There are rules for these sort of things.
Moira was sure of it.
The situation was like this, it was late at night. A little too late for her to be comfortable about doing this. Almost everybody in her building is bound to be fast asleep or maybe they are having sex, either way, she can’t really disturb anybody. Not unless she wants to be shouted at or worse, have things thrown at her. She’s heard stories, ok? People actually do that if you knock at their door in the dead of night. It’s a thing. She’s sure she might just do the same but probably won’t. She would just huddle under blankets, frankly. She’s not exactly the bravest of souls.
Anyway, she’s just avoiding the problem at hand.
She has a rat in her flat and there’s no way she’s going anywhere near that rodent any time soon. She also couldn’t scream in fright because she was raised to be too polite, she could have been murdered during the night and she might have tried to stop the screams. That’s how bad she is sometimes. Now, she’s out of her flat, standing uncertainly near the stairs.
She can’t go out of the building, the weather outside is absolutely horrid. The frigid air alone would freeze her and she does not want to die so pathetically. Not that she wants to die or die heroically, it’s just…there are better ways to die, you know? Like dying of old age. She’s too young to die of cold.
She knows she’s been dithering about the matter for the last ten minutes, the door to her flat closed, her keys and her phone along with her purse in her hands. She had been so scared of the rattling in the kitchen that she had basically taken all she could and ran out. Her poor books, her laptop! Oh, what she wouldn’t give to have Gavin on hand right now, he would mock her for sure, probably remind her of this horrid night every family dinner but at least, he would take care of the rat.
After a few minutes, she sits down on the lowest stair and sighed.
Shouts erupted outside and she jumped. Standing up clumsily, she clutched her purse tightly. There were people outside her building, she lived in a fairly respectable neighbourhood but who knows what kind of crowd was there at two thirty in the morning. She inched towards her flat just a bit when she heard a man singing Adele’s ‘Hello’ in a terribly off-key voice. Seriously, what kind of drunkard was he? Who sang ‘Hello’ in 2018? Well, she sometimes did when she was in an Adele mood but that’s beside the point. Before she could decide who was scarier the drunk man or the rat, the man came up to her floor and his rendition of ‘Hello’ died a rather screechy death.
She wondered for a moment if her neighbours had heard it. She hoped not, for this poor drunk man’s sake. He squinted at her, he hummed and she squeaked. It wasn’t that she was scared of him, no, but well, a drunk guy, you know? Who knew what sort of ideas ran through his mind?
He mumbled something and she didn’t catch it so she stepped closer and got a whiff of him. Oh, oh! He was drunk! Shaking his head, he asked, “Hey, why…why are you here? Don’t I know you? I do, right? Have I seen you? Before, I mean.”
Frankly, Moira wasn’t certain if he could have seen her or not, she certainly hadn’t seen him before. So, she softly said, “I don’t think so? I haven’t seen you here before. Did you move recently?”
That could account for her not knowing him, she had been so busy with her job and then, her best friend’s break-up that she hadn’t seen anybody from the building for almost two weeks. Not even on those ‘smiling at them but actually it’s just an awkward grimace’ sort of times.
He grinned and said, “Well, yeah. Just moved in three days ago. I think? Or was it two? It’s a bit muddled right now but don’t you worry, it will come back to me soon enough.” He hiccuped and finally introduced himself properly. His blue eyes twinkled, she noted absently.
“I am Nick, Nicholas Miller. Just call me Nick, though. I moved in 502, and you live on this floor right? Why are you out now? Did you also have a night out then?” He asked as he swayed lightly. He was still squinting at her, it made her wonder if he had forgotten his glasses somewhere. It would be really problematic for him tomorrow if that was really the case.
“I am Moira Brown. And yes, I live here. It’s just…” She paused for a moment and then decided to blurt it out. “It’s just…I think there’s a rat in my flat? And I couldn’t ask anyone for help, it’s really late and well, I am not terribly afraid of them but I am sort of afraid of them? I am sorry but can you help out? If you do, I can give you my dad’s hangover cure?”
Once she started, she couldn’t stop and her eyes widened as she just kept on talking. That was a problem with her sometimes. She wouldn’t stop, she figured since it was the trauma that made it happen tonight. Nick’s eyes had also widened by the end of her speech but he nodded slowly. Almost swayed, really.
“Yeah, yeah, I can help. Your saviour is here, my lady. Point me…point me in the direction of this…it was a rat, right?” His confidence was clearly boosted by the alcohol, she wondered if he really was alright with rats in his regular life. She hoped so. She might have a need of him someday again. For rat-related business, of course.
So, she nodded and gave him the keys to her flat, she wasn’t going to enter the flat first. He took the keys and hummed again. It sounded suspiciously like ‘Hello’ again. Seriously, what was with this guy and Adele? She shook her head and followed him, he entered the flat and asked where the rat was supposed to be. She pointed towards the kitchen and stood in the entrance.
He lumbered off to the kitchen and for a few moments there was silence. Then a shout, she hoped it was a shout of victory. She was hesitating about entering the flat when he came out into the living room. The noise she made could perhaps be noted as a very loud squeal. He was carrying the freaking rat in his hands, the rat was wiggling in the grip very clearly wanting to escape. He shook the rat in his hands and grinned at her.
She rasped out, “Oh god! Oh my God! Just…oh, take him out and just….I don’t care where you take him…don’t stand there smiling! Get rid of it immediately.”
His smile dimmed and he looked sad. He looked at the rat and walked out of the flat. He told her he would be back in a few. Moira ran inside the flat and a loud sigh escaped. Finally. She was free of rodents. Well, perhaps not forever but for tonight, she needn’t fear any rats. She looked about her flat, trying to see if the rat had destroyed anything but didn’t find anything. In the kitchen however, under the sink, there were things scattered. There was a bag of flour opened. She would clean it up as soon as she dealt with Nick, she decided.
A few minutes had passed and she heard him coming up the stairs. She was sat in the living room, waiting for him, door slightly open to keep an ear out. She wasn’t sure he would find her flat, frankly. He clearly wasn’t at his best.
He knocked and she opened the door. He stood in her doorway, grinning like a schoolboy who got to do something naughty. She just huffed and invited him in. He stood in her living room, swaying and humming the damned Adele song. She found the hangover cure, poured it into a small bottle and capped it. Taking it with her, she walked back into the living room.
“Here. It’s a sure fire way to get rid of hangover. Don’t forget about it, you’ll regret it, trust me.” Thrusting it at him, she stood in front of him. He took it very carefully, he was probably aware that he could drop it in his drunk state. He put the bottle in his jacket pocket and then, patted his jacket. Taking out his phone, he asked for her number.
“What? Why?” She sputtered.
“So that the next time, you need a knight, I can be here, of course! I am very helpful, you know?” He boasted.
Despite herself, she smiled and took the phone. She entered her phone number and saved it. Giving it back, she wondered if he would ever call her for something. Her phone started ringing. Startled, she looked about. Her phone was in her purse, right. She took it out and looked at the unknown number. Right, Nick had called her.
She looked at him and there he stood, grinning stupidly. She saved his number and put the phone back on the table.
“Sooo…I should go. Right? I should go.” He said questioningly.
She nodded. She needed to sleep too, she had work in the morning, he probably did too. So, with another thanks, she sent off her knight-in-shining-armour to his flat and went to sleep.