It was Nathan that ended the trance. Without saying a word, he rolled off the bed and planted his feet on the floor, his head lolling with the meditative weariness of exhaustion. Nadine, startled again by his abruptness and enigmatic silences, turned away from the bed and towards her clothes. She picked up the pile Nathan had pointed at. He was right, they were hers. They looked cheap compared to the piles of brand-name finery that she'd plucked them from, but she loved them regardless. They weren’t her favourite clothes, but they were nice. The shirt was a deep v-neck and it bared more resemblance to a dirty rag than a shirt. However, she insisted that it fell on her shoulders in just such a way that that it made her chunky face look thin and warm. Even when the shoulders slid onto her fore-arm; exposing whatever lacy aberration she hid underneath, she still retained some semblance of class. She slid it on over her head, shoving it clumsily over her hair in an awkward rush.
"I'm sorry, Nathan." She lied. "I wish this hadn't happened." She knew that if she'd been looking at him when she said it he would have seen her inconvenient longings, luckily for both of them she wasn't. Nathan didn't really know how to respond. Following his conditioned instinct he mumbled, "That's alright. I'm sorry, too."
Meanwhile, a few stories below the uncomfortable exchange between Nathan and Nadine, a skinny man watched as a short blond woman stepped into his elevator. She was wearing a brown-leather coat overtop of a 'business-sexy' skirt and blazer. The jacket clung tightly to her shoulders and continued evenly down to her thighs where it stopped smartly. The clean-cut line was intimidating in it's abrupt halt, it expressed boundary and control almost too clearly. It was without a doubt the jacket of Jordan Chassagné. As she stepped into the elevator, taking the place beside the man who was already inside, she removed her wide-dark glasses and her lips curled back into a wide grin.
"Well I'll be damned." She laughed, placing one hand on her hip and using the other to tuck the glasses into her crowded coat pocket.
"Hey!" The man laughed in return as his lips parted into a toothy smile. Instantly the two were wrapped in the platonic embrace of old friends. Jordan's hands squeezed the man tightly, one on his shoulder blade and the other on the bruised skin of his lower back. He winced briefly, but he was too busy experiencing the euphoria of reunion to notice. Jordan was uncharacteristically unreceptive to Tim’s emotions. Unfortunately, she’d spent the majority of the previous night on a flight from Winnipeg to Victoria. If that weren’t enough, she was pinioned between a sloppy, drooling ogre and his obese wife. "Happy new year!" He exclaimed, cheerfully.
"You too! It's been so long!" She said, extending the 'so' slightly as she disengaged the hug. "How the hell have you been?" He hesitated for a moment, simulating thought before replying.
"I've been great!" The words felt like a lie, but they weren't. That morning had legitimately been a great morning. "How are you guys?" Of course, by 'you guys' he meant Jordan as well as her husband, Nathan Chassagné.
"We're excellent." She smiled, "What's your sister up to today, Tim?"
"I'm not sure. I don't think she has any hot new years day plans, if that's what you're asking." He was instinctively aloof, but he knew Jordan wouldn't be put off by it. "I'm on my way up to see her actually."
"Well kick her lazy ass out of bed and tell her we're all going for breakfast." Jordan looked at her watch briskly and noted with chagrin that the hour hand was already resting in the vacuum between the one and two. "Make that lunch." She stiffened up, slightly embarrassed at her mistake, but she quickly smartened up and remembered she wasn't on the clock. She quickly shifted her smile from the shit-eating grin of Mrs. Chassagné to the embarrassed smirk of Jordan. "I'm sorry if I'm being a pissant, Tim. I've been off on business since Sunday."
Tim smiled at her kindly and replied, "No, no, don't worry about it. I'll definitely take you up on that offer of lunch though, and I can guarantee Nadine will too." He stuffed his hands in the shallow pockets of his jeans and leaned against the back of the elevator.
"Good." Jordan nodded. Slowly behind her the elevator doors slid to a close, and instantaneously they realized that neither of them had selected a floor. Both of them reached for the panel, but Jordan withdrew her hand when she saw Tim extend his. Not wanting to seem like a chauvinist or a brute, Tim withdrew his at the same time. Amused by the comedic clumsiness of their attempts at being polite, Jordan began to giggle quietly. Tim let out an entertained chuckle and pressed the recessed button emblazoned with a black three.
"Which floor are you guys on?" He asked quickly.
"Five." She stated proudly and before the word had even left her mouth the little ochre light behind the plastic five button was lit. Hidden machinery began to gyre and click quietly as the elevator stirred to movement and scaled the dusty shaft of the apartment building. There was a clumsy silence as the box traveled the three brief floors. Both Tim and Jordan opened their mouths slightly as though prepared to speak, but neither could find words that properly reflected what was on their minds. Instead, at the prompt of the tone which signaled the elevator's arrival at the third floor, Tim simply smiled and said "See you soon!"