sharing, not really the payments.
"Have fun, Frost!" Shayla called out the door as I climbed in my car. I pulled out at break-neck speed, taking the hour drive at the same pace. Life's no fun if you don't live dangerously occasionally.
Robert Handler is a nice guy in that creepy old man way. Not like Family Guy paper delivery guy creepy, but overly-nice-wants-to-be-your-grandfather creepy. Every time Robert pressed his hand to my lower back during the tour of his penthouse (that detail was conveniently removed from the description) apartment my stomach jumped to my throat. Plus, he kept calling me sweetie - that just weirds me out. When he left I breathed deeply and physically shook it off before "Silly Walking" myself onto his couch.
If I didn't love my old house so much, I would steal Robert Handler's PENTHOUSE apartment. The whole top floor was his, practically. It was actually only half of the top floor. There were two penthouse apartments. That was Robert's parting message. "There's two penthouse apartments, sweetie, so don't worry if you walk out the door and there is some one staring you in the face. It's just my neighbor."
I wondered while I lay on the couch why the second half of that statement was needed. I don't care who it is. I don't really appreciate anyone "staring me in the face". That may just be my personal hang up.
I turned on the TV to vegetate for an hour – or three.
ShaylaMay says: So be honest, what do you think of Mr. Handler?
Shayla only uses the phrase "be honest" when she knows what I'm going to say. I laughed when her text came through. Her curiosity explained why she didn't take on the house sitting gig.
CarIsis says: I blame him for society's downfall. He freaks me out. But you knew that, right?
ShaylaMay says: Sorry sis. I wouldn't have volunteered you if you hadn't cancelled my date with Rick. I was really looking forward to that.
I kindly let Shayla know that as soon as I was home I was going to crush her pinkies with the garlic press. Rick wasn't even attractive enough to scam someone over. I ended the conversation and shut off the television. Shayla and Dee had oven sandwiches - a Denise Crawford classic – before the meeting. That sounded good for dinner. But in a defiant fit that in fact no one was privy to, I fixed spaghetti.
There was only one other room where I felt more at home than a kitchen. It was a dark room. The out-of-state college had a state-of-the-art old school dark room. It was love at first development. That remains the only part I miss about that school. As much as I wanted out of my hometown, I lacked a place at that school.
I maneuvered the kitchen like the penthouse was my own abode and not that of a creepy old master gardener man with no actual plants. As that realization hit me I burst into laughter. If Handler wasn't so creepy, this would've been very funny – all of it. Even Shay's scam.
I kept cackling as the water boiled and I dumped the pasta. Handler had given me full access to his kitchen, plus a daily fee for groceries on top of the amount for watching his house. The benefits were generous, that went without saying. I used spices in a homemade sauce. I mixed the two components in a large plastic storage dish. I'd made enough for a small family, or army.
I put my glasses back on as I sat down on the couch. I had to be at work at three tomorrow and I had no classes scheduled for Friday. I would be staying up late. Not like my appointments had that much effect on my sleeping habits, I just kept a time-table in my head. I turned on a movie and ate my deliciously, homemade, strictly Italian heritage dinner.
When the movie drew to its unresolved ending – the problem with series movies – I gathered the hour from the hue of nothingness outside the window. I think the darkness is my favorite thing about night. It's open for possibilities while being a solid mass of emptiness. I ad-libbed a few poetic lines in my head as I cleared the debris of my meal from the coffee table.
My musings were interrupted by the most disturbing sound any house sitter will experience – a wiggling door knob. I picked up the pot that my noodles had boiled in. I recalled a scene from the movie I had just finished. I, then, silently laughed at myself for thinking of a movie as I stood to the side of the door in absolute terror. I choked up on the handle.
Keys jingled briefly before being inserted in the lock creating a scraping, nails-on-chalkboard sound. I clamped my teeth together like the first thing this prepared intruder would do is ram a gun into my mouth to shut me up. My blinking rapidly sped up. I could feel the adrenaline release. The door opened.
A guy my age crouched to the floor with a "whoa". He dropped his carry-on luggage to the floor as he raised his hands over his head. Going off my gut judgment and the man's apparel – all cream suit – I lowered the pot, relaxed my hold on the handle.
"Talk," I demanded. I turned the pot in my hand like a warning. Even I thought it was a little too much Vegas thug, but when in Rome.
"I'm Robert Handler's grandson. He said I could stay here for a while. My name is Marcus Atley." He lowered his hands and attempted standing up. I backed off so he could.
"Did he tell you he hired a house sitter?" I asked, relaxing even more on the handle.
"He didn't even tell me he wasn't going to be here." Marcus brushed off his suit like the floor contained every particle of dirt known to man. "I didn't get your name."
"Caroline, but most people call me Isis," I walked away from him, mainly because I still held the pot. But also because he had the bluest eyes I'd ever seen, and they were a little unsettling.
"Why do they call you Isis?" Marcus asked from the entrance, still on edge from my greeting.
I shuffled around the kitchen and laughed, "Cause it's my middle name and it's shorter. I'm sorry about the greeting but you scared me. Robert didn't say anything about you either."
Marcus took a deep breath and strode forward. He'd managed to get his heart settled into a natural rhythm apparently. I studied him as he marched into the dining room and sat on a bar stool. He looked like James McAvoy with thinner hair and more angular eyes. Marcus had the facial characteristics of one my favorite actors with his own pair of unnerving blue eyes.
"Did you not find it odd that my grandfather hired a house sitter when he doesn't even have anything in need of sitting?" Marcus inquired, settling into a slouch at the bar.
"I hadn't even met Robert until today. And yes, I do. But there is a slight chance this is the best and worst form of revenge." I expected a follow up on the revenge and Marcus came through, that didn't mean I enjoyed explaining the inner-workings of my sister's mind. "I cancelled a date my sister really wanted. She knows Robert from the master gardener meetings he attends. She apparently received the request and promptly signed me up for it."
"Well, Grandfather is a bit odd. But he's a harmless old man. An exceedingly wealthy, odd, harmless old man. And I apologize for your sister; sounds like growing up with the two of you would've been eventful."
I laughed. That was the understatement of the century. Shayla and I never let an interaction slip by with a few choice words. We of course had our good times. After our parents' divorce, we created a secret language to communicate with in the courtroom and on the phone – Latin based like all other languages with a little south Texas flair.
"So what smells so good?" Marcus nodded at the kitchen.
"Ah, what a good nose you have," I joked. "Spaghetti with homemade sauce, you want the rest?"
Marcus rose from the bar stool, "I just got off a flight from California where all the food was made based on the South Beach diet." He pulled off his jacket and draped it across the bar, "My in flight meal had something I assume could pass as chicken." He loped to the plastic dish - his beeline for the food making his shirt brush my arm, "I would kill for homemade anything."
"You want me to heat it up, oh starved one?"
"I got it."
Marcus bounded to the microwave across the kitchen and popped it in. He proceeded to display impatient child on Christmas day type of behavior as the bowl rotated for an even reheating. His McAvoy-like appearance made it difficult for me to stop watching him. The beeping emitting from the microwave allowed me to snap out of my reverie.
"We're dancing around an issue." I stated taking a seat on the counter next to the bar where I assumed Marcus would take his meal. "What are we going to do about the whole me staying here thing?"
I admit to it not being my best phrasing, but desperate times and all that. If I left now, I could be back in my own bed by eleven. I didn't even know where I was sleeping while I stayed here. Robert never covered that in his tour.
"I don't see why you should have to leave just because I'm here," Marcus stood at the counter by my seat, gathering a load on his fork. He had commercial satisfaction on his face when he began chewing. "Grandfather hired you, so stay here. There's plenty of space for the two of us."
"You're sure? You just got home from California and you're willing to share the space with someone you don't know." My skeptic-o-meter started dinging. Marcus didn't give off Robert Handler - creep extraordinaire – vibes. The place wasn't his to decide who stayed and who left. But if Dad and Denise had hired someone to watch their condo and I showed up the house-sitter would be sent away.
"I have no control over you. Plus," Marcus set down the fork and patted my knee, "I think we'll get along fine."
"Hah, as long as you remove your hand from my knee, yes, we will." I jumped off the counter, removing Marcus's hand for him.
"So no physical contact?" Marcus asked before inserting another large bite to his mouth. To his credit he had a smile on his face, a non-creepy one.
"I have a day long trial period. I like you, you get to touch me. I don't, I use a meat tenderizer on your fingers." Marcus chuckled. "You laugh because you think I'm kidding. Night, Marcus, it's been a real slice."
Marcus's laughter died before I reached the hall with bedrooms. I scoped out the two that were across from each other, sharing a bathroom in the middle. Apparently there is no such thing as a "half bath" in a penthouse apartment. I took the room with green walls and black sheets. The bed was fully clothed. I wondered as I undressed it, ever so slightly, if I should be expecting a maid service during the week. Why else would guest beds be made at any given time?
I waited to hear a door close before leaving the room to get my suitcase. In my eagerness to make an impression, as a feisty-yet-fun woman, I left my luggage sitting near the front door. I rolled it back to my chosen room and changed into the sleep wear I had packed. With headphones in ears, I unfolded on the bed and fell asleep without delay.
| HouseSitting: A Short – JaseRae |
A ratatat on the door woke me up at eleven thirty sharp. My nostrils opened with my eyes and I smelled pancakes. I smelled pancakes and chocolate which can only mean one thing – chocolate chip pancakes. My McAvoy look-a-like proved himself to be useful. He acted as alarm clock and chef.
"You awake, Isis?"
"I'll be out in a minute," I grumbled. I most definitely would be out in less than a minute. My one weakness happened to be chocolate chip pancakes.
I set my work attire out on the bed for after a shower I would take an hour before I left. I wandered out of the room, headphones still in, hair put up unbrushed, with my pajamas – shorts and spaghetti strap tank – properly arranged.
"Morning, Wolfgang," I smiled, squinting against the sunlight that blared through the same window that had announced the hour last night. "How'd you sleep?"
"Like a man with jet lag, and you, you stunning woman," Marcus plated several flapjacks and set them on the bar with a nod indicating they were my (beautiful) flapjacks.
"Thanks, but you know what I said last night about physical contact? Same goes for verbal comments, except I do it to your tongue." I winked at him before buttering my (still warm) flapjacks.
"But I can think of such better uses for it," Marcus smiled devilishly. I couldn't help but be shocked by Marcus's blatant comment. My bottom jaw dropped to my shoulders.
"What am I supposed to say to that?" I tried my best not to laugh. I did not want to encourage this kind of conversation. My shoulders raised twice in amazement at my lack of a retort. The (steaming) flapjacks remained untouched as Marcus released a boisterous chortle.
"Eat your flapjacks, Isis," Marcus commanded.
That looked to be our only interaction as I left for work. Marcus appeared to be locked up in one of the other rooms in total silence. I slung my bag over my shoulder and grabbed my keys off the foyer table. I plugged in my headphones for the fourteen floor trip in the elevator, opening the door at the same time.
While staring down at my iPod, reminding myself for the umpteenth time to download new music, I shoulder checked somebody. The impact had enough force to rebound me into the wall.
"Wow, I am sorry," I instinctively spouted. "I should really learn to look up when I'm walking." I uncovered my eyes to look at the person to whom I just haphazardly introduced myself.
"It's okay. No worries," a very handsome man answered. "Do you live in the building? I've never seen you before."
"Uh, no, I don't. I'm Caroline Johnson. You can call me Isis. I'm house-sitting for Mr. Handler." I offered my hand.
"Oh, right, he might've mentioned that. I'm Grady Thurston." We shook and shook hands. "How long are you staying?"
"Two weeks, I actually have some place I need to be getting to," I dropped his hand. "It was nice meeting you. Again, I'm sorry for the shoulder check."
"It's fine. I'll see you around." Grady smiled and turned into his open door. I couldn't control the giddy smile that spread across my face.
Grady looked like he studied medicine or philosophy. He had that clean cut, Harvard Med appearance. But nothing about him said "yuppie". I thought about him as I walked to the elevators. It seemed to be that interesting, presumably eligible men were just right around every corner. If Denise we're here she'd probably had asked for both their numbers "for you of course, sweetheart".
I chuckled and plugged both headphones back in. I jammed out to everything from nineties rock to Beyoncé's latest single. I shoved Grady and Marcus to the back of my mind while the elevator descended.
With a bing, the doors opened.
"Do you want to get some coffee?" Grady asked breathlessly.
I stared at him with a small smile teasing my mouth. I'd never had a guy race down the stairs to catch me on the bottom floor.
"I might be late for work if I do," my smile changed to a frown. "Sorry."
Grady was breathing evenly as he asked, "How about dinner then?" Grady smiled, wide.
"I have work until nine," I sputtered.
Grady shrugged, "I'll pick you up at nine-thirty." He began beaming at me. I had no choice but to give him my number. Something about a guy's smile is so revealing and appealing. I glided away feeling lighter than feathers and air.
The Press, where I work, isn't a coffee house or a newspaper. It's a photograph printing company. Even though people without proper Google search skills get confused, we still receive plenty of business. With the customer entering dropping off prints and leaving, that leaves Sydney and me a massive amount of alone time to gossip. Sydney is my one friend at The Press. She's so very much like me, and so very different from me.
We're both sarcastic and edgy. Sydney's just more girly, wearing skirts every day. I have been paid to wear a skirt. That's the only way it would happen again. Sydney took one look at me, in my jeans and tee and secretive smile, before dragging me to the back room.
"What is going on with you?"
I tried tucking my lips into my mouth to keep the smile from growing like a weed in springtime. The only thing that I accomplished was my smile looking funny and ridiculous.
"I don't know what you're talking about," I giggled. I failed at lying. I never succeeded, even when necessary. "I got asked out."
Sydney squealed, "Tell me, tell me, tell me!"
I gave her the lowdown on Grady as we traded handling clients that walked in to pick up or drop off. (Very rarely did we have clients who came in to check up on their prints, it did happen though.) I had to bring up Marcus to explain how I met Grady. Sydney asked if Marcus was cute.
"Do you like James McAvoy?" I asked.
Sydney stared blankly at me, "Who?"
"Press mistresses," Daniel beckoned from the front desk. He preferred the term "press mistresses" to "ladies" or "girls". I believe he enjoyed calling us mistresses because that made us his mistresses.
"Afternoon, Daniel," we chorused.
Daniel beamed, a pervert beam, "How are we servicing people today?"
"We have two sets rolling right now. We're rinsing three now, and only two people have come to drop off more sets." Sydney spit the facts like a projector.
Daniel kept his creepy smile plastered to his face and patted Sydney's arm proudly. His molester's smile faltered a bit when he looked at me. I gently snarled at him. Daniel gave me the job while my sister and he were dating. Now that they weren't, he was waiting for me to screw up. I happened to be the model employee. I refused to suck up. That irked Daniel.
Daniel left early. He said he had a family engagement. As soon as his car cleared the corner, Sydney forced me out the door. It was only eight.
"Syd, I don't mind working." I laughed as she spun me to untie my smock.
She cursed the knot, "But Grady will. You smell like developer. You also smell like stop bath, which is worse."
I lifted my shirt to take a whiff, "Maybe I could use a shower."
Sydney would hear no other protests after I conceded. She practically walked me to my car to make sure I didn't try to reenter the building. I expected her to tackle me. I pulled my iPod out of my bag to plug into the carjack.
With an hour and a half to kill before Grady would be coming for me, I decided on a bubble bath. It was the most relaxing experience for about five minutes. Five minutes after I slid in, Master McAvoy arrived. He smacked the door open belting Queen. The man thought he was Freddie Mercury. The best I can say is what he lacked in talent he made up for with enthusiasm. I could do nothing to stop him. From doing anything, including having him walk in on me.
I don't think I've ever screamed quite so loud. I've also never seen a man stare for so long.
"Marcus! Are you kidding me? When you see a closed door do you automatically open it without knocking?" I yelled. My goal was to not shift the water. I wanted to keep everything to the imagination.
"Why are you home so early?" Marcus turned his eyes to grand ovals. I sank lower. "Is there room in there for two?"
I scoffed, "No, now get out."
Marcus didn't move. I was half tempted to force him out. The rational part kept reminding me that I wore my birthday suit and nothing else.
"Marcus, if you do not want me to take a blender to your fingers, you need to get out of this bathroom right now."
"Mmm," he garbled. "If you say so."
"And I do, get out."
Marcus tsk-ed before he shut the door. Thankfully, he managed to put himself on the opposite side of it. I dunked myself underwater. A certain kind of clarity emerges from being underwater. I went through the motions of bathing.
I played my iPod while I decided on what to wear. I danced to each song while I pulled stuff out of my suitcase. I pulled out shirts and swayed in the mirror. I used my hands to make the legs of my jeans kick to the beats.
When I emerged Marcus was sitting on a bar stool reading the newspaper. He didn't turn around as I approached. I thanked the gods for that. I would have a hard time not slapping him if he had spun and made a comment. Even if his comment was a compliment, Marcus probably would've received a red hand print.
I pulled a water bottle from the fridge. Since I didn't know what we would be doing on this date, I'd decided on a pair of black Dickies. My shirt was feminine and loose with an undershirt in case I needed to do something cute and cliché, like go to a batting cage. It's something that can be seen on many a movie; a girl can dream.
"You look nice," Marcus said without looking up.
I sipped from the bottle. Marcus could look like Johnny Depp and I would still make him work for getting back in my good graces. Johnny Depp is my dream guy, but walking in on me in the tub uninvited is not okay.
"Fine," he grunted. "You look amazing. I apologize for walking in and not leaving when you asked."
I pursed my lips at Marcus.
Marcus began to shake his head. "No, that's all you're getting from me. Under normal circumstances, or if this was a sitcom, this would be just pure accident. If I hadn't stared you wouldn't be this mad. Or if I hadn't asked to get in."
Marcus kept shaking his head.
"You're forgiven. I guess. Just don't be creepy, again, please." I sipped the water again. Marcus smiled and gave me a single nod.
"So where are you going tonight?" He folded the paper.
I stared at Marcus, "Were you even reading that paper?"
Marcus smiled, "Not even a little bit. Answer the question please."
"I have a date with Grady, the guy who lives in the other penthouse." I smiled shyly. I started gulping the water to cool the blushing that was occurring.
Marcus didn't say anything he just nodded. I looked around the apartment. I couldn't read his face and I didn't know what else to say. Marcus and I weren't exactly friends we just happened to be occupying the same space for a period of time. I could not think of a single thing to say. Marcus looked disappointed on the highest level.
"I think tomorrow I'll go back home. There's not anything that needs care. And I'll just call your grandfather before I leave and let him know that you're here and I'm not needed." I screwed the lid back on the bottle.
"Why are you gonna do that?" Marcus kept shaking his head like I was crazy.
I raised my eyebrows, "Were you not paying attention to anything I just said?"
Marcus was spared answering by a knock on the door. His mouth was already open and everything. He pounced of the stool and ran for the door. I didn't know we were racing so I didn't move from behind the counter.
Marcus opened the door and then blocked it. "You must be Grady." I heard. I couldn't hear Grady's reply. Whatever he said made Marcus move out of the way and let him enter.
Grady smiled when he saw me, "You are stunning. You ready to go?"
"Mhm," I nodded and put the water back in the fridge. "Let me just grab my bag."
Grady signaled his acquiescence. The expression on Marcus's face worried me about leaving them alone. I couldn't decipher Marcus as protective or jealous. It bothered me in that repetitive noise type irritation.
I walked back to the door with a smile on my face and the guys standing on opposite sides of the room. I waved to Marcus as Grady held the door open for me. Marcus twitched the corners of his mouth in a three second smile.
| HouseSitting: A Short – JaseRae |
There was no batting cage, unfortunately, but I still had a good time with Grady. It wasn't a great time, though. He was the perfect gentleman. He was all the things I expected him to be when I assessed him this morning. When I collapsed on the bed, I wasn't unhappy with how things had gone. I think I hoped for more than I had gotten.
Marcus knocked on the door to my room. I made a noise of approval of his entry. I refused to sit up, or open my eyes for that matter.
"Bad night?" Marcus laughed.
"Not bad, but not great," I shifted when I heard him sit on something. He'd hopped onto the dresser. I shook my head. It's exactly what I'd do; sit on something not meant for sitting. "How about yours?"
The dresser creaked. "Well, with you not wandering around I could focus on the paper so I read that and then ordered some take-out. You weren't here to cook and I'm completely useless in the kitchen."
I chuckled. "I hope you marry a woman who can cook."
"What's wrong with take-out?" Marcus's tone seemed genuinely shocked.
"Depends on where it's coming from, but you can't eat it twenty-four-seven, three-six-five. There has to be some kind of rotting effect."
Marcus laughed as the dresser creaked hauntingly. "Just sit on the bed," I offered. "That dresser is one good laugh from being firewood."
I didn't watch him move but I could feel the mattress dip when Marcus situated himself. I still refused to open my eyes. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say I was bummed. There was so much promise and then it dissolved by the time dessert rolled around.
"So what happened tonight?"
The Marcus that was in my room right now is completely different from the Marcus that walked through the door. The one sitting or lying, I wasn't certain, on my bed had no arrogance. He appeared genuine and vulnerable.
"It wasn't anything special. I'm not sure if I'd see him again." I attempted a shrug while I remained lying down.
"I've actually met Grady before tonight," Marcus displayed raw emotion with that one sentence. "He's very wealthy, you know."
"What's that supposed to mean? Marcus, I really hope I don't give off the impression that I'm concerned about that kind of thing." I opened my eyes to find him.
Marcus wore a plain white shirt and dark wash jeans. His hair was kind of a mess like he'd been tossing around it bed for hours. This is the first time he didn't look like James McAvoy. He looked like Marcus. I stared him right in the eye. The bewildered look on my face melted away.
I couldn't help but blurt, "What's going on with you tonight?" It made Marcus chuckle.
"No I didn't get the impression you were like that. But I've been wrong before. That's why I'm back here. We're not gonna talk about that." Marcus shook his head briefly, which always had more impact than a drawn out refusal.
"I think we should touch on that later," I smiled. I closed my eyes again and looked away from him. "Grady isn't a bad guy. I don't care if he's wealthy. Things just didn't click tonight like they had this morning. And you do not care at all about this. I'm sorry. I'll save this for Sydney tomorrow." I laughed a little bit.
"I asked. It's fine."
The remark sounded sincere but I didn't continue. At one point, Marcus left to get some water. I ditched my date clothes. I put on my boxers that I stole from my best guy friend and a volleyball jersey. I wandered into the kitchen where Marcus was shoveling ice cream into his mouth.
I grabbed a spoon and helped myself. We moved from the island, to the bar, to the couch. The conversation never got stale. I waited for it, anticipated it, expected it at one point when Marcus stopped talking and stared at me. He proceeded to laugh hysterically while wiping ice cream off my forehead. In my defense, with the way I was moving around, it is very possible to get ice cream on my forehead. I hid my head in a shame for a while, but neither of us could contain the laughter.
I woke up the next morning, though I don't remember falling asleep, with my head in Marcus's lap. Marcus was sound asleep, head on the back of the couch, one arm draped down my side, the other on the armrest. I pushed myself up and away from Marcus. If he had woken up while my face was level with his I'm not sure what would've happened. He didn't though, Marcus's breathing remained even and slow.
I stood up and backed slowly away from the couch. I was out of the apartment in ten minutes. My only left over presence was a recipe for the spaghetti sauce I made the first night.