(in response to the November Notes Writing Challenge as hosted by A Reading Writer and Heartstring Eulogies and a daily prompt!)
The buzzer sounded at 10am just as it had the previous two days. Nick was persistent, his notes sincere, his gifts thoughtful. I had to admit, if only to myself, that I was looking forward to seeing what he’d sent today.
I pushed the intercom. “Yeah?”
“Delivery for Sienna Parker,” a male voice answered.
“Come right up,” I said as I hit the release buzzer.
I opened the door to wait and then watched in confusion as a man dressed in khakis and a polo with a large flat bag over one shoulder came into sight. He looked up and smiled as he approached, called out, “You must be Sienna.”
“That’s me,” I agreed.
“I’m Ben.” He held out his hand and I shook it by reflex then stared as he walked by me into my apartment. “Is it okay to set up here?” He’d paused by my couch, in the open area I used for yoga.
“Set up?” I repeated, turning to watch him as he set the bag down on the floor.
“My table? Oh wait, I nearly forgot.” He grinned and rolled his eyes, he was so cheerful and friendly I couldn’t help but smile back. “This is for you.”
He held out a by now familiar envelope and I took it with a bemused smile.
“Thanks.” I didn’t open it yet, I wouldn’t read it in front of Ben. “Ah Ben, what are you doing?”
He looked up with a smile as he quickly and expertly assembled a table.
“Getting ready to give you a massage. Courtesy of Nick,” he explained.
“Oh.” The table made sense now. “That’s, wow. So you just go door to door giving massages?”
“No.” He laughed. “I do offer an in house service to certain clients but this isn’t my usual thing.” He gestured to the table. “Nick asked for a favour so here I am.”
“Oh,” I said again dumbly.
Ben eyed me critically then nodded. “What you’re wearing should be fine. Why don’t you lay down and I’ll get started.”
Nearly an hour later I was a boneless mass on Ben’s table, I knew I’d been worked over by an expert. I moved and sat on my couch while Ben packed up and watched him while I thought.
“All okay?” He asked with a smile.
I nodded. “Just wondering why you would do this for Nick?”
“He’s a good guy, I’m happy to help him out,” Ben said with a shrug.
“Do you know him well?”
“Sure do. He’s my cousin.” He grinned at my look of shock. “Nick’s from a big family, you only met the tip of the iceberg.”
“Oh, so you know …” I trailed off, not sure how to put it.
“That Nick’s an idiot? Yep.”
That surprised a laugh out of me.
“But like I said, he’s a good guy too. You should cut him a break. He’s really miserable without you.”
Should I? I saw Ben out then sat down to read Nick’s latest note. He was right, if I spoke to him I’d cave. I sighed as I read to the end, put him out of his misery? Maybe I should, maybe I could take a walk down a street called mercy.
I grabbed my cell phone from the table and flicked through to his number. Nervous anticipation pulsed through me. I paused, taking a moment to relish the sensation. Could I call him?