Angeline stepped out of the shower and wrapped herself in her blue bathrobe. Without bothering to dry it, she wrapped her hair in a towel and headed into the kitchen. She filled the kettle with water, set it on a burner, and turned the stove on. She sat down at the table to wait for the water to boil.
The shower had been enough to warm the chill in her bones, but it hadn’t done anything for her nerves. She felt her leg twitching beneath her, so she stood up and started pacing the kitchen. She started counting her steps: six from one end to the other. She had counted 663 steps when the kettle on the stove started to whistle.
As she poured the boiling water into her favorite dark green mug, Angeline heard three sharp knocks at the front door. She looked towards it with uncertainty. She wasn’t expecting any guests. And she was still feeling very nervous about the events of the afternoon. She dipped a teabag into the mug and took 12 cautious steps to the front door. Peering through the peephole, she was surprised to see Jack standing on her doorstep.
He knocked three more times, less sharp and more hesitant than the first time. She watched him through the peephole. His eyes were scanning the quiet street, as if he was suddenly wasn’t sure he was in the right place.
The scent of the green tea filled her nose. Angeline closed her eyes for a moment, considering not answering the door. Then she shook her head. The curiosity of how he’d found her was too much to bear. She had to know.
Her hand shook as she reached for the doorknob. “What are you doing here?” Her rushed tone surprised her. And, by the look on his face, it surprised Jack as well.
“I don’t want to sound like a creep, but I followed you home. You seemed really shaken down by the water. I wanted to make sure you were alright. I knocked earlier, but it sounded like water was running. So I went for a walk around the neighborhood. I came by, honestly, just to make sure you’re doing okay. You seemed…”
“Crazy.” She cut him off and looked at her bare feet. She remembered that she wasn’t wearing anything beneath her robe. She pulled the cord a little tighter around her waist, silently praying her robe wouldn’t fall off.
He shook his head and smiled. “Not crazy, per se. But something in your face.” He looked at her sheepishly, “I promise, it was just some good old fashion gentlemanly concern.”
Angeline couldn’t help but smile. Remembering the mug in her hand, she opened the door a bit wider. “Would you like to come in for some tea? You can see for yourself. I’m not unhinged.”