Absolute Devotion

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Chapter 3

Of course, Nanna thought the situation with Jeremy was hilarious. I did not quite share her sentiment. I still had one person to show the apartment to, and the previous two have left me a little apprehensive. Today was another long day looking after sick children and supporting their parent’s through the tough time. I had a killer headache and really did not look forward to the meeting with Greta Jordan.

At exactly 09:30 there is a knock on my door, and I answer it with a heavy heart but a huge fake smile on my face. After this, I can start auditioning for films with all the acting experience I am getting.

“Hi, I am Samantha Walker, and welcome to my home.”

“Hello Samantha, I am Greta Jordan, pleased to meet you, and thank you for seeing me at such a late hour.” She gives me a quick look over and enters the apartment.

Greta looks extremely professional with her gray pantsuit and blond hair pinned back in a tight ballerina bun. She is tall, slender, and beautiful and a little intimidating if I must admit.

She walks through the apartment scrutinizing everything without talking much. By the way her eyebrows crease together, I gather that she thinks my humble abode is not good enough for her high standards, and I am not surprised when she turns to me with a resolved look on her face.

“You have a genuinely pleasant apartment, Samantha, but I am sorry it is not quite what I am looking for. I need extra office space when I bring work home, and the room is not big enough to divide into a bedroom and office nook.”

“I understand, Greta, and I do not take any offense. We all have different requirements to suit our needs, and I am grateful for your honesty in the matter.” I say with an understanding smile.

“Thank you for understanding, Samantha, and for letting me view the apartment at such a late hour. My business hours are hectic some days.” She says and for the first time, I notice the worn-out look on her face and the dark circles that she expertly hides with makeup.

I offer her something to drink, but she declines, and I walk her to the door. After closing the door, I exhale a deep sigh and head for my room. My head is still killing me.

A week has passed with no new prospects of a suitable roommate. I have the afternoon off since I start my night-shift tomorrow night, and I decide that I need one of Nanna’s muffins to sweeten my day.

The coffee shop is a bit busier today than normal and I fall in line, deciding that I will get my muffin to go. The little bell above the door chimes again, but my attention is on my phone, typing a message to Nat. We message each other every day. At this moment she is telling me about her neighbor’s cat who keeps on climbing through her window and knocking over her plants. I cannot stop the little giggle that escapes me when I imagine a furious Nat, with a duster in her flailing hand, chasing after the poor cat while yelling like a lunatic.

I feel the warmth radiating off the person standing behind me and it sends a pleasurable tingle throughout my body. Feeling a little intimidated by my body’s strange reaction to the person, I take a step forward, refusing to look at the person responsible. The man also steps forward. I have concluded that it is a man because I can smell his intoxicating aftershave or cologne or what the heck it is, and it has a strange effect on me. I feel the person’s breath on the back of my neck and the soft noise when he inhales deeply. Goosebumps erupt all over my body… wait a minute, is he smelling me?

Nanna clears her throat and I realize that the person in front of me is long gone and I am just standing there like an idiot, holding up the line. I give my head a little shake to clear it and greet Nanna with a smile.

“Hi, Nanna, can I have one of your delicious double chocolate muffins to go, please?” I ask while I hand her the money.

“Sure, baby girl.” She tells me while reaching for the little piece of heaven. Raising her eyebrows, she continues, “Now tell me, how is the hunt for a new roommate coming along?”

“Don’t even ask Nanna,” I reply with a sigh. “I think I am just going to stop looking for a while and go at it alone. Maybe this will be good for me and give me the time and space to grow as a person.”

“Maybe, or maybe the right person is closer than you think.” She replies with one of her all-knowing smiles. She hands me my muffin and napkin.

I release a soft laugh and reply with a “Bye Nanna.” Turning around with my muffin in hand, I collide with a rock-hard chest. Shoot! I forgot about Mister Sniffer behind me.

My delicious piece of chocolate heaven is now stuck to a crisp white shirt, or at least it was white before I happened to it. I stare at the enormous chest underneath the mess and all I can manage is a shocked, “I am so, so sorry. I did not see you behind me, please forgive me.”

I refuse to look up. The man must be furious. How much will a new shirt cost? He will not kill me in a crowded coffee shop in broad daylight, will he?

I am pulled from my frantic thoughts by two enormous hands covering my trembling ones and little sparks igniting where we touch. His one hand moves from my hand to cup my chin and tilt my face to force me to look at him.

Grey-blue, speckled with gold… that is all that registers in my mind while the rest of the world fades into oblivion.

“It is nothing, Angel. A little soap and water can fix it in no time.”

At the sound of his deep, masculine voice, I can feel my legs and insides tremble. Oh, who am I kidding, I am trembling all over and it has nothing to do with cold weather or shock and everything to do with the man still holding my hand and chin.

He lets go of my chin, but not my hand, while a soft smile graces his extremely handsome face. I cannot stop the soft gasp that escapes my lips when I see his smile, and I can feel the red tint of embarrassment creep up my neck and face.

He steps away from the line and lightly pulls me with him.

“Now that we are not blocking the line anymore, can I please have the name of my attacker?” He asks with a laugh in his voice.

“Your attacker?” I ask with confusion, “I did not attack you.”

“I think my shirt will disagree with you on that. The last time I was covered in this much chocolate, I was probably five years old.” His smile is so broad and inviting that I cannot help smiling too.

Wow, I dodged a bullet with this one. He could have been angry, but instead, he is smiling and joking. Pushing my nerves to the background, I extend my hand.

“Hi, I am Samantha Walker, current food fighting champion of this shop.”

With a face that shows all the signs of him keeping his laughter at bay, he takes my hand and introduces himself.

“Hallo Champ, I am Alexander Shaw, and I accept my defeat at the hands of the most skilled chocolate muffin slinger in the world. You sure pack a sweet punch.”

At that we both erupt into laughter, not giving the world around us a second thought.

Calming down, he looks deep into my eyes and says, “Will you have coffee with me… and a muffin, because I am kind of wearing yours?” And there is that heart-stopping smirk again.

“I was craving that muffin,” I say with a shy smile of my own, “but I will pay for your coffee. I owe you at least that after covering your shirt with chocolate.”

“A gentleman never lets a lady pay, and besides, I have a brilliant idea on how you can repay me.” He says with a mischievous tone in his voice and the little devils that dance around in his eyes make me seriously want to reconsider our agreement.

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