Five: Handiwork

With a deep sigh, I pulled the plastic tray from the microwave, clouds of hot steam wafting into my face. Hah-it wasn't as good as it looked in the picture. It never did. It was quiet in the house, my cat Pickles rubbing against my legs, looking up at me with her big olive eyes. "Just you an' me," I murmured. "The usual."

I shuffled to the livingroom, Pickles stalking off somewhere else to leave me be. Gently, I unfolded a TV tray, planting it before my seat and arranging my neatly folded newspaper beside my plate of food. I plopped onto the couch, the couch that Christine picked out.

I shoved those pesky thoughts aside; although it was hard. Everything in this hideous townhouse had her fingerprint on it. She was the one who urged me to move out of the flat I rented, she was the one who went house-shopping with me, almost the one who picked it out-and she was the one who choose all the furniture. I used to think it was a handsome little house. But now I wouldn't care if it burned to the ground.

Clenching my jaw, I picked up the paper, opened to a fresh crossword. I snorted-one of my other "interesting hobbies". Picking up my pen, I focused in on the first question.

1. By Chance

Pretty easy. Quickly I jotted down coincidence in the little blank squares, settling in perfectly. My mind drifted to the woman in the supermarket. Andrea. There was a certain bright inquisitiveness that sparked an interest in me. A smile tugged at my lips. But the expression soon slipped away, forming into a frown. Nah-she won't call me back. The chances were bleak, if not impossible. And I had never been one who had luck on my side.

My mind bustling, I sat aside the newspaper, taking up my fork instead and digging into some of the noodles. Swallowing, I went to take a second bite, but froze as the phone rung from the kitchen.

Curiously, I put down what I was doing and walked briskly to the phone, screaming at me to pick it up. I glanced at the number-I didn't recognize it. Could it be Andrea? I scoffed-it was more probable that it was a wrong number.

I picked up anyways, "Hello?"

"Hey Keith, it's Andrea. Hi, um, I'm just wondering: are you any good at handiwork around the house?"


" where did you learn these skills?" she asked, holding a glass of water in her hand. I straightened from my crouched position, wiping my forehead with the back of my hand before Andrea handed me the cool glass.

"My grandfather was good at these sort of things. He taught me a few things," I shrugged my wide shoulders, smiling before I took a sip. "I lived with him a lot when I was a kid...anyways, you may need a professional to check up on this. The wiring, from what I seen, looks pretty shot and could cause a fire."

She nodded vigorously, some loose hair bouncing against her shoulders. "Thank you so much, Keith." Briefly, she went to her refrigerator, "Would you like some dessert?"

"Oh, I don't want to intrude," I raised my hands, setting aside the water after another gulp.

"No," she gestured about her small, empty flat. "You're not intruding."

"Okay, then." I smiled, and Andrea got set out some bowls, scooping out some ice cream.

"I'm warning you, it's not fancy." she looked up, taking the two bowls and guided me to a small squarish table, the room pretty dark other than a couple lights. The place was tiny, like almost any flat I had encountered, with a certain lonely feeling about it.

"So," she began. "Tell me about yourself."

"Well, I hope you don't fall asleep, because it's pretty boring," I half grinned, spooning some of the dessert into my mouth. "I work at a bank as an accountant. I wanted to get into economics, which I am in, in a certain way, but I never...really got around to it."

She nodded, "And?"

I laughed, going through my head, "Um, I am an only child. I live in a townhouse and have a cat named Pickles."

Andrea giggled, "And?"

"And?" I raised an eyebrow, amused. I bit my lip, and then shrugged, "That's about it."

"What do you like, dislike, hobbies and sorts?" she smiled, her eyes observing me intensely.

"Gosh, this sounds like my job interview!" I chucked. "Likes...." Sighing, I looked about the room, "Well, I like crosswords, there is a certain mystery about them, reading is enjoyable, I dislike loud music, um, I'm a terrible cook, terrible at dancing.....tell me about you, you must be more intriguing than I am!"

She grinned, a playful glint in her eye as she continued to look over me as if she was trying to figure some sort of mystery. "What?" I laughed. "Do I have something in my teeth?"

Andrea chuckled, taking a bite of her ice cream. "So, what about you? It's your turn," I urged her.

"Well....," she started as I waited.


The End

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