I walked out of my apartment into the breezeway and saw her.
At least a Seven, maybe an Eight, to give her a score, I put her at a Seven Point Five.
She was standing outside an open apartment door smiling inside at someone.
I knew who she was smiling at.
Detective Mitch Lawson.
I also knew that my neighbor Detective Mitch Lawson was at least a Ten, maybe an Eleven so to give him a fair score; I put him at a definite Ten Point Five.
In other words, he was beyond perfect from the top of his dark brown-haired head to his usually boot-clad feet.
He was the man of my dreams.
I was in love with him and I didn’t know him and he definitely didn’t know me. This was not in a sick-stalker-type way because I was too shy to be a stalker and I liked him too much to put him through something like that. This was in an ohmigod he’s got the perfect body, perfect bone structure, perfect smile, most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen way. It was totally benign, admiring from afar except that we lived across and one down the breezeway from each other so it wasn’t that far.
I turned and made certain my door was locked. When I turned back Detective Mitch Lawson was out in the breezeway, his Seven Point Five standing so close she was pressed against his side. He too was checking to make certain his door was locked.
It was morning and I was going to work. I suspected that he was going to work too. I also knew Seven Point Five had spent the night. I’d noticed, since I ran into them on occasion, he had a lot of Sevens to Tens who spent the night or who came over in the evenings, the afternoons, or other times. Being a Two, maybe a Three, so placing myself at a Two Point Five, there was no way in hell I’d ever be standing out in the breezeway pressed to Detective Mitch Lawson.
In this world, Sevens to Tens gravitated to each other and rarely, if ever, dipped below the Seven mark. They might try a Six or even go slumming with a Five but they’d settle in for the long haul with someone in their zone. Then the Fours to Sixes gravitated to each other. There was more workability here for those under Four to get in but it was also rare. And my zone, Ones to Threes gravitated to each other. If you were of my zone, only the foolish aimed higher than the Three. Higher than the Three equaled heartache.
I walked toward them since I had to get to the stairs that led down to the parking spaces at the side of our unit. As I did, my heels clicked and echoed loudly on the cement landing of the breezeway. Four apartments were off that breezeway, two by two next to and facing each other. Detective Mitch Lawson’s was closer to the stairs that led to the parking. My apartment was closer to the stairs that led to the greenbelt and creek that ran through our complex.
Unfortunately, as he always did when I ran into him in the many years we’d been living in the same unit, when he noticed me, his head came around, his dark brown, soulful eyes caught mine and they warmed.
This was another reason I knew I loved him. His eyes warmed anytime he saw me. I was shy and therefore not overtly friendly, at least not to him. I was very friendly to Brent and Bradon, the gay couple who lived next to me. I was also very friendly to Derek and LaTanya, the not gay couple who lived next to Detective Mitch Lawson and across from me. But he scared the hell out of me so I tried to give him a wide berth.
Even so, anytime he saw me his eyes always warmed and right after he’d smile.
Just like he did now.
That smile. I felt it in my belly. His eyes were the most beautiful eyes I’d ever seen but when they were warm and his beautiful lips turned up into a smile making his whole face warm; it was too much to take. Four years ago, when he first moved in and I first experienced that smile, it nearly brought me to my knees. Luckily, I’d practiced my control and it only made my knees wobble.
“Hey,” he said as I got close to passing them.
This sucked. Not only did he have beautiful eyes and beautiful lips and was very tall, he also had very broad shoulders and dressed really well. He also had a nice, rich, deep voice.
“Morning,” I muttered, my eyes slid to his Seven Point Five who was looking at me for some reason like I’d slithered out from under a rock (it was my experience sometimes that when a Seven or Higher looked at a Three or lower they got this look). To be courteous I repeated, “Morning,” to her. She returned a partial chin lift and did it in a way that made that minimal effort seem taxing.
Then I looked to my feet mainly because I needed to concentrate on not tripping and also because if I caught sight of him again I might start to stare. I knew if I stared at him too long my eyes might burn out of my head.
To focus on something that did not include him or his Seven Point Five, I lifted a hand to capture the thick tendril of hair at the front of my face that always escaped the chignon at the nape of my neck and tucked it behind my ear. Then I scurried passed them and down the stairs, praying I wouldn’t tumble down. Mostly I didn’t want to look like a fool but I also didn’t want a broken neck.