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.


1. Oh, My God.

A low hum played from my throat as I gathered up the folded laundry off the dryer, and I headed down the hallway toward the bedroom. The cords to my ear-buds swayed gently with my movement; I glanced down at my iPod, pressed the skip button, and waited as "Critical Acclaim" filled my ears. Without looking up from putting the music device back in my pocket, I pushed open the bedroom door. It was then that I smelled a very masculine, very clean aroma. My eyes snapped to the centre of the room. Belatedly, I closed my eyes, dropped the clothes to the floor, and slapped my hands over my face.


"Oh, my God, I am so sorry. Oh, my God. I'm...I...Oh, God. You're...I didn't know you were going to be home. I wasn't told that you would be. I'm so sorry. I...I'm just going to..." I trailed off, my vision still obscured by both my hands and eyelids, and turned around to leave the room; I managed to run into the wall and door a couple times before I successfully made my escape from the highly-attractive – and very naked – man that had met my sight.


My cheeks burned in embarrassment, and my heart thudded in my chest. I tried concentrating on dusting the living room, but the image stayed burned in my mind. My boss was definitely getting a phone call when I got home. The sound of a door opening caused me to tense up; however, I ignored it and finished wiping down the final shelf. When I turned around, the young man stood with his hands in his pockets. I was slightly amused to see his face was bright red. Unfortunately, the situation was too awkward for me to fully appreciate the fact that he felt just as uncomfortable as I did. We were silent for a few moments before I finally spoke.


“I really am sorry, sir. I didn’t know you had come home.”


“It-it’s fine. Um…sorry you, um…I'm sorry.”


You don’t have anything to apologise for, sir. Um, if you’ll excuse me, I'm going to finish.”


Without waiting for him to reply, I walked past him and back into his bedroom. I avoided looking near the bed where he’d been standing before; it was already difficult to forget about the sight of him fresh out of his shower, bare skin still damp from the water… I quickly unfolded the clothes I had dropped, put them away, and made sure the entire room was in order. He was sitting on the couch once I re-entered the living room.


“I’m scheduled to return in a couple days – unless you don’t need me to?”


“Uh, that’s fine. I’ll try not to be naked next time.”


I couldn’t help but laugh at the almost timid way he’d spoken, as if he was hoping his joke didn’t create even more tension between us. “I’ll try to remember to knock first.”


The drive to the office took nearly an hour, but that was alright with me. I didn’t mind long distances – as proven by the fact I’d driven myself from a small town in the middle of Texas to Los Angeles, California not even a year prior. I swiftly put my bag and supplies into my locker, slipped the apartment key into a little manila envelope, and sealed it before dropping it into the lock box located beneath Delia’s desk. Once that was done, I headed back out to my car and started the drive home.


“Hey, Delia. It’s me. Um, we need to talk, young lady!” I laughed and settled my cell phone between my shoulder and ear. “You know how I was scheduled to clean the apartment today? Yea, uh, about that. Next time? Warn me when a client is going to be home, alright? I don’t need to continue to walk in on them butt naked. Call me back when you get this. Bye.”


I pulled a leftover Chinese carton from the fridge and sniffed at it. It still smelled alright; I grabbed a fork out of the dish drainer and walked to the living room. My dog barely raised her head as I plopped down on the couch. A squeal forced itself out of my body when I saw that Sixteen Candles was on. Unfortunately, a vibrating on the couch beside me diverted my attention.


Hey, you. How was work today?


I smiled when I saw from who the text was. Stefanie, the most amazing person I’d ever met, had been my best friend for almost ten years. She’d been my journal, personal cheerleader, conscience, and the one who would always give me a swift kick in the ass when it was needed. I don’t think I could have ever asked for someone better than her.


Ugh, the pits.


Uh-oh. Mint chocolate chip and cookies ‘n’ cream?


Not even thirty minutes had passed before she barged into the apartment, two tubs of ice cream in her arms. Bandit jumped off the couch and ran to my bedroom; I immediately started laughing. Bandit had had a run-in with Stefanie’s cat once, and ever since, my dog had taken to disappearing from whatever room Stefanie was in. We just assumed that Bandit could smell Felix on my friend’s clothes, thought he was nearby, and didn’t want to take chances with the feline again.


Stefanie jumped onto the cushion to my left, setting the sweet treats on the coffee table in front of us. “Spill.”


“Well, I guess it wasn’t too bad. It’s not like the guy was home and making a huge mess, nor did he have people in and out while he was gone. So all I really had to do was keep up on dusting and do the other load of laundry that I’d been putting off – you know how much I hate washing, drying, and folding clothes. But, well…ha, you’ll get a kick out of this. I was minding my own business, listening to some Avenged, and I go into the bedroom to put up the clothes, because that’s what I always do, and I shit you not, he was there.”


“What’s so wrong with that?”


“Holy jiminy. You saw the dude whose apartment you clean, completely naked?”


“Yes. I didn’t know what to do or say! I think I almost died.”


“I'm so glad it wasn’t me.” She paused. “On a scale of one to a hundred, how sexy was he?”


“I didn’t exactly stare at him! I did the respectful thing and looked away.”


“You can’t tell me you didn’t catch a little, teensy weensy glimpse.”


“That’s irrelevant. Fine. He was pretty sexy, even though I totally didn’t look below the belt.”


She laughed, pointing at me with her spoon. “You have a crush on him!”


“Oh, what the Hell, are we in first grade again? And besides, if I were to ever have a crush on him, it sure wouldn’t happen after I saw his…y’know…entire body.”


My best friend shook her head but focused on the movie instead of replying. I scraped my spoon against the bottom of the ice cream tub, trying to get the last of the treat; it was three hours when Stefanie suddenly sat straight up on the couch and stared, wide-eyed, at me.


“Wait. Who’d you say this guy was again?”


“Um, actually, I don’t know his name. All I know is he’s about our age, and he’s always gone when I’m there. So I'm guessing his job keeps him away from home a lot.”


“And we know whose jobs keep them away from home, especially if they’re twenty-somethings. Musician or actor.”


“Well, since I don’t think he’s a musician, he must be an actor.”


“I’ll ask Dylan, then. He might know.” She rose to her feet and stretched. “Speaking of my most amazing boyfriend, he’s probably wondering when the Hell I'm coming home to him. I’ll text you tomorrow, so we can go do something or whatnot.”


I put the dishes in the sink as she left the apartment. After locking the front door, I flipped off the lights, grabbed my phone, and walked to my bedroom. Thankfully, I had the next day off work; I needed to catch up on sleep – and bad.  

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