Authors: NM Facile
Across The Hall
ireadiwrite Publishing Edition
Copyright © 2010 NM Facile
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission from the author except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This ireadiwrite Publishing edition is published by arrangement with NM Facile, contact at [email protected]
ireadiwrite Publishing - www.ireadiwrite.com
First electronic edition published by ireadiwrite Publishing
Across The Hall
Published in Canada with international distribution.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover design: Michelle Halket
For my family, for only the love and support that a family provides.
A special thank you to Corrina for answering each and every text and phone call, no matter how trivial. Thanks to Michael for his patience.
Lastly, thank you to all the LTR girls for their encouragement and support.
It was too bright. Way, way too bright! I tried throwing the pil ow over my head but that just caused the throbbing to start. Why did I let Kai-ying talk
me into the shots? Damn evil little sprite and her “just one more and if you don’t meet someone we’l go home.” I lost count of ‘one mores’ after four
and that was on top of a couple mixed drinks. How the hel her little body could handle that much alcohol was beyond me. The morning sun filtered
through the curtains and I had to get up and get the day started with the hangover from hel .
I laid in bed awhile longer thinking over the previous night. My happy go lucky best friend, Kai-ying had insisted that I go out with her and our third
musketeer, Kerri. She claimed she had a good feeling that I was going to find my
very soon and no one argues with Kai and her freaky
future feelings. I went along even though I knew I was not going to find Mr. Right when I already lost him four years ago. Recently here had only been
Mr. Never Calls Back
Mr. Please Be Gone By Morning.
Kerri’s boyfriend Reed sealed my fate when he bought a new game for the play station. Reed and Kai’s boyfriend Sloane wanted uninterrupted
playing time, thus freeing Kai and Kerri for the evening. So the three of us dressed up and headed out to the bar.
I didn’t even know why I bothered trying to look good when I’m out with Kai and Kerri. Al eyes are on them no matter how I look. Kai-ying Adams
is every boy’s wet dream. She was a petite little Asian girl who was cute as a button. Kai was eye catching with her ever-changing streaks of color
in her short black hair. Her love of bright colors often extended beyond clothes to the colored contacts she wore, often making her look like a Manga
character. Her personality was as bright and bubbly as her appearance. She’s the complete opposite of Kerri.
Kerrington Shaw was the definition of elegant sophistication. She was tal with long black wavy hair and violet eyes. Her bone structure was
perfect, her cheek bones, high and fine, with dainty brows and a straight slim nose. More than once she’d been told that she looks like a young
Elizabeth Taylor. Like Kai, Kerri knew she was beautiful. She had been told it al her life. She used that beauty to her advantage, yet often forgot that
sometimes one needs to be nice and not just beautiful. Kerri can indeed come off as a bit of a bitch but that just seems to add to her appeal.
Then there was me. I was nothing but your average, everyday girl. My Irish decent was clearly evident in my natural y curly light red hair and green
eyes. Nothing could be done about my hair. If it wasn’t frizzy it was tangled in knots. My checks were dotted with freckles and my lips were puffier
than I would have liked. I know celebrities pay big bucks to have lips like mine but to me they just seem too big for my face. Add al that with my
smal stature and I was real y not much to look at.
It didn’t real y matter to me that Kerri and Kai were so much more interesting than I was. I loved them like sisters and going out with them was
always an adventure. We had this little ritual we did when we went out. It started with getting a mixed drink, scoping the place out, doing a shot
together and then dancing. That little ritual was exactly how we started the night. When we weren’t dancing we spent most of the night at a back
corner table with Kai and Kerri pointing out every guy in the place. Most nights none of them appealed to me but that night there was one that I
couldn’t take my eyes off.
I first noticed him standing at the bar smoking. In general, I don’t like smokers but when they look like sex on fire I’l make an exception. He was
the epitome of the classic bad boy, al wrapped up in a leather jacket and dirty Levis. Not my normal type at al but maybe it was a good time for
change. Of course being me I couldn’t just go up to him and guys like that don’t seek average girls like me out, so I sat and watched him. He spoke
with the bartender for a bit before scanning the room. He took a long look at Kerri. I’m sure had she noticed she would have led him along only to tel
him about Reed in the end, that was if Reed didn’t just show up. Reed is a big guy, intimidating to most until you get to know him. From al
appearance he looks to be a big tough guy. He’s loud and crass and doesn’t like others looking at his Kerri. When you get to know him you know
he’s nothing more than a giant teddy bear. Reed was always joking around and more often than not those jokes were aimed in my direction. He
said it’s because he never had a little sister and if he did I would be exactly the one he would want.
Needless to say, it surprised the hel out of me when the bad boy from the bar came up to me and started dancing with me. He pul ed me tight up
to him and moved with me. I could smel the smoke and alcohol on him but I found it to be more of a turn on. The smooth leather of his black jacket
was broken by little silver studs and rings. I could feel each little bump on his jacket the closer he danced to me. After a few songs he led me off the
floor and back to the table Kai, Kerri and I had been at before. I probably would have gone home with him if it hadn’t been for Kerri. She decided
that it was time to go and she was going to make sure I got home safely. I knew I spent some time talking to him but for the life of me I couldn’t
remember his name in the morning. It was something like Bob or Brian or Bil . Hel , I couldn’t remember. I would have to cal Kai and ask her.
I looked over at my alarm clock, it was just after ten. I had to get moving if I was going to be into work by noon. I wasn’t like Kai and Kerri, who
came from wealthy families and didn’t have to work while in school. Even though my education was paid for I stil had rent and life expenses to
cover. My part time job at the campus book store barely helped keep me afloat but the schedule was flexible and close to the apartment which was
great since my car final y died the past spring and I didn’t have enough to get a new one yet.
I got up and headed to the fridge for a pop and then the cupboard to grab the Tylenol. I twisted the lid to match up the little arrows but couldn’t
seem to get the damn thing to pop off. I final y tried using my teeth which only sent fresh waves of pain coursing through my already sensitive head.
Frustrated I threw the bottle at the wal and headed to the bathroom for a long hot shower.
The combination of the caffeine and the shower had me almost feeling human again as I headed out for work. I pul ed the apartment door shut
behind me and paused for a second to fish my sunglasses out of my purse. The large window over the stairs was letting way more light in than I
could handle at that moment. I put them on and let my head fal back against my door, that’s when I noticed the door across the hal was propped
That place had been vacant since May. I knew from Kai that it had been rented in May but the new tenant wasn’t moving in until the end of
summer. I had been wondering for the past week when my new neighbor would show up. I’m sure Kai would know al about the person by the end of
the day. It had been kil ing her al summer not knowing anything about the renter of apartment 304. She knew everyone else in the building. Of
course that wasn’t hard, there were only twelve apartments in our building and I was in 303, Reed and Kerri were in 203 and Sloane and Kai were
There was a moving truck in the parking lot. I gave it a fleeting glance and saw a shadow on the ground behind the truck. I would just have to meet
my new neighbor later. I had to go the opposite direction to work.
Work sucked. I hated this time of year. Al the lost freshmen stumbling around looking for their books just got old after awhile. By four o’clock my
patience was long gone and my headache was back in ful force. I stepped in the back room just to get off the sales floor and take a breath. I pul ed
out my cel and checked the missed cal s. Three from Kai and one from a number I didn’t recognize. I skipped over Kai’s and went right for the
mystery number. It was from a guy named Beau Dalton. Apparently Beau was the name of the man from the bar the night before. I was close. At
least I had the B right. I hadn’t recal ed giving him my number, but then I didn’t exactly remember his name either. He wanted to know if I was free for
a late dinner. I cal ed him back and we settled on eight and gave him directions to pick me up. I smiled inwardly as I realized I had something to talk
about with Kai when I cal ed her back. But that had to wait until after work. I took a deep breath and headed back into the chaos for a couple more
I cal ed Kai back on my way home. “Sylvia, you have to get back here. Your neighbor moved in across the hal today and Reed and Sloane met
him and they said that...” she was talking so fast. I knew I wouldn’t be able to interrupt her until she had it al out so I let her continue. “He lives alone
and he’s in med school and he was real y nice. When you get here we need to go see him and say hi. It’s the neighborly thing to do, you know.”
“Sure, but aren’t we doing this to satisfy your curiosity?” I teased.
“That too. Aren’t you curious?”
“No. I have other things to keep my mind occupied. Beau cal ed and asked me to dinner tonight.”
The squeal she let out was like an ice pick to my head. “Oh, Sylvia see I told you I had a good feeling it was time for you to meet someone. You
wil have to invite him to the picnic this Saturday. And...”
I cut her off. “Stop now. I just met him. And yes, I am going out with him tonight but that doesn’t mean he wil be around by Saturday.” My track
record with guys staying around longer than a week wasn’t good. There had only been three or four boys that I’d dated for longer than a month since
high school. I broke it off with al of them. Mostly I settled for one night stands. If I didn’t get attached to anyone it wouldn’t hurt when they left. The
quick turnover rate was starting to wear on me and lately I found myself watching my friends in loving relationships and wanting one for myself.
“I’l come up to help you get ready. Then we can go see Quinn before he...”
“Quinn? Who is Quinn?” I felt the air rush out of me as pain over took my chest.
“Oh, that’s what Reed said the new guy’s name is.” I stood frozen. It couldn’t be. “We can stop and say hi...”
“Kai I have to go.” I hung up while she was stil talking. The panic came back bringing a hal ow feeling with it. It’s not him. It’s just a name. There
are lots of people named Quinn. I’m being ridiculous to even entertain the idea that it’s him. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself down. Yet it
stil al came back.
“Sylvia it’s not working.” Quinn was looking over my shoulder. He couldn’t even look me in the eye.
“What’s not working?” My body went instantly cold with fear. I knew where he was going but I couldn’t believe it.
“Us. I thought it would, but this is not what I want. I’m ready for a change and I need to be free for that to happen.”
The pain was ripping into me. The lump in my throat had me choking on my words “but...but...I love you. You love me.” The tears were falling
and I just wanted him to wrap me in his arms and tell me he didn’t mean it. “What about the last four years? Are you throwing that all away?”