Exit Stage Six

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These are the five natural stages of the grieving process and something London Greene knows all too well. She’d thought she’d buried them long ago but then a mysterious young man moves in upstairs, one with captivating green eyes and some serious emotional wounds… and she quickly figures out that he is working through each stage on his own. London can’t let that happen and so she tries to be there for him. It’s the right thing to do after all…

But this stranger carries a secret, and despite her best efforts she finds him to be a seriously uncompromising jerk, that doesn’t stop her from caring for him though… Maybe it should have.

It was a week since the mysterious Evan Lake had moved in above me. I hadn’t heard or seen a single visitor in that time, and had caught him at least twice more on the landing, cigarette burning down between his fingers, eyes far away, staring and vacant. I would say hello and ask him how he was and the answer was always a variation of the same thing…

I’m good, or fine… or I’m fine…

He was fine all right but he wasn’t fine, or even close to okay. Dark circles ringed beneath his green eyes and I could hear him playing music through my ceiling, though not enough to make out the words or even what band he was playing. It was rock music though, which fit in line with his look.

I had time today so I decided to try and really break the ice and so I baked cookies. I had a plate of warm and gooey, fresh from the oven, chocolate chip cookies balanced on one hand, a glass carafe of milk in the other. I was standing outside his apartment door contemplating how to knock without setting anything down when it opened. I smiled brightly, he looked up from shrugging on his leather biker jacket and blinked in surprise.

“Oh, hey.” He said.

“Sorry did I catch you going out?” I asked.

“Uh, yeah, thought that was pretty obvious.” He said and I winced inwardly. He must think I am such a dork… I held out the plate of cookies and milk.

“I wanted to say welcome to the building!” he stared down at the plate of cookies for a long couple of moments and stepped out the door, pulling it shut behind him.

“Thanks.” He said and walked past me without taking them.

I blinked and tried not to let it hurt my feelings.

I set the plate, covered in saran wrap as it was, by his door and took the milk back down to my apartment.

Why did the beautiful ones always end up being jerks?

Text Copyright © 2014 A.J. Downey

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

All Rights Reserved

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