Chapter 1: An Act of Chivalry
Damn, those movers have been at it all day! Back and forth banging boxes, sliding furniture, and yelling orders. It's beginning to drive me nuts! And why do those birds have to be so obnoxious with their singing?! Seriously, I'm trying to work here or does the rest of the world not see my forlorn frustration in this? Ugh!
My hands drum the keys on the laptop, yet the words fail to appear on the screen. When my concentration gathers, I could feel the start of a migraine form as I let myself collapse on the table in defeat. It's no use. My brain refuses to cooperate as my sweet muse has apparently left the building. All I can hear now is the constant hammering on the other side of the apartment getting louder and louder.
The movers here are persistent.
Determined to find inspiration, I dress up to go for a walk outside. Nature hides within it the secret of life and surely it'll be willing to share its secrets once I get my foot out of the door. While I reach to grab my ruffled collar dress with my best Sunday hat, I quickly check my outfit in the mirror, deeming its fierceness. I am ready to face the world until a certain 'acquaintance' of mine comes barging in through the door almost knocking me over.
"Heather! We are going out! I got paid and just in time too!"
I fail to see the point in this since going out with my roommate Emily only consists in reckless clubbing and impulsive shopping, yet it seems my concern for her welfare serves her little interest in time as she keeps pushing the limits of her life.
"Perfect! You're all dressed! Just hold on a minute while I take a shower real quick and join ya!" She worked fast shedding her work clothes to jump in the bathroom.
I shake my head at her lack of shame in parading the apartment in the nude. It's no wonder why Mr. Jenkins always seemed to be sneaking peeks at us in the morning through the window. Picking up the dirty laundry she left on the floor seems to be the all too familiar routine between Emily and me. We have lived together in this apartment long enough to predict each other's actions well. After I was done, I lean my head closer to the bathroom door to start our conversation.
"And where exactly are we going?" I ask, yelling over the roar of the shower.
I hear her spluttering water out of her mouth as she answers, "We're going shopping for your birthday!"
My jaw opens slightly from shock that she remembered. "That-That's great! But you do know my birthday is in a week from now, right?"
"I know," she answers, "but I got called in for work. So I'm not gonna be here for at least a month. A guy got sick and I have to fill in for -em!"
"Oh. Okay," I reply then added, "Thank you!"
"Don't thank me yet, darling! We're just getting started!"
I'm afraid to know the plan she has for tonight, but I am willing to participate in it. After all, it's the first time anyone has bought me a present for my birthday in a long time. I actually appreciate the thought even if it was probably her excuse to waste her money.
After she finished getting dressed, we both hop into her red car to drive off to the mall. She starts complaining about work while I start to compare the outfit she's wearing from mine. The off-the-shoulder thin sweater accents her collarbone along with the short shorts she has fitted to show off her lovely legs. I, on the other hand, am wearing my ruffled dress to hid my small cup size, and the only unique aspect to my dress is my big, black, flowering hat to hide from people. Our styles are complete different, but then again, we are two very different people.
"So what's up with that noise earlier?" Emily looks at me questioningly.
I shrug to say, "New neighbors. They've been at it since 10 this morning."
"Did ya get a peek at who's moving in?" Her face quirks up out of curiosity.
"Nope, sorry. I was writing and didn't want anything else to distract me."
"Oh. I see."
We arrive at the mall, going in through the shops quicker than a whirlwind. I hesitate to voice out the clothes I want since I usually wait for it to go on sale, but Emily insists covering it, no matter what the price. She saw through my tactics to still pick clothing off at a cheaper price and ends up grabbing a hundred dollar jacket to my expense.
I look at the jacket that I ironically really want to have but knew it was something I didn't need. Her stubborn personality won't make her yield to buy another piece of clothing within an affordable price. Challenging her statement to find a piece of clothing better than the jacket, I make an effort to scour through the place one more time but nothing caught my eye quite like that jacket. In the end, she buys me the jacket and several other trinkets on sale that I said I wanted beforehand. This extra boost of generosity reminds me take a heavy mental note to treat Emily to a nice dinner next paycheck to make up for how much she spent on me.
With our arms heavy and full of shopping bags – most were Emily's – we head back to the car for our next destination. That location happens to be a club called 'Loco – Motion.' My feet were aching under the stress of shopping in the last two hours, so the idea of dancing it off in a club full of guys and loud music didn't seem all that logical to me. I curse at Emily's feet, knowing full well that they must be made of steel especially after enduring half a day's worth of working and shopping in heels. She's the equivalent of a modern superwoman. Her energy seems endless as she glides through the room dragging me from behind. We make our way to a booth of women and sit down.
"Girls, meet my roommate Heather! Heather, this is the gang!"
I shyly nod, noticing a few familiar faces from before and new ones that I've never seen.
"Now, let's have some drinks passed around the table," she commands as she motions for one of the waiters in charge to serve them drinks. He gladly obliges, serving the tray of glasses around the table. Emily smiles excitedly, "That's right. Does everybody have their drinks?! Okay. Let's make a toast to celebrate Heather's birthday! Happy Birthday rommie!" She gives a whistle that attracts some looks in the club – at least the ones that weren't already staring from before – as I try to hide from view.
I hear the glasses chime as a few ladies say their birthday greetings to me. I smile politely and give them my thanks. I always feel safe and awkward towards Emily's group of friends, safe in knowing that no creep was going to hit on me while I was around them and awkward as in I'm still the odd one out of the group. The drinks get passed around, but I always make sure to only have one since I'm bound to end up being the designated driver later on.
Suddenly, I felt my arm get yanked as Emily drags me off to the bar with her. I see the bartender move her head to the music as she pours the drinks. She shamelessly wore a blingy top that accented her already bulging cleavage.
It seems like every club has their own 'sexy chick' making drinks.
Must do good for the business.
"Do you want any?" Emily yells above the screeching music.
I give her a muted expression of dislike as I shake my head.
"Then can you pay? I'm out."
I lightly tap my palm against my forehead at the remark. Of course that's why she would drag me to the bar. Pulling out a couple of bills from my pocket, I hand it to her with an icy smile.
"Excuse me ladies," a booming voice calls out.
I turn my head up to be met with one of the nicest genuine smiles I have ever seen. He takes my hand and shakes it lightly doing the same to Emily.
"Nice to meet you! I'm just here to get drinks for me and my girl," he said aloud.
I feel myself nod as my body scoots over to make room for him to pass. Even when he left to give his drinks to his girl, I can't help but stare back at the lovely view from the back. The pants he's wearing isn't necessarily tight, yet it still hugged him in all the right places.
Such lovely curves really make the man.
"Why darling! I do believe you're drooling a bit," Emily whispers in my ear, "Also try closing that mouth of yours before the flies swarm in."
I effectively snap my jaw shut, embarrassed to be caught in the act of checking a boy out. Especially since he's taken!
"I always knew you were interested in black guys!" she teases.
I frown. "Whatever! He's taken anyway."
She nods taking a sip of her drink, "I can't blame you for staring though. He dances really well in those jeans."
I look away before my brain had a chance of forming imaginary scenarios involving him and me together, preferably on a rendezvous escaping his abusive girlfriend or something along those lines. I decide then and there to think about how all the men I've taken a liking for were always in the wrong circumstances. They were either gay, taken, too young, picked their nose, or just plain didn't exist within my lifetime. Not that I'd know a thing or two about dating guys. My boyfriends live in my head or in books where I can access them at any given time. It's a relationship that works well according to my introverted personality. Of course having a vibrator does help work out the sexual aspect of the relationship and in this case proves that I have no need for a man. I can just create one in my head.
A slam on the table awakes me from my thoughts as I look at the shocking array of shots Emily has taken within the 5~10 minutes I spent outside of reality. Struggling to pry the last shot she had in her hands proves to be too hard of an effort for a weak individual like me to handle. She ends up downing the drink in one swallow before ordering another one. I immediately cancel her order, earning myself several bloodshot glares from my drunken companion.
"Please get us some water," I ask and the bartender complies.
Emily moans a protest but eventually drank the water like it was any given alcohol she ordered.
I look at her with worry as her head keeps tipping out ever now and then. "Ems, what's wrong?"
"You – Yous see that guy?" she breathes out into my face as I cough off the smell of liquor.
I turn to where she was pointing and sure enough, there is a guy standing lazily on the corner staring at our direction. He looks fine with a rugged mustache, but unfortunately, I distrust every man I see at the club.
"I see him. So what?" I answer.
She giggles a bit then whispers, "I'm going to sleep with him."
I look at her in shock, "What about Aaron?!"
"What Aaron!?" she growled.
I sigh. Not again. Emily always starts the relationships and the guy usually ends up breaking up with her. I blame her knack for choosing the wrong men and for also flirting openly in front of other guys who aren't her boyfriend. Her strong personality wasn't just too strong for me but for the guys also.
"Here," she hands me her keys, "I'll get my own ride."
Being her friend, I should go after her but end up watching her actions play out. In a matter of minutes, she was sucking face with the guy, and I was on my way out of the club. The manner of etiquette and chivalry has really crashed and burned in a couple of centuries. It almost brings a tear to my eye, but I push forward, hoping that a guy out there might exist amidst all this online dating and sexting.
It was a question that only the gods would know.
I start the car slowly getting it warmed up for the journey home. My paranoia about cops and drunk driving made me arrive home later than expected, but safety is what counts. As I pop open the trunk, I grudgingly stare at bags upon bags of clothes, trying to slip them all through my skinny long limbs that I call arms. By now, not only were my arms killing me, but my feet felt like anvils as each step becomes as painful as last one before it. Thanking man's creation of the elevator, I stomp myself out slowly to the front of my apartment, wrestling through the shopping bags to get my key.
"Need some help?"
Normally my first instinct would be to refuse the help of the man who could very well be a serial rapist/murderer/creep. Yet by the exact tone in his voice and his nicely kept Jordans by his feet, I can tell this man meant no harm. Besides, I couldn't see very well through my luxurious hat and was desperate for some help.
"Yes, please! T-There's a key on the right pocket of my purse," I explain while pointing my hips to gesture towards it, "If you can just use it to open the door, I would really, really appreciate it!"
I watch his hands slide down to my waist, making sure that he takes out the key and only the key. For a brief moment, I question my decision on entrusting a stranger with the key to my apartment. He can easily knock me off my feet to grab anything inside and run! Or worst, push me in the apartment against my will to do things that I would regret for the rest of my life! I breathe a sigh of relief once I hear the door creak open and the key be placed back in my bag.
"Anything else I can do for you ma'am?" he asks gently.
"No, but really thanks a whole bunch!" I make a bow to show my gratitude and collapse inside the apartment, ridding myself of the bags.
Not caring for once that the house is littered with clothes, I stride over to my room to lie on my soft bed. I massage my toes a bit from the torturous yet stylish heels, feeling the cuts and blisters bulging out right on my toes. Ignoring the pain, I turn my thoughts to the nice man who helped me. He didn't try to take advantage of me at all and had such nice mannerisms, calling me 'ma'am' like some distinguished southern belle.
"There may be some chivalry in this world after all!" I said out loud.
As I turn to my side, the blinking light on my computer desk flashes into view. Once I shake the mouse, it reveals the still blank document staring back at me hauntingly pricking at my memory. I suddenly felt the stress come back in full force, bringing back to life the aches around my head. How stupid was I to spend the whole day gallivanting with Emily when I could have finished my manuscript?! My editor is going to kill me!My fingers crash the buttons as the screen starts displaying nonsensical words only known to babies and robots.
I strain my head for anything productive accomplished within this last half of the day, trying to find something worthwhile. Well, I have an expensive jacket to account for and a memory of a very hot guy. It wasn't so much a waste of an evening but an overall experience which will be tucked away for future use in my writing. Maybe it'll even be worthy enough to inspire this stupid writer's block stuck in my head to fade out of existence. If only that were possible. Those pharmaceutical companies need to start designing a pill to cure writer's block. I know I would be the first one in line to buy some.
A. Notes: The end! Not! I got ya, didn't I?! Thought it was the end, huh? Well, this is only the beginning! Hopefully. I would appreciate some colorful criticisms out there good and bad. It's my first time writing an actual romance fic. I want it to be witty and down right heartwarming! Who knows where this will end up?