how to (not) fall in love

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chapter two - electricity

Etta’s and Alicja’s Monday morning starts with an unexpected loud thump making Etta’s roommate storm into her new room. Etta woke up in shock and realizing, that her bed is awkwardly titled. Alicja comes closer to the half-broken bed but when she is relatively close, the whole bed collapses and Etta gets out before it hits the ground.

“Are you hurt?” instinctively asks Alicja while she scans the broken bed with her eyes.

“No, I’m okay, don’t worry. It looks like I’ll have to go and buy a new bed frame.” Etta replies while not really knowing what just happened.

“Like you know how to pick a bed frame...” Alicja mumbles under her nose but unfortunately, Etta hears it.

“Excuse you? Who doesn’t know how to pick a goddamn bed frame?” Etta comments angrily, not understanding what problem does her new roommate have.

“Well this one broken so-“Alicja tries to defend herself but gets interrupted by the new girl.

“I didn’t pick this goddamn bed!” Etta shouts back at her and they start arguing about a banality that isn’t anyone’s fault.

After a good few minutes of shouting they hear a loud knock and then the door opening. Both of them share a glance, not knowing why the locked door just opened. Etta grabs a large book and Alicja a perfume in order to defend themselves from an intruder. Alicja walks out of the room first, Etta following her only to find their downstairs neighbor and, for Etta, a stranger that turns out to be Alicja’s last night’s guest. All four people not knowing at least one person in the room.

“Well, this is awkward… Should I come back later?” The infamous neighbor said, creating a suspense and one big question.

“Who are you?” Etta and Alicja say at the same time glancing at two other people. Alicja not knowing the neighbor because she doesn’t talk to anyone in this building and Etta knowing the neighbor from doing her research but not knowing the girl covered in a blanket.

The neighbor starts explaining, “Well I’m Allen, your neighbor from downstairs and I came because I heard a loud noise and a lot of screaming. Also, it isn’t even seven in the morning so…”

Alicja and Etta shake his hand, apologizing and explaining this awkward situation. They also get informed about a construction work that will start at ten, which will affect the electricity in the whole apartment building.

“Well it was nice meeting you! It’s great knowing that there is another queer family in this building, even having a teenage daughter! You two really argue like an old married couple but you look great together. I hope I’ll see you soon!” Said Allen few seconds before shutting the door and walking down the stairs.

Etta, Alicja and the unknown girl stood there in shock. And then it clicked in Alicja’s head and she tried to rush after hum but gave up. All that was in Alicja’s head were resonating words “married old couple”. Etta was caught off guard thinking is she looked that old without having make-up on, while only being 25 years old. After she pushed away this unpleasant thought, she has finally introduced herself to this stranger in the blanket.

“Hi, my name is Etta… Who exactly are you?” Etta was confused as this girl was but only she had the nerve to introduce herself.

“I’m Madilyn, I-I swear I didn’t sleep with your wif-“Blanket girl being stopped mid-sentence by Alicja who dragged her back into her room mumbling, “She is not my wife Madilyn.”

Etta rolled her eyes but feeling a weird sensation in her stomach. She went to the kitchen, taking cereal from the counter and proceeding to eat it with milk from a soup cup rather than a bowl. When Etta turned the television on and wanted to sit on the couch, she heard a loud bang.

“Etta what did you do again?!” Alicja runs out of her room topless, seeing Etta standing by the couch and hearing another bang. It didn’t take her that long to realize it’s just thunder because when she walked out of her room, it started pouring outside.

“Me?! It’s just a thundersto-,“ Etta looks at Alicja seeing her bare chest and instantly looking away, ”thunderstorm. I didn’t do anything.”

Etta, still blushing and unable to concentrate, sits on the couch and tries to switch the programs to something entertaining. She sits there for a good minute or so, just holding the remote and her cereal cup, unknowingly pouring the warm milk on herself. After realizing what she did, Etta put her cup on the coffee table and ran to the bathroom, seeing herself in the mirror for the first time today. Messy hair, eyebags and bumps on her face didn’t look great with a red undertone she achieved only few minutes ago. She takes off her pajamas, gets in the shower so she can calm down but not only she cannot get THAT image out of her head, she can hear noise from her roommate’s room. They are none of her business, of course. Etta wraps her towels around her body and walks out of the bathroom so she can change her clothes in peace but she gets mesmerized by the dark gray, almost black sky. Etta soon gets her hoodie and shorts on, moves the broken bed out of the way and lays on her mattress which is on the floor for now. Few hours go by, the electricity gets turned off and the rain still continues. After Etta’s very productive nap, she wakes up when it’s totally dark in the apartment because the sun has set already. Only thing that haven’t changed were the noises from Alicja’s bedroom. “Wow they’re going for too long,” mumbled Etta without fully realizing. In a span of few seconds Etta slaps herself because she shouldn’t think about… well- this. Etta tries to find matches with her flashlight on her phone that was slowly but surely dying. After snooping around the whole kitchen, living room and bathroom, the only place left is Alicja’s room. She slowly knocks and before anyone can open the door, she says:

“I don’t want to bother but Alicja, do you have any matches or a lighter?”

The noises stop, door opens slowly and there is a hand sticking out, handing Etta a lighter. She replies with a soft thank you, going as far away as she can from that room. Few candles are lit, only so you can at least see what’s happening around you. When Etta lays on the couch, Alicja opens her door and walks out with Madilyn who could barely stand by herself. ’Wow…’ Etta said to herself and stood up so she can at least say bye. After a few-word-exchange Madilyn leaves and Alicja sits on the couch, trying to turn on the TV, cursing it out.

“The electricity is out; you won’t be able to turn it on.” Etta said and sat down on the couch with a water bottle in her hand, about to drink from it. Before sha can, Alicja takes it from her and says while chuckling :

“Thank you for the water, you’re so sweet!”

“Hey!” Etta cusses her out softly laughing, trying to take it from her, “Give it back!”

“Let me drink first, I had a long time…” She laughs and whines while Etta rolls her eyes but still lets her drink.

When Alicja gives the water back, her hand is shaking. Etta tries to look like she didn’t notice but the butterflies in her stomach tell some other story. Alicja smirks, seeing Etta’s face only a little but of course she noticed the face she made.

“What is here to do when the power is out? Do you have any board games or cards?” Etta asks because she’s bored and after her nap, she won’t be able to sleep.

“I have this…? And this…” Alicja shows two board games, one is a drinking game and the other is a sex one.

“Are you serious?!” Etta shouts and laughs while Alicja stands there laughing too.

“No, I probably have Monopoly somewhere around here...” She starts to look around till she finds a normal board game, bringing it to the couch.

They spend two insanely long hours till Alicja won.

“Yes! Ha! I knew I could play better than you!” Alicja screams and laughs while Etta is holding her stomach while uncontrollably laughing.

“You’re acting like a child Alicja, it took you two hours!” Etta says between the laughs and holds Alicja’s shoulder. Her knees get weak but she thinks it’s just because she was with Madilyn and of course, she pushes the thought away.

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