Bam! Bam! Bam! The sound of a hammer was reverberating off the walls of the wide one bedroom apartment. It was coming from outside, and it was causing April to get a headache. Did they even know what time it was? She turned the digital clock on the table towards her.
It was 7:20. The job she worked as a bank receptionist literally just let her off, and she hadn’t even been home for 15 minutes before the maintenance men decided to saute her brain.
With a groan, she got up and put away the book she had been reading. Maybe she could stop by Joe’s Crab Place up the street for a quick bite. She sure did love his crab cakes. In fact, it was one of the first things she tried when she moved to New York five years ago. She had been new to the area, and a sweet old man had invited her into his restaurant. He gave her a plate of crab cakes free of charge and it was the best food she’d ever tasted.
April headed towards the bathroom. After showering and spending half an hour looking for a comfortable but presentable outfit, as most of her comfortable clothes had holes in them, she was ready to go.
She checked herself in the mirror by her door one last time.
Long, bouncy curls up in a messy bun against bronzed skin complimented the peach shirt she was wearing, and the brown scarf she had around her neck brought out the green eyes that she got from her father. Paired with her dark blue fitted jeans and her worn-out converse, she was ready to hit the town.
She left the apartment and walked down to the elevator. The button was a tricky thing, so she pressed it hard a couple of times. When the elevator finally came up, it opened up and presented her with her annoying neighbor, Jake. He had a smug grin on his face, the one he wore when he knew she was annoyed by his presence, which she was.
He was pretty tall with wavy brown hair on the top of his head, styled by his fingers. He had an olive complexion and a pair of eyebrows that would make any woman envious. A strong jawline and a sense of style as he rocked a button-up jean shirt, a pair of dark beige pants, and brown loafers went well with his lean body, but not well enough for April to tolerate his idiocy.
Jake had been her neighbor for 4 years. He moved in with a bunch of loud and rowdy people, and eventually had to get rid of them if he wanted to stay on the property. He then proceeded to pester her because he had no one else to talk to. April, unfortunately for him, didn’t share the same friendship vibes that he did. This later resulted in him getting a black eye during one particularly touchy encounter.
Now here they are, the conversation that he would start inescapable.
“Hey look, it’s April fool’s. I haven’t seen you since last week when I accidentally let myself into your apartment. Did I mention that it was an accident? Totally by mistake.” Jake said in a tone that let her know that it was definitely not a mistake.
“Oh yeah, I totally forgot. How could I not remember? I guess it’s just your irrelevance that really gets in the way.”
April knew she shouldn’t feed his undying need to quarrel, but she really had the urge to pound his stupid head in. As always.
“Oh, a little snappy today are we? Did you bite off more than you could chew at the office today?”
Oh yeah, did she forget to mention that they worked at the same business? Of course she did. He and her had been work competitors for the last 3 years, and he aggravated her all 8 hours of the job. He sent anger-inducing letters to her office, burst in whenever he felt like it, bragged whenever he got a good word from the boss, and he even threw her a surprise party...and it was Father’s Day.
She could never get away from him. Not even now.
“I won’t waste my time with you. Are you coming out or not?” He smiled.
“As a matter of fact, no I’m not. But you can join me on the way down Mademoiselle. It’ll be fun.” He said, giving her a wink.
“In your dreams big boy. I guess I’ll just have to take the stairs again. I could get a little work out in anyway.” Just as she was about to head down the stairs, he stopped her and asked her where she was going.
“To get some crab cakes from Joe.” She replied with an eye roll, highly annoyed that he was snooping his big nose in her business.
“Ah yes, crab cakes. Your favorite food,” he said with a small smile.
“How did you know that?” She asked, intrigued. He never cared to know anything about her, and she was curious to know how he even knew that little detail.
“Well all the stomach isn’t coming from broccoli. Have a nice day April fool’s.” The stupid smile on his face was humongous before the elevator doors closed.
April just stood there for a second before she screamed and pounded her fist into the palm of her hand, wishing it was Jake’s big dumb dummy head instead. She probably looked like a crazy person, jumping around in the hall angrily, muttering incomprehensible words.
She stood up straight and fixed her now frizzled hair. She would not let him ruin the rest of her day. She had more important things, and people, to focus on.
She made it down the stairs, outside the building, and down the block to Joe’s restaurant. As soon as she walked in, she was greeted by the bright smiles of the friendly people in her neighborhood. She ordered her crab cakes and started up a conversation with Ms. Urgandi, the lady who sold flowers in the store across the street.
She'd heard about her son entering high school and had decided to give her some advice.
“He’s gonna be fine, I’m sure of it. Just remember what I told you and you’ll be at ease.” April smiled at the middle-aged woman. The bell tinged, and she turned to the counter where Joe was bringing her crab cakes to her personally.
“Why hello Munchy.” He approached her with a smile and the nickname he had given her after she munched down all of his crab cakes during their first encounter.
Joe was an 64 year old chef, and him and his wife, Eve, ran the restaurant together. She learned that they had one child, a son named Carlos, but he was in Florida, and they missed having him around. That’s why they treated April with so much love and affection.
“Good afternoon Joe. How are things holding up with the shop reconstruction?”
She could see he hadn’t started. He had been planning to remodel this place for about 6 months now. What was the hold up? She wanted to know.
“I’ve been trying to get the men here all week, but every time I book, there’s a rainstorm. I heard it’ll be storming all month as a matter of fact. There might even be a hurricane warning.” Joe informed her as he walked back into the kitchen.
“Yeah right,” she thought. It always stormed here, and they were always getting “hurricane warnings” which never even turn out to be that serious.
“This place is just filled with pessimist, that’s all.” April reassured herself.
She finished up her crab cakes and made it back to her apartment on the 5th floor. She didn’t run into Jake, which she was grateful for. All she had left to do on her list was relax.
She unlocked her apartment door and stepped into the darkness. When she turned on the lights, she screamed and threw her pocket book at the silhouette in the corner. It hit Jake square in the face where he was sitting on her couch.
“Ow, what the heck? You didn’t have to attack-” He didn’t get a chance to finish what he was saying before he was grabbed by the back of the neck and roughly led out of the apartment.
“Okay, okay, okay!” He kept repeating while she angrily walked him to the door and pushed him out. As soon as he was in the hall, he looked at her with that same smug I-know-you-hate-me grin like he gave her in the elevator earlier.
“Stay out!” That was all April could huff before she slammed the door in his face and made sure it was sealed shut, then went straight for her room.
She didn’t even want to process what just happened, she just wanted to sleep. She collapsed on the mattress and let the her bed consume her body, her last thought being that she needed to get new locks.