Today, I welcome my dear friend Ofelia back to the blog, but idk if I’ll allow her back if she keeps calling me out like this when she’s here for a visit 😁 What am I talking about? The angry laundry room notes she writes about! Been there, done that, both giving and receiving. Luckily, I have my own laundry room these days and a well-trained husband who knows how to behave in it, so there’s no need for angry notes anymore. 😁
But enough talk about Swedish passive-aggressiveness; here’s Ofelia.
Hello, everyone! Thank you, Nell, for letting me drop by again. I don’t know if you know, but JMS Books is turning twelve this month, and to celebrate, there will be a lot of stories that have something to do with twelve released. My contribution is Keep it Down!
I had so much fun writing this story. If you didn’t know, I have a thing for stationery. I’m not like Nell who is a fountain pen fanatic, but notebooks, bullet journals, washi tape, fine liners, highlighters, pens and pencils are drawn to me. Yup, I wrote that with a straight face. So when the story call came, and it said the stories should have a dozen of something – emails, flowers, or whatever we wanted – what popped up in my mind was Post-its.
I began spinning a story about two guys living in the apartments next to each other and there being an exchange of, to begin with, angry Post-it notes.
Swedes, as a general, avoid conflict. It’s in our DNA, but sometimes you need to put your foot down. Do you know how Swedes do it? We write angry notes.
It’s standard in Swedish apartment buildings that there is a laundry room in the basement where the tenants book their washing times in advance. There is so much anger in a laundry room. Did someone steal your time slot – write a note! Did someone fail to clean the filter in the dryer – write a note! If the laundry room is dirty – write a note!
Eason writes angry notes. Nate thinks he’s flirting.
So, twelve Post-its, the first ones are angry, but they turn a little less so as the story progresses. Nothing says love like Post-its, right? LOL
One day, Eason Wickham will push his next-door neighbor down the stairs. Nate Allen might be hot, but he’s the most annoying person Eason has ever met. He has no respect for the people living in the building, and night after night, he has a party. Whenever Eason rings his doorbell and tells him to keep it down, he flirts and tries to get Eason to come inside.
Calling the cops does not affect Nate’s behavior, and neither do Eason’s angry Post-It notes. But when Eason is hit by a car and fractures his leg, Nate sends his friends packing and makes sure Eason is okay. He cooks for him, shops for him, and does his laundry, but he’s still the most annoying person Eason has ever met. Right?
The cute Post-Its Nate leaves for him to find doesn’t mean he’s a different person, and while Eason longs for when Nate gets off work every day, it doesn’t mean they should be more than friends. Does it?
Contemporary Gay Romance: 14,878 words
Grabbing his dirty clothes, detergent, fabric softener, a to-go cup with more coffee, and his phone, he headed down to the basement. He was gonna sit out in the morning sun and read while the washing machine did its work. Taking a deep breath, he smiled. He loved mornings off. There was nothing better.
When he neared the laundry room, he could hear the washing machines at work and froze. It was his time slot. He fiddled to get his phone out of his pocket—two minutes until it was his turn. Next, he double-checked the time booking board—it was his booking cylinder in the slot.
Yanking the door open, his feet slapped against the concrete floor when he hurried to the small room with the washing machines. There were two washing machines and one dryer and they all looked as if they belonged in an industrial building. In the first room, there was an ancient mangle machine he doubted anyone living in the building ever had used. He placed his to-go cup on the bench along the wall where you could fold your laundry, and next to it, he placed his other things.
Locating the power cord behind the first washing machine, he yanked it out of the socket. Then he did the same with the other machine. The silence following had him taking a deep breath. Now what?
He plugged in the cords again and the machines started blinking, the display telling him to restart the cycle. Ha! He would not. He had booked this time.
There was one of those wire baskets on wheels, and Eason pulled it close as he opened the door of the first washing machine. The clothes were sopping wet and a puddle of water soon formed on the floor. For fuck’s sake!
He opened the second door and pulled out the equally wet clothes from the machine. Placing the basket over the drain out in the room with the mangle, he then got to work with putting his laundry in the machines—one with light colors, one with dark.
Once the machines were working, he took a sip of coffee before jogging up to his apartment and writing a note in bold letters: Don’t steal laundry times! He contemplated adding a stronger word, an angry emoji, his name… in the end he added an FFS! at the top as heading. It made him feel better.
Jogging down to the basement again, he put the Post-it on the booking board and went to grab his coffee.
The sun was shining on the bench along the wall right outside the laundry room, and he could hear the machines working from there. Taking a deep breath, he tried to get back into the headspace he’d been in earlier, before he’d walked down to find some idiot having stolen his time. Closing his eyes, he enjoyed the caress of the morning sun, the birds tweeting, and the fragrance of summer. It wasn’t too hot yet, but the day was only beginning.
He opened the reading app on his phone, sipped on his coffee, and allowed the words to take him to another world. He didn’t know for how long he’d been sitting there when he heard the laundry room door bang shut. There was no window he could look in through, so he got to his feet, pocketed his phone, and hurried into the building.
Moments later, he opened the laundry room door only to find Nate standing there staring at the dripping wet clothes in the wire basket.
“Yours?” Of course, they were. Who else would steal someone else’s time slot? No one in the building was as disrespectful as Nate.
“You took them out?” He turned to look at Eason, his expression unreadable.
“Of course, I did. I booked this laundry time last week. I book this time every week. It’s my time.”
“Yeah, but my clothes were dirty.”
“My clothes are dirty too. You think you have more right to clean clothes than I do?” Eason tried hard to keep his voice leveled.
“No, but… I haven’t booked any time.”
Child, he was talking to an overgrown child. “Then you fucking should have! Stop acting like a kid, it’s off-putting. You’re a grown man, for fuck’s sake!”
Nate’s eyes widened, and a slow grin stretched his lips. “But you weren’t using the machines when I got here.”
“No, I came down when my time started.” He gestured at the still dripping clothes. “So please, take your things and go, because the laundry room is mine for another hour and a half.”
“But can’t I at least put the clothes in the dryer.” Nate gestured at the dryer. As if on cue the washing machines hit the spin cycle.
“No, I’ll need it soon. May I suggest walking your sweet ass out to the booking board and sliding your cylinder into one of the available holes out there?”
Nate grinned again. “Are you talking dirty to me, Eason? I didn’t think you were the kind, but I have to say it’s working.”
Eason glared. For a second, he feared he’d blush, but he managed to keep it at bay while holding on to the glare. Nate groaned but walked out to the booking board. “The one after yours is available.” His voice filled the entire basement, and Eason almost called back to keep it down. “And I see you’ve indulged in your fetish for Post-its.” Next, he mumbled something in a low voice Eason couldn’t catch.
Soon after Nate walked into the laundry room again. “Can I take you out for coffee?”
Eason raised his cup to show he already had coffee.
“I didn’t mean now. Later or some other day?”
“I… eh…” Eason frowned. “Why?”
“What do you mean why?”
“I don’t like you. Why would I want to have coffee with you?”
“Ouch.” Nate put a hand over his heart. “But I think you could like me if you only gave me a chance. And stopped calling the police every time I have people over.”
Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.
Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.
When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.
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