Having had an adequate breakfast, Andrea stepped out of the flat. She was already running late, so there would be no time to grab the lift down from the third floor; it was known for being uncomfortably slow.
Almost tripping on the final flight of stairs, Andrea passed the lift on its ascent course. She waved to the old-man-who-would-mutter-to-himself from number four, and, arms full of folders, jogged to the parked red Opel, an old vehicle which had once belonged to Andrea’s father.
“Running late, are we, Andry?” Alexis giggled, as Andrea clocked in and bundled all her stuff into the office. With its white-washed walls, hospital smell, and lady in quaint, tarten jacket and black-rimmed spectacles, this room was far from the chaos that was Andrea’s life.
“Well,” Andrea tipped her head to the right and grinned, making herself look as mockingly innocent as possible.
“I had a late night.”
And, to Andrea, 10.30 really was actually quite late.
“Ooh,” Alexis examined her ceramic nails with the perfectly sparkling jade eyes behind those specs. She glimmered with all the smart fashion and youth of a 25-year-old despite being five years older.
“Did you do anything good?”
“Nah, just work.”
Andrea mentally slapped herself. Why on Earth did I say that?
The neat eyebrows under the dark brown fringe of Alexis rose up in surprise.
“Work? Now come on Andrea, who in their right mind would stay up doing work? I’d expect you to tidy your flat, before I’d expect you to spend your free time doing work.”
“Okay, okay,” Andrea sprang to the defensive, “I... um... I had someone over to fix the oven, and we got talking.”
“A guy? Now, I’m interested!”
“It wasn’t like that. We’re just friends.”
“Right...” Alexis stretched out the ‘i’ sound, and rolled it around her tongue. Not born or raised in drearly Lansdell, Alexis had an unfamilar outlook to life, and a different accent to boot.
“So, what do you think of him, then?”
“I dunno yet. I suppose we don’t know enough about each other to know.”
Alexis gave her the psychological look she was known for; the one which analysed Andrea’s espression, how she reacted and what she didn’t say. It was what she used for patients, but it was also a friend’s observation... And the closest thing to a sibling’s word that Andrea would ever have.
“But from what you already know... Do you think he’s ‘the one’?”
“I don’t know,” Andrea almost yelled, “We’re just friends. How should I know?”
“Well... I’m just saying from my experience as a divorcée. Andry, what do you think?”
“Hmm, he’s nice. He might well be.”