That Thing Between Eli and Gwen(9)

By: J. J. McAvoy

The woman screamed in what I could only guess was utter ecstasy. She had a broader vocabulary than the other woman he had brought over; she had just kept singing, “Fuck.”


I jumped back as, once more, my wall shook.

This is ridiculous! It’s two in the morning! I rose to my feet, banging my hand on the wall before jumping off my bed and heading toward the door. Ripping it open, I stomped to his door and raised my fist, ready to slam it down on—

“What!” he yelled, almost pulling the door off its hinges. He stood there in nothing but his pajama bottoms hanging low off his hips, his bare, muscular chest exposed.

“Hi, do you mind screwing at a more reasonable hour? I can’t sleep listening to you people moan behind me,” I snapped back.

“I’m a doctor, this is a reasonable hour for me,” he replied, trying to close the door.

I stuck my hand out to stop it. “Maybe for you, but for normal human beings, not so much.”

He shrugged. “And why should I care?”

“Wow, are you really this much of a dick?”

“Baby, is everything all right?” A woman with bottle number nine red hair stepped forward in what looked to be only his shirt. She wrapped her arm around his chest, glaring at me.

“Apparently, you were too loud. My neighbor can’t sleep.”

Her gaze focused on me, and she looked me up and down. “Sorry.”

“Good enough, Con Artist?”

He didn’t wait for my reply before closing the door in my face. Once again, I knocked.


I looked past him to the woman and smiled. “He has chlamydia.”


He stared at me, dumbfounded, but the girl seemed clueless. I laughed out loud as I headed back to my apartment. Yes, it was childish, but there was just something about him that got under my freaking skin. I want to punch his face in. At least they’ve stopped, I thought, falling onto my bed. I was there for only a moment before I heard someone knocking.

Please don't be you. I prayed, but it did no good. I opened the door partially and the prick let himself in, now dressed in jeans and a gray shirt. He glanced around my place, which was mostly empty since I didn’t have furniture.

“Excuse you! I don’t remember inviting you in.”

“Chlamydia? Really? What are you, in high school?” He finally spoke, leaning against my kitchen counter.

“Did you come here for an apol—”

“Yes, in fact, I did. My friend left me, and I should sue you for slander.”

“Slander? Really? Please, go ahead. As long as I get sleep, I don’t care.”

“You paint pictures for a living. Sleep in the day.”

I wanted to smack him.

“Look, whatever. I’m sorry for what I said, it was rude. Please, for the sake of my sanity, please…I don’t know…don’t prop up against your bedroom wall at least. If you're civil, I’m civil, Eli.” I extended my hand toward him.

“Fine, Guinevere.” He shook my hand and frowned.

“Please don’t call me that, just Gwen—”

He grinned. “All right, Con Artist, let’s be civil.” Letting go of my hand, he walked out.

I felt the urge to smack him. There wasn’t a civil bone in his body.


Fixing my tie and grabbing my phone, I tried to ignore the pain in my head. I had the worst hangover. I hadn’t planned to get so drunk the night before, but I hadn’t been on call and had found myself going to the bar across the street from the hospital. Once there, I met a redhead named…Suzanna…Joanna…I couldn’t remember. Anna was in there somewhere. We were getting along fine until that woman came hammering on my door in the middle of the night.

“Good morning,” she said cheerfully, stepping out of her apartment at the same time I did, dressed in a white oversized blazer with paint splatter on it, a tight shirt, shorts, and black military boots. She held on to the bars of her bright yellow bicycle. “You okay? You don’t look so well.”

“What’s with the act?” I walked toward the elevator.

“No act,” she said, shifting her helmet under her other arm. “I’m just not going to let you drag me down to your level. From now on, I will reciprocate your rudeness with kindness.”