Fiona blindly tried to switch on her phone from beneath her plush throw and groaned at the time. It felt like Friday, but of course, it was only Tuesday and she had spent a lot more time chasing a client deadline than she normally cared to. She had fallen asleep on the chaise part of her sectional while taking a break.
She sat up and noticed the mascara smudges on her duck egg colored ornamental pillows. She had fallen asleep again before washing off her makeup because she tried to play chicken with her body by staying up to dig into a freshly used paperback. Of course, sleep won at nearly 10 pm. Her book, Stephen King’s Everything’s Eventual had tumbled to the floor and she quickly rolled to the edge of the chaise to pick it up and place it back on top of the arm of the couch.
Her night hadn’t really been anything eventful outside of working; just a couple of Netflix series and some gaming before she finally decided to get off of her ass and get some housework done. Fiona shrugged out of her clothes and tossed them into the basket before heading into the bathroom to shower. She tapped the power button on her Bluetooth speaker and waited for it to announce that she was connected to her phone and picked her favorite playlist. Earth Wind & Fire’s Shining Star started to play and she smiled as the beats started to bounce off of the sleek brown tile.
She loved this part of the day. She always called the late evening when she would hit her “reset button”: the negativity of the day would flow down the drain and she would feel like she’s getting a fresh start. The clouds of steam enveloped her and the brown sugar scrub seemed to soothe her soul as much as her pecan colored skin. She was in no rush to get out of the shower and had a costly habit of staying in the shower until the water gave that first hint of the hot water running out. She liked it keep it as hot as she could stand.
Fiona sang along to her playlist as she washed her hair before applying a deep conditioning hair mask to her long, dense curls. Her hair was both a beautiful asset and a pain in the ass. She was trying her best to be patient and let it grow but she often liked to cut it down and start over a bit. She ran her fingers through the conditioner-laden strands to make sure she didn’t have any crazy knots that she’d have to undo before she rinsed her hair and twisted it into a slippery bun on top of her head. She always made sure to leave the conditioner in as long as she could. She never bothered to read the instructions.
Fiona felt that first drop in temperature and quickly finished showering. She stepped out of the shower onto her memory foam bath mat and reached for her thick blue towel, wrapping it around the top of her breasts. She wiped her hands against her sides to dry them and switched over to her Jimi Hendrix playlist and Foxy Lady began to play, prompting her to set that song to repeat. Grabbing another towel, Fiona dried her face and wrapped her hair in a turban before walking out of the bathroom and into her bedroom, humming and dancing along.
She loved her townhouse. It was a contemporary upmarket space she managed to grab near the outskirts of Lincoln City and it was the perfect mix of the suburbs and urban scenes she felt most comfortable in. Even at this hour she could grab some coffee and a great turkey burger just steps from her home or catch a live music show. Everything she needed was within the nearby blocks.
The interior of her home screamed “modern” but the exterior had the familiar early 1900’s stony look that many homes showcased in her neighborhood. There had been a boom in the real estate market that led a lot of 30-somethings to the area and many older homes were renovated into trendy spaces. Fiona managed to grab her building before the rush and did a lot of the renovations herself before renting out the extra units to a young couple and a art teacher. The rent she was earning from the tenants made her salary a bonus because her house was already paid in full.
Life wasn’t too complicated because of that. Fiona was able to follow more of her creative passion in life and worked as a food blogger and freelanced as a contributor to some popular publications that she loved to write for. Her schedule was neither consistent nor inflexible and she could work whenever she really felt like it as long as she met her deadlines. It left her able to pick up and go wherever she had a WiFi signal and that’s exactly how she loves it. It took her years of dumping efforts into corporate jobs she didn’t enjoy but she positioned herself to live life the way she would rather.
After drying herself off Fiona pulled on a cotton bralette and her favorite sleeveless maxi. She had shaped her damp hair into a sleek Dutch braid and slipped into her her navy flats before grabbing her purse with a sudden urge for some late-night Chinese food. It was a perfectly July evening and she felt the cool air slip from behind her into the outdoor heat as she opened the front door and walked out onto her porch.
Even at this late hour the neighborhood had this lively vibe with a touch of respect for those who have to be up early. You could hear the music from the small assortments of cafes and eateries but it was never so loud that you couldn’t sleep at night. It made the sleepy area keep this familiar comfort until the doors started closing in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes Fiona would cross paths with some of the staff from shops that would just be leaving work around 6 am. She affectionately referred to her neighborhood as the perfect party town for introverts and book readers.
As she headed down her steps to make her way to Luo’s for some egg drop soup and vegetable rolls Fiona realized she left her phone inside and Foxy Lady was still on repeat. She didn’t feel like going back in to grab it and it wasn’t super loud- she could just barely hear the muffled guitar riffs and singing. Hopefully no one would complain about it. Stuffing her keys in her purse, she headed around the corner to stop into Luo’s and ordered her food. She never liked to order ahead and enjoyed catching up with the staff and some of the patrons there. That lent a lot to the appeal of the neighborhood as well because you knew of everyone but not everyone was in your personal business, either.
Fiona headed back to her house with her freshly made food and grabbed a bottle of moscato from the neighboring convenience store along the way. As she approached her porch, she could faintly hear Foxy Lady still playing through her living room window. But was she wasn’t expecting was to hear someone playing along with it on a guitar nearby. She stopped at the bottom of her porch stairs and let her eyes follow the direction of her music.
Next door on the upstairs balcony a man quietly hovered over his guitar with a joint in his mouth. He didn’t seem to notice Fiona as she watched him strum along to the song while tapping his foot gently against the wrought iron railing that enclosed the balcony. He was wearing weathered jeans and a burgundy hoodie that partially hid his face. A glass bottle of beer was placed on the small table next to him with the beads of condensation glittering against the assortment of street lights.
Fiona smiled for a moment and pulled her keys out of her purse before heading up the stairs to her front door. She rarely saw that man in the area and had no idea who he was other than someone who seemed to work late nights quite often. He often gave the impression of the dark, brooding type that she never really paid much mind to. She heard the lock click at the same time as the guitarists’ deep and smooth voice sliding over from the balcony.
“Good song choice. It suits you perfectly.”