Recently, things had been a little tense in the McGill-Thomas apartment. Stacey's inability to broach the subject of their future was putting a strain on her at an already stressful time in her life. Now that she had graduated from Columbia, she was trying to find a job. Well, she'd been applying to jobs for months, but now that she was out of school and her father was cutting her off financially, she was making her job search a full-time job. In the past two weeks alone, she had attended three interviews, sent out her resume to over forty businesses and filled out extensive applications for fifteen more positions. Many of her friends from graduate school were in similar circumstances as her, so she knew that she wasn't the only one not getting responses, but it was still stressful.
The added tension was messing with her blood sugar slightly, too. It wasn't enough to talk to her doctor about, but she had to pay closer attention to her levels than usual. All of this combined with Sam's ill will towards Ethan was enough to stress out anyone. She had seen Ethan only once since the shower fiasco, when they rode the elevator up together. She had been friendly and tactful, but also firm and clear that walking into her apartment in nothing but a towel had not only been inappropriate, but it had caused tension in her home and he had better not expect to be welcome there anytime soon as far as Sam was concerned. Ethan had apologized profusely and then irritated her the tiniest bit by saying that he hadn't even considered whether it was appropriate or not because he wasn't interested in her any longer. Stacey was glad that he wasn't, but she couldn't help but be a little miffed at the same time; no girl wants an ex to think that she's undesirable, ever.
Still, when Stacey relayed the conversation back to Sam that evening, she could tell that he remained unconvinced over Ethan's true motives and it only gave her something additional to worry over.
As if that wasn't bad enough, she returned home from the post office--where she'd bought more stamps to mail out more resumes--the elevator was out of service. "Oh, you're effing kidding me," she scowled to herself. Of course it would happen on a day when she'd worn cute but entirely unpractical high heeled shoes. Glaring down at her feet, she removed the shoes, resigning herself to washing her feet as soon as she made it to the eighth floor, and started walking upstairs.
As she neared the seventh floor landing, she could hear someone calling out for help a little uncertainly, like he wasn't sure if he needed help or wasn't sure whether anyone would hear him. "Uh, help? Help?"
"Ethan?" Stacey called out, entering through the open stairwell door. Immediately, she saw smoke coming in from #707, his apartment. She dropped her shoes and purse and rushed in, nearly knocking Ethan over. "What's going on?!"
"Thank God you're here! I was cooking and, well....the pot caught on fire!"
Stacey rushed over to the stove and, sticking her hand into an oven mitt, grabbed a pot lid and put it on top of the pot, shutting the fire inside and tamping it down. She turned off the burner and then used the mitt to start waving the smoke away. "What on earth were you cooking?!"
Ethan bit his lower lip sheepishly. "I was trying to make stove top popcorn. I guess that maybe I turned the heat on too high?"
"You think?" Stacey asked with an eyebrow raise, clearly suggesting that he was some level of stupid. She thrust the oven mitt at him. "You're not going to have a fun time cleaning that up, but definitely don't go near it until it cools off. And you need to check the batteries in your smoke detector because I didn't hear it go off."
"Oh, I definitely will, I promise," Ethan swore. "Thank you so much for helping!"
"Well, it was either that or let my apartment potentially burn, too. Anyway, I need to get going," Stacey continued, cringing inwardly when she thought of what Sam's reaction would be to all of this. "I'll talk to you later."
She started walking out the front door, which was still open, only to see Sam right outside the door holding her purse and heels. Oh crap, Stacey thought, wishing that she could have just explained later. "Baby, you wouldn't believe what just happened. Let's go upstairs and I'll tell you all about it." She wanted to separate him and Ethan as much as and as soon as possible.