I get up from my mahogany desk and head out into the empty hallway in between the different companies in the shared building.

"Hello?" Ethan answers.

"Hey, Ethan. It's Melanie."

"Oh, hi. How're you?"

I look at my feet in my black heels as I shuffle them. "I'm good. What about you?"

"I'm great. What's up?"

His voice is deeper than I remember it being.

"Well," I pause, "I accepted a new job in New York City and was wondering if you knew of any places near Midtown East for rent? I'm having trouble finding a good apartment near my job."

"That's great! What's your new job?"

He actually sounds happy for me.

I grin, "I'll be a legal director for a law firm in Midtown East."

"That's amazing. Congrats!"

"Thanks! So, I was talking with Bianca and she said you knew the area well and could show me around, or maybe know of some available apartments... I move in two weeks."

"Two weeks, huh?"

"Yeah."

"Well, what're you doing tomorrow?"

"I have nothing planned."

"Great! Well, take the Amtrak down to Penn Station. It's not too far from where you'll be working, too."

My heart leaps into my throat. I didn't expect to see him so soon! But, if I want to get an apartment in less than two weeks, tomorrow is better than waiting until next weekend.

I take in a deep breath, then let it out, "Okay! I'll get there, say, around noon?"

"Perfect. Do you like Korean BBQ?"

"Yeah, why?"

"Well, there's this great Korean BBQ place in that area. I was thinking we could meet there for lunch and then check out a few apartment complexes nearby. I'll make some calls so we have a few showings scheduled. I have a couple places in mind."

My eyes widen. He sounds so professional and mature now...

I smile, "Wicked! Thanks so much, Ethan."

"Wicked?"

I laugh, "I have been living in New England for six years, you know."

He laughs, and it's so great to hear it.

"Oh, before I go, what's your budget?"

"I'm looking at $3,000 a month. I could go up to $5,000, but would prefer to save money, of course." I laugh.

"No problem. Well, it'll be great to see you again," Ethan says, and it sounds like he's smiling.

"Definitely. Well," I look at my sterling silver with a pearl face watch, which reads 12:58, "I need to get back to work. Thanks, again. I guess I'll see you tomorrow."

"See you tomorrow, Melanie," he says then hangs up.

I smile as I walk back to my desk.

~~~

Either this conductor doesn't know how to drive a fucking train on straight tracks or I'm extremely nervous and anxious to meet Ethan again. For the first time. In six years. I groan as I look out the window and hold my empty stomach. Trees pass by in a blur of reds, oranges, yellows, and browns. Every now and then a green pine pops out, but otherwise, autumn has officially hit the northeast coast of the U.S. Ethan's favorite time of year. Mine, however, is when the world is quiet with a soft blanket of white powdery snow covering everything and everyone.

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