What Makes You Beautiful

Riley Summers is your everyday overweight girl, who thinks looking like a model is the only way to be beautiful. In her pursuit of realizing her dream, she comes to terms with her blind belief of magazine covers and the truth behind what makes you beautiful. [Cover by Lucy Style]

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6. 5. The Stalker Landlady

 

I walked, and didn’t take the bus to return home, for the first time. It took me an hour to walk back home. There were questions that were left unanswered.

We couldn’t complete the tour, he had left me in the woods. Not that I expected him to be chivalrous and drop me to class or anything.

While I was alone in the woods, I had realized that I was really alone. My parents never visited me. I had cried the day they told me that I would be living in the apartment all alone. I was only ten. I know it was too young an age, but try telling that to the owners of Summers Real Estates. I had Jeanine, a caretaker, who took care of me for four years. She loved me too much and her love reflected on my weight.

For the past two years, I have been taking care of myself. I was getting used to it. The people in the building were helpful and always guided me when I needed it. I was satisfied.

I guess.

The sound of Crazy Frog interrupted my chain of thoughts. It was a text from my mom.

To Riley Summers,

A new tenant is now residing in Room 505. Hand over the required forms that must be filled. Inform the tenant of the Apartment Guidelines.

Thanking you,

Sylvia Summers.

[CEO of Summers Real Estate]

I sighed. It was so... mom. Formal, rigid and straight to the point. Grabbing the file containing the newcomer forms, I headed out to Room 505, which was surprisingly just in front of my apartment.

I knocked thrice. Three times is the code. Jeanine had told me that people should only knock three times, any less or more is not good. She had learnt it on her part-time job at a hotel.

There was a click. The door opened and I almost screamed at the sight of him.

“Riley,” he spoke nonchalantly, “I’m not a ghost.”

“What are you doing here?” I whispered so fast that it sounded like a whistle on the wind.

“What?” he sounded confused. “I live here. What are you doing here?”

“I asked that first,” I snapped.

“Oh,” he smiled for the first time since I had met him today. He could smile. Wow. “That is what you were saying. I thought you were whistling. My bad.”

Was he making fun of me or was he being genuine? I stared at him to see whether he was joking.

“What do you want, Riley?” he asked, bored. “You can stare at me tomorrow the whole day. Well, only the back of my head. Wait- did you stalk me here?” His green eyes flew open and looked shocked.

My mouth hung open. I knew he was a freak, but a paranoid?

“I did not stalk you here, Jensen!” I exclaimed, my voice rising. “Why would I do that? Please, I’m not a stalker.”

“Really, Riley?” he raised one of his eyebrows and half-smiled which looked like a smirk. “We haven’t begun our deal yet, and you’ve started lying. I don’t want to waste my time with a stalker. Good bye, Riley.”

“I’m no-” he slammed the door. Furious, I knocked the door repeatedly.

“Go away, Riley,” he sang in a bored tune. “I’m busy.”

I banged the door. He didn’t respond. It was frustrating. Shifting my gaze sideways, my eyes fell upon the buzzer. I am so smart, why didn’t I think of that before?

I pressed into the buzzer and didn’t move my finger. I could hear the sound standing outside his apartment.

“For Christ’s Sake!” he shouted. “Stop it!”

I didn’t. On any other day, I would have succumbed and been the oh-so-pitiful Riley Summers. However, something changed today, I didn’t know what; but boy, was I liking it.

“Jesus! Riley, stop it! It’s the single most annoying sound in the world!”

I didn’t move a muscle.

“Riley! Stop it! Christ!” he shouted.

I removed my finger. Biting my lower lip, I pressed it again.

“What the hell do you want?” he shouted as he swung open the door.

For a second, I forgot what I had come here for. His hair was ruffled more than it was before. Those green eyes were wide open. His expression- Was it anger? Or was it annoyance on his face? I couldn’t make out.

“Uh- here,” I replied handing him the file. “It’s some important forms you have to fill ’cause you’re going to be living here.”

He looked confused. “Why are you giving it to me? Where is the landowner?”

“Erm... Well this is an apartment building owned by the Summers Real Estate,” I tried to explain.

“Oh, this crap belongs to you or something?” he asked taking the folder without meeting my eyes.

Crap? Did he just call this building ‘crap’?

 “So, thanks, Miss Landlady,” he spoke, “Later.”

Without waiting for my response, he slammed the door shut on my open-mouthed face.

“You have to fill it and return it to me, Jensen!” I screamed.

“Yeah, yeah, Summers,” he sang in a muffled bored tune. “On your way, then.”

He made me furious!

“Is everything all right, dear?” Laura, from downstairs asked, concerned which made me jump a little. “I heard some screaming. Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. It’s the newcomer. He is a little hard of hearing,” I explained.

“I’m not, Summers,” his muffled voice came from his apartment. God, was he eavesdropping?

“It’s not good to eavesdrop, Jensen,” I replied.

“Whatever, Summers,” he answered back. “Just don’t stalk me anymore, okay?”

Laura looked at me in a peculiar way. I force smiled and she went downstairs muttering to herself, “Kids, these days... What has gotten into Riley’s head?”

I sighed and went back to my apartment, Room 501.

Best. Day. Ever.

 

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