As quietly as possible she got out of bed, changed her clothes and walked to the door of her bedroom. She’d need at least something to drink before she left the house. When she opened the door Jonathan stared straight back at her, hand raised in mid-air, because he was just about to knock on her door.
“Jesus!” April jumped back, hand over her racing heart. So much for leaving without him noticing. Da-dum.
“Everything’s okay.” Jonathan held both his hands up. He didn’t want to scare her even more. “I just wanted to see if you were okay.”
“I’m fine,” she breathed. Now she definitely had to talk to him. She owede him that much.
“How about you go shower and I’ll get us some breakfast and coffee, okay?”
A shower really did sound good. She felt dirty, sweaty, and couldn’t wait to wash all that off. And she had yet to take a look in the mirror and observe her face. She’d only seen the injuries when she’d walked past the mirror at home. A home that was no longer hers.
April turned around and got some things out of her small suitcase. With her stuff in hand she went to the bathroom for the first time since her arrival. It was twice as big as the one in her old apartment. There was a big bathtub, shower and a double sink. Towels were in a cupboard next to the sinks. She put down her belongings and for the first time looked at herself. Her hair was a mess, dark circles were beneath her eyes. The bruise on her eyebrow was a mixture of blue and green by now. The cut in her bottom lip hurt like a bitch, when she tried to smile, but since she had no reason to do so, she would probably be fine for some time.
Before she hopped in the shower, she took some towels out and put them aside, and brushed her face. The hot water felt good on her skin and helped her relax for the first time in more than twenty-four hours. The whole day had been horrible. Not that it had been particularly pleasant the last weeks, but it had reached the peak the day before.
April had been in a relationship with Dan, front man of the band Aviator Springs, for more than a year. Things had started to go wrong a month after they’d rented an apartment together. Because of Dan and his constant nagging, showing up at the store she’d worked at, the phone calls and whatnot, she’d lost her job. She hadn’t been happy with him for months, but it had been too comfortable to end it. And she would have had to find a new apartment.
Yesterday it had all escalated. She’d wanted to look for a new job, and Dan hadn’t appreciated that. According to him she should stay at home, cook for him and be there when he got home. More or less to just open her legs for him when he pleased and serve him food. April’s reaction had been one of utter shock, so she’d laughed. She’d laughed in his face and told him that he was an idiot. That had been enough to make Dan raise his hand and hit her so hard that she stumbled and hit the nightstand when she fell down.
Without a word Dan had left her, the apartment. She hadn’t known where he’d gone, but it had been her opportunity to grab her clothes, her guitar, and bolt. All her friends were friends with Dan as well. Apart from them she didn‘t have anybody in Chicago. And now she was here. In the apartment of a guy the whole city knew, but whom she’d only talked to once before last night. And she hadn’t even told him her name back then.
With a heavy sigh April turned off the water and got out of the shower. She quickly dried off and got dressed. She looked around a bit but couldn’t find a blow dryer, so she dried her hair as best as possible and combed out the tangles before she left the bathroom again. Without looking at Jonathan she returned to “her” room to put her stuff away.
The smell of coffee and fresh buns wafted to her room, making her stomach growl. The last time she’d eaten something must have been a good twenty hours ago or so. She pushed her hair back from her face, mustered up all her courage and entered the living room again. Jonathan was sitting at the table, immediately smiling at her when she approached.
“You must be hungry.” He pushed a mug filled with steaming coffee towards her. “Help yourself.”
“Thank you.” Carefully she sat down. She took a sip from her coffee, nearly burning her tongue in the process. Jonathan was enjoying his cereal while checking a couple of things on his laptop. When he was finished, he shut the thing down and looked at her.
“April, do you know what you want to do now?”
This question had to be asked sooner or later. And he’d rather ask her now while she was still having breakfast, so that she couldn’t just up and leave. It would be weird if she got up after only eating half a bun.
“I don’t know.” She put both her hands around her mug, warming her fingers. “Get on y train out of this city and start over.”
“Without a job or money? That’s hard to do.” The look she gave him made him wince. “I’m not trying to ruin anything for you, I’m just pointing the flaws in your plan out, before it’s too late and you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere.”
“I know, I’m sorry.” April looked down at the mug in her hands. The half eaten bun was forgotten. “I don’t have anyone in Chicago or elsewhere. After getting in a relationship with my ex, I kinda lost contact to everyone I knew before him.”
The fact that she hadn’t said his name so far made Jonathan even more interested in who this guy was. It was probably better that he didn’t know though. He didn’t know what he’d do if he did know who that guy was.
“You could stay here.”
“What?” April whipped around and stared at him. He couldn’t be serious, could he? A part of her wished he was.
“You could stay here.” He turned his chair so that he was facing her. He’d been thinking about this all night and it was actually a good plan. “I’m not good at keeping the place tidy and I don’t like cooking that much. You can stay here as long as you want and you can work for me. Help me cook, clean the place and other stuff. I’d even pay you, so can save up and then leave when you have enough money to start over wherever you want.”