The car ride to Jack Frost's high end apartment isn't very long. I'd had two weeks and a five hour flight to reflect on my decision, and even now I was still unsure.
The proposition his father had given me was over the top, too much to ask, yet so convenient. Asking me to move out here—to basically babysit his son and play matchmaker—may have been kind of weird, but for double what I'd earned as an assistant in the end? Heck yeah, I'll do it. It was easy money, and added on to a steady payment throughout the whole ordeal. My new income is a significantly less amount compared to my previous pay, I'll admit, but the benefits far outweigh the costs in the end. And as it's been said, what can I do? It pays a debt.
First, I had to get Mr. Frost's kid a job, and a girl.
God, how much of a loser could this guy be?
In the two week rush and preparation for this arrangement, Mr. Frost had forgotten to show me a picture of his son or of his daughter. With my little knowledge of him, I imagined him to look like some slacker man-child with the idea that he can be a professional snow boarder from what he learned in video games, and that maybe he'll look a little like dapper Mr. Frost under any or all acne he may or may not have. I wasn't being fair in my imaginings of him, true, but there must be something wrong with him if he can't get a girlfriend by himself. With my thorough insight into the female psyche, I figured he must simply be very ugly.
Ugh, I'm not usually so partial to narrow mindedness. It's far too early to be alive; I blame my sass all on jet lag.
I'm glad to be seeing New York, though. I'm thankful for the time I'll get to explore and enjoy the big apple before school sucks all my time up. It's beautiful, by the way. Always bustling and busy, and the snow on everything takes my breath away. It doesn't snow much in the Southern parts of Cali, and the late November blanket of snow here is refreshing. But right now, it is the bane of my existence as I make my way up the slippery steps to the modestly sized, yet incredibly fancy apartment complex.
Don't fall don't fall don't fall.
I opt the revolving doors for the manual ones, spinning around one too many times for the sake of feeling like Eloise, and open up to a warm reception area. The mint green far wall extends both ways down adjacent hallways past a desk on the right with a small brunette working there and a sitting area on the left decorated with iron tables and flowers in crystal vases. The giant viewing windows in the sitting area cast a beautiful clear light over the entire room, making it feel cozy and friendly. The receptionist looks up, her short pixie cut bouncing with the motion.
"Oh, hello! Can I help you?" She smiled brightly, the light in her pretty green eyes matching. It's a legitimate real smile you don't see often on people in the hospitality industry, ironically. I felt myself returning it immediately.
"Yes! I'm moving in with a tenant here. Jack Frost, son of Jack Frost Sr., who pays for the rent. My name is Toothiana Hy Loo?"
She taps away on her computer for a moment, her thin brow furrowing. "Ah, yes! Miss Hy Loo. Well, welcome! Your room is on the third floor, 318, on the left corridor." She points to the hallway behind me. "Here's your key, and there are two elevators, one on the left and one on the right sides of the building, along with two stairways. It'll just be beyond that hallway. If there's anything else you need help with, just come on down, okay?"
I smile again and thank her, hitching my purse higher on my shoulder and wheeling my suitcase towards the left hallway. This apartment complex was a little strange. It felt more like a hotel, but with less people.
The long hallway led to an airy alcove with two elevators and a little fake plant sitting on the table across from them. I think they were Jasmine. Were the flowers in the reception area fake, too? Not that it mattered.
I press the button and wait patiently, looking around in boredom, and a man comes in the room. He's short and pale, with sandy blonde hair slicked back. He's wearing a goldenrod robe and circular spectacles with the morning paper under his arm, and the back of his slicked hair sticks out like a duck butt, as if he'd just woken up. He regards me over his glasses, though he's short enough that he may have to do that to everybody, and shoots me a half smile as if we shared a secret.
"Um, good morning," I say.
He waves, then gestures towards the doors. I didn't notice our elevator had arrived.
I blush and dive in, standing near the number buttons to wait for him. He settles in the corner opposite mine, looking as comfortable as if it were a plush bed turned vertical.
He holds up three fingers.
"Cool, that's my floor too." I press it.
When the elevator starts moving, I am faced with that terribly cliché predicament where you're in the elevator with a stranger and three floors feels like three lifetimes of awkward. Should I start a conversation? Should he start it? What would I talk about? How do you like living here? New York's pretty nice so far, yeah I'm new here. No, I've never been here before. It's very – Oh look, my floor.
He lets me out first, sweeping his arm in a gentlemanly manner, but he passes me quickly when I hesitate in the elevator alcove. The place looked way smaller from the front. The hallway extends for yards and yards, a never ending tunnel of mint green Spackle paint and golden rug. Another corridor branches off in the middle of the hall, disappearing to the right. It probably connects to the other side of the building. There are few doors along the hall, making me believe that the apartments are very large behind them. The corridor is completely barren besides a potted plant, and somehow it just adds to the alien feeling I'm getting here.
I follow the little man without trying to look like l am following him. I'm just going the same direction, guys, come on.
Finally I come to the infamous 318, and stop a few steps before it. The small man is at the door right across next to the huge, leafy potted plant. I surmise that it must be his.
The hall is kinda wide, so he's at least seven feet from me. He looks at my door, then at me, then points between it and me, raising his pale eyebrows quizzically.
"Uh, well this is my apartment. It was nice meeting you." I offer him a smile.
He looks back at the door again and chuckles to himself, shaking his head at the same time. He gives me a look that I don't understand, then disappears into his apartment.
Okay, that was weird.
I turn back to the door and blow out a deep breath. Okay, here goes. Everybody be cool, it's just a normal day.
No one comes to the door.
They knew I was coming, right? I try to hear for anything through the door, but nothing. This is the right apartment, isn't it?
Then suddenly, the door swings open to reveal a small brunette girl in a hoodie. This must be Emma. She's holding a DS and looking at me like I'm not worth her time.
She puts a hand on her hip and raises an eyebrow at me. Okay then, time to try my best tactic: being nice.
I bend down to her level. "Hi, there! Is Jack here? Your father sent me to—"
"Not to be rude, miss," she says, cutting me off. "But if you're one of those women who are paid to get it with Jack… we don't welcome trollops."
And… I am completely shocked. That was unexpected.
"But—I—" I sputter, searching for the words this sassy ten year old has sucked out of me, when a giant crash can be heard from somewhere in the apartment.
"Don't sass the visitors, Emma!" a guy yells. Then a thud reverberates through the wood floor inside. "Crud, ow! Almost there! Oops!"
"Uhhhh," I say hesitantly. I should have added clumsy to my imaginary Jack repertoire.
Then he enters the doorway, and Emma freezes. I freeze.
Because he's just gotten out of the shower.
And he's standing there.
A towel over his shoulder.
And I'm still bent forward.
And I'm face first with his…
Oh God. This is not happening.
And just for the record, Jack Frost is not ugly. That can be swiped off the list of possible reasons why he can't get a girlfriend. Now I'm thinking it may be because of poor social skills. What other excuse could a person have for answering the door totally in the nude?
"Oh, hey! Your name is Toothiana, right? Uh—ahem…" he says, clearing his throat. "Are you alright? It seems you're about to explode."
WELL I WONDER WHY.
I don't think he's noticed his nudeness, and I'm far to stunned to move. My eyes flick to Emma, who is as close to catatonic as an embarrassing event like this can get you.
He takes a step into the hall, bringing it closer to me. I shoot straight up and cover my eyes, though that won't do much. The damage has already been done. He moves around me and I hear the door shut.
Emma sighs right next to me. "Jack, do you know how much of an idiot you are?"
I finally speak up. Or, really I squeak. "I'm so sorry! Please put on a towel!"
"What?" he asks again. I risk a peek and see him looking at us in confusion. His gaze switches between us, then down, then up again with wide eyes.
"Oh, crap!" He grapples for the towel on his shoulder, but it's gotten itself caught in the closed doorway. He tugs relentlessly on it with one hand while the other tries to cover and preserve what's left of his discretion. The towel won't budge out of the door, and he glances at me with a wild, flustered look
Emma sighs, rubbing her face with a hand, and turns the knob on the door. Jack is in the middle of a particularly powerful tug when she does and it sends him tumbling back with the towel. He crashes into the guy on the elevator's potted plant, knocking it off its stand. He catches it quickly before it can break, setting it gently on the stand at a certain position. I get the feeling he may have done this many times before, too. Uh, knocking over the potted plant, I mean. Not answering the door in his birthday suit. Though, what do I know?
He finally wraps the towel around his hips, the edges of it jutting out with his deep V hip bones. Oh jeez.
Jack looks up at me, the pink on his cheeks slowly fading. I can see in the clear light coming from the windows down the hall mixed with the fluorescents that his skin is snowy pale, contrasting with the chocolate brown of his slowly drying hair that's starting to stick up.
He approaches me with his right hand stuck out for a handshake. Luckily, it's the hand that had gripped the towel previously and not his crotch.
He smiles the most wonderful smile at me, flashing perfectly white teeth. "Hi, I'm Jack! Welcome to our humble abode."
Oh boy. What did I get myself into?
Whoever can name both unnamed characters in this chapter AND the two movie references gets a preview of the next chapter once I finish (start) it.
Reviews are better than nakey Jack (hahaha who am I kidding?).