Maddie's hoping for a little holiday magic with her sexy neighbor Noah...
For the last year, Maddie's been trying to get Noah's attention, but to no avail. Until a busted light bulb, a broken ladder and a concussion lend a hand. Now with the holidays right around the corner, she's hopeful that she'll finally get her wish to kiss her sexy neighbor as way to kick off the new year.
Maddie frowned and crossed her arms over her chest. Noah was big. And tall. He easily towered over her by nearly a foot and he was built like a linebacker, but she wasn’t easily intimidated. “First of all, there’s nothing wrong with my ladder. And secondly, I avoided the bad step. I need to see out here, and no one at the management office is taking me seriously. It’s been three months.” She shrugged. “I was handling it just fine until you scared me.”
“I saw you trembling from the parking lot, Maddie. Don’t bullshit me.”
Okay, fine. So heights weren’t her thing, but if Noah hadn’t shown up, she would have gotten through it and changed the bulb. Rather than respond, she continued to stand defiantly and watch him.
“Look, I highly doubt you saw any trembling,” she said, trying to sound confident, “I was doing fine. I’m annoyed that I have to be doing this when I’ve asked repeatedly for it to be taken care of.” Then she studied him for a moment. “Doesn’t it bother you? You come up these stairs to get to your apartment. Isn’t it annoying that things have been let go for so long? I mean, we pay rent – not cheap rent either – and no one maintains the property!”
“I really didn’t notice.”
She rolled her eyes. It figured. The man was up and out the door at the crack of dawn and normally came home late. A normal person would notice the lack of light or the creak of a broken step, but not Noah. Granted there were only three steps and they weren’t very large so chances were he probably skipped over them with his long legs. Unable to help herself, she snuck a glance at him and then slowly let her gaze go over him until she was looking him in the eyes.
And saw what could only be described as a smirk.
“Well, I notice,” she said, doing her best to ignore what he was probably thinking about her for checking him out. “I had a friend here earlier and when I walked her out, it suddenly seemed like too much. I had the bulb, I had the ladder…” She shrugged. When Noah didn’t respond in any way, Maddie began to wonder if her babbling had been too much for him.
“Give me the bulb and I’ll change it,” he finally said after a long, awkward moment.
“It’s not necessary,” Maddie said, not liking the way Noah was glaring at her.
His only response was to hold his hand out.
“Fine,” she mumbled and put the bulb in his hand. Stepping back, she watched as he dropped his duffle bag on the ground – must have been at the gym – and then moved the step ladder into position. It was on the tip of her tongue to mention that maybe he should grab his own ladder since he thought hers was so flimsy, but she held her tongue.
Actually, she imagined how at Noah’s height, he almost didn’t need a ladder at all. But as she watched him, she realized the light was higher up than she thought. She had to be on the top step and even then she was stretching. Noah was on the second step and seemed to be at the perfect height.
While he was busy, Maddie let her gaze linger on him again. He was perfection. So perfect she almost sighed with appreciation. Tonight he was in his standard attire – sweatpants, a hoodie and sneakers. That’s how she knew he was at the gym. In the mornings he left in normal street clothes but every night, he came home dressed like this. She almost kicked herself for knowing these details. Watching the man through the blinds definitely put her in weird, stalker-girl territory and it wasn’t a place she was proud to be.
“Here, take this,” Noah mumbled as he handed the burned out bulb to her. Maddie took it and then took a step back.
In an instant, the porch area was flooded with light. She let out a little cheer and clapped, and for a second, it seemed like everything was fine. The next thing she heard was a loud snap, and watched in horror as the ladder seemed to crumble and Noah fell backwards onto the concrete walkway.