Arthur peered through his peephole at exactly 3:30 on Saturday afternoon. He had barely made it; she was running a little early today. The slight waves in her hair bounced against her shoulder as she walked by. Her shoes were new.
Today’s the day, Arthur thought to himself as he forced himself away from his door. He ran his hands through his long hair and grabbed the laundry basket that rested on the ottoman.
Arthur slowly opened the door and gazed at her as she entered the elevator. He shut the door behind him and rested the basket on his hip. He decided to take the stairs to give her enough time to start her laundry.
With each step he took he could hear his heart beating louder and louder.
When Arthur finally reached the laundry room, he watched as Victoria carefully put each item of clothing into the washing machine. She did not notice his presence at first. It wasn’t until Arthur faked a cough that Victoria turned around.
“Oh, hello.” Victoria gave a slight smile as she continued placing clothes in the washer.
Arthur stepped towards her. “Hi, I’m Arthur.” He noticed a loose string on the side of his shirt. He hated when his clothes did that. Words slowly began to rise in his throat, only to disappear a second later. He could not let her see that string.
What does she think of me?
Everything had to be perfect.
Moments of utter silence raced by as Arthur tugged at the string on his shirt until it finally broke off, unraveling part of the seam.
Victoria looked up, “You new to the building?”
I’ve lived here for five years. “Uh yes, just moved in.”
“Oh, welcome to the building. My name is Victoria.” Her discomfort was obvious, but Arthur took no notice.
Arthur desperately racked his brain for conversation starters, but nothing came to mind.
Victoria forced a smile. “Well, I have to go. Nice to meet you.” She still had a basket of laundry next to her.
This day was not going as Arthur had planned. He had to talk to her. She had to like him.
Arthur again searched for words, but they were lost within his nervous thoughts and clumsy demeanor. She had to stay.
With every step Victoria took closer to the doorway, Arthur’s anxiety turned into anger.
It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.
Arthur stepped towards her before she had a chance to reach the doorway. He wasn’t going to let her leave.
Victoria quickly turned as she heard Arthur’s footsteps, but before she had a chance to say anything, Arthur grasped her forearm.
The curve of his wrist left a moist impression on Victoria’s arm. She was too confused to react.
Within a split second, Arthur used every ounce of strength in his body to force Victoria to stay. Her frail body bounced against the hard dryer and her body crumbled to the floor.
He never let go of her arm. Her smooth skin comforted him.
Why didn’t she like me?
Arthur felt a tinge of regret as he stared at her body on the floor, but it vanished a second later.
Arthur turned to leave as he left Victoria with the rest of the dirty laundry.
She should have talked to me.