Chapter 3 - It's a Little Late

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Snow fell from the sky at a painfully slow pace, covering the grey pavements in rich sheets of white. Mia's boots were wet now, her feet freezing beneath the leather. She cursed at her choice of thin socks today, taking a mental note to be wiser next time. She trotted up the stairs to her apartment, the weight of her thick, red coat making it seem ages before she'd make it. With trembling numb hands and snot threatening to trail down her nose, she reached into her bag for her keys until she noticed her door ajar, about an inch away from the latch.

She felt her heart race, the coldness of her cheeks washed away and replaced with the heat that accompanied her fright. She was sure that someone had broken in, and the very worst case of scenarios flashed through her mind before she could even think of what to do if the intruder — or intruders, oh god — was still there.

The door creaked as she opened it slowly, the floorboards doing the same as she crept inside. She scanned the living room as she set her bag down, grabbing the closest thing she had to a weapon — an umbrella near the coat rack. Nothing was broken, and everything was still in place, but she still had her doubts.

A rustle rang in her left ear, coming from
the kitchen. The speed of her heartbeat ran faster, beads of sweat starting to form around her temples. She was burning inside her coat as the heater in her apartment buzzed, but she let the thought of convenience and comfort slip through her mind.

With two hands tightly gripped around the umbrella, she lifted it up, the pointed tip angled forward. She leaned against the wall and took in a deep breath. She closed her eyes and mumbled a short prayer, and then, she jumped into the kitchen and braced for the worst.

"Hey!" she yelled, finding a man leaning against the sink.

He squirmed from shock, dropping the bowl of cereal he'd been eating.

"Richard?" Mia said, out of breath. She lowered her umbrella.

The bowl fell to the floor, the ceramic breaking into pieces. Milk and bits of soggy oats seeped through the tile, and the man still held onto the spoon as he chewed the last of his snack. He managed a half smile, his mouth still stuffed.

"Surprise!" he yelled, raising his arms into the air. He stepped away from the mess. "Happy Birthday, Mia!"

She charged at him, a frown on her face. She hit his arm with the umbrella still in her hand. "I hate you! What the hell, Richard? You scared me straight!" She hit him again. "I hate you!"

Richard pulled her into a hug and kissed her cheek. He held her close, resting his head on her shoulder. His voice vibrated against her ear. "Oh, but you adore me, love."

She let out an annoyed groan but gave in, wrapping her arms around his torso and taking in his sweet scent. They pulled away from each other as Richard remembered the ruckus he'd caused. He grabbed a roll of paper towels, cleaning up the spilled food.

Mia began to take off her coat. "How'd you get in? The lock's not broken."

He looked up at her and smirked. "You never change, Mia. You keep a spare key above your neighbor's doorframe. You've done it before, and as tested and proven, you still do it now."

She rolled her eyes and smiled at him. "I can't believe you're here."

"I can't believe it either! Just got some time in."

"Tell me you're free tonight, then?"

Richard stood up and chucked the mess into a nearby trashcan. "I'm all yours."

Take Me Away | Richard Madden [Completed; Editing]Where stories live. Discover now