The first spatter of rain hit Aada on the arm as she walked down 35th Avenue. She grimaced and looked up at the sky where ominous clouds were gathering. The first signs of the coming storm had been there when she ducked out of her apartment to run a few errands, but she had hoped to beat its arrival—the grocery store and bakery were only ten minutes away after all. Now, her arms heavy with full bags, she faced the prospect of a downpour, or worse.
It was only a little more than five blocks to her apartment, but she had no umbrella and could not run, loaded down with groceries as she was. And she did not want them, or the contents of her purse, to get soaked. The rain started, a few drops here and there splattering down, and she told herself that maybe this was all it would amount to. Even as she was thinking it, the drops turned into cascades of water and she drenched. She saw a flash of lightning on the horizon and heard a low rumble of thunder in response.
A few white pellets of hail bounced off the pavement as well, telling her that things could very quickly turn ugly if she did not find some sort of cover. She cast about and saw that she had just passed a three story building that had a short awning extending out over the stairs leading up to its entrance. “That’ll do,” she said to herself and ran, as best she could, toward it.
It was only once she was up the stairs and at the building door that she saw she was not alone. A man stood in the corner of the entryway, leaning beside the intercom, staring out at the falling rain. He straightened as she came up the stairs, and gestured to the buzzer. “You need this?”
She shook her head, her long damp hair flapping into her eyes. “Thanks,” she said, as she set her grocery bags on the steps.
As Aada straightened up, turning to look out at the descending rain, she could feel the guy’s eyes upon her. She was suddenly conscious of the fact that her clothes were soaked, the t-shirt she was wearing now accentuating her form more than she was comfortable. Pushing aside the sinking feeling in her stomach, she shot the man a quick glare, and set her expression at what she hoped was a solid, don’t fuck with me kind of indifference.
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