“Good morning, baby girl.” Nanna Ruby says with a kind smile that makes the wrinkles around her chocolate brown eyes stand out more.
Ruby is the elderly owner of the local coffee shop and when Nat and I moved into our apartment, we became her regulars.
She makes the best double chocolate muffins in the world and above all; she reminds me of my grandmother. She is always there to wrap you up in her plump arms, give advice and make everything better with chocolate. That love she provides to almost everyone in the neighborhood, and that is why everyone calls her Nanna Ruby.
“Morning Nanna Ruby.” I say with the happiest smile I can muster, but she sees right through me as usual.
“Ah baby girl, come and give old Nanna a hug.” She says while holding her arms wide open for me to step into.
I rush towards her loving arms and feel the sense of home and peace engulf me. I wish I could stay right here with her until this feeling of loneliness disappears, but I know that I cannot. I am needed at the hospital and being busy taking care of my little patients will keep my mind from it.
The weekend alone with just my thoughts as company was hell enough. I need to get on with my life and start to cope without always relying on Natalie for support. I am 23 years old, for goodness’ sake.
“There’s my baby girl I love so much.” Nanna Ruby says stepping back to look deep into my eyes while still holding both my shoulders.
I give her a genuine smile this time and say, “All I needed was one of your ‘mama bear’ hugs.”
Laughing, she says, “Oh, that I have plenty to give, baby girl. Whenever you need one, Nanna will be right here to wrap you in these big old arms.”
“Now, will you be having the usual today?”
“Yes, please.” I say while walking to my usual seat in the corner next to the window. Nat and I always loved to people watch while we drank our coffee. This I can still do on my own, I think while looking at the people passing by.
Nanna puts my steaming cup of coffee and fresh, homemade double chocolate muffin in front of me on the table and slides into the chair opposite me. “How is the hunt for a new roommate coming along?”
“Lea, a fellow nurse, came to look at the apartment on Friday. Nat and I talked to her, and she seemed nice. I actually thought she would be the perfect roommate until her pet bearded dragon decided to join the conversation. Needless to say, that I did not take to him kindly.”
Nanna’s booming laughter echoes through the space around us and while slapping her knee and struggling to speak through her fit of laughter, I can make out the words, “I would have loved to see your face!”
I try my best to give her an offended look while saying, “That is not funny.” But my own smile forming on my face betrays me, and I end up bursting into laughter with her.
After a few minutes of trying to contain our giggles, we wipe the tears from our eyes and look at each other.
“Oh, there is nothing like a good old laugh to lift one’s spirit.” Shifting in her seat, she looks me in the eyes and says, “Nanna will keep these old eyes and ears open for a suitable roommate for you and let you know if I find someone.”
“Thank you, Nanna. I will appreciate that. I must admit that I am kind of nervous about letting a stranger into my apartment.”
“I understand, child, and you have every right to be, but everyone will stay strangers until we give them a chance to become friends.”
Stepping out of the coffee shop, I feel lighter than I felt before my talk with Nanna. She is right. It is time that I open myself up to new possibilities and people.
Nat and her family provided me with a safety bubble to hide away from the pain of my parents’ sudden death, but now it was time for me to step out of that bubble and face the world.
Lifting my face up to the sun, I make my decision. Now is my time to shine and grow into the person my parents would have been proud of.
I am dead on my feet when I enter my apartment that evening. I got two new patients today, and little one-year-old Aaron was a handful. He kept fidgeting with his IV and crying when he could not crawl all over the place. Days like this make me realize that mothers are actually Wonderwoman in disguise.
Slipping my shoes off, I head to the kitchen to make myself a cup of chamomile tea. I did not feel like cooking just for one, so I picked up some Chines food on the way home.
Flipping through channels, I eat my food and sip on my tea when there is a knock on my door.
It strikes me like lightning... I forgot that there was someone coming to look at the apartment this evening!
I hurry towards the door and call out, “Who is it?”
“Hi, I’m Jeremy Harris and I am here about the apartment.” A male voice says from behind the closed door.
I open the door and see a scrawny young man with light brown hair and brown eyes looking at me from behind a pair of thick glasses.
He looks me up and down, beginning at my naked feet, moving up my nurse’s uniform and ending with my face and hair, and his mouth literally falls open.
A breathless “Wow” escapes from his lips before he awkwardly clears his throat and looks at me while a light shade of red creeps onto his face.
I have never considered myself as beautiful, but I know that I do not look too bad. Nat always joked and said that I was a natural beauty, but I always thought that she was just biased.
Deciding to end the uncomfortable silence that cloaked us, I said with the friendliest smile I could muster, “Hi, I am Samantha Walker and welcome to my place, I have been expecting you.” That was a lie, I completely forgot, but he did not need to know that.
Stepping to the side to allow him in, I look at him in greater detail. He looked a bit younger than me, maybe 20, and really nervous.
Leading him into the lounge, I hastily pick up my takeout and cup of tea while saying to him, “As you can see, the apartment is fully furnished. Follow me to the kitchen and we can start your tour from there. Please excuse the takeout, but I just came home from my shift at the hospital and I didn’t feel like cooking.”
“Of course, I understand completely.” He said from behind me while we headed to the kitchen.
“What kind of work do you do?” I ask over my shoulder while I put my cup into the kitchen sink.
“I am an IT guy at the local computer store.” He says while looking around.
“Wow, that is great. I am rather useless when it comes to computers. I mean I can search the web and so on, but knowing what all those codes and stuff mean, has always been Greek to me.” I say with a smile on my face.
He gives me a shy smile while shuffling his feet and I can barely hear the whispered “Thanks.”
“Let me show you the rest of the apartment and then I will come and make us a nice cup of tea or coffee and we can discuss it.”
“That will be nice, thank you.” He says while looking anywhere but at me and blushing again.
What is with this guy and all the blushing? Do I make him that nervous and if that is the case, how will us living together ever work?
After showing Jeremy the rest of the apartment, I made us a cup of tea to help him relax. I have never seen such a nervous person before in my life; I mean, I am far from an extrovert, but he takes the cake.
While sitting opposite each other and drinking our tea, I notice Jeremy’s eyes constantly wandering to my legs. That makes me rather uncomfortable, but I try to ignore it.
I shift to try to cover more of my legs and accidentally drop the spoon I placed on my leg after stirring my tea. Bending over to pick it up, I catch him looking at my cleavage that was exposed while bending over.
He realizes that I caught him looking and turns as red as a tomato while shifting to cover his crotch, but I already saw the bulge he was trying to cover.
Oh, hell no!