Chapter Three

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Chapter Three

 

Noel

The blistering Melbourne heat was starting to make Noel sweat.  Even in the back of the taxi he wished for the air conditioner to be cooler. He was twenty minutes from Clara’s, and he was starting to rehearse what he would say to her. No matter how much he’d rather not stay with Clara, he promised he’d stay, and he wasn’t willing to break a promise, especially not one to Alex Lawrence.

He missed it. He missed the smell, the architecture, and everything about Melbourne. Boston was beautiful in its own right, but this was home for him. He couldn’t make Boston his home. He had been alone since his move from New York. He was away from his best friend and even further away from his parents and brother. Boston just held his career.

Noel knew the only thing that would make him leave the US would be his own family, a wife and children. He would make anywhere his home if he had them. But Boston didn’t deliver. He had countless women in his bed, but none held his interest long enough for him to ask for more.

The closest thing to his vision of his potential future was his high school girlfriend, Valerie. They were best defined as high school sweethearts. But Noel left Val behind. He had left her for Stanford and for her to fall in love with other men.

When he got out of the taxi, Noel handed his fare over to the taxi driver and retrieved his bag from the boot. A bright smile developed on the driver’s face at the tip Noel had given him. He forgot that in Australia, workers didn’t rely on tips. The yellow taxi did a U-turn at the end of the street and drove back towards the CBD. He looked at the street and realised that it wasn’t the right address. The street was filled with Victorian period homes, and not a single apartment in sight.

Great!

He reached into his pocket and took out his phone. Looking at Alex’s message, he saw that he had told the taxi driver the wrong address. Noel stood underneath the sign of Fairmount Street. In his quick skim of the message he had read the ‘St’ as a street instead of Saint Fairmount Boulevard.

Noel looked at the maps on his phone to see that Clara’s apartment building was only a few blocks away. He knew it wouldn’t be an easy ten minute walk. It was Australia in October; summer was closing in, and he knew this was decent temperature before unpredictable Melbourne weather came crashing in.

When Noel arrived at Harringtons Apartments, he was sweating and out of breath. He hadn’t prepared himself for lugging his bag around in the heat.

He wiped away the beads of sweat from his forehead on his arm and walked through the gates. Looking at the apartment building he noticed that Clara’s apartment was in a secure and impressive neighbourhood. He suspected Alex had a say in where she lived.

“Hey mate, need a hand?” Noel looked to see a tall man just younger than him start to approach him with a bag of rubbish in one hand.

“Nah, I’m good. Thanks, man.” Noel waved.

“No worries,” the man replied as he took the bag of rubbish to a small green bin to the side of the building.

“Moving in?” the man asked as he dusted his hands together and approached Noel.

“You could say that. Staying at a mate’s. You live here?” Noel asked, inspecting the building. The building looked early Victorian. It had been remodeled to fit the expanding modern settings of Melbourne. The remodeling, however, didn’t take away the building’s period charm. 

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