TEN

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"Wow, you don't own much, do you?" Asher said, as he looked around my scarce apartment. I smiled sheepishly.

"Well, I haven't been here long," I offered, perching on the edge of my couch.

"Okay, well, I asked Kurt to come around and help out. He's out doing an overnight video with his friend Brandon, but they said they'd be done by eight."

I'd done a little bit of packing— I'd had the sense to keep some of my boxes stacked in the corner, but I'd already filled those up with my smallest bits and pieces. I wasn't sure if I wanted to keep the sofa. It was only second hand, and I probably wouldn't need it living in that huge house.

Asher helped me move some of my things towards the door. The stuff I wasn't sure about (like my kitchen utensils) we'd put in a pile to sort out later, and when Kurt finally arrived we started lugging the furniture down the stairs to their cars. After two hours, pretty much everything was packed into their cars, and a small pile of items were set to go to the thrift shop. I'd decided to keep the couch, after learning that Kurt had one in his room. He'd said his room was so big that it looked strangely empty without the couch, and I'd thought twice about throwing it after that.

"I was expecting this to be a much bigger job," Kurt confessed to Asher, running a hand through his dark hair. "But you really weren't kidding when you said she didn't have much."

We paused to catch our breath, standing on the street next to the cars. I checked that I had everything on me— phone, keys, wallet. I think I was set.

"I'm just going to go lock up," I told them both, and they nodded. I climbed up the metal staircase one last time, and stood in the doorway of my empty apartment.

I hadn't expected to be leaving it so soon. But something deep inside of me told me this was the right thing. I was taking a step forward, not backward. My eyes lingered for just one more moment, as I scanned to make sure I hadn't dropped something. Then I closed the door, locked it, and walked away forever.

***

I was settled in the mini mansion by lunchtime. Jade had cleared out that spare room upstairs that she'd been using as a modelling studio. It was a much smaller room compared to all the others, but honestly, I wasn't complaining. At least I had a room.

Meanwhile, I was starting to get anxious. I hadn't heard back from LA Beauty Marketing and Management yet, and I was starting to wonder if perhaps I hadn't gotten the job after all. But I soon forgot about that when I walked downstairs in search of food, and spotted Wesley in the kitchen, making a sandwich. He noticed me, and offered me that weird, almost smile that he usually did.

"Asher told me you're all moved in," he said. "That's good— we should talk about the house rules, while you're here."

I nearly froze up on the spot. House rules? Oh boy, that sounded kind of daunting. I'd never exactly been in a share house situation before, and I'd known it would be a lot different, but that didn't make it any easier to adjust to. What if they had a cleaning schedule, and they expected me to do bathrooms or something?

Fun fact: I hadn't cleaned a bathroom in my entire life, and I hadn't stayed in my downtown apartment long enough to need to.

He was buttering his bread as he spoke.

"We do food shopping once a week, and we keep a grocery list on the fridge. So, if you need something, write it down. We each put twenty dollars towards food a week."

He gestured to the cupboard and added, "Otherwise, you can help yourself. There's plenty here, so don't go thinking you need to ask someone first. Oh, but don't eat the Lucky Charms— that's Asher's favourite, and he'll get super mad."

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