Eliza breathed in the stale air. The apartment needed ventilation having been empty for months. There had been a degree of uncertainty with the bank as her credit rating had been poor. A boost in her career secured the loan she needed to buy the apartment. The move over to the spice district had not been an easy decision. As a council neglected area, until a recent cash injection, remained overlooked. for redevelopment. When money changed hands it seemed the council would ignore the rumours. His work had unsavoury associations. The papers reported backstreet deals and unproven accounts of criminal activities. Eliza decided she would accept that life was not perfect. The building she lived in was owned by the Carrington Corporation. It was the legal front of the man’s business and they intended to make life in the city affordable.
The current layout did not meet her expectations. It had a large open living area with a kitchen, two modest bedrooms and a bathroom. In her mind, there would be three bedrooms. The third serves as a fitness zone and, should Milly be joining her, a place for her to be expressive and creative. Where the kitchen resided, Eliza planned for this to become her bedroom as it offered the best views. It would take a significant cash injection, but it would be worth every penny. She felt uneasy about where this was going to come. Money from the sale of the Brindleton Bay home, Vicky hoped Eliza could create a stable home for Milly. Eliza’s finances would pay for storage as she collected furniture for that day.
For now, her footsteps echoed through the emptiness. The Art District rental may have come with cockroaches and rats, but the petite size was cosy. Eliza tried to imagine this place feeling homey and warm. Lost in her thoughts, sketching the new floor plan with sticky tape, Eliza yelped. Her neighbours arrived to greet her, welcoming her to the building. Among the welcome gifts of bread, eggs, and milk, a redhead caught her attention. They were wearing a fitted red suit and heeled boots. Another neighbour linked her arm enquiring where the kitchen was. Eliza glanced back over her shoulder as the redhead wandered around the open space.
Eliza listened to the conversation, as she cooked and stole glances at the redhead. The excited babble of nosey neighbours eager to discover Eliza secrets through observations. As she served French Toast, Eliza asked the individual’s name, Scarlett. They were quiet, but that smile, their laugh, Eliza had to pinch herself. She bite her lip, the name very apt considering their dress. Then laughed as she heard Emilie’s voice in the back of her mind reminding her it was rude to stare. She couldn’t help it; something about Scarlett captivated Eliza.