A.N - Okay, I know I said that I'd post this after I finished The Girl. But it was just kind of begging to be posted. I'd love to know what you think.

Chapter 1

"I've never been Romeo who meets a girl and falls for her immediately. It's been a much slower process for me each time I've gone into a relationship. "

- Leonardo DiCaprio (American Actor, 1974 - )

You never realise how much useless stuff you have until there comes a time when you have to pack it all away. I mean, honestly, what was I thinking when I bought this stupid lamp? It's totally tacky and goes with nothing.

But that lamp belonged to college Suze. Now, I am the totally independent, living alone, more mature Susannah Simon.

The same Susannah Simon who was apparently to weak to take a box up five flights of stairs.

I huffed dejectedly as I set the box down next to the door after having only successfully taken it up three steps.

"Stupid useless stuff." I muttered to myself.

Why couldn't I have thought to have thrown away the stuff I would never use, ever again.

I guess I was too preoccupied with the thought of finally having a place to myself. But the apartment I bought is amazing. Really. It's in a good neighbourhood, has lots of space and its cheap and came with the basic furniture.

What more could a twenty-two year old, fresh out of college girl ask for?

"Need some help?" A deep, masculine, very sexy voice asked me.

I looked up and matched the voice to probably one of the most gorgeous guys I have ever seen before in my life. He was tall, tanned and his dark brown eyes were twinkling with laughter.

"I'm Jesse, by the way," he continued.

Oh God. He had a tinge of Spanish in his voice. This totally attractive guy - who had rendered me completely immobile with three words and a glance upwards to see who was being so kind to me - had an accent.

I think that carrying that box killed me and now I'm in heaven. It's the only possible explanation.

"Um, yeah," I finally manage to get out. "Please."

Jesse smiles at me and reached out to pick up the box with ease.

I had to bite my lip to keep from blurting out that he had the biggest muscles I had ever seen.

"Where's this going?" He asked me.

I dragged my eyes away from his arms - which were encased in a white shirt that had been unbuttoned slightly at the top - and up to his face.

"Apartment 5B," I told him. Without stuttering.

I watched as his lips twisted into a small smile.

"Alright then."

He carried the extremely heavy box as if it was filled with no more then a few feathers. Show off. Extremely sexy show off.

I followed him up the winding stair case - however amazing my apartment was, the only downside was that there was no elevator. I was just glad I was on the fifth floor as opposed to, say, the fifteenth - unable to keep my eyes from assessing his clothing choices.

He'd tucked his white shirt into the front of his dark, denim jeans, leaving the back hanging freely.

This man was a work of art. I should know, I have a degree in it now.

"Well," Jesse announced. "Here we are. Glad I could help, stranger."

I smiled gratefully at him.

"My name is Susannah," I told him. "But my friend's call me Suze."

He looked at me for a long while.

"I like Susannah," he told me.

I blushed as I averted my eyes away from his and looked at the floor. I was acting like I was in middle school with my first crush. Get a hold of yourself, Simon!

"Well," I broke the silence that had settled around us. "Thank you for your help Jesse."

"It was my pleasure."

He smiled at me then. A wide, bright white, sparkling smile. My heart fluttered and for the first time all morning, I wished that there were more boxes that needed to be brought up.

"Um," I began intelligently. "Do you maybe want to go and get a cup of coffee? So that I can thank you properly?"

"Sure," his smile never left his face. "I'd like that."

"Great," I said before wincing at how enthusiastic I sounded. "Just let me put this box away."

Jesse nodded and I turned around and put my key into the door.

As always, when I saw the apartment I felt giddy. It was mine. No parents, no dorm advisors - which is what I had to put up with throughout college - just me. I was responsible for myself now.

I pushed the box to join the others it the main area of the room - which had come with a sofa and a television - before turning around and leaving my apartment again.

"Ready?" Jesse asked me as I reappeared.


Together we walked down the stairs and towards the nearest coffee place, which was only two blocks away.

We walked in silence. Jesse's hands were dug deep inside of his pockets as he walked on the side of the sidewalk closest to the road, the way a gentleman does.

And Jesse really was a gentleman. The way he had so kindly offered to help me lug heavy items up numerous flights of stairs, the sidewalk thing and even the way he held the door open for me to walk through first. Everything he did pointed towards having been raised a gentleman.

This guy really was amazing.

We ordered coffee and took a seat opposite each other in a booth.

"So," I began, stirring sugar and milk into my coffee. "How old are you?"

"I'm twenty-six. You?"


His eyes did that thing again. The one where they twinkle with laughter, though what he found so funny totally threw me for a loop. I'd only told him my age, what was so funny about that?

"What's a twenty-two year old woman," he asked, "doing on her own in New York City?"

"Well," I started to launch into the story. "I was born and raised in Brooklyn until my mom flew me out to California to live with her new husband when I was sixteen. I finished high school over there and moved back to my hometown for college. I'm a city girl at heart."

Jesse raised his eyebrow.

"I see."

I was starting to realise that he didn't really like to say much. He had this whole mysterious thing going for him.

By the time that he had asked me about my college life and I'd told him all about how I'd majored in Art History with a minor in English Lit., we had both finished our coffee. I pulled out my purse to pay for the drinks.

"No," Jesse stopped me. "Let me."

There he goes with the gentleman thing again.

"No," I insisted. "This was a thank you for helping me. I'm going to pay."

Jesse gave in when I said that and let me put down the $15 on the table.

We left the coffee house silently but filled the walk back to my apartment with talk about my family life. The only things he told me about his own life was that he had grown up with his mom, dad and five sisters in California before he moved to New Mexico with his family when he was fourteen.

I also managed to get out of him that his family was Spanish, which explained the accent and colouring. Though, to be honest, I probably could've guessed that.

"Well," I said once we reached my door. "Thanks for walking me home."

"My pleasure," he repeated whilst his eyes danced with mirth and his lips twisted into a small grin.

Seriously now, what's so funny?

"Good day, querida." He said before turning and walking …

… straight into the apartment opposite mine.

Oh my God. Jesse lived next door to me. I'd been living here for a total of two hours and already I had a crush on the Guy Next Door.

That's what was so funny! He knew all along that he was going to be seeing me every day. He found it funny that I was hanging on his every word. He found it funny that what I thought was a gentlemanly gesture of walking me home, was really just him walking himself home and allowing me to give him some company as he did so.

Oh My God.

Mortified, I span around and raced into my own apartment, slamming the door behind me.

I was going to die of embarrassment. If I ever saw Jesse, who's last name I didn't know, ever again, it would be way too soon.