Disclaimer: Early Edition is own by Tristar Pictures
Posted: January 2001
Summary: Roses continue to appear on Gary's doorstop. Is he right about his suspicion, or is it the cat who's bringing them?
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The Apartment Down the Hall
The elevator dinged opened, and Gary stepped out into the quiet entry hall leading to his apartment at the Blackstone Hotel. It had rain profusely that day leaving him soaked, cold and tired.
"Home" He sighed wearily, brushing the water from his coat as he proceeded towards his apartment. As he walked, his attention was drawn to the door of one of the neighboring apartments closing softly.
Boswell had mentioned that a new tenant had moved into the vacant apartment down the hall. But Gary hadn't seen any new tenant, reasoning that they were probably still asleep when he rushed out of his apartment in the early mornings, or they were in for the night when he returned, which was sometimes late at night.
Sighing heavily, he dug deep into the pocket of his soaked jeans for his
door key. After having prevented a Violinist from being clobbered over the
head with his own *violin during a robbery attempt, and the assault of a
dancer across town at the Pink *Flamingo strip club, which resulted in him
being splashed in the face with a martini, he was sore and reaked of alcohol.
Right now, a hot shower and a warm bed were the only thoughts he would allow
to consume his mind, yet, the closing door to the apartment down the hall
had peaked his curiosity.
Gary's pace slowed as he neared his apartment. Through the dim lighting of the hall, he could see it clearly, the little petals gleaming softly on his doorstop. This was the third time in a week that he had found a rose on his doorstop, and each time it had been one of a different color. The first rose was a light pink in color and the second one had been the color of coral and now this one....white.
He had told Chuck and Marisa about the roses, thinking that they were the ones who had been secretly putting them there. Being the kind and caring friends that they were, maybe, he thought, just maybe it was their way of thanking him for the work that he did with the paper.
But they had denied being responsible. Marisa had tease him,suggesting that it was probably the cat who had brought them. Chuck had even scoffed at him, telling him that he should be flattered and that he should, as Chuck so eloquently put it, count his lucky *jellybeans that he even had a secret admirer. But Gary felt a bit uneasy receiving anonymous gifts of any kind, no matter how flattering it might have seemed.
Gary was hesitant as he bent down to pick up the rose, pausing to wipe
a trickle of water from the back of his neck. Suspiciously he examined the
delicate looking flower, rolling the stem gently between his thumb and indexfinger,
it's soft fragrance filling the air around him as it spun. It was odd enough,
he thought, that he received a paper and a cat everyday from
some unknown source, but now, roses?
The stillness of the hall was suddenly disturbed by the distant sound of music. Gary listened intently. Although faint, he could tell that the music was coming from the apartment down the hall. It was a familiar song, one which he felt he had heard once before.
A chill swept across the back of his neck and rising quickly he fumbled
for his key, then opening his door, he let himself into his apartment, and
locked the door quickly behind him.
"I-I found another one Marisa" Gary complained into the phone. He had called Marisa right after he had showered, and was now stretched out comfortably on his bed clad warmly in a pair of sweats and soft cotton socks.
The rose he had placed on the nightstand beside his bed. He hadn't bothered to put it in water and it's once supple-white petals were starting to wither and turn brown.
"Well, maybe it is a secret admirer Gary" Marisa said, her voice sounding sleepy. "Obviously..she's afraid to come forward"
"Secret admirer? Gary scoffed, "What secret adm...I-I don't know any secret admirer!"
Marisa sighed "That's why they're called secret admirers Gary.
Gary rubbed his face and grimaced "Oh-th-thats right"
He was tired, it was late, and Gary knew that he really shouldn't have bothered Marisa, but he couldn't get the rose out of his mind. Someone was watching him. Someone or....some "Thing"
"Maybe, I'm making a big deal out of nothing" He sighed rubbing his face, trying to dismissed his last thought.
"Yeah..maybe" Marisa agreed yawning again.
Gary was silent as he thought about the apartment down the hall, the door closing, the new tenant whom has never seen, and then there was the music that he heard coming for that apartment.
"Y-You remember Emma...don't you Marisa?" he asked after a short pause.
"Course I do...why?"
"Well...you remember the play at the opera..the one that I took Emma to see?"
Marisa knew how hard it was for Gary to talk about that night at the opera and the decision he chose to make. He had never discussed it, and she had never prompted him feeling that in due time, he would.
"Turandot....wasn't it?" Marisa yawned trying to continue the conversation.
"Yeah, th-that song...nissune..doorknob,..er..or..something...a-anyway,someone was playing that same song tonight! A-And it was coming from that apartment!"
"I remember you telling me about it...Nessun Dorma... by Placido Domingo...Ohh-!" Marisa gushed, "Such a beautiful piece! So-you think that maybe... Em--"
"Forget it." Gary said quickly dismissing the subject. He rubbed his eyes, thinking how silly it was that he would even think that Emma would be here, in Chicago, and right here in the Black Stone! He must have been more tired than he thought and now felt foolish for bringing up the subject.
"It was a silly thought" He muttered, his dark lashes fluttering sleepily.
"Well...anything's possible Gary" Marisa sighed, at a loss for an answer. For a moment, there was silence, neither saying a word as Marisa waited patiently for Gary to either reply to her comment, or to bid her goodnight. A few minutes later, she received the latter, and it came in the form of a deep, rhythmic, reverberating sound.
"Gary!?" Marisa called again, only much louder this time, realizing that her late night caller had fallen asleep.
"Humph!" She huffed drumming her fingers irritable on her blanket.
She'll tell him off in the morning! Smiling sleepily she hung up her phone.
Outside of the hotel, dark storm clouds gathered, bursting over already rain-drenched Chicago. Inside, on floor beside Gary's bed, lay the paper. The headline that had been, faded slowly and another appeared just as subtle in it's place.
Widower Emma Shaw-Sanchez Well Known Art Conservationist Leaves Chicago
In the hallway, outside of Gary's door, a woman stood. She was small in stature and warmly dressed. The hood of her long dark raincoat covered most of her head and beneath the hood, red bangs framed an attractive yet saddened face. In one hand she clutched a small suitcase and *umbrella, in the other, a long stemmed red rose.
She looked upset, as she studied the door, her small gloved fist poised to knock. Her eyes fell to the rose that she held in the other hand and lowering her fist, she bent down and carefully placed the rose on the floor in front of the door. Straightening, she adjusted the hood of her coat, then walked briskly towards the elevator.
In the dim lighting of the hallway, the woman's cheeks glistened as she waited impatiently for the elevator to arrive, her gloved hand nervously messaging the handle of the suitcase that she clutched. The elevator door opened, and she quickly stepped inside. With quivering lips, she turned to look back as the elevator door closed quietly in front of her.
Email the author: Candi30938@aol.com