The other he had bumped into seemed okay, until he didn't. "Monsieur, are you...?" he began to ask but the other began running off. He felt bad, but what could he do? A gift was his usual answer but he had no idea where the other lived. Etienne was not one to be deterred however, and left his bags within the café. "I'll be back in about an hour," he promised, ordering a small cake and leaving the shop quickly. He also waited quietly as he bought a couple of books from the stand and got them signed. He would send one to his mother as soon as he got the chance. He then went as far as he could see the mysterious escapee going, and then began asking around.
"Excuse me, madamoiselle," he called out to a woman, walking to her calmly. "I'm looking for a man, looking a bit slouched and wearing a hoodie, have you seen him?"
"Well, I see plenty of people who wear hoodies, it is winter after all."
"But in this area I have seen none, ma'am please, surely you've seen him?" Etienne begged. "I simply want to make sure he was alright, he left in a rush looking a bit sick."
He could see the woman mulling it over in her head for a while, and could practically hear the inconvenience in her voice when she next spoke, "Alright alright, he went that way," she said, pointing behind her. "I don't know why you're looking for someone like that, but I guess that's what weirdos will do nowadays," she scoffed. Etienne thought it was unbelievably rude for her to judge so quickly. "You on the other hand, sir, are quite beautiful. You must come from a rich family to look that nice," she backtracked when the look on his face startled her.
Etienne couldn't help but shake his head at her, "Thank you mademoiselle, but I really must be going," he said, skirting around her and running off. He could probably find the other before they made it back to their house at the speed he was going, though it was an average walking speed, he supposed with his long legs he was making distance. And finally, he could see someone with a hoodie. He didn't know if it was the same person he bumped into and possibly caused to have a panic attack, but it was a start. Well, now that he looked ahead at the other, they looked anxious to continue escaping. Etienne followed for as long as he could before coming upon the apartment building that his mysterious muse stumbled into.
He weighed his options, but in the end decided to go inside and ask about vacancies. He was questioned harshly, "Why would you want to live here, its not a very nice place and the people here are weird," the lady insisted, but Etienne wasn't having it.
"Madame, you can't judge based on appearances. Besides, I will be living here for a while and have nowhere to stay other than a hotel. An apartment would be cheaper."
"This is far from any shops of any sort..."
"There's always a bus, or...[i Uber?]"
"Its five hundred up front, there's a room on the fifth floor at the end of the hallway," she finally said after what felt like several moments of silence. She grabbed the key to the apartment, a spare, and handed it to Etienne. He still had questions.
"A man just came through, wearing a hoodie. Do you perhaps know which apartment he lives in? And maybe a piece of scrap paper I could write on?"
Etienne traveled upstairs by the elevator, since it was quicker, as he wrote on the note [i I'm so sorry about knocking into you earlier, it was truly an accident. Here, I have a gift with my condolences. I pray you feel better, with all respect, Etienne.]
He left the cake in front of the door as well as one of the books he had purchased and gotten signed earlier. When he felt anxious, reading always made him feel better. Perhaps he could go back later and get another copy for himself, as well as shop around for more books. That would be ideal. He nodded to himself, proud, before making his way to his room which, coincidence would have it, was on the same floor.
Wait, he had forgotten his bags.