Oh hello there friends. This is something brand-spankin' new. First chapter is an introduction of sorts. Leave your thoughts, yes? :)
The music is flowing out from under the frail-looking door from down the hallway. I keep walking and realize it's Elvis, You Ain't Nothin' But A Hound Dog.
"Cryin' all the time," I mumble to myself and even add in a cursory whistle, just for good measure. Elvis deserves at least that.
The carpet is that ugly carpet that they have commercials for on TV. The pattern is a dark blue and purple and black splattering of some kind of flower. Not a rose, that would be too fancy. It's probably not even a real flower, just a mush of pieces of carpet crammed together. I don't touch it, but I know that if I attempted to, it would feel like sandpaper. I introduce myself to this unfortunate carpet because I will be seeing a lot more of it in the coming future.
But, back to the music. Each step I take down the hall, my foot sliding across my new friend, carpet, the music gets louder. I hear the bass and the drums and the clapping. Elvis makes you want to dance, in that weird way that's not dancing. Part of me wants to drop my many bags and sway my hips, close my eyes, move in some way.
I start to wonder who exactly is listening to this 50's-esque music. I bet my chips on an older lady. The picture in my head has her dancing with her mop in hand, reliving the memories of a lifetime.
3B. That's my door. My home. The Elvis apartment is across and slightly diagonally down the hall from me. There are too many bags for me to open the door and keep hold of them at the same time. So I have to drop them at my feet, my purse's contents spilling all over the ground. Cigarettes. Lighter. Wallet. Kitchen magnets. Hand sanitizer. Rolling papers. Swiss army knife.
I sigh and crunch the bronze key into the hole and turn the handle. A waft of mustiness hits me hard in the face. Although it's not as bad as when I first visited this place. I start to pull my bags inside and I hear Elvis's famous voice die away and a new song start. This one I don't recognize. It's electronic-ish. Pretentious, sort of, with a weird beat.
Fortunately, all of my furniture, what little I had of it, is already inside. There are bunches of brown cardboard boxes scattered around the "living room." If you can call it that. technically, I would call it the "living kitchen", as they are somewhat connected. I like it.
While I had been searching for apartments, the one thing I looked for, needed, was an island of some sort. Either connected to the wall or free-standing. Not a washer and/or dryer. Not a dishwasher. Not even a full bathroom. I needed this island, because I've dreamt my whole life of living in an apartment with one in it. I'm not trying to be dramatic, but the success of my life depends on this one thing.
And there it is, in all it's glory. An off-white linoleum, looking a bit cracked in places. There's two tall stools, thankfully the place came with them.
I remember that my purse is still out in the hallway, all my belongings spread on that ugly carpet, ready to be stolen. I could have my identity stolen. Although I doubt that actually happening.
As I am crouched down, stuffing all my stuff back into my overly large black purse, I hear a door open and footsteps coming my way. When I look up, I am met with another pair of eyes watching me intently, oddly.
"You must be the new neighbor," she says brightly, showing me a line of dazzling white teeth. They're nice. I'm a teeth person.
"That's me. I literally just moved in. Are you the Elvis impersonator?"
The girl chuckles a little bit, showing signs of dimples. "No, no, that's my roommate. She never quits with that crap."
I smirk, willing myself not to tell her off for calling Elvis crap. I'm new and being mean to new neighbors is not the best way to make friends. Plus, she's cute.
The girl picks my purse up from the ground and hands it to me with a smile. "I'm Robin."
I meet her hand with my own. "Ashley," I tell her. "Nice to meet you, neighbor."
Robin smiles at me, and it is then that I notice the smattering of freckles across her face, on the bridge of her nose, and across her cheeks. Red heads have a cuteness about them that cannot be explained.
"So Ashley, do you need help with unpacking or anything?"
I shake my head. "Nah, but I could use a drink, if you have one."
Robin's eyes blink at mine and then she's inviting me inside her apartment with a smile on her face.
Flirting is a sport. You can practice and practice, sure. You might get better, just like with basketball and soccer. Hone in on your technique, work out your muscles. But at the end of the day, things like these require talent. You can't really play basketball and soccer well without talent.
"Spencer turn your annoying music off," Robin yells to the girl who must be her roommate.
"Excuse me? Elvis is not annoying."
"I would have to agree with you," I add in.
At my spoken words, Robin's roommate, a blonde, whose name I have deduced to be Spencer, brings her eyes to me and raises an eyebrow.
"Uh, hi stranger in my apartment. Robin?" Spencer looks towards Robin with squinted eyes.
"I'm Ashley. I just moved in down the hall. Robin invited me over." I have this strange urge to explain everything. Why I am here. Where I live. Why I am standing in their apartment.
Spencer looks back to me. "Oh! Well, welcome. I'm Spencer."
"Ashley," I tell the blonde again. "You like Elvis?"
And her face lights up like a Christmas tree. "Love him, actually. Always have, I'm not sure why. It might have been because of my father, he always used to play Elvis before dinner, while he was cooking. He always said Elvis was music for your soul. So I kinda stuck with that…"
And she's talking, still talking. Too much.
Robin hands me a cup of what looks like iced tea with ice cubes in it and shoots me this funny, secret smile. "Look what you did, ugh."
"Oh, sorry," Spencer says, taking a sip of her own drink. It's something in a mug. "I tend to-"
"Overtalk?" Robin interrupts.
"I'm working on it," Spencer adds seriously.
I laugh because this girl is weird.
I smile at Spencer. "No worries. Anyway, I have to go unpack and stuff, but I'll see you two around?" I direct my question towards Robin, and she knows it.
"Yup." Robin nods her head. "Let us know if you need some help. We've got some friends downstairs if you need more people for..hard labor."
I smile at her and walk out of the door slowly. "Definitely."