the story of people looking for love... pretty typical really...
That day didn’t begin any differently than his days usually did. He woke up to the sound of whatever melodious tune the radio dj had decided to play at 6am that morning and groaned as he would stretch his arm across the large bed to reach the alarm clock and slam his fist weakly down on it, stopping the annoying din. That was normally the point where he would fall back asleep.
And that morning, that was exactly what he did. As he returned to the dream-world he had only just left, he forgot about his worries and his work and for the third day on the trot, he allowed his mind to drift backwards, to a happy time before it had all gone wrong. In his semi-conscious state, he smiled.
All he could see in his mind’s eye was a single face. It started off quite blurry – it had been quite a while since he had last seen it in the flesh. Then it started to gain some features; two brown eyes, a small yet slightly chubby nose, a mouth with plump, natural lips and a few strands of dark brown hair that covered up a rosy cheek.
To most people, she was just another person but to him, she was a dream. But she was gone now. Only a dream. She had moved on and so should he. Marie was in the past.
He awoke with a bad attitude. He clambered out of his bed and dashed for the shower in the hope there would still be some remnant of the hot water available to his building at that time in the morning. It was now nearing 9am and he figured that he would be the last one in the large block of apartments barring the landlord down on the bottom floor.
His shower took him a lot longer than he had thought it would, mainly due to him jumping out of the path of the ice cold water and tentatively testing the jets of clear liquid to check whether he could withstand it again instead of feeling as if he was freezing to death. With a large towel wrapped around his waist, he descended the spiral staircase that stood in the centre of his penthouse apartment. He waltzed through the open plan lounge, only slowing to pick up the remote control for his excessively large flat screen.
As he entered the kitchen, he only turned to aim the remote at the plasma screen as if it was a gun, hitting one button as if he was pulling the trigger and turning on the television. He laughed at his bizarre morning ritual before starring with his mouth agape at the breaking news being broadcast.
“Another girl has vanished. The police are stumped.”
When he thought about it, he wasn’t really that shocked. He liked to think that since he had left, the force had just got a lot worse but realistically, it was because this new criminal was smarter than the lot and he had known better than to get involved. Now he was a freelance journalist.
“What a career change!” – he could remember his parents exclaiming their shock at his boldness but he wanted to do what he enjoyed and not what his father had bullied him into.
His morning seemed to be slower than usual and every passing second took longer to pass him by – like time was decelerating. He blamed his apartment – he hated being alone. Picking up his car keys, he wandered over to the door, flicking a couple of light switches without thinking what they actually did.
As the door shut behind him, the noise from the corridor made him smile. His building was quite small with only a couple of apartments per floor but he shared his level with a young couple who liked to spend the late nights (and early hours) partying with their friends and he could still hear the music emanating from their door, especially when a few scantily clad and heavily inebriated youths spilled out of the door that the first had left ajar.
He gave a weak smile and nodded to them before calling the lift with one extended finger. As he pressed the button and watched a small light shine into action, he studied his hand. It was no different to one of any other male of his age but today it seemed empty. He wanted there to be something there to make him more of an individual.
The doors opened with a soft ping and he stepped in, allowing the quiet background music to flood over him. He ignored his hand as he instructed the elevator to take him to the ground floor. The button flashed with a bright white light, highlighting the solitary letter on the button.
“Hold the lift!” a female voice called out to him from down the corridor.
He stuck his head out of the lift to watch a slim woman jogging along the beige carpet to him. He placed his hand against the door, applying pressure when the lift tried to trap him inside and her out. She smiled and thanked him as she stepped inside the small elevator. There was more than enough space for the two of them but she stood close to him.
“I’m Daisy.” Her lips curved into a crescent moon shape, revealing her whitened teeth. She pushed a few loose strands of hair from over her face, keeping them in place behind her ear. She looked at him, expecting a response.
“Oh. Bailey. I’m Bailey. I haven’t seen you around here before.”
“I’m with Zak and Flo. I used to go to school with them and it was nice to see them again but they drink way too much for me!”
“Lightweight then?” he asked playfully.
“A little bit I suppose. Were you at the party?”
“Oh no! I can’t keep up with those two either! I wouldn’t call myself a lightweight though. More just that I can’t drink more alcohol than will fit in the fridge.” He smiled. She gave a little chuckle before nodding in agreement. “I live next door to them.”
“We didn’t bother you did we? I mean I was out of it pretty soon and the last thing I remember was around midnight but I know that there’s been at least a couple of dozen people that have been going strong for all the night.”
“Not at all! I’m used to the loud noise these days and honestly, I quite like it. I don’t really enjoy being alone.” He looked to his hand again. He felt a wave of sadness rush him but he dismissed it immediately.
“How come?” she looked at him sympathetically, her eyes betraying the care she felt for him.
“I don’t understand I’m afraid.”
“Why are you alone?” she asked simply.
“I just haven’t got anyone else.” He wanted to change the conversation topic but knew that she would press him further – at least that was the impression he got.
“But why? You seem so nice!” He was right.
“That’s just the way it is my dear.” His face formed an over-exaggerated frown for the briefest of moments before he returned his field of vision to the counter in the lift. Only halfway down. He exhaled. He wanted to get out of there. He wasn’t good in claustrophobic spaces as it was but the atmosphere was making him even less comfortable. “And what about you? Do you live around here?”
“I’m not from around here. I’m usually up in Edinburgh whenever I’m here but I’m normally over in Spain. I’m over here to see family at the minute you see, and when Zak gave me a ring, I thought I might as well pop in and pay them a visit. But annoyingly, I’m stuck with them for the rest of the week since my parents decided to go on a cruise and not tell me about it.”
6 floors to go.
“So what do you do Daisy?”
“I’m what I assume you’d call an air hostess. I’m constantly flying around the world.”
“A well travelled woman.” He smiled. “Got a favourite country? Or is that a stupid question?”
“I wouldn’t say so! I love Spain. I think it’s the sun and the food.”
“Thought so. If you don’t like staying with them so much why don’t you book a hotel room for the night or something? I suppose you’re used to that with all the travelling you do.”
“Yeah you’re right but I can’t really afford it. I’m effectively living off other people.”
5 floors to go.
“So what you planning on doing today?”
“Going for a walk. Getting some fresh air.”
“Hungover then?” he took pity in her; he could remember the pains of the intoxicated mind and he had learned from his past experiences in that respect.
“More than I have ever been before.”
“You have to pay the price I suppose. If I could offer you some sort of assistance I would but I’m afraid I have nothing to offer.”
“I heard drinking raw egg works.”
Bailey patted down the pockets on his jeans and jacket. “Nope. All out of eggs, raw or otherwise.” Daisy giggled cutely and he began to see her as an attractive young woman. He hadn’t noticed before but her straightened hair gave her soft facial features a sophisticated beauty.
4 floors to go.
She was shorter than him, but not by much. He liked that. He didn’t get much chance to look into her eyes; her hair had fallen over her face again.
“You off to work?” she asked.
“Not today. Day off.” He smiled at his explanation.
“So what you doing right now?”
3 floors to go.
“Off to see friends. Nip to the pub for a couple of drinks.” He emphasised the word ‘couple’.
“Oh very funny!”
2 floors to go.
He wasn’t terribly good at noticing when someone was flirting with him, much to the amusement of his friends. He also didn’t notice that Daisy was angling for a date. So instead of being quite confident, he was nervous of what he was about to say.
Only 1 floor to go.
“I don’t suppose you’d like to come and get a drink with me would you?” She smiled. “Obviously not an alcoholic one! We don’t want you head in a worse state than it already is!”
“That would be lovely thanks Bailey.”
“Actually, my friends call me Bai and I’d say that I know you enough for that.”
He offered her his hand as he exited the lift.
“I hope we can be more than friends.” She muttered to herself as she took his hand and they took a step into the outside world and directly into the path of a cold rush of wind.