Caught. Short Story.

Andrea stopped, was she making a mistake? She took a deep breath, no she wouldn’t do that to herself, she had already decided on this. She had thought it over for almost three days, she was as sure as she was going to be. There was no other options here. She had sent him texts and he ignored them, she had tried calling him and he hadn’t answered. She wasn’t going to get her answers unless she did something a little drastic and who knows? Perhaps in the future it would be a funny story to tell, if not about how they met then about how she went insane that one time. This was insane. She was being insane. Wasn’t she?

The elevator seemed to take forever to arrive. She stepped in and pressed the button to the fifth floor. The doors closed slowly and the elevator started to move. She wasn’t sure what his apartment number was, but she knew he had one of the corner places, so she wouldn’t have too far to look. She already had a little story practised to go along with it if she got it wrong.

Andrea knocked on the door and waited, her hands fidgeting, her stomach a ball of knots. What if he answered? What if he didn’t? What would she do? Oh god this was all a- The door opened, revealing a woman in her late twenties, wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
“Uh hi, is Darrel there?”
“No, I’m sorry, there’s no one here by that name.”
“Oh no, it’s my fault. Sorry, my friend lives in the building and I wanted to surprise him cos I haven’t seen him in a while, but I can’t remember which apartment was his. It was one of the corner ones.”
“Sorry, I moved in not too long ago. I don’t really know anyone here yet. Best of luck though.” The woman closed the door. Andrea took a deep breath, see, that wasn’t so hard. Only three more places to try.

She had knocked on every other door, it had to be this place. It just had to be. Andrea knocked on the door, affixed a smile to her face and waited. Time dragged along, she knew he was on the other side of the door, she could sense it. She knocked again, it wasn’t rude really, maybe he just hadn’t heard her. She raised her hand to knock once more when the door swung open. “oh. I’m sorry. I must have the wrong place.” An old man peered up at her, squinting, “Who are you looking for darling?”
“My friend Darrel” She rattled of her prepared story with a smile and a ditzy little laugh at the end. The old man smiled at her, “I’m sure he’ll be glad to see you, it’s just me and my wife here though. Maybe one of the other apartments then?”
“Yeah, must be. Thanks, and sorry for bothering you.”
“No worries at all, good luck!”

He closed the door. Andrea could feel tears welling up. She wouldn’t cry. She had promised herself that before it all started. No matter what happened she wouldn’t cry. Not here. Not now. She released a breath slowly and felt some of the tension ease from her body. She had tried, she had made and honest, good faith effort. Then, a little voice. He had a lied to her. He didn’t live on the fifth floor in a corner apartment, did he even live in this building? She was sure it was this one, he had said so when they were chatting before. Anger started bubbling up, that was why he had just vanished like that. He had lied about where he lived, hell he probably lied about everything else too. How dare he lie to her like that? She had been nothing but honest with him, she had been open and true from the very start. What had he been playing at? He probably didn’t even have a job, hell, was his name even Darrel? He hadn’t looked like a Darrel to her, more like a Frank or maybe a Scott. Why did things like this always happen to her? She was normal, kind and loving. She had done nothing to warrant this guy taking her out on a date, with whirlwind romance and then just complete silence. There had been sparks when they kissed goodnight and she knew they both felt it. Maybe that was why he ghosted, because he knew she would reject him once the lies came out. And to think she had been so close to inviting him in afterwards for a coffee. Of course she probably wouldn’t have had sex with him, but at they very least there would have been more kissing, maybe some light, over the clothes exploration. Well, at least he had the decency to stop it at the front door. What a prick. And here she was ready to spill her guts to him. Well, some people just weren’t equipped to handle love.

She stepped outside the apartment building and into the fresh air. It made her feel a little better. Maybe he had good reasons for lying. Maybe he was afraid a catch like her wouldn’t go out with him if he told the truth. She wouldn’t hold out too much hope but she might always run into him again. Hell, if anything it would make an even better story to tell friends, or maybe even children down the line. Not that she was already thinking of children of course. That would be crazy. But he had been handsome and he seemed intelligent. If she was going to have children with someone she could do worse. And he had to have some money, he did pay for their meal together, and the meal hadn’t been cheap. She had made sure that she had enough to cover her own food and didn’t get anything too extravagant but he had ordered a starter, main and dessert, along with some expensive wine.

She stopped walking. Was she really sure that he said fifth floor? Hell, she might even just have the building wrong, after all it had been a little loud. What if he did live there though? With one of the women that answered the door? They could have been lying, it could have been a false name. She stood still for a moment, debating what to do, she started walking. There was no point going back, at least not tonight. Tonight he would already be home. But there was always tomorrow. She could clock off a little early, grab a coffee in that nice little coffee shop she saw across from his building. If she just happened to see him, well, then she knew she had the right place. If he was seeing someone else she had a right to know too. Andrea smiled, she wasn’t a quitter, either way she would see this through to the end.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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