Cht 1

The dawn is breaking
A light shining through

Whitney Ballard was almost to the fourth floor landing when she decided it wasn't worth trying to haul all her gear up at once. She tossed the duffle up the next flight of stairs and hoisted her ruck onto both shoulders, switching the pack she carried over her left arm onto her right. Too damn many bags, she thought and glanced up at the duffle. Oops. Her gaze trailed up from the duffle to a pair of feet and the long long legs of the man she'd nearly hit with it. Hello blue eyes…she said to herself.

"Oh sorry!" she said, wincing. "I didn't see you up there."

"Well, I should hope not," he said primly, fingering the messenger bag he had crossed over his torso. His slim fingers toyed with the strap as he sized her up, while somehow avoiding eye contact.

Whitney jogged up, taking every other step and outstretched her hand after shifting her pack back over to the left. "Whitney. Whitney Ballard. I'm moving into 5A."

"5A? That's where Alicia lives!" said the man, clearly perplexed at this news.

"Well, apparently not anymore." Whitney dropped her outstretched hand.

"But I never heard her leave," he continued, almost to himself. "She never notified us in writing at least 48 hours in advance. She's in breach of her Neighbor Agreement!"

Ahh what?

"Okay…well, I guess that's something for you guys to work out." And with that, Whitney shook her head and continued past her strange new neighbor, wondering just what in the hell kind of agreement they had entered into—in writing, no less. She chuckled to herself, turning back just before the next flight of stairs.

"Sorry, I didn't catch your name?"

"That's because I didn't throw it," he replied and then snuffled. "Bazinga."

"Aha, okay," she said with a wry smile. "So what is your name?"

"Dr. Sheldon Cooper."

"Nice to meet you, Dr. Cooper."

"Just a moment!" he said, raising a hand as she turned and started away again. "Do you dance, wear high heels, have children, plan to have children, and/or play a percussive instrument?"

"Ahhh…not in public, sometimes, no, maybe, and no. Why?"

"I need to know what manner of cacophony to prepare for since I'm living in the apartment under you. I will try to draw up an agreement that reflects the lifestyle in which you live and the level of tolerable noise with which I am willing to contend."

"Riiight. I guess I'll be seeing you then." And with that, Whitney blew out a breath and started trudging up the stairs again. Well that was awkward as all hell.

"Good day," he replied behind her. "Oh! But what about your other bag?"

"I'll get it in a sec!"

"Are you just going to leave it here? Would you like me to bring it up?"

Seriously dude, I doubt you could carry it.

"Nah, that's okay. I'll get it!" Whitney laughed to herself and just kept climbing. Clearly, someone's social skills were a little off. Doesn't matter, she thought, you've seen worse. And god knew too, she had her own issues.

Yet when Whitney closed the door to 5A, she still could not get her quirky new neighbor out of her mind.