Tim hurried to his phone, the ringing growing louder and louder. He picked it up and brought it to his ear.
“Tim? It’s Jenny.”
Tim groaned to himself. She probably wanted to complain about something, or beg for him to help him out.
“I was at the bookstore today. I saw that you books are in the front of the store. Congratulations.” From the tone of her voice, Tim could tell she didn’t mean it.
“Yeah? Thanks. I guess we know now who the better writer is.”
“What?” Jenny snarled.
“I said, I guess I’m a better writer than you.”
“That is rubbish, Tim. You would be nowhere without me. All those critiques!”
“Really? If you’re better than me, then why aren’t your books at the front of the shop?”
“You got lucky! Beginners luck!”
Meanwhile, Laura stepped into the elevator, and pressed the button marked ‘14’. Tim’s level.
Tim will know what Jenny wants, Laura reassured herself. He’ll be able to tell me straight away.
The elevator slowed to a stop, and the doors opened. A few people entered, and pressed various buttons. Laura waited patiently, glancing at her watch. 5.30pm.
Laura had been shopping all day. After visiting the store with the overpriced items, Laura had tried all the other jewellery stores in the area. She even tried a few large department stores, looking through their jewellery and other items. But there was nothing. Nothing was good enough. Nothing was perfect for Jenny.
The elevator stopped again, and Laura exited. She hurried down the corridor to Tim’s apartment. A small heater blew warm air through the corridor, but it was too small to make much of a distance. A musty smell hung over the space.
Inside, Tim and Jenny were still arguing.
“Your books are still at the back!” Tim exclaimed, his voice rising.
“Well,” Jenny returned, “I don’t see anyone copying your manuscript!”
“No one’s copying yours either!”
Laura stopped outside Tim’s door. It was partially open, so she didn’t knock. She crept in. She could hear Tim in his lounge room, talking. No one replied, so she guessed correctly he was talking on the phone. She listened to what he was saying. It was wrong, but she couldn’t help it. He was speaking loudly.
“Laura? Why would Laura copy your book?!” Tim exclaimed. Laura swallowed. He was clearly talking to Jenny.
“That doesn’t mean anything!” Tim said. He paused, as Jenny said something in return.
“Ha!” Tim replied harshly. “Don’t worry about her. Her writing is without a doubt the worst I’ve ever seen!”
In the foyer, Laura’s jaw dropped open. Tears sprung to her eyes. He thinks it too. They hate my writing. They hate me! Laura spun, and ran from Tim’s apartment. Down the elevator, out of the building. Tears began pouring down, and Laura found a vacant park bench. The air was freezing, but Laura didn’t care. She let the sadness pour out.