Tuesday, May 6, 2008

ONE BEAT: Chapter 4

Chapter 4: New Neighbor

A week passed and it was a weekend, Sheryl opened her eyes and looked at her bedside clock and it read five o’clock. She had no work for the day so she decided to sleep some more. As she was entering the dream state loud knocks on her door woke her up. She immediately went to her apartment door and opened it.

“Hi do you have coffee? I forgot to buy some when I went to the grocery” said a John who still looked sleep. Sheryl was surprised to see him and immediately hugged him. “Hey I was just asking for coffee not some loving you know” he said to her. “I can’t believe it you’re here in my apartment, come inside” she offered.

“No I just came for coffee” John reiterated. Sheryl laughed and looked at his outfit. “John why are you dressed that way?” she asked as she saw him wearing a pair of shorts and a robe. “I just woke up, I wanted coffee and I had none so I came over to ask you for some” he answered. Sheryl looked at him curiously. “Got out of bed? Where do you live?” she asked him. “Don’t you know we are neighbors? I live across your apartment” John revealed and she immediately opened her door to check. Sheryl saw the apartment across her with its door opened and she walked inside. Sheryl saw unpacked boxes on the floor and clothes scattered around the living room. “Oh my God! You moved here?” she asked John who was standing beside her.

“Yesterday, I didn’t have time to fix since it was so tiring to go up the long flight of stairs” he said. “There’s an elevator at the back you could have used it” she told him. John scratched his head and walked back towards her apartment. “So are you going to make me some coffee?” he asked her and Sheryl closed his apartment door and went inside hers.

They sat in front of the dining table and enjoyed their coffee that Sheryl made. “You know what goes well with coffee in the morning is a tasty breakfast” John quipped. Sheryl laughed and took a sip at her coffee. “Sorry I don’t eat breakfast, but if you are hungry I can cook you something” she offered. John shook his head and smiled at her “No its okay, I was wondering if you could help me fix my apartment. Just like this place except for the girly colors of course or else they might say I’m lady-like” he said.

“I did this all by myself, I mean Anthony and I did but I was the one doing all the work while he just watched me” she uttered. “Oh really? So I can watch you too as you turn my apartment into a beautiful place then?” he asked. Sheryl laughed again and coffee almost came out of her nose. “That’s what I miss about you, you always make me laugh” she told him. John made a funny gesture with his lips and looked away. “I moved across because I missed you too” he whispered softly. Sheryl blushed and asked him “What did you say, I did not quite hear it” she said. John acted innocent and shrugged his shoulders.

“You moved across because of what?” she asked again. John laughed and looked at her “I know you heard it, why do you want me to repeat it?” he asked and raised his eyebrows. “You missed me so you moved here that’s what I heard you say” she answered. John shook his head and smiled “I moved here because you told me you missed me” he told her and laughed.

Sheryl laughed with him and stood up and pinched him on his arm. “I did not say that, take it back!” she yelled while laughing. “Ouch! Okay I take it back! But you told me you missed me” John added. Sheryl pinched him some more and said “I said I missed you because you always make me laugh.” John smiled and raised his arms so Sheryl stopped pinching him. “So you do miss me” he again started and he dashed towards the door and went out. John ran to his apartment and closed his door.

Sheryl knocked on John’s apartment door but she only heard him shouting. “You missed me! You missed me! You can’t take it back!” she heard him saying. Sheryl was smiling and gave up, she went back to her apartment and as she was about to close her door John opened his door. “I missed you too! Thanks for the coffee!” John said and smiled at her. Sheryl’s heart started to beat rapidly and her face became warm. She closed her door and leaned against it she placed her hand on her chest and kept smiling.

Sheryl helped John beautify his apartment the whole afternoon. They were not able to finish it that day so they continued it the following day. Once everything was done John like the new look of his apartment. “Wow you are really amazing Sheryl, now let me treat you to dinner” John said. Sheryl laughed and told him “Is this another date?” John smiled at her and made a funny face “It could be if you want it to” he said. “What’s the difference then, what if it’s just a normal dinner treat?” she asked him.

John looked at the window and said “If it’s a dinner treat then we just eat and chat” he answered. “And if it’s a dinner date?” Sheryl added. “If it’s a dinner date then we likewise eat and chat” he said. Sheryl laughed again seeing there was no difference between the two. “It’s just the same thing, there is no difference whatever I chose” she stated and kept laughing.

John’s face became serious and he looked at her. “If it’s a dinner date I would have the chance to tell you what I really feel” John suddenly said.

Sheryl stopped laughing and looked at John who looked away from her. “Dinner date” she suddenly stated. John looked at her and raised his eyebrows. “Let’s have a dinner date then. There might be some things that I want to tell you too” she said and smiled at him.

The two of them went to a fancy restaurant where Sheryl was shocked to know they had a reservation. As soon as they were seated she quickly asked “You had this planned didn’t you?” and John just smiled at her. “What if I chose the option then where would be now?” she further asked him. John hid his face on the menu and said “I didn’t think that far, I knew you would choose a dinner date.” Sheryl laughed and starts reading the menu. “You really are full of surprises, you never fail to amaze me” she softly said.

Once their dinner was served John started eating so Sheryl did the same. “With your heart condition I bet you have not done many things right?” John asked her. Sheryl paused and looked at him “Yeah but it’s okay I have to live with it” she replied. John wiped his mouth and said “why don’t you make a list of the things you have not done then take a vacation and let’s go do them.” Sheryl could not believe what he was saying so she just stared blankly on his face.

“Listen, I know you are scared to try many things because of your heart but there is no harm in trying. If there is a sign that you cannot handle it then we stop and move to the next activity on the list” John explained. Sheryl was a little bit excited but she remembered she just got back to work. “I can’t, I have work and I can’t just have another vacation after my two week sick leave” she said.

“Do you remember the lady I speak with daily who does not respond?” John asked her. “Mrs. Thorn right? The one in a coma” she said. John nodded and smiled at her. “So what does she have to do with it?” she asked. John simply smiled at her again and continued eating. “Thorn as in the wife of my boss?” she suddenly exclaimed. John shook his head and cleared his mouth. “Mother of your boss to be exact” he said.

Sheryl became more excited and stooped over “You know my boss?” she asked him. John nodded and said “Tomorrow I’m going with you to work and I will talk to him. So you better prepare your list tonight okay?” he said and Sheryl giggled and was so excited. She doesn’t know why but she was ready to risk her life with the man in front of her.

The following morning John did as he promised and he accompanied Sheryl to her work place. As soon as they entered the office area the first person they saw was Anthony. Sheryl tried to ignore but John noticed it quickly. “So that’s your ex-boyfriend right?” he whispered to her ear. Sheryl bowed her head and Anthony approached them. “Hello Sheryl, who is this man with you? Is he your new babysitter?” he asked. John stepped forward and sized himself against the ex-boyfriend. Anthony was taller than him and had a bigger body.

“Won’t you introduce me to your babysitter?” Anthony said. John bowed his head and tried to read the identification card on Anthony’s chest. “Anthony Miller, Account executive. There seems to be one word missing here” John told him. Anthony took a look at hid ID and looked at John. “And what would be missing in my ID?” he asked. John bowed his head once again and leaned his forehead on Anthony’s chest. “There should be another word attached to your name here. The word ‘A-Hole’ should fit you perfectly” John stated. Anthony was instantly irritated and he shouted “What!!! You son of…” he was about to say when John forcefully raised his head it hit Anthony straight on the chin. The powerful impact made the taller man dizzy and he fell to the ground.

John rubbed his forehead and smiled “It was an accident I swear” he said as everyone looking on gave him a thumb up sign. Sheryl managed to smile but dragged John towards her cubicle. “You should have not done that” she told him. John sat on her chair and tapped his forehead “He deserves it, don’t you feel relieved that I did that to him?” he asked her. Sheryl smiled and softly said “A bit” and they both laughed. “Okay where is Tommy’s office?” John asked as he stood up fixed his clothes. Sheryl pointed towards the boss’ “Right there on the center. Are you sure he will allow me to have another vacation?” she asked.

John did not respond but headed towards Tommy Thorn’s office. Sheryl just sat down and attended to her paperwork as she waited. After thirty minutes the boss’ door opened and mister Thorn’s voice can be heard throughout the office as he was laughing. Sheryl looked over and saw John and Tommy Thorn heading towards her.

“Sheryl you can stop now and go take your vacation. I’m sure John will take good care of you like he does to my mother” the boss said. Sheryl was dumbfounded “Sir but I still have a lot of paperwork” she stated. Tommy looked around and he saw Anthony and he called him over. “Tony take all of Sheryl’s paper work and you do them. She will be going on a vacation so whatever duties she has you take over” Mister Thorn said. Anthony scratched his head and looked at John. “So everything is set then I will excuse myself I have a meeting to attend to” Tommy stated and he went back to his office.

Anthony was furious and he stared John in the eye. “Who the heck do you think you are?” Tony expressed his anger on John. Sheryl packed her things and didn’t mind the two as they were gauging each other. “I’m just her neighbor” John exclaimed and grinned at Tony. “And you Sheryl you just got back from sick leave then you are leaving again. Isn’t that favoritism already?” he told her. John stepped closer to Tony and their faces were near each other. “You are really one inconsiderate moron!” John said loudly and he suddenly hit his forehead on Tony’s nose.

Tony fell down on the floor once again this time blood was flowing from his nose. Everyone in the office was clapping as they looked at their colleague who was sprawled on the floor. “It seems nobody like you here A-hole. Now you can have your own sick leave, I do hope your nose is broken” John said as he and Sheryl started to head towards the exit.

Sheryl was happy and she was smiling as they were walking. John noticed this and asked her “You have been smiling since we left your office. Anything you want to share with me?” Sheryl looked at him and said “You said you were my neighbor and you did that to Tony” and John simply nodded. “I just said the truth, my body just reacted to his arrogance” John explained.

Sheryl laughed and giggled and walked slower. “Is there something wrong with what I said?” John asked her. Sheryl playfully shook her head and looked at him smiling.

“I was just wondering what you could have done to him if you were more than my neighbor”