The Chance to Fly, Chapter One.

Anna was not a morning person. She had never been a morning person, and was unlikely to become one now. The previous night had been a late one; she had stayed on after closing time at the bar where she worked to have a few drinks with the rest of the staff. Those few drinks had turned into several hours of taking over the bar's sound system as well as the small stage at the back. The evening had only wound down at around four a.m. when pizza had been ordered and devoured and each staff member began to peel off and head home. Anna had strolled on down the street and up the three flights of stairs to her nearby apartment. OK, Anna thought she had strolled home. Had any passers-by happened to been out and about pre-dawn, they would have witness more of an erratic swerving than anything resembling strolling.

But Anna was happy. She made it through the door with a smile on her face. She had the foresight – and past experience – to down a large glass of water before kicking off her heels, struggling out of her tight black jeans and flopping into her bed, dislodging her make-up bag as she hit the mattress. Anna let out a sigh, and sank down beneath her thick, soft, duvet, hearing various make-up items clatter to the floor as she settled. Sure, her job was hardly a career, the best promotion she could hope for was to one day be manager rather than bar staff. Yes, her routine was slightly unusual; she rarely awoke before midday and it wasn't unusual for her to make her way home as the sun rose. But Anna loved her job. She enjoyed the camaraderie with the rest of the bar staff and she had a rapport with the regulars – even the ones that made less than appropriate comments to her. Working at the bar had improved her confidence, and had even maybe made her less clumsy. She had only broken three glasses this week. It was true that most nights Anna would tumble into bed alone, but she had some great friends, and, for now, she was content. Her brother, Kristoff, was less impressed with her choice of occupation. He thought that Anna could, and should, be doing more with her time. He teased her about her semi-nocturnal lifestyle and often informed her that she wasn't particularly healthy, that she should eat less pizza and avoid drinking so much. Anna's retort was usually a mere roll of her eyes, or an utterance about her speedy metabolism keeping her thin.

Kristoff, despite his nagging, was a good brother to Anna. It was a fact that Anna was often thankful for. If they hadn't got along so well then living together would have been impossible. It did help though that Kristoff wasn't actually at home a lot of the time. Her brother was a professional climber. He would travel the country, and much of the world, taking part in competitions or simply exploring. His job forced him to stay in shape which is why, Anna supposed, he felt so able to get at her for her own choices. But putting aside their vast differences, the siblings were close, they shared everything, and when both were at home in their apartment they did enjoy each other's company. At the moment, however, Kristoff was away. He was climbing in Iceland, and sending photos to Anna on a daily basis. Kristoff standing beside a blasting geyser. Kristoff's feet half buried in the black sand of an Icelandic beach. Rows of multi-coloured corrugated iron houses in Reykjavik. Anna was proud of her brother, but she was not envious. Besides, sometimes he'd take her along.

When Anna had got into her bed that night, feeling only slightly tipsy and mostly just warm and glad for some sleep, she had not expected to rise until much later on in the following day. As it happened, that particular plan was not meant to be.

The next morning, as Anna wavered between sleep and wakefulness, a noise began to permeate her hazy brain.

Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

Anna groaned.

Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

She rolled over in her bed, pulled a spare pillow closer to her, and plastered it over her head. That would muffle the sound. And it did. For a bit.

Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

"Argh!" Anna threw the pillow from her head and sat up in her bed. Her head felt suddenly very groggy, and she could detect a slight throbbing at the base of her neck. Now, eyes squinted against the intruding light from her sash window, Anna hauled one bare leg, and then the other, over the side of her bed. Her sockless feet hit the wooden floorboards and she let out a long exhale before standing. She took one step. Then another. Then, she felt something cylindrical beneath her left foot. Before her fuzzy head had a chance to process what was happening, the mascara she had stepped on began to roll away from her, and with its movement Anna slipped backwards, landing on her butt on the floor and pulling her duvet from her bed in an attempt to stop her fall.

Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

Anna threw her head back in frustration. And cracked it into her nightstand.

"Ouch." The tone the redhead used was pitiful. If she hadn't been suffering the effects of a hangover, then the knock to her head may have been more painful. As it was, her confused state of mind did help to deaden the pain. Now Anna just felt sorry for herself.

Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

Growing increasingly more awake, Anna recognised the sound as footsteps on the hallway outside her apartment door. She looked at the clock by bedside. Nine a.m. Anna lifted herself to her feet once more and, treading more carefully this time, made her way over the window. Looking down to the street below, she saw a moving van parked outside the building and a pile of boxes by the back of it. So someone was moving in to the building. Probably to the empty apartment along the hall from Anna's, she reasoned.

Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

Anna looked at the clock again and sighed. She may as well get up now. She wasn't going to be able to sleep with that noise. Plus, now she was awake, Anna was in dire need of coffee, and perhaps a couple of painkillers. Eyeing the heap of laundry that was spewing out of the linen basket, Anna opted to put on her black jeans from the previous night. Next, she braved the 'floor-drobe' and picked a red fitted T-shirt baring the logo of a band that had played at the bar during the week. She sniffed it cautiously, deemed it safe to wear and pulled it over her head.

During the course of dressing – if it could be called such – Anna became aware that she really needed to brush her teeth, it felt as though a small family of furry rodents had taken up residence in her mouth. The redhead pulled her copper locks into a haphazard bun and made her way to the adjoining bathroom, loading her toothbrush with minty freshness and brushing away.

Finally in some state of appropriate dress for the outside world in, Anna shoved a couple of painkillers into her mouth, took a swig of water from the tap and headed for the door, intending to hit the street in search of coffee. She grabbed her keys from the kitchen counter and slipped on a pair of trainers from next to the door. She had bought the trainers when she planned on taking up running. Now, every time she puts them on she fights the urge to chuckle at her overly optimistic plan.

Anna stepped out into the hallway. And into a box.

"Shit! Sorry! Are you alright?" Anna shrieked, immediately stepping back into her doorway.

"Fine." The box replied. Well, it was the person carrying the box who replied.

"God. I am sorry though. Here, let me help you with that." Anna grabbed the edge of the box, and began to lift it from the arms that were stretched around it. As she lowered the box to the ground, intent of making sure she had done no damage to its carrier, Anna became aware of two things. Two legs. Two very feminine legs clad in pale denim. Her eyes travelled up the legs, over similarly feminine hips, and up past silky lengths of white-blonde hair, before settling on a pair of blue eyes. A pair of eyes that were a shade of blue that Anna had not seen before. A pair of eyes that were looking down to where Anna was still crouched on the floor of the hallway, arms around the cardboard box. A pair of eyes that were looking directly into Anna's hazel green pair. Anna felt all the air leave her lungs.

"Hot." Anna whispered still unable to remove her gaze from those eyes. The eyes narrowed, their eyebrows furrowing.

"Hi! I mean, Hi!" Anna practically shouted, dropping the box the remaining inch to the floor where it landed with a bump. Anna shot up from her crouched position and stuck out her hand.

"I'm Anna, and—Oh, head-rush." Anna had stood up more quickly than her hung-over head could manage, and stumbled backwards, finding her doorframe with her back, and leaning against it.

"Sorry." Anna muttered, "Sorry I bumped into you, and sorry I just sort of dropped the box just then and… I'm Anna. I live…" Anna glanced behind her to where her door remained hanging open. "There."

"Elsa," said the blonde, "and it's fine." She nodded to the box on the floor.

"Are you moving in?" Anna asked, placing her arms behind her and leaning on them against the doorframe.

"Yes. Moving in today, as you can see." Elsa replied, studying Anna with a blank expression.

"Cool! It's a good neighbourhood. Well, I mean, I like it. I work at the bar down the street. It's called Oaken's. Have you been there?" Anna was babbling now, but she was powerless to stop herself.

"No." Came the response.

"You should stop by sometime, I'll get you some drinks. One the house, of course." Anna did not know why she was still talking.

"Right." Said Elsa. Her eyes remained on Anna's face and Anna's, in turn, remained on those blue eyes, if they had not she may not have noticed them flit briefly down to Anna's chest before returning to her face.

Did she just check me out? Anna wondered. Don't be stupid. Just look at her. Although you did just pretty much hit on her with that whole 'on the house' thing. What was that? I'm such an idiot. She is gorgeous though…

"So, anyway…" Elsa began. "I should probably…" She bent to retrieve the box from the floor.

Thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

The noise was louder out here in the hall, and it was accompanied by a male voice from below.

"The removal guys want to know where you want the coffee table, Elsa." The voice called.

"Babe?" the voice said as its accompanying face and tall muscular body appeared at the top of the stairs.

The man reached the hallway and caught site of Anna and Elsa.

"Oh, hi. I'm Hans." He said, holding out a hand for Anna to shake.

Anna took his hand, and looked up at the face before her. It was doubtlessly a handsome one, with deep brown eyes and a full head of matching flopping brown hair, and sideburns of a length that was daring by any standards.

"This is Anna." Came Elsa's quiet voice, "She lives…. There." She nodded towards Anna's apartment.

"Oh great, a neighbour!" Hans beamed and gave Anna's hand an enthusiastic shake. "You'll have to come over for dinner when we're all set up. It'll be good to know someone in the building, right babe?" Hans slipped an arm around Elsa's slight waist, and the blonde nodded.

Anna felt a jolt of something hit her insides. What? You thought that someone hot moves in down the hall and you just magically begin some sort of fairytale romance? God Anna, are you still drunk? She barely said two words to you. Anna shook her head to clear herself of the deprecating thoughts that had begin to form.

"That sounds great, I'd love to." Anna replied cheerfully, mirroring Hans' smile.

"I'm going to…" Elsa didn't finish the rest of her sentence and instead simply slid out of Hans' grasp and retrieved the box from the floor between herself and Anna. She looked at Anna once more and offered a very small smile, she once again glanced for a split second at Anna's chest and then headed off down the hall.

OK, I definitely did not imagine it that time. Anna thought. She totally just checked me out!

"Have you been in the building long?" Hans asked Anna, unknowingly pulling her thoughts away from his girlfriend and her eyes away from the departing form of the blonde.

"Oh, a couple of years. I live here with my brother. Well, sometimes I do. He's away a lot. You'll bump into him at some point though, I'm sure." Anna replied.

"Two friends in the building! Well, this day just gets better and better!" Hans said cheerfully. Anna wasn't sure how anybody could be quite so cheerful this early in the morning, and especially whilst moving house. Isn't moving house supposed to be one of the most stressful things you can do? After getting married of course. Which he may have already done… Get a grip Anna! You don't even know her. And Hans seems nice, even if he is a bit… enthusiastic.

"Right, well I'm just off out now. So good luck with the rest of the moving, and welcome to the building!" Anna said, edging for an escape.

"Thanks Anna! Oh, hey, do you the maintenance guy's number by any chance? We need to get a key to the storage area." Hans asked, putting a hand on Anna's arm to halt her movement towards the stairs.

"Uh, sure. Just wait a minute, I'll go and find it." Anna said and retreated back into her apartment, already wondering if she actually did have the number for the maintenance guy. She left her door open and ventured into the kitchen, pulling open the drawer under the microwave. Where is it? Where is it? Anna rifled through an assortment of scraps of paper, receipts and take-out menus, scrabbling to find the right scrap with the right number on it. I definitely used to have the number…

"Elsa…" From the open doorway Anna could hear muffled voices, she could hear Hans' voice addressing Elsa. She must be heading back down for more boxes…

"Kai was getting a bit agitated in the van down here, babe. I think he wants you, you know what he's like when he gets like that." Hans said.

Anna's heart sunk into the depths of her stomach. Kai? Who is Kai? They have a child?

"He's probably hungry and sick of being cooped up. I'll get him." This time it was the soft tones of Elsa that met Anna's ears from the hall, followed by the ever-familiar thump, thump, thump, as she retreated back downstairs.

This girl may be absolutely beautiful. She may have been checking you out. She may have the most captivating eyes you've ever seen. She may have ridiculously hot legs… those legs… No! Stop it, Anna! She is taken. Unobtainable. Possibly married, and with a child by the sounds of it. You. Must. Stop. This.

Anna was shaking her head to rid herself of certain thoughts for the second time already this morning. She returned to scrabbling through the drawer. See, Anna? This is why Kirstoff tells you to keep your things in better order… Ah ha! Got it! She pulled out a scrap of paper that read, in her own handwriting, 'Weird Olaf. Maintenance,' and then a phone number. Grasping the scrap in victory, Anna returned to the hallway where Hans stood waiting. She passed him the number.

"Oh great! Thanks Anna." He said, his smile widening to display a row of perfect white teeth.

"No problem, Hans. Nice to meet you." Anna replied. Her head was beginning to pulse once more, and her body was begging for coffee. Hans remained before her though, grinning at her. Grinning at her, and then, glancing down to her chest.

What? What is wrong with these people? Are they both checking me out? Anna wondered.

"Uh, Anna? I think you might have toothpaste on your T-shirt there." Hans ventured quietly, eyes still on Anna's chest.