THE MAN OUTSIDE MY DOOR
"Greta, dear? Is that you?" A frail voice queries as Charlie passes by an old looking bungalow.
It's Mama Freya; the 72-year old Canadian woman who lived just beside Char's apartment. The old lady had a case of Alzheimer's disease and mild diabetes.
Charlie smiles sadly, "No, Mama Freya. It's me, Charlie."
Mama Freya pauses in her chair rocking and smiles brightly, "That's what I said!"
Charlie shakes her head with a giggle. She walks over to the shaky woman and kisses her pasty forehead. Shue grins as Mama Freya coos sluggishly at Charlie.
"I think you look beautiful this morning!"
Apart from chicken broth, the only thing that can hit home, for Mama Freya, is compliments. This'll make her gush like a teenager and reminisce on the good ol' days.
Surely, Charlie does not want to sit around and listen to how men wooed Mama Freya or how she poured cat piss into her ex-best friend's birthday cake. But it feels nice to make another person feel nice in the morning. Even if it's an aging woman who might not even remember this conversation.
"I'm gonna go inside now. I have work in a few hours,"
Mama Freya nods and waves her arm dismissively. Charlie smiles and picks her hand bag she'd dropped on the small picnic table beside the old woman.
Charlie had employed a cab to move her belongings—that had been in Mario's house—down to her house from Dee's place. She places her hand on the dark blue bag on her patio. She sighs.
As she was about to turn the doorknob of her door, Mama Freya's frail and scratchy voice yells, "Greta! My dear!"
Not having the strength to keep correcting her, Charlie smiles, "Yes, Mama Freya?"
"A man was standing outside your apartment few hours ago. He is really huge and looks like an assassin!"
Maybe Mama Freya mistook her house for Nora's; the emo college girl across the street, that throws insanely loud parties in the night and mid-days.
Charlie knows this can't possibly be true. Mama Freya may be an Alzheimer but she's not dumb and Charlie knows this. But it doesn't make sense though!
Charlie isn't the type that men comes to visit. Even, the only man that visits her is Miguel; the Mexican pizza delivery guy that loves to stay back and talk about his 6-year old son.
"Really? What did he look like?"
"He wore black clothes and black boots! His chest is so wide and bulky! It makes me remember my Joe-Joe, that hunky fellow back in the days, always grin-"
"Okay, Mama Freya! I'll be going in now!"
"Go in and rest now, dear." Mama Freya grins as she resumes rocking herself on the chair. She coughs a fit before hitting her chest slowly.
Charlie pushes her door open, "Are you okay, Mama Freya?"
"Yes. Yes. Go in now! Deal with the assassin!"
"Are you sure?"
"Sure about what?"
Yep. She's fine!
Charlie gives a short wave before she walks into her apartment. Mama Freya is just in her head, as always. Still, her eyes scans her living room and walk-in kitchen. You can never be too safe.
After making sure the house is assassin-proof, Charlie begins cleaning.
Two hours of dancing to High Hopes by Panic! At the disco—on repeat—Charlie was able to clean the house to her satisfaction. The microwave no longer have tiny cobwebs connecting it to the kitchen wall, the bathroom now looked like a human being uses it and her closet no longer looked like a lumberjacked lion's mane.
Charlie groans as she falls on her bed, "Ugh! My arms are about to fall off!"
She can feel the water from her hair soaking the cream colored duvet underneath her. This makes her jump off and into her closet where she pulls off her bath robe and change into her bear-themed pyjamas set.
"Hmm," she hums when she finally settles in her bed. She sighs once again.
She reaches to her nightstand to switch off the light but gasps.
Tiny flakes of children's giddiness and excited giggles falls at a fast rate, resting on Charlie's vegetable bed. An excited smile appears on her face. But as soon as it comes, it goes.
Charlie would have been sleeping beside Mario, though not cuddling, but the presence of another person would've put her mind at rest immediately. Staying with Dee isn't an option even though she loves it. The black woman has a life to live too.
"Mario isn't worth it." Charlie chants when she feels tears prickling her eyes.
Before leaving Dee's place, the black prodigy had pulled Charlie aside and whispered to her: "Whenever you feel like crying because of that slimy dick bag, just remembered that he's not worth it."
She shuts off the switch and the blue night-light illuminates her room. Tiny stars plasters around the walls of her room. She might be 23 but the night-light stays!
As she was in the journey of sleeping, a loud thump resounds around the house. Charlie jerks up immediately while clutching her duvet close to her chin.
'It's just Nora.'
Charlie shakes her head and places it back slowly on her pillow. As she is about to shut her eyes, she hears another thump. This time, louder.
Charlie whimpers and sits up. She wraps her arm around her knee and rocks herself in hysteria.
'Mama Freya was right! There's an assassin in my house! I'm going to die soon!'
She stands from her bed and opens the door slowly. She makes sure she grabs her phone from the dresser on her way out.
She immediately puts the police on speed dial. If she's eventually smothered to death by this assassin, she needs to make sure that her body will be found.
She tiptoes and lets out shaky breaths once in awhile. Another thump makes Charlie jump five feet in the air. It came from the backyard patio... And she is standing few feet away from the patio door.
A gasp of realization escapes her when she sees a silhouette moving outside. It is like the shape of a moving mountain.
Clutching her phone tightly, she moves closer and twists the door slowly.
'Please, don't make the death hurt!'
Yanking the door open, her mouth drops.
Standing outside her backyard patio is an incredibly tall man covered in a heap of snow.
CUTE PANDA BEAR"H...hello?"Charlie finally summons the courage to speak after staring at the man for two solid minutes. Charlie wonders how she hasn't pooped her pants from standing in the same presence with a mountain man.She mentally kicks herself for not grabbing the baseball bat behind her bedroom door or the bow and arrow underneath her kitchen cabinet... Or the pepper spray on her kitchen window sill."Um... What? What are you doing in my ba...backyard?" Stammers Charlie.The bulky man takes a step forward so that the tip of his leather boots is hitting the lintel of the patio door.Charlie takes two steps back; one isn't foolproof. She clutches, tightly, the hem of her pyjama shirt. Suddenly, she feels like crying.Is this it?Is this how she'll die?She hasn't even edited her 20th book!
AUTHOR'S NOTEI would have put this author's note at the end of the Chapter but to avoid unnecessary corrections and critics, I decided to put it here. PLEASE NOTE the male protagonist begins to speak in this chapter and his pattern of speaking is... Unique. This is deliberate. The reason for this will be disclosed in the next chapters.UNCONSCIOUSLY PROTECTIVEThe next day, first thing in the morning, Charlie runs to the living room to check if the panda bear is still here.An unconscious smile appears on her face. The man has his knees curled against his chest in a fetal position. His fingers are in fists and are tucked under his chin. A bouncing baby boy; that's what he looks like.Charlie runs back up to her room to do the needful. She puts her hair into a very loose bun. Her chest is covered with a blue long-sleeved shirt and black bottom shorts.As she runs down the stairs, she dials the
BLU AND FRIENDS"Skimpiness will take you no where, Greta!"That's the first thing Charlie hears when she walks out to her mini vegetable garden.Mama Freya has her frail walking stick poking around the exposed skin on Nora's body. Her butt is on the edge of her rocking chair and her eyes as wide as she yells words of wisdom at the uncomfortable girl."Stop pointing this thing at me, old lady!" Nora swats the walking stick, "and I'm not Greta!"Mama Freya gasps, "What are you doing on my lawn?!" She shrieks loudly, almost rocking herself off the chair. Charlie sees this as an invitation to save both women; one from having a broken neck."Wha— What?!" Nora throws her free hand in abandon, "Your box of peppers appeared on my doorstep! Again!" The college girl slams the cardboard box full of peppers on the patio table."Peppers?""Yes! Yes, pe— okay,"
BABYSITTING CHARLES"Charlie honey? Are you still there?" Mrs. Pulgo's motherly voice keeps bringing her out of her dazed state.Red coats Charlie's cheeks as she feigns a cough. Her eyes immediately shut in embarrassment. She doesn't know which one was more embarrassing; Her full-on stare or Blurin shooting her a concerned look.She flashes him her signature wobbly smile before running up to her room to avoid embarrassing herself any further."I'm sorry, Mrs. Pulgo! My mind is just still sleepy, I guess?" She giggles it off.Mrs. Pulgo hums from her side of the call, "Okay dear, then this news will favor you,""What news? He isn't coming today?" Charlie asks."Oh no! He is. He's just going to come in a little late. He's coming from Peter's today," The woman sighs.Charlie's eyebrows shoot up in assimilation, 'No wonder she sounds so depressed on th
NASTY GREEN STUFFRoughly a week later, another man dropped by Charlie's apartment. She could swear that after her break-up with Mario, she became a guy-magnet.The guy at the door identified himself as Tristan. Tristan Denvard, Blurin's psychologist.Charlie was stunned when she saw him. Though she wouldn't admit, he looks so much like a piece of garnished bacon. His brown hair was slicked back in a professional fashion and he wore a casual outfit. His eyes were small and calculating and his smile was necessary and clipped.Surely, Charlie had stuttered a little before she got the hang of actually communicating with him without embarrassing herself.Charlie had almost called Deedah out of panic to ask for advice on how to be not so... Stupid. She is still clutching her phone as she ushers Tristan in.He drops his overnight bag close to the door. He nods poli
FACTS ABOUT BLUTristan wakes up with an uncomfortable feeling. His head throbs slightly and his back is killing him! He didn't sleep all night. He's pretty sure no one in the room slept at all. He remembers glancing at the bedside clock and the 3:43 am flashing brightly.His eyes drifts to Blurin who runs a small comb across his hair. The bulking man wore a navy blue long-sleeved shirt with loose joggers.Tristan bites his lip. He glances at his soaked shirt and puffs out a sigh."I brought your work laptop,""Gracias." (Thank you.) Blurin glances at him briefly before dropping the comb.Blurin turns and walks to the door before Tristan's voice stops him, "Where are you going?""Tengo que ir a cortar el césped y vestir las camas de verduras antes de que se despierte." (I have to go mow the lawn and dress the veggie beds before she wakes up.) He doesn't wait for Tri
TELLING DEEDAHFour hours of punching keys and highlighting sentences later, Charlie is bored.It's not like her life has been a bed of eventful events before. Heck, she just got dumped two weeks ago!After mowing the lawn, dressing the veggie beds and eating a 'green-free' breakfast, Blurin heads upstairs to his room. Situations like this makes Charlie rethink her decision of giving the stranger is own room. Not because she's against it, but because of how bored she feels right now.If it was the time he was still occupying her couch, she would have basked in the sounds of him flipping to the next page or him hitting his fingers unrhythmically against the hard back of most of the Paranormal books she owns.Sighing, Charlie picks up her phone."Hey, Char-poo!" Dee's 'overly' high-pitched voice squeals through her speaker."Dee
JUST A YEAR AND A FEW MONTHSThe duo had left the Cafe two hours later. The conversation would have stretched further if only Charlie hadn't cut it short.Deedah's boss had blown up her phone countless of times while they were there. The black woman wasn't bothered at all. She'd just roll her eyes at the screen and cut off the volume.Not wanting to render her best-friend jobless, Charlie had brought up the excuse of making lunch. It wasn't much of an excuse if she actually has to make lunch in a few minutes.Mama Freya wasn't out by the time she got back. Looking at her garden, Charlie shudders.'I can't even look at her garden the same way...'Walking around the house, Charlie picks up the trimmers and watering can that was bundle up the side of the wall. After make sure all the beds are properly watered and dressed, Charlie walks inside.