Franny unlocked her apartment door and was greeted by the fresh scent of lemons. After being away teaching in Mexico, and then spending a week with old friends back in Seattle, she’d expected a musty, stuffy apartment.
But Kassandra, the barista who lived next door, had kept the place sparkling. A note on the counter in the tiny kitchen that formed a corner of the living room caught Franny’s eye. In it, Kassandra had written a simple message:
“The place is clean, the lemon oil I used is under the sink, if you like the smell keep it as a gift.”
Franny smiled and opened a window to let in some fresh air, although it wasn’t strictly necessary. She went to the bedroom to unpack and saw freshly laundered sheets folded neatly on her bed. Another note:
“I wasn’t sure how you like your bed made, so I just washed some sheets for you to put on in your own way.”
I think Kassandra has a second career as a house sitter, Franny mused, or she’d make the best boyfriend ever. She put her dirty clothes in the laundry basket, put her toothbrush back in the bathroom, and turned on the water for a hot shower.
No matter how many places I visit, it’s the first hot shower when I come back home that I love the most. After she dried off, Franny pondered whether to take a nap or a walk. Knowing that a nap would become hours lost to sleep, without resetting her internal clock, she decided on the walk.
She should call Leo and retrieve Precious, she knew, but she’d given herself an extra day for that by telling him she’d be home tomorrow. It wasn’t strictly a lie. She would be home tomorrow. She’d simply omitted the detail of arriving home today. And, anyway, what if there’d been a delayed flight, or bad weather on the pass? It was totally reasonable to give herself an extra day.
It had nothing to do with avoiding the reunion with Leo for as long as possible.
Franny decided to walk to the laundromat. She put as much laundry in a duffel bag as she could comfortably carry, and grabbed the little bottle of lemon oil from under the sink to add to the detergent.
As soon as she walked out onto the sidewalk, she ran smack dab into Leo and Precious.