Only thirty seconds until I was supposed to get up. Rolling onto my back I stared at my ceiling. The ceiling fan spun silently. The alarm began beeping. I knew it had been coming but it still managed to scare the crap out of me. Since about three a.m, I’d been waffling back and forth over whether I was going to go back to working for Eason or Mr. Hill as I forced myself to refer to him. The alarm was screaming at me and I was still unsure what to do. Slapping the thing quiet I got up and shuffled to the bathroom. Better shower even if it’s to prepare myself to look for a new job.
My reflection made me cringe. The lack of sleep was written all over my face. Ignoring the horrible look on my face, I turned on the shower and let the steam fog up the mirror. Shedding my pajamas, I turned on music from my phone that funneled through a Bluetooth speaker in the shower. The hard beat of the rock song had a calming effect. I stepped into the hot shower feeling the water beat down onto my shoulders as if it were following the beat of the song. The tension from my sleepless night began to fade. While I washed my hair, I sang out the harsh lyrics. My heart became lighter with each word I sang. When I finally stepped out of the shower the steam hung in the bathroom like a thundercloud. It was like it had absorbed all of my stress, worry and anger.
Exiting the bathroom, I ran to my room to get dressed. My phone told me I’d taken a really long shower and I’d hoped Ian wasn’t waiting for me to finally get out. Throwing on my professional clothes, doing a quick side braid and putting some light make-up on gave me less than a half an hour to grab breakfast and coffee. Feeling light I flung open my bedroom door and froze at the sight before me.
My brother’s vet assistant was tip-toeing through the living room with her shoes in her hand. She had a disheveled appearance. If I didn’t know any better, I would think she was having a walk of shame.
“Hi, Skylar.” She gave me a little wave then continued to tip-toe run to the door.
“Stop right there.” I said as I approached the kitchen.
Beth sighed. “Fine.”
I grabbed two cups then opened the cabinet to grab the coffee. The container was empty. Next to it was a box of tea.
Beth shook her head. “No thanks. I really have to go, Skylar.”
Filling one of the mugs with water and popping it into the microwave, I turned and leaned my back against the counter. “I could tell from your rapid tip-toeing through the living room. You aren’t leaving until I get some explanation.”
“It’s not what you think it is.” Beth sputtered.
“So, it doesn’t look like you’re doing the walk of shame from my brother’s room.”
Beth blushed. “Look, we had a rough day yesterday. When one of the dogs we’d been working on pulled through we were exhausted. We decided to go out to the bar down from the clinic and have a drink. Well, a drink turned into two then three then…”
“Then you bumped uglies with my brother…finally.” I pulled my mug from the beeping microwave.
“Why are you sneaking out? I would think this would be a time for celebration.”
“Ian…uhm…I don’t know…”
“What? Now, is your time, Beth. Stay and talk it out with him.”
“I don’t know, Skylar.”
“You’ve been waiting for a chance like this for years. Now, you got the awkward first time out of the way. You now have something personal to talk about. Grab hold of this opportunity and go with it. Believe me this will be a good thing.”
Beth opened her mouth to say something when Ian’s bedroom door creaked open. She squeaked then without a word ran out the door. It happened so fast I blinked and the door to the apartment was shutting silently.
“Sky?” Ian’s groggy voice croaked.
“Ian…please put pants on.” I turned away from my brother in his tighty whiteys.
“Huh?” He asked as he scratched his ass.
“Get pants on and I will talk to you.”
He grunted then wandered back into his room. I went back to leaning against the counter and took a sip of my tea. Grimacing I looked at the mug and groaned. With all my focus on trying to get the dirt from Beth, I forgot to put the damn tea bag in the mug. I’d just taken a giant sip of plain hot water.
“Better?” Ian stood in front of me with his arms open and wearing basketball shorts.
Placing my mug into the sink, I said, “Yes. Thank you.”
“Uh huh. So…uhm…did you happen to see something this morning?”
I lifted one eyebrow in question. “Did you mean to say someone?”
Ian blushed. “Yes. Did you?”
“Come on, Skylar. Who was it?”
I blinked at him. He didn’t know he slept with Beth last night. Oh, good lord. I was going to have to kill my brother.
“Are you fucking with me?”
“Huh? No. Did you see who it was?”
“You don’t remember who spent the night with you?”
Ian placed his head on the counter and groaned. “No, alright. I don’t but the one thing I remember is it was perfect. It felt like it was meant to be. I think I found my Cinderella only I don’t have her glass slipper.”
Rolling my eyes I said, “You really are something, Ian. I don’t have time for this. I gotta go.”
I grabbed my purse then escaped out the door. Rushing to the elevator I pushed the button and it opened. Walking into the box, I collapsed against the wall. I thought about the advice I’d given Beth. I wished I’d had her phone number. Crossing my fingers, I just hoped that she didn’t act on my advice until I could talk to her.
My brother’s disaster of a love life gave me the best distraction I could have asked for. My nerves began getting tighter with each floor. I hadn’t even left my apartment building yet and I was a bundle of nerves. In my mind, clever comebacks floated around. An imaginary conversation between me and Mr. Hill played out. I was a strong confident woman and he was a groveling bully begging me to stay. I very benevolently agreed and he brought me my favorite coffee and pastry from The Beanery. A smile curled my lips and I looked up. I was in the parking lot of work. My memory of driving there didn’t exist but my confidence from the scenes playing out still held on. Exhaling a breath, I got out of the car and strutted up to the building. I was ready to kick ass or find another job. It didn’t matter what happened first.