I lean in closer to the glass, gently pressing my lips against the cool surface, kissing her goodnight from a distance. I take one final look at my angel and move away from the window. Glancing into the living room one last time, I see Harper still in the same position. There has got to be a good reason she’d want to live with Tessa. The only conclusion I can draw from what I’ve seen is that she’s there out of sheer desperation.
I make my way down the fire escape. When I get to the bottom, I grab the ladder and push it back up. We wouldn’t want any creeps trying to sneak a peek now, would we?
I feel a wicked smile on my face as I turn from the building and make my way back to my car.
I’m living on the other side of downtown at the moment, in a warehouse. I like to move around a lot to keep hidden from any enemies who might try to find me. The people who need me for jobs know exactly how to get in touch with me.
There’s an old bar on the East Side. An old guy named Sal works behind the bar. If you go in with my name and a piece of paper, he’ll get it to me. I used to run jobs for Sal back in the day, and he’s about the only person I can trust. I think back to my childhood on the streets and shake my head. No time to dwell on the past.
Getting behind the wheel of my Chevelle, I think of my Tessa. I’ve got to go home and get a few hours of sleep. I plan on introducing myself to my love tomorrow. Her fate has been set. She’s mine now.
“Are you going to eat that?” The breakfast burrito pauses halfway to my mouth as I glance at Harper across the counter in the kitchen. She’s got her eyes trained on her phone as she hurriedly types away at a speed that seems almost impossible. If only she could work that fast on the computer at work, maybe I wouldn’t have to help her out so much. Who she could possibly be texting this early on a Thursday morning, I have no idea, but as always that thing is glued to her hand.
“What’s wrong with it?” I look down at my breakfast burrito. It’s nothing fancy, but it will hit the spot. I popped it in the microwave, and it will mostly keep me full until lunch. I tend to get grumpy when I go without food, and being in customer service, grumpy doesn't bode well.
“It’s fattening.” I look past her to the container of melted ice cream that she went at last night and which is still sitting on the coffee table. The thing is, Harper can eat and eat and eat and she’s still rail thin. I wasn’t blessed with the same gene, but I’d long ago given up caring what I ate. No diet on earth seemed to work, and I didn’t have the energy to worry about it anymore. Not like I was dating. No one was going to be seeing me naked, so I might as well enjoy the burrito. It would probably be the most orgasmic thing I’d experience today.
I go to take my first bite, and Harper makes a disgusted noise. I clench my jaw, and embarrassment hits my cheeks. I can feel the blood rush to my face, making my fair skin light up. I’m not great at hiding my feelings. Everything’s always on display for everyone to see. I might not want to diet, but it still hurts when someone calls you out on your weight. With her one sound, my appetite is gone. Maybe that’s the key to a successful diet. Always try to eat with Harper in the room. You’ll be stick thin in a month.
I drop the burrito onto the counter and move past her towards my bedroom to get ready for work. “I’ll be ready in a second,” I mumble, upset she got the better of me. I thought I got over those silly things like my weight a long time ago, but it seems to be rearing its ugly head lately. This might have something to do with Harper, but my grandma always told me when someone pokes at you, it’s usually their own insecurities showing. That makes me feel bad for Harper. I think a lot of her comments have more to do with her than me.
Why did I ever agree to let her move in here? Rent, I remind myself. Also I’m a sucker for a sob story, and I’ve been lonely since my grandma passed. I thought at least having someone around would help push those feelings away, but now three months of living with Harper and I’m not so sure. Harper isn’t the best for conversation. Oh, she can ramble on and on, but she seems to have this way of making me feel like shit about myself.
When she came to me about needing a place to stay, saying that her boyfriend was kicking her out, I felt bad for her. I knew what it was like to feel alone, and I didn’t want anyone else to have that feeling. Little did I know she’s never alone, what with the trail of men always following her. Lately, though, I’ve noticed many don’t stay for long, and I don’t think it’s because she’s asking them to leave.
Her sob story got to me, and plus, I needed the help with rent. I’ve lived in this apartment for as long as I can remember. My grandma raised me here, and I never knew my parents. Over the years, I finally got the story of my parents out of my grandma. She said she had no idea who my father was, and my mother just kind of dropped me off one day and never came back. It stung a little to hear that, but I’m thankful enough to be happy that at least my mother had the decency to give me to someone who cared.
When Grandma got sick my last year of high school, we knew it wasn’t a battle she was going to win. She fought hard, but cancer took her from me six months ago after her body finally gave out. I’d put off going to college to be by her side, wanting to have every moment I could with her before the last piece of family I’d ever had slipped through my fingers.
As she grew sicker and sicker I seemed to become more disconnected with the outside world. I went from work to home, home to work. Nothing in between. One by one, my friends started to trickle off. After she passed away, I looked around and it was then I saw how alone I really was. I wouldn’t change the choices I made, though. I’ll cherish every moment I spent with my grandma.