The knock came again.
“All right then.” After putting her drink and the pills back on the counter, she strode over to the door to look out the peep hole. It was a neighbor she had only seen in passing. She remembered his face, because he was the only person who had smiled at her since moving in. Plus he was very good looking. That was right before Spencer left, and she hadn’t seen him since. Aileen reluctantly opened the door. Not that she feared what he might do to her at this point, but she wanted to get him on his way so she could finish. When the door swung open a lukewarm breeze flooded the room carrying with it the slightest hint of the orange blossoms that Aileen cherished during a California Spring. Amazing. The whole room seemed to lighten up, and there stood a tall, statuesque grey-eyed man in her doorway.
“Hiya! I’m Farrell. I know you’ve been here for a while, and I just feel bloody awful for not coming by sooner. I’ve been busy with a few things, and I had to figure out which flat you were in.” He had barely taken a breath. In fact it seemed like he’d run up the three flights of stairs to get there.
She extended her hand after a slight bewildered pause. “Hi, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Aileen.”
“Oh. Yer from America, eh? What part of the States are ye from?” He seemed very excited about her nationality.
“I’m from California.”
“Really? Near San Francisco or Hollywood?”
“Hollywood, I guess, a little town called Redlands. It’s about an hour and a half east of Hollywood. I was closer to Palm Springs.” She felt herself relaxing a bit.
“Brilliant! Is it crawling with stars?” Farrell was like a child talking to Santa.
“Sort of. I’ve met a few, even went to school with one. Would you like to come in? I didn’t mean to be rude.” She moved aside and opened the door wider for him to move through.
“I would love to. You weren’t being rude. It’s not like I gave you much of a chance for the invite with my barrage of questions.”
“It’s quite all right. Please excuse the place. I don’t have much. Well, you’re the first company I’ve had.” She was a little embarrassed at the sparse nature of her apartment. Except for the used tissues overflowing the bin, there was only a chair, a few books, an end table, a lamp, and a small rug.
“Yer kidding! Well, I’m honored to be the first! I brought ya a little house-warming gift. Hope ya like whiskey!”
“As a matter of fact I do. I could sure use a shot or two. How about you?” She made no hesitation in moving into the kitchen for a couple of glasses.
“I suppose I could be persuaded to partake.” They both laughed. She pulled two mismatched cylinders out of the cabinet, and he moved to the living room side of the counter.
“Taking inventory are we?” Farrell had noticed the pills laid out in neat little rows on the counter.
“Oh, ha, yeah, that’s an art project slash boredom buster. I’ve gone through all my books, and you can see . . . no television,” she quickly added, lying. “Here we are,” she said, setting the glasses down and wiping the pills back into the bottle as he uncorked the strangely labeled bottle. It piqued Aileen’s interest, but still, she was unafraid of this potentially poisonous liquid and this beautiful stranger that had side rushed his way into her life. “So what’s that we’re toasting with?”
“Oh, it’s made by friends of mine just over in Aberdeen. It’s called Witches Tits. Only a select few get two bottles every year on winter solstice. This is the last of mine, but I’m getting more in a few months time when we have our big party. Would you like to come? I’d be honored if you’d join us.”
She paused a moment, thinking of her thwarted plans. “Sure, why not. I love parties.” Hell, what were a few more months in the scheme of things? Friends and fun seemed to have escaped beyond her reach, and now here it was standing across the counter sharing libations. He was a breath of fresh air and oh so hot! She wondered if this was life begging for a second chance.