Rm w/a Vu(14)

By: A. D. Ryan

The kitchen is open with a small dining set near the patio door. Through the glass, I see a sleek stone deck that looks out toward the desert. It's absolutely stunning, and I'm suddenly very aware that there's no way I am going to be able to afford this place. Yes, it probably shouldn't have taken me this long to figure that out, but it did.

I’m just about to say something when Greyston speaks up. “Come on. I’ll show you the upstairs.”

“O-okay,” I stammer.

Leading the way back through the kitchen and to the main entry, we turn left toward the stairs and begin our ascent. We walk down the hall, peer first into the study and then the washroom before Greyston shows me which room is his. He’s got his own bathroom, which means I won’t have to worry about sharing…

Apparently, I’ve fallen back into thinking I’m moving in here, regardless of obviously not being able to afford it.

“And this is the available room,” Greyston says, opening the door across the hall from his and next to the study. He doesn’t enter, instead standing in the hall while I step through and then following me inside. There is a queen-sized bed, which beats the single in my room at Mom and Dad’s as well as the one at my old dorm room, and it’s dressed in basic white linens, probably to showcase the pale Caribbean blue color of the walls. There is also a tall white dresser against the wall next to the door, and a shorter, longer dresser on the opposite side of the room.

“There’s an ensuite bathroom here too, so you’d have complete privacy,” Greyston says softly from behind me. “And here”—Greyston goes to one of the two doors in my room and opens it—“is the closet.”

Curious, I poke my head in, only to inhale a breath when I see it’s quite possibly larger than my current bedroom. “This is incredible,” I say quietly, taking a step back and away from the closet. It’s then that I notice the floor-to-ceiling drapes that must be hiding the window. Turning to Greyston, I point at them. “May I?”

In response, Greyston crosses his arms and leans against the wall, smiling brightly. “Be my guest.”

The size of the closet shocked me, but what I find behind the curtains quite literally takes my breath away. I push the white drapes back, but instead of finding a basic window, I find French doors that lead to a balcony. The fact that I can see the desert means we’re right above the kitchen.

The ad isn’t wrong; this room has a view, and it’s unbelievable. I open the doors and step out onto the balcony. Not only can I see the desert, but when I look down I see there’s a pool too. Living here would be incredible.

“So,” Greyston says, stepping into my peripheral view, “what do you think?”

“It’s amazing,” I reply breathlessly. “But, I’m afraid to ask how much it is.”

“Why don’t we head back down to the kitchen, and we can discuss that there,” he suggests.

Sadly, I know that no matter how much we discuss it, there is absolutely no way I’ll be able to afford it. I really should just tell him, but for some reason when I try to speak nothing comes out.

When we reach the stairs, I notice a closed door at the end of the hall. Of course, I’m curious, but when I look to Greyston, he’s halfway down the stairs. Realizing it’s not my place, nor is it likely my business, I push the curiosity to the backburner and follow Greyston to the kitchen.

“Can I offer you something to drink? I could put on some water for tea, or I’ve got fresh lemonade in the fridge,” Greyston offers, pulling out one of the chairs at the table for me.

This chivalrous act catches me off guard, but I recover quickly, smiling. “Thanks. Um, lemonade sounds lovely.”

“Coming right up.”

Greyston returns moments later with two glasses and sits in the seat across from me. “So, Juliette,” he begins, “tell me a bit about yourself.”

“Well, I’m an only child and a student in my sophomore year at Arizona State. I work at Mama Java’s Coffeehouse… Um, what else do you want to know?” I ask.

He seems to be perplexed about something, but before I can ask, he voices whatever is on his mind. “I apologize if this comes across as rude, but if you’re a student, why aren’t you staying in on-campus housing? I mean, that would seem to make the most sense.”