The sun had already dipped below the cityscape, engulfing the city in a blanket of fresh darkness, lit only by the endless sea of street lights, neon billboards, and a myriad of luminescence that made Manhattan glow with life. Traffic was relatively good, allowing the Maserati to weave in and out of traffic at a steady pace without causing a stir from other drivers, or the local NYPD officer. That was all he needed right now: to be pulled over by a traffic cop on his way to see his detective girlfriend.Girlfriend?
Was that what he already considered her? It was a dinner date for fucks sake and for whatever reason the man had it in his head that they might actually be a thing...again? Ethan had to admit that it was a nice thought considering they'd both gotten along pretty well for the few years they were together so why wouldn't things work out?
Besides, if there was ever one thing he could say was consistent in his life, that was remembering the little things about a person. Sometimes it seemed trivial, but to Ethan it actually meant something. Like pieces of a whole. Clare, for instance, loved dark chocolate. And what woman didn't like dark chocolate you might ask? Not many, but this particular woman was finicky enough to like a certain German dark chocolate called Schogetten
, which could only be found at a single place in all of New York City. And that was Ethan’s first stop before heading to her apartment…
Neuhaus, the only place you could find the rarest of chocolates and other assorted goodies on the East Coast, conveniently located in the heart of the city, and even moreso, about halfway between his place and Clare’s. The place wasn’t too busy as Ethan made his way to the far side of the store, passing all kinds of treats in every shape, size, and color from around the world, and stepping up to the counter where the owner, a nice elderly woman named Helena, had been running the store for most of her life. They both exchanged a few pleasantries before she handed him a beautifully decorated box of the delicious German chocolates, as well as a bouquet of Red Roses and white mini Calla Lilies. Overkill? Perhaps, but then again, the man was never much for subtleties. On his way out of the shop to his Maserati parked near the curb, a young man dressed in a dark hoodie and shorts with no shoes, was leaned against the lightpost a few feet away staring directly at the sharp-dressed fellow holding the candy and flowers. Generally this wasn’t an unusual thing to see all kinds of people loitering everywhere in the city, but this particular figure caused Ethan to stop and turn his attention toward the other as though being called.
“Did you need something, bro?” The man asked with a raised eyebrow, unsure of why he even stopped and quite ready to get back in his car.
“Ik’sah verat unah jaheh.” The strange kid whispered through a wry grin, shaking his head as he walked away and down an alley.“Okay…”
The man muttered with a confused expression as he slipped into his car and headed off toward Clare’s apartment.
The lobby of the apartment building was fairly quiet as Ethan passed through toward the elevators, waiting for an available car to open so he could go to the fourth floor. Entering into one, he pressed the “4”, which lit up, and just before the doors closed, a woman’s voice called from across the lobby.
“Hold the door please!”
The man reached his hand out to hold the doors, which parted as the slightly older, slim red-head, dressed in black yoga pants, a pink tank, and black sports bra trotted in. “Thanks!” She nodded in appreciation while pulling both earbuds out and switching her music off from her phone.
“No problem.” Ethan smiled, admiring the woman’s bright green Nike cross-trainers, which were certainly not hard to miss. “Which floor?”
She looked over at the console, with the “4” lit up already. “Looks like we're headed the same way.” She smirked, allowing the next comment to linger quite subtly under her breath. “How lucky…”
Ethan curled one side of his lip into a slight smile, not quite sure of her meaning aside from simple flirtation.
“So how long have you lived here?” He asked after a few moments of dead air between them, something the man never enjoyed. He always had to keep the momentum going even if between two people in a short elevator ride.
“Oh, I don't live here, really.” The woman said with a smile, keeping her attention on her phone rather than the tall, well-dressed, and clearly attractive man standing a mere two feet from her. God he smells good.
“Um, I’m just visiting a friend.” She glanced at the decorative box and beautiful bouquet of flowers in his hands. “What about you? Girlfriend?” She raised a curious eyebrow, somehow intrigued no matter what the answer would be.
“Something like that.” Ethan gave a friendly smile just in time for the elevator doors to open at the fourth floor. “After you.” He stepped aside and motioned for her to exit first.
“Karen.” The woman blurted out as she started to walk down the opposite end of the hallway.
“Excuse me?” He turned to look at her.
“My name is Karen.” Her voice echoed down the hall as she waved from behind her.
A few doors down from the elevator, Ethan found Clare’s apartment number and knocked, a wide grin across his face when the door opened and she was standing there looking gorgeous as ever. At her invitation, he stepped into the apartment, handed her the flowers and her favourite chocolates, and placed a soft kiss on her cheek.
“I still remembered what you like.” He whispered before pulling back from the kiss. “And you look absolutely gorgeous.”
After a few moments, Clare left to finish up and Ethan, in all his curiosity, took a quick stroll around the kitchen and living room area just because he could. He looked at all the pictures hanging about the walls, some of her family and friends, others her police academy days leading up to when she made detective. One of the pictures of her and Lucy made him snicker.
“I remember you...” He muttered under his breath. Lucy never quite seemed to take a liking to him, at least closer to the end of their relationship, no matter how well he treated Clare. He always thought the girl was just jealous, maybe wanting Clare all to herself, but that probably wasn’t true. Still, he couldn’t figure out what her problem was. Maybe a guy like Jack would loosen her up, he mused, then again, he wasn’t sure he’d even set up his worst enemy with a guy like Jack.