Once I heard the rush of water from the shower, I moseyed on over to check up on Max. We used to have another roommate, Ben, but he transferred out a long time ago to a different department and left the majority of his furniture here. Max had already moved a bunch of cardboard boxes filled with miscellaneous shit to one side of the room, piled high along one wall. My old bike was leaning against the stack, the leather seat dusty from years of neglect. Max was busy changing the sheets of the bed, fluffing spare pillows and digging out the old comforter we had stashed away in the linen closet. He took great care to smooth out any wrinkles in the sheets.
“This is nuts,” I sighed quietly.
Max didn’t even look up from his task, working diligently as always. “Mhmm,” he grunted.
“Poor girl. You know, I can’t help but think it’s fate we ran into her again.”
“There’s no such thing as fate.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “I’m just saying, it’s a good thing we found her when we did.”
“At the diner or at the fire?”
Max shook his head and huffed. “Whatever. This doesn’t change anything.”
“Sure it does. You can’t walk around naked anymore.”
Max curled his face up. “I don’t do that,” he snapped. “That’s you.”
I chuckled. “Right, right. Purely by accident, I assure you.”
“Once is an accident. Every morning after your shower is you being an ass.”
“Asserting my dominance,” I corrected smugly.
With the bed all made, Max and I made our way back to the living room. It wasn’t that we lived in a dump of an apartment, it was just that neither of us had any interior decorating skills. We picked and chose our furniture based on what was the most practical and what was cheapest, not really taking into consideration material patterns or designs. The place was a mismatch of items, making for a really wacky, college dorm room-esque vibe. Even still, it was still as good a home as any.
I heard the shower tap squeak off, followed by the shuffling of Alice’s movements. A couple of minutes later, the bathroom doorknob rattled, but didn’t unlock.
“Um…” I heard her hesitate on the other side of the door. “Please tell me I didn’t break it.”
I chuckled as I stood, quickly making my way over. “It’s okay. This one likes to stick. You just have to give it a hard yank while twisting the knob.”
Alice let out a cute little grunt as she tried pulling on the door with all her might. Bless her soul, the thing didn’t budge an inch. I lined my shoulder up with its wooden surface and said, “Here, I’ll push while you give it a yank.”
“On the count of three. One, two–”
“On three? Or after three?”
From the living room, I heard Max chuckle. “Dios mio.”
“On three,” I specified. “Ready? One, two, three!”
I was used to the bathroom door having very little give, so I threw my whole weight against it. Maybe it was because I really wanted to swoop in and save the day to impress Alice. Maybe it was because I genuinely wanted to help get her free. Either way, I put too much momentum into my push and wound up tripping over the divider between the bathroom tiles and the hallway’s wooden flooring. I crashed right into Alice, managing to wrap my arms around her head to protect her as we both went falling.
I landed directly on top of her between her thighs. The scent of citrus soaps and lovely vanilla shampoo filled my nose, left me dizzy. I was frozen in place, simultaneously afraid that I’d hurt her and stunned to find our lips just inches apart from one another. Hovering there, I could have sworn I could drown in the deepness of her eyes. Alice’s body was soft against me, the softness of her breasts and the silkiness of her skin filling me with a sudden want. I shifted off of her uncomfortably, more than a little aware of how hard I was getting.
“Sorry,” I whispered, sitting up on my knees.
Alice’s face was a bright red as she got up with me, keeping the distance between us very close. “That’s okay,” she whispered back, sweet voice music to my ears.
We both stood up, barely an inch between us. My eyes raked over her unintentionally, drawn to the sight of her damp hair dripping over her shoulders. My clothes were way too big for her, the fabric of the shirt and sweatpants almost swallowing her whole. She had to roll up the pant legs all the way up to her calves to keep from tripping, and my shirt hung loosely off of her slim shoulders like a tent. When I caught a glimpse of her long neck and the edge of her delicate collar bone, I had to look away, worried about the growing tightness in my pants. It was perfectly innocent, nothing erotic about it at all, but Alice looked downright beautiful. It was like an angel just stepped out of my shower.