It’s too bright.
I can feel the difference in temperature as the sun creeps onto my blankets, shooing away the cool and welcoming in the heat as it kisses my face. ‘Good morning,’ it seems to say. ‘It’s time to wake up.’
I groan and roll over, trying to maneuver my way back into the shadows. This is where I like it. This is where I belong.
I feel the wind as it enters my room and jostles the chimes hanging above my window. The tinkling sound is so soft and sweet. The random chords purr in my ears. No two mornings bring the same music, and that alone is why I love my chimes so much.
As groggy as I am I decide it’s time to greet the day. I shuffle my feet off the bed, the cool tile meeting my warm feet in a blissful contrast. Despite my love for the cold I somehow ended up here - one of the warmest places on earth.
Perhaps I just wanted a change. Being anywhere for a long period of time can get boring and can begin to raise question. Especially when you never age.
I pull my thin robe over my naked body and goose bumps rise all across my arms and chest. It’s similar to the touch of a lover if I remember correctly. But maybe not.
The breeze has picked up now, its speed ruffling my sheets and the papers on my desk. I secure them with my laptop and decide now is a better time than any to check my email.
I just started my new job last week using one of my many degrees collected over the years. This time I’ll be using my medical degree (M.D) and will be taking on the role as a psychiatrist.
I know it’s selfish, but my desire to do this job has little to do with helping others. When I hear people talk about their problems, mine seem smaller and less significant. And for a brief moment I forget about my own issues and get lost in someone else’s. Plus, it exposes me to human contact. That’s a rarity in and of itself.
I haven’t had a job where I’ve been around people for quite a few decades. Before this I worked in a lab. Before that I was a newspaper columnist under an anonymous name. And before that I was in advertising. The list goes on and on.
Sometimes I’ll switch it up and go back to school, adding another degree to my already long list. It helps pass the time anyway. And now that I’ve worked for all these years, I have more money than I can handle.
I see all these stars worth millions, hell, even billions. I sometimes wonder what they would do if they knew how much I was worth. The last time I calculated it was close to 95 billion. And yes, I’m grossly aware that that is way too much money for any single person to have. But I’m not your normal person either.
I have bank accounts in every state in the US as well as every country outside of it. I give to charities on a monthly basis but never reveal my name. I did that once about thirty years ago. Big mistake.
My painted nails click methodically against the keys as I type in my username and password. I see I have four new emails and open my inbox. The first three are junk mail but the last one is from work. My lips quirk up as I read the subject line.
From: Grace Nantuck
Subject: Welcome aboard!
Date: August 16, 2013 09:46 UTC-10
To: Stella Hill
Warmest greetings, Dr. Hill! I hope your orientation went well last week. We are all so pleased to have you on board! We think you will be a great fit with our company.
I have a list of the clients you will be seeing on a daily and weekly basis. We will go over them first thing Monday morning. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call.
Dr. Grace Nantuck
CEO of Allied Health and Mental Care
I hit reply.
From: Stella Hill
Subject: Re: Welcome Aboard!
Date: August 17, 2013 13:52 UCT-10
I appreciate the kind words and the warm welcome! I am looking forward to seeing you and meeting my clients tomorrow!
I pause for a moment before hitting send. I always have the newest and most high-tech equipment, and yet at times something as simple as sending an email can seem foreign to me.
I gaze out my window and see the white sandy beach and the clear blue water sparkling against the morning’s sun. Oh that water. It’s the most breathtaking sight imaginable. I refused to move here unless I found a place right along the ocean. And finally, after of months of searching, I did.
See? It pays to be patient. Then again, I have all the time in the world. Being patient isn’t so much a virtue as it is a way of life, I think sourly.
I hear a knock at my front door and raise an eyebrow in surprise. I never get visitors. Caving in to my curiosity, I swiftly walk from my room and down my flight of stairs. I open the front door and the smell of fresh ocean air greets my senses.
Ahhh, how refreshing.
And then my gaze lands on my visitor and my eyes widen with shock.
“Hi!” the man says, extending a hand to me. “I’m Evan, your next door neighbor.”
His smile is kind and his eyes are bright. And oh, is he ever gorgeous. His hair is dark brown and cropped short around his beautiful face. His eyes are a bright green and they seem to sparkle, just like the scenery outside my bedroom window. His lean body moves toward me and my eyes travel down his muscular torso of their own accord.
I must say, he is quite the work of art.
But despite his kind introduction and flawless good looks, I am weary. I know I don’t have a neighbor. The closest person to me lives about five miles away. Or so I thought. Evan sees my uncertainty and runs a hand across his cheek.
“Well, I’m your far-away neighbor, anyway,” Evan explains as if reading my thoughts. “I live just a few miles down the beach in a little hut. It’s not much but you’re the closest person to me, and I to you. So I thought I’d introduce myself.”
Well, that makes more sense anyway.
I extend my own hand this time and allow Evan to grab it in return. His eyes devour the length of my body, and when he’s done a deep blush spreads across his cheeks. My silk robe leaves little to the imagination.
“Er, it was nice to meet you Evan,” I murmur, my voice hushed with embarrassment.
I scuttle back inside and begin to close the door.
“Yea, you too,” he responds slowly.
As if coming out of a trance, Evan’s eyes snap back to my face and he stops the door with his hand. An easy smile spreads across his lips.
“Now hang on a sec’. I didn’t catch your name.”
Blood rushes through my veins as his heated gaze locks with mine. I take in a steadying breath, forcing myself to remember why I can’t become attracted to anyone. I frown at his hand and push the door harder until it clicks shut. He doesn’t need to know my name.
No one else needs to either.