What a girl wants
About the author
Angie Coleman was born in 1987 in Lanciano, Italy. She graduated from Organization and Social Relations at the University of Chieti. Winner of the 2016 Ilmioesordio prize.
About the book
A heartwarming romance perfect for fans of Lindsey Kelk and Sophie Kinsella.
Gillian Bennett has always dreamed of opening a luxury hat shop, and when she finds the opportunity of a lifetime in the shape of a rent-free shop she thinks her dreams have come true. Her parents are less than thrilled and she has two years to prove to them that this isn’t just a pipe dream, or she’ll be shipped back home and into an office job. But she wasn’t counting on a distraction in the form of sexy but enigmatic Jared, a completely unreadable man that she soon finds herself falling for. Yet, Jared has a secret, and when she finds it out, it shakes Gil to her core. With everything spiralling out of control around her, will Gil ever realise her dreams?
I had to endure another three similar interruptions before I touched rock bottom. I’m a patient person and would probably have tolerated even more if the last hadn’t cost me the drum vacuum cleaner. The second floor tenant had the nerve to give my poor ally a judo kick during one of his fleeting appearances. How could Jane not have seen him stick his nose out for four months and I’ve seen him three times in a little over two hours? Good thing he was supposedly a nice person – this isn’t how nice people react!
I circle the silent vacuum cleaner attempting to find a solution. If I were an electrician or a technician of some kind I might be able to fix it, but I don’t know the first thing about these machines and I have neither the money nor the time to go and buy another. At the thought that after the vacuum cleaner it might well be the turn of the drill, I can’t hold back my rage. I drop everything and storm out of the room. I mount the stairs two at a time until I reach the second floor apartment. The issue has to be settled once and for all, before it becomes even more unpleasant than it already is. I determinedly ring the bell and hear it screech mechanically inside, but aside from this nothing gives the impression anyone is at home. I wait a few seconds and ring again: I’m absolutely sure the man went back to his apartment – where else could he go dressed like that? – so it’s completely useless to try to trick me into thinking otherwise. Still nothing. Too bad I’m a very stubborn person, so I insist and insist until on what may be the tenth try, the door opens.
“What the hell do you want?” the good mannered tenant attacks me, looking me up and down sternly. Wow, we’re off to a good start!
“I don’t know what your problem is, but you owe me a drum vacuum cleaner,” I inform him, not at all intimidated by his tone. His eyes – a slightly darker shade of green than my own – open wide in amazement, and a moment later it seems he can barely refrain from laughing. What did I say that was so funny?
“What is it I owe you?”
“A vacuum cleaner. You just kicked mine, remember?”
“Sure I remember, and I remember the racket that drove me crazy first thing in the morning. No way you’re getting another of those contraptions,” he mocks me.
“I asked Jane if there were mandatory silent times and she assured me I wouldn’t bother anyone, so I really don’t see why you’re complaining. Besides, it’s nearly ten o’clock, it’s not like it’s first thing in the morning. People work on Monday morning, they don’t lounge around ‘till late in their pajamas,” assuming that this torn and tattered outfit could be considered pajamas.
“Jane is very obliging, and it may be true that there aren’t mandatory quiet hours, but you did bother me and I’m not nobody. I don’t care what people do on Monday mornings, I was trying to sleep,” he retorts aggressively.
Ok, evidently we won’t get anywhere like this, I need to be more diplomatic, try a different approach.
“Well, then let’s come to an agreement: I need to finish refurbishing as fast as possible, and aside from the vacuum cleaner, there will be other noisy tools that I won’t be able to avoid using, so why don’t you tell me what time you don’t want me to make noise?” I offer with an encouraging smile. He seems to think it over for a moment and this makes me hope for the best.
“I’d say… always is the word that best expresses the concept I have in mind right now,” he dismisses me in anger before slamming the door in my face. I stare at the door dumbfounded for a couple of minutes. Can he really be so annoying? And even so, what do I do now? I certainly can’t stop work because he is bothered by the noise! Well, if diplomacy got me nowhere, I’ll have to change strategy. I have a month, not a day longer; I have to get to work.
“Good morning, dear, how is the work going?” Jane’s prim voice reaches my ears mixed in with the sound of the sandpaper with which I am energetically scrubbing the wall. I turn towards the entrance and see her standing there with her habitual relaxed air, wearing a dark dress with a white collar that makes her look like she’s just popped out of a fifties movie, and a baby pink shawl.
“Jane!” I exclaim, happy to see her, as I remove the protective mask from my face. “How are you?”
“Very well, my dear, but I don’t understand why you insist on working in this eternal cloud of dust. I think your health would benefit if you removed some every now and then, am I wrong?” Her scowl and her attentive pale eyes make me smile. I come down from the ladder I climbed up at least two hours ago – setting foot on the ground again gives me a strange relief, stability is underestimated from my point of view – I brush my clothes off a bit in the hope of partially removing the film of dust covering them.
“I’ve nearly finished the second wall. Don’t worry Jane, my health won’t be affected,” I smile reassuringly, though I can’t feel my arms and I can barely breathe.
“I have my doubts, dear. You’re so petite, I don’t think it’s good for you to make such an effort with the air so unbreathable,” she insists, putting a handkerchief in front of her mouth.
“I’m serious, I’m almost finished for the morning. In fact, I should get changed and run to Ernest’s shop: it’s nearly one o’clock,” I say, glancing at the watch I wear on my wrist, trying to draw her attention to something else. I really don’t want to make trouble in the building, it seems they all got along together fine before my arrival, and I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who ruined everything with her renovation work. Though spending the entire morning sanding made me lose all sensitivity in my finger tips and a lot less tolerant of all this dust. I should have got rid of what was there before I produced more of it.
“That’s not what I meant, dear, I know you can get it done in this…” she hesitates a moment in search of the right word, then she rolls her eyes and gives up, “primitive fashion too, but it doesn’t seem right. After years of technical progress, a frail young girl still has to undertake such an exhausting job amidst so much dust? It’s not conceivable. You really need someone to give you a hand,” a flash of pure determination glints in her eyes as she seems to consider who could come to my aid.