Halfway to Heaven

She's just a cleaner who's been hired to come in and clean his apartment for him. She was content with the lack of communication between the two of them, due to him always being gone while she's there. Unfortunately, it doesn't work out that way for long.

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2. Realisations

The sound of someone pounding on my apartment door and Bandit barking wildly at said someone through the heavy wood forced me out of bed before I would have enjoyed. I grabbed my cell phone off the bedside table where it had laid charging throughout the night. The display read 8:55 a.m. I groaned but pulled myself out of under my thick comforter. My dog’s baying ceased when she saw me shuffling down the hallway, though she didn’t move from her place in front of the door. I peered through the peephole, rolling my eyes and jerking the portal open.

 

“What the Hell makes you think this is an acceptable time to wake someone up?”

 

Stefanie merely grinned widely at me, holding up a Starbucks coffee. “I bring peace offerings.”

 

“I suppose this makes up for it,” I muttered as I grabbed the cup from her hands.

 

She followed me to the kitchen and set a bag on the table. I took a sip of my white chocolate mocha Frappuccino. Stefanie gave me another smile while she pulled out a cinnamon roll from the paper bag. It was instinctual for me to reach out immediately.

 

“Go get dressed. We’re going to the beach.”

 

“But…Stef, I don’t wanna go to the beach. Can’t we just laze around?”

 

“No! We can’t just stay indoors all day. It’s too pretty out.”

 

I groaned in defeat but walked to my bedroom with my coffee and breakfast treat. Once there, I pulled on a pair of dark blue jeans and white-and-black striped vest tank-top that read Boom in bold red print inside of a yellow action bubble. Bandit sniffed around my feet, knowing that I was going to be leaving the apartment and apparently thinking she was to be joining. Stefanie yelled down the hall for me to hurry up; this got nothing but a roll of my eyes in response. She was my best friend, yes, but patient she was not. Suddenly, the sound of One Thing began playing throughout the flat.

 

“Tell Dylan to leave us alone!” I yelled in her direction in the living room. “You woke me up and dragged my ass out of bed way too early, so he should respect that I get to monopolise your time today.”

 

“He says quit your complaining. And he was wondering if you could give him the address of that guy.”

 

I glanced up from my reflection in the mirror to see Stef in the doorway. “Can’t. Wish I could, but I can’t.”

 

Fifteen minutes later, Bandit’s food and water bowls had been refilled, she’d been taken out to use the bathroom, and Stefanie had officially been hit by a caffeine buzz. I pressed a kiss to my dog’s head and murmured a quick goodbye. The routine I had with the boxer normally gained me a lot of teasing from my other friends, but, as Stef was like me in that aspect with her cat, she kept quiet, even joining in on occasion. She gave me an enormous grin when we were buckled into her silver 2012 Saab 9-3, and I raised my Styrofoam cup in reply before swallowing the rest of my coffee. I could see the big polyester bag that held our beach supplies sitting in the backseat; I just hoped she hadn’t forgotten the sunscreen again. If she had, she would be a lobster on two legs after ten minutes in the sun. We were stopped by a traffic jam halfway to our destination, and my best friend literally growled.

 

“We need to live closer to the beach.”

 

“Then complain to Dylan. I happen to like where my place is, thank you.”

 

“You would,” she muttered with a sigh, shooting me a small smile to lessen the harshness of her tone. “Oh, come on, what the Hell is taking so long up there?”

 

I leaned forward and flipped the stereo on. Surely anything would be better than listening to her complaining incessantly. Unfortunately, I was so very wrong. I would have gladly chosen her whines over the noise – it certainly couldn’t be called actual music – on the radio: Nicky Minaj. Before I could move, her hand shot out, pressed a button, and quickly found something better. I couldn’t help but laugh when Stefanie started dancing wildly in her seat and singing along to the song.

 

“She’s no you, oh, no. You give me more than I could ever want. She’s no you, oh, no. I'm satisfied with the one I’ve got, ‘cause you’re all the girl that I’ve ever dreamed. She’s only a picture on a magazine. She’s no you. She’s no you!”

 

“Stef…you’re frightening me!”

 

“Oh, come on! Sing with me!”

 

I laughed but joined in nonetheless. Traffic began moving after a moment, and we finally reached the beach. Due to the early hour, and the fact it was only a Thursday, not many people were lounging on the sand; this allowed us to have the pick of the best spots – close enough to the water so as not to burn our feet on the hot sand when we wanted to swim and far enough so the incoming waves wouldn’t reach our towels and belongings, and close enough to the boardwalk for if we grew hungry or thirsty. It wasn’t long before the beach started filling up, however, but by that time, we’d already gotten our fill of the water and tanning. Stefanie grabbed the sunscreen, books, and docking system for her iPod, and shoved them unceremoniously into the bag, and I rolled up our towels, placing them over the objects in the bottom. She pulled out of the parking lot and began the drive back toward my apartment. With a promise to come back later that night – as she was going to spend the day with Dylan on set – she drove away. I smiled when Bandit ran into my legs as soon as I entered the entrance hallway.

 

“Hey, baby. Did you miss me? I missed you! Wanna go for a walk?”

 

Her answering bark and accompanying dance caused me to laugh loudly. I snapped her leash onto her collar, stepped out into the hall of the apartment building, and locked the door behind us. She waited as patiently as she possibly could; however, with my first step towards the doorway, she lunged forward, pulling the leash in excitement. I merely laughed and sped up my pace. It wasn’t long before she calmed herself again. I knew it had been too long since our last actual walk, due to my hectic work schedule and dealing with Stefanie’s crazy ideas of dragging me to her boyfriend’s set in order to find me a boyfriend. I never understood why she was so interested in setting me up. Sure, I hadn’t been in an actual relationship for almost a year, but I was happy. I had enough on my figurative plate and definitely did not need to add to it.

 

An hour later, Bandit was panting on the cool kitchen floor, and I collapsed into a chair in the living room. My phone began vibrating on the coffee table. Immediately, I plucked it up and pressed Talk.

 

"Hello?"

 

"Hey, it's Delia. You called yesterday?"

 

“Oh. Yea. Why the Hell didn’t you tell me that guy would be home?”

 

“Oh, crap. I am so sorry. I even had a note written on my desk to remind me to tell you. I don’t know why I forgot. I’m terribly sorry. Is there a problem with him now, or is it alright for you to still clean?”

 

“He said it was fine that I keep coming by to clean, but Dee, it was absolutely awkward as all holy Hell.”

 

“Did you see much?”

 

“Oh, my God!” I laughed. “You sound just like my best friend. She asked the same thing when I told her last night.”

 

“Well…we both have points, ya know.”

 

“No! And with that, I bid you adieu and am hanging up now!”

 

Her laugh could be heard before I could press End, and I tossed my phone onto the couch cushion beside me. The next few hours passed by with almost nothing to do besides watch TV and wrestle around with my dog. Stefanie appeared outside my front door at six that night, yelling at me to get into my ‘sexy clothes because it’s time to party!’ I rolled my eyes but did as I was told anyway. I was fastening my infinity-symbol pendant necklace when I glanced at the television set.

 

“Hey, go back to that channel.”

 

“What? Why?”

 

“Because…oh, my God, Stef! That’s the guy! That’s the guy I saw naked!”

 

My best friend’s brown eyes were wide as she slowly turned her gaze from the screen to my face. “You saw…are you sure that’s the guy you saw naked?”

 

“Yes! That’s really him!”

 

“Do you know what this means?” I shook my head in reply. “This means…you saw Josh freakin’ Hutcherson butt-naked!”

 

 

 

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