With my coffee mug empty, and the sun finally visible in blue-grey skies over the city, the streetlamps finally clicking off for the day, and giving way to the natural light, I decided it was time to get moving. And by deciding, I mean that if I didn't get on my way to work in the next few minutes, I was probably going to be late.
I climbed back through the window, made sure it was closed and locked, checked the other window on the other side of the tv, and also going to the fire escape, and filled my mug up with hot water, leaving it beside the sink, waiting to be cleaned when I got back home later in the evening, probably long after the darkness had fallen again.
Grabbing a bagel, from the fridge, I stuffed it into my mouth to hold onto it while I grabbed my dark green jacket after some consideration. The jacket was heavy enough to fight back the cold that had settled in during the night outside, but wouldn't be too warm as the sun moved through the sky, removing all but the last bite of chill air before it disappeared for another evening.
With that on, covering down to past my hips, and zipped up to my neck, I fished the car keys out of my pocket, and the bagel from my mouth, minus a large bite out of the ring of dough. Boston bagels couldn't quite compare to those from New York, but they were a close second, in my opinion.
When I got down to the parking garage, the first thing I saw was a large, red '57 Chevy, with the tail fins, little red lights, and all. I recognized it as one of the others who lived in the apartment. Belonged to a cute guy who lived on the floor below me, if I remember correctly. We'd run into each other a few times getting our mail from the boxes in the lobby of the building, but that was about it.
Aside from my asking why he drove such a fancy car around the city. I didn't really think it was fancy, but that was the best word I could think of while talking to a cute guy who caught me by surprise while grabbing my mail one day. I actually thought the car was rather ugly. Sacrilege, I know. Too ostentatious for my tastes.
He just grinned at me, and oh what a grin. Perfect smile, and if I wasn't already uncomfortable, and ready to melt at the site of him smiling - at me no less! - I would have been put instantly at ease.
His voice was soft, and I thought I picked up a bit of an accent, but I couldn't quite place it. He certainly wasn't local to the city. "It was a gift from my dad, before he passed away. Would be such a shame to pack it up in some garage somewhere, and let it gather dust, unless it's a special occasion, yeah?
"Plus," he grinned even wider, "it really helps get the chicks."
With that, I'd been broken out of my state, and rolled my eyes at him. "Some girls," I told him pointedly, "Aren't that into the extension of your manhood mobiles, pal. It just shows us how little you've got."
I grinned at him myself, and turned away, but I heard him say to himself as I walked into the stairwell, "Huh, that one sure has spunk..."
Well, pal, this spunky girl was very upset at seeing that whale of a car once again. And parked right in front of her, and several other, parking spaces.
I saw a head of short, yet shaggy, light brown, almost red hair poking over the headrest of the driver's seat, and made my way over to the door, that big, red and white chunk of metal that would likely help any driver survive a t-bone collision, if not a direct missle strike. Yeah, the older cars had their advantages, but no design sense yet.
My hand reached up to knock on the window, wondering why this mentally deficient, if cute, guy had picked today, of all days to try and delay me from work. I was not in a mood to be trifled with.
As I was about to slap the window, it rolled down, and there was that friendly, reassuring voice again. Why did someone so cloyingly idiotic have to sound so good?
"Hey there, Spunky!" Yeah, he'd taken to calling me that ever since our initial encounter in the foyer. Did I mention he was infuriatingly annoying? "What can I help you with?"
By the big smile he flashed me, he knew full well what he could do. I wonder if he also knew if he wanted to help, he could this car and shove it sideways up his...well, you get the idea.
"Well, for starters," I said, beginning very softly, and calmly, and my voice rose rapidly as I spoke. "By moving this tank of a car away from my parking space!"
My voice echoed through the parking area, and then all was silent again, except for a spooked bird flying off. Several people had stopped getting into their own cars and stared at us, at me, and someone who had come in from the stairwell had stopped in mid-stride behind me, and the door creaked shut behind him and slammed. As if the echoing slam of heavy metal into its frame was the cue, all movement started up again, the people all coughing and looking away quickly, as if they had not seen anything, and the man behind me adjusted his wide-brimmed hat, glancing away as he hurried past us.
"I've just been trying to catch you for awhile, and knew you usually left for work around now, figured I'd do something to catch your attention, chill."
"Oh, so you're getting my patterns down now, huh? How stalkerish." I narrowed my eyes, glaring at him, and wished I had heat vision, to bore two tiny little dots in his forehead. "Next time you want to talk to a girl? Try picking up this wonderful invention called the phone. You may have heard of it, since they even had them back in the olden days, when your car was first built."
To his credit, he glared right back. He wasn't about to even give me an inch. I hated modern day mating rituals. Or what most people perceived to be mating rituals. I just really wanted to get in my car, and go to work.
Even if he was cute.
Without blinking, we must have stayed like that for at least a minute. I kept my eyes locked with his, and finally broke the silence. In my head, I could hear the theme to "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" wah-wahing away.
"Look. I've got to be to work very soon. I have to circumvent the Big Dig project. I'm in a grumpy mood, and this is even after I've had my coffee. Your silly games, as endearing as they aren't, are wasting my time, and I'm already running the risk of being late. You will move your car, or suffer the consequences."
As soon as the words escaped my mouth, I knew they'd been a mistake. A guy like this, he lived to hear challenges like that. And he proved me right by opening his mouth to speak.
I interrupted him before he even got a single syllable out. "Move. Car. NOW. Do not fuck with the Irish temper."
If I didn't know any better, I'd swear he turned about four shades lighter in his skin. My mother had always told me that when I got my Irish temper going, my eyes changed, and they glowed red. I knew she was just being silly, being a mom, but when I got mad, and gave that glare, even the staunchest rival kowtowed to the pressure. And Mister Big Car here was no different.
He blinked, he turned on his car, and I must say, I did love the sound of old cars, there was something meatier, throatier to that sound you just don't get with today's cars, and he pulled forward, and into a spot, doing his best to drive, and never take his eyes off me.
Until last night, I never quite understood what people saw in my eyes, what caused them to buckle when I got pissed. But I had seen myself, and been plenty scared. Granted, my eyes weren't empty sockets, but I had a bit more of an understanding for these big, tough folk turning into mewling, whimpering kittens from my glare.
Granted, it was rather pleasing to do that to people, and a handy skill along with my ability to kick ass when the rare person was found with a sturdy backbone, but I definitely had a bit more empathy for those people now.
But just a bit. And certainly not Skippy here.
As the car stopped, I moved through the empty air where it had been sitting, and got my car door open before I heard the loud slam of his door. Another bonus of older cars. Something more satisfying when you close their doors. That solid feeling, again.
I saw him leaning against the roof of his car, looking at me, and I looked back, resuming my glare. He didn't though, and just looked, quietly for a moment before speaking, with a slight halting to his voice, picking his words with great care.
"So, uh, this telephone thing you mentioned, if I, y'know, wanted to uh, call you? How would I go about doing that?"
Grudgingly, I had to give the guy points for persistence. Annoying persistence, but sometimes it worked. The jury was still out in this instance.
"Well first," I smirked, lightening my glare a little. "First you pick up the receiver. That's the thing that looks like a dog bone..."
He glared at me, with bemusement instead of a challenge this time, and I couldn't help but grin.
"555-1326. But if you don't want a sharp knife plunged into your throat, I'd give me a few days to simmer down. Now, if you'll excuse me..."
I didn't even give him a chance to say anything, and ducked into my car, closing the door with as much finality as one can muster with a '05 Ford Escort, and drove off.
Doing my best to not look his way as I drove off, and feigning total indifference, if not righteous indignation, I did sneak a quick glance, and the poor guy looked absolutely dumbfounded. I don't think he was expecting what had happened, not in the slightest. He's got to be one of those guys that is just used to expecting girls to fall at his feet, swooning at his every word.
Little did he reckon with Siobhan Miller. I bet he couldn't even pronounce Siobhan. Which would rank him right up there with 90% of the rest of the population of the country, really.
At least the drive to work was uneventful, and the road I had to take around the road construction actually seemed to be shorter, so I made up some of the lost time.
Did I say the drive was uneventful? Well, up until Crescent Street in downtown Boston, was uneventful. Then things went straight back to crap.
As I pulled around the corner, getting back onto my usual roads, I caught something out of the corner of my eye. I thought it was just a flicker, someone just on the periphary catching my attention, but when I turned to look, there standing on the sidewalk, amidst a throng of about six people, stood the shadowy figure from my dreams.
In broad, freaking daylight.