T H R E E

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"What's that song?" one girl said to another as they sat alone together on the steps. Her friend was humming a so-familiar tune that had randomly popped into her mind.

"It's that one song, I don't know why but I can't get it out of my head lately."

"Who's it by?"

"That one girl."

"That's so helpful."

"I dunno, it's just catchy. I just can't remember who sings it. Mm-mm-mm-mm."

The sun had gone down, the last of dwindling orange had nearly bled out of the purple sky. Mr. Blum took one last sigh as he began trudging up the steps of the brownstone apartment building. He turned to notice the coffee shop next door, sunken down a small flight of concrete steps leading to a glass window with a quaint cardboard sign that had been flipped to 'closed.'

There was a fourteen year old girl outside with a broom, holding the handle between her legs as she lazily pushed its head back and forth with no real results. Rey, he remembered her name to be. Sort of short for Regan; sort of made to deliberately sound androgynous, and she'd kill you if you called her by her full name. 

All of her effort was placed somewhere else at the moment, like getting Nora to kiss her back as she sat there twirling her fingers through her curls that fell just above where her neck ran into her shoulders. She had a little round button for a nose that poked a little like an elf's. So Rey couldn't resist rubbing her nose against hers. She had splashy green eyes, like looking down at the bed of shallow lake water. She had silver braces that discouraged her from smiling too big. The little puffs of air from Rey's nose made her giggle and she couldn't help it. So Rey kissed her mouth closed again.

"Oh my gawd, what's she doing!" a woman from inside the shop exclaimed. Their lips quickly separated and Nora jumped to her feet.

"Ms. Regan, how's that sweeping coming?" a different female voice chastised from inside the shop. Mr. Blum, perhaps as a reflex, ducked down behind the railing, as if to avoid a possible scalding, caught in the wake of the fire-breathing dragon who managed the coffee shop. To say he was intimidated by Audrey was an understatement.

"Um, hi, Audrey," Nora muttered sheepishly.

"Hi, Nora, so nice of you to visit."

"I should get goin' huh?"

"Hey, c'mere," whispered Rey, quickly pressing a small slip of folded paper in her palm and curling her fingers over it. "Just think about it, 'kay?"

Her friend twisted the rubber handlebars of her bicycle as she steadied herself to make an exit. Next came the sound of her spokes whirling down the street.

With her fists pressed against her hips, Audrey looked to the sky. "Can I help you?"

Mr. Blum nearly came out of his shoes. "Oh, I, um—" he stammered as he tried to concoct his best excuse for hiding. To his surprise, Audrey wasn't even looking at him. Her sights were set high above.

"Just up here enjoyin' the sunset, baby, why don't you come join me?"

Mr. Blum looked above to the rooftop, where he found Mr. Goode, leaning on the railing as he smoked a cigarette.

"I'll pass, thanks."

"Suit yourself." He shrugged as he took another pull. Mr. Blum used the opportunity to casually make his way to the door and pretend he wasn't hiding, and then he slipped inside.

"But Donnie, look, do you see how they doin' it these days?" said Pops, the landlord.

"How they doin' it?" said Mr. Sema, a tenant and also the owner of the coffee shop next door.

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