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The warmth of the sun danced in twinkling patterns across lush green grass, the scent of early morning fading as the day finally began to take form. In the midst of the wasdaarmth there was the soft chill of autumn, tugging at summer's collar and urging the days on. The first oranges were already beginning to show and would soon deepen into rich reds and sultry browns. At this hour the children in the neighbourhood were already off to school, and those who had somewhere to be made good and made gone. The only disturbance now was the slam of car doors and the rolling of a rear gate. A large moving truck had begun sounding the alarm as it backed up a foot closer to the edge of the drive.
“Alright, stop! You're good, Rick, park it and let's get a move on.”
Two men in coveralls hopped from the truck's cab and two more appeared from the truck's container, pulling on well-worn work gloves and sliding down the small ramp that would assist them in their work. In the meantime, there was a fifth player on the scene, tucked into the shade of a large willow. The Woodsley house had been empty for so long. The lawn certainly needed care, and the house would do with a good power wash. There was much work to be done within as well, but that was to begin another today. Today was a time to celebrate. It marked the beginning of what was sure to be a wonderful story.
The home itself was a dream with its original stone features and classic tudor style. The inner structure reminded him of a time he was rather nostalgic for with it's hidden spiral staircase, attic studio, wine cellar, and glorious kitchen. Perhaps he would make friends here and have the opportunity to host a night or two. A housewarming could very well have been in order if he ever saw another living being. Surely a smile and a warm invitation would do the trick. Before long, he was sure he'd have plenty of guests to entertain.
Young, promising bachelor moves to a small town at the edge of the city and charms the locals with his mystique and all that. Yes…yes, quite the picture perfect vision, wasn't it? Yuri straightened from his place against the doorjamb and strode forth, long legs easily taking the stairs that brought him to the beautiful cobble path below. His hand caught the back of one of the men in a gesture of thanks as he made his way for his pickup. Better to bring these boxes in now, after all. Maybe he could get a head start on sorting the personals.
Gazing back up at his new home, he swiped the hair from his eyes and took a moment to appreciate it's beauty. It was truly haunting - a beautiful old manor that had somehow stood the test of time. Unfortunate what had happened to its previous tenants, but he didn't believe in things like bad luck or “juju”. As far as he was concerned, this was a clean slate.
Besides, the scariest thing around here was probably him. Not that his good neighbours would know that, but it was comforting to know there was little threat he'd sensed thus far from this idyllic little town. Unbidden, a small smile crept across his lips, eyes dropping to the small box he had moments before retrieved from the bed of his truck. His long lashes cast small shadows against defined cheekbones and concealed eyes the colour of honey as he mused. Idyllic, it was. Perhaps not for long if he got up to his usual business.
No, no… this time will be different.
Despite telling himself this, there was the very recent turn of events that had sparked his desire for a ‘new scene’. Technically, he supposed that didn't necessarily also mean a new leaf, but it certainly should have with his track record.
“If you gents should need anything, I have libations in my truck!” He called, striding after them up the walk. Given the occasion, he'd opted for a fitted maroon turtleneck, a pair of black bootcuts, and a matching black cardigan. The sleeves were pulled back to reveal a set of strong forearms sporting a conservative amount of ink. Nothing egregious by modern standards, that was for certain. His usually orderly tresses were mussed from a trip spent with the windows mostly down and tapered down into a neat fade. Two simple gold hoops adorned his left ear and caught the sunlight with every stride, accentuating the warm nutmeg of his skin.
Casting a singular glance about the breadth of his street, Yuri had to wonder if anyone actually lived here. It was so…quiet. That certainly wouldn't bode well for his reformation. After all, he'd hate to have to stir things up.
A new neighbor. How exciting it would be, if Nikki was actually friendly. Nikki wasn't the friendly of people, he was called a shut or other awful things by most his neighbors. Especially since he worked from home. His small red sedan barely left the drive way. It was often tucked away in the attached garage parked next to his parents dream car. House was his, but the majority of the things were his parents. Including that fancy old car that was hidden away by a fading grey tarp. Underneath the grey tarp was 55 Cadillac Deville. His father had gotten in for his mother for their 30th wedding anniversary. Nikki of course never got the luxury of riding it, he wasn't even allowed touch it.
Nikki heard the unsettling sound of a large truck. The sound of its air-brakes coming to halt along with the loud voices speaking amongst each other. Nikki was curious by this point, he stood up from his desk and walking to the large window. Peeking between the blinds. He could see people at the house across the street. The blind were often closed in his office unless of course Luna demanded they be open. Nikki was surprised to see someone moving into Woodsley. That house had sat vacant for years. It was no surprise, with the rumors spreading around about it. The elderly couple had died in that house no one noticed, until about four or five days later.
Everyone seemed to kept to them selves except for the noisy Karens, that got together with their annoying home owner association crap. Nikki was sure those annoying middle age women would be pounding down his door in no time. Nikki stepped way form the window and sat back down at his mahogany stained desk. His computer screen lit up with several messages. He was sure it was some of his clients changing something last minute. A shallow breath escaped his pale rose color lips. As he opened the emails.
Nikki was a part time writer for a magazine company known as The Local Licks. It was a rather boring, in his mind writing about small things that occurred around the town, or city. It was a job though, his full time job was graphic design. He worked for a small company for several years, but now he was a freelancer. He still made decent money, enough to keep a roof over his head. He was just happy he got to work from home. That was part of the reason the Karens call him a shut in. They honestly didn't think he was working and enjoying his parents wealth. Nikki never bothered to correct them, he learned from a young age not to let such trivial things bother him.
The navy blue door opened with rather annoying squeaking sound. It seemed the hinges on front door need oiled yet again. Just another thing on his list that needed to be done. Stepping out of the blonde brick house was Nikki Lovell. The dark stained porch creaked as he stepped down them. There was a slight chill in the air that sent a shiver down Nikki's spine. Nikki hazel-blue eyes landed you only for a brief second. He quickly averted his eyes looking down at the ground as he walked. He silently walked down the concrete path, that was line with a variety of colorful flowers. Upon first glance Nikki was rather pale, there were dark bags under his eyes. His shaggy raven black hair that always seemed to be a mess, it didn't help things.
There were a neighbors that believed he was into heavy drugs, with his rather sluggish appearance. Nikki open the small gate, it seemed as if he was approaching you since he was walking in that direction. As he stepped off the curb and into the street, he turned to opened the simple looking mail box. He pulled out a small stack of envelopes, he flipped through them after adjusting his glasses. It seemed the vet had sent a reminder for Luna appointment. His eyes widen when he seen he gotten a post card from his parents. Nikki let out sigh as he read the post card, that he quickly crumple up in his hand. He was now facing in your direction, again but Nikki didn't bother to greet you or welcome you. He didn't care, he quickly turned on his heels and walked back through the gate. Tucking the mail under his arm he reached into his black jean pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes and lighter. He had to pull the sleeve of his off-white sweater up, since they seem to have rolled down a bit too far. After small puffs of smoke to pollute the air, as Nikki walked back up the concrete path. Nikki has picked up this filthy habit after the last time his parents had visited. He need some way to relieve some of his stress.
Nikki smiled as soon as his eyes landed on doorway. Sitting in the window of the storm door way an all black cat with rather fluffy fur. “Luna!” he said as a smile crept across his face. Nikki quickly put his cigarette out in the ash tray that sat on the edge of the porch. He open the door and the black cat strutted out on the porch. Her sleek black fur shimmer in the sunlight. It didn't take small void long to jump on the porch swing. She started purring as she kneaded the cushion. It seemed the cat knew better not to leave the porch. Nikki sighed softly as he sat down beside her. He petting the cat who had finally laid down. Nikki pulled his smart phone from his pocket and looked at the time. He was going to need to get back to work if he wanted to have time for his evening run. Nikki hazel blue eyes landed on your house once again, thankfully you seemed to have gone back inside. Nikki had yet to meet you formally, but something gave him a rather unsettling feeling. Maybe it was just because you were the only one brave enough to enter that house. Sure all the maggots were gone by this point, the stench of death no longer lingered.
Stepping back out in the crisp morning, Yuri found himself glimpsing the stirrings of a nearby soul. Oh? How interesting…So, there was life in this town after all. His gaze was subtle as he observed a rather lifeless brunet wander down to his post box. Was this to be expected of all the town's residents, or was this a red herring? Surely they could afford more spunk than this. Otherwise, it would hardly have made the trip worth it, let alone the investment of time and energy. Then again, he very well could have turned this property into a beauty and sold it off in a year or so. Fortune was kind in that way if you had skill enough to lure it.
Strong hands grasped yet another box and pulled it from the bed of the truck. This was all supplies, really. His personal affects, he'd shipped those ahead of time. They were already safely tucked into what was to be his bedroom. There wasn't too much beyond the pieces he'd recently purchased to account for. Most of the furniture or decor from this point on would be hand-built or very carefully curated. He was nothing if not thorough about his choices when it came to atmosphere. Not that he had very many… guests. That would imply they ever really left of their own accord, to return again at a later date.
To the contrary, save for large gatherings, his house guests rarely had the opportunity of a second visit for-- a variety of reasons. One such tended to be their lack of class. The especially annoying or noticeable ones were unfortunate to release, but it would appear far too suspect for them to vanish without a trace. All fingers would point back to his hospitality, and he simply couldn't have that. Typically, though, they did have their sentiments returned in spades. It was such a shame, the unbelievable misfortunes that could befall a nosy wife in her garden, or an ornery old drunk in his shed.
Most of them looked to be accidents. There was no reason to suspect otherwise, after all. Whomever would have done such a thing in their fine town? There were only good neighbours here. The reaction tended to very much be the same unless something more gruesome came about. At times, they would blame the town's run of good luck. ‘Ah, well, it had to end sometime.’ Perhaps it was that desire to believe in the balance of things for mental security. Whatever it was, it was useful and easily exploited when convenient. He would never complain about such luxuries, especially given his proclivities.
Once another box or two had been deposited in the house's foyer, the brunet opted to engage. He was sure it would be a lost effort, but it was better to disarm than alarm. Raising a hand, he called over to his neighbour. The man appeared rather worse for wear, so he kept it casual. “Morning, there… Apologies for the noise, I hope you won't hold it against me?” His gaze shifted to the cat as he approached the property line. He never crossed, instead standing with hands politely and ever-so-casually behind himself, linked at the wrist. “We should be done in roughly an hour or so.”
It was a fairly accurate estimation. Although… he supposed he hadn't considered the fair amount of work he would be doing on the house. Perhaps this would serve as the best opportunity to inquire about a schedule. He'd hate to unnecessarily disturb, as it would do very little to build a rapport. Hopefully the distance and muted enthusiasm would be enough to initiate a pleasant exchange but not enough to irritate. You couldn't always tell. Some folk just didn't fancy the interaction at all. Something told him such was not too far off of a presumption to make about this particular neighbour.
“What a lovely shadow you have there." He remarked of the cat, head tilted, the suggestion of a smile touching his lips.
Nikki had his fingers lost in the cat's sleek fur. The cat as tilted her head back wanting a her chin to be scratch. The end of her tail flutter, as the cat seemed to be in bliss. Enjoying the attention and the warmth from the sun that happen to be peaking from the clouds. The sound of approaching foot steps get closer. Nikki turn his head to the white picket fence, his eyes narrowed as he seen the stranger standing there. Hoping for a warm embrace of kindness. Nikki force as smiled as he lie between his teeth. “It is not problem…” he said softly as his hazel-blue eyes never left the tall figure.
When he asked about the cat that was when he actually smiled. “Thank you, her name is Luna… Most people see them as a symbol of bad luck. HOA often scolds me when they see us out here… You should watch out for them… Then again I am sure they will be pounding down your door any minute to formally welcome you here.” he said softly as he stood up with the cat in his arms. Nikki slowly walked down the step with Luna safely tucked in his arms. He approached the gate but did not open for there was no real need too. “Would you like to pet her?" he said softly? It wasn't very often that he got to show his cat off. Around Luna neck was a black leather collar, with golden clasp. There was also a cute heart shape tag that said he name in bold lettering. On the back was a phone number and house address. In front of the heart-shape tag was what look to be a piece of a fancy pendant with a sapphire color jewel in the center.
“She is friendly, and like chin scratches…” he said in a soft voice. The expression on his pale face stay the same, not really a smile nor a scowl. Up close you could see the black round frame glasses, the bags under his eyes. He didn't open the gate but he stood close enough that you could pet his cat. Perhaps this was just and excuse not actually shake your hand and formally introduce himself. As Nikki had thought the sound of heels clicked and clatter harshly against the pavement. The smell of heavy perfume polluted the air. A group of four women approached all wearing that same obnoxious pink color along with matching gold broach. The gaudy broach gleamed and sparkled in the sunlight. It was almost like a golden wreath, with a house and a small ruby heart in the center of the house. The only reason he knew exactly what it was because his mother used to be part of this annoying HOA. A woman with faded blonde hair that was in need of a touch ups. She also had a lot of caked on make up, in hope to hide the fact that she was aging and couldn't afford plastic surgery. Even thought she acted like she was the queen.
Stepped forward, “Nikolai, did I tell you to keep that mangy thing in the house” she said as pointed at Luna with her rather bone finger. Her nails were painted a faded pink color. The small dog in her purse started whimper and shake in purse, as it saw the cat. The cat on the other had had remained clam until the yipping dog started growl. The dog was actually scared of Luna. The two had crossed paths when she was only six month old kitten. Of course Luna was fearless when the dog corner her she scratch the dog's face, sending it crying home with it tail between its legs. Ever since then that woman hated cats. “Should a shut-in like you be work at this time of day?” she said dryly. “Oh wait… you just like to splurge on your parents wealth don't you? Nikolai when will you grow up?” she said as she crossed her arms. Nikki chewed his lip as he held back in lashing out at her. He quickly turned from the mid-age woman and her annoying pink pantsuit.
The other women there bicker amongst themselves. The youngest woman there was Mrs. Fernsby's daughter. She was about Nikki's age, the two had even went to school together. Nikki has always been caught staring at her auburn colored hair. He even like her, before the accident that was. They were both young and in high school, so a love like that was never meant to be. They were close friends also until Mrs. Fernsby separated them. It broke Nikki heart seeing his best friend become a shell of her formal self. She was under he wicked mother's control.
“Whatever wicked witch.” he said in rather snarky tone. Sure this was probably quite a show for his new neighbor. “Have fun pushing him into your stupid cult!" he said as he carried Luna back into the house. The black by the point was now hissing at Fernsby's dog. Her rather fluffy tail was now bottle brushed making her look much larger than what she was. It seemed to work because the dog was now crying in fear. Nikki slammed the front door hard with a loud thud. “You piece of trash.” she said in a raise voice before the young man had slammed the door. Letting out a huff, she then return her plastic smile. She placed her hand on Yuri's back gentle. “I am sorry you had to see me like that… Nikki is no good, I recommend you stay away from him.” she softly. She patted your back softly hoping that you would return to facing your house. “I am so happy you are here… We all would like formally welcome you here! On that note, we do have a HOA to go over, as you know this house has sat vacant for many years. It is in of many repairs, if you need any help we know a few handy men around here. That we would be more than happily call for you. Also I will bring by few documents for you to read over it a list of rules and other neighborly thing read over. We will also be having a neighborhood cookout next week I hope you will attend!” she said by this point the woman was not grasping Yuri's hand.
Quite the shy lad, wasn't he? The vibe he was putting off didn't exactly read friendly. Certainly more of a ‘piss off and stay gone’, but it was far more subtle on the outside, at least. Still, Yuri had to give him props for trying. With a small nod, he acknowledged his neighbour's grace and but for a moment gazed upon the feline with something of a familiar fondness. Perhaps he, too, had a cat? Perhaps he was considering a feline friend of his own? Either way, his smile grew with the offer to pet Luna.
“Well, I've certainly never seen cats to be a sign of bad luck. They're perceptive, intelligent, and lovely company. Miss. Luna, you're quite charming, you know?” Surely, she did. Very politely, he extended his hand for her to first sniff and awaited her inspection and approval. He would only pet her if given her permission, and Yuri was known to be quite patient and unbothered when it came to rejection or apprehension. “And what a beautiful pendant you have, at that. Quite the fashionista, I see.”
What a…sight. A repugnant one, at that. Horrific, perhaps? Yuri couldn't seem to find a word to describe the horror that was approaching them at that moment, but he could tell this was going to be an extremely painful interaction. He'd been able, unfortunately, to scent the cloud of overdone perfume and whatever chemicals were compacted onto this woman's skin. One by one, he looked over the entourage that had barged into their greetings and offered a patient smile.
“Greetings, ladies.” Almost defiantly, he affectionately gave Luna a scritch beneath her chin and an affectionate rub behind the ears if she allowed. How gaudy… all of them. Moreover, how rude of her to approach uninvited with such unnecessary vigor and have nothing pleasant to say? What was the purpose of coming to ruin a perfectly good morning with her uncouth behaviour?
The entire time she spoke, over the clamour of the other women at that, Yuri couldn't help but imagine how lovely it would have been to rip her throat out. Surely she would taste disgusting, but the pure satisfaction of seeing this atrocity of a woman unable to have the last word? Now that would be pleasing beyond measure. Everything the brunet had gathered about her from the heated interaction she'd had with--Nikki?--told him all he needed to know for the time being.
Yes, a rather ordinary tragedy for you. No need to make her a martyr. It was far more than she deserved. As for the remaining ladies? It was simply noise. Something about this reminded him of the way corvids would squawk horrendously at one another with very little of import to say. A pure waste of his precious time was what it was.
“Well, I have to thank you for the welcome, and I am happy to review the HOA's guidelines once they're in hand. That said, though, I do have to finish assisting those gentleman and tend to a bit of organisation, so if you'll excuse me--” Coolly, he reclaimed his hand and tucked both behind himself in quite the casual stance, and with a small incline of his head, he brushed through the lot of them. “Ladies--it was a pleasure. I do hope you'll call on me should you need any assistance. I'm simply a knock away.”
It was not a recommendation, really, but it was the least he could offer in order to secure his escape. “I will also be sure to check my blotter, but i might very well join you for your outdoor affair.” And with this, he retreated. to his own path, striding gracefully up the cobble and into the house. The door shut ever so gently behind him, but almost as soon as it had, there appeared a figure in one of the upper rooms. It gazed in an indiscernible manner at the women but with a touch of the detached coldness a scientist might examine a specimen.
Awful, horrid people. Especially the main one. He hadn't stuck around long enough to learn their names, but that was okay. He would find them again. In the meantime, where might his neighbour have gotten off to? The " spoiled shut-in". Nikolai… more affectionately, Nikki. How cute - was it a patronising term of endearment, or had it been truly endearing once? It was difficult to tell, but Nikki also suited him quite well. Personally, he would opt for Nikolai, but should the time ever come, it was good information to have for future use.
Perhaps he would take the chance to draw him out of his hiding place once again. For now, he had much to prepare for about the house and more cleaning to do. Not to mention, a housewarming was in order. Would the untrusting Nikolai attend? How could he convince his new neighbour that there was only merriment to be had here? They might have even made quite the fine pair on an autumn afternoon with good conversation, if he dared to risk it.
Ahh, how Yuri loved a challenge. The process with which he approached this chap remained to be seen, though. How did one gain the trust of a rabbit? With a cautious approach and utmost patience, surely.
After the whole ordeal, he returned inside after slamming the door in a rude manor. He carefully sat Luna down on the second tier of her beige colored cat tree. The small black void let growl, she still seemed to be bother by all the sudden noise. She quickly jump to the top of her cat tree, her tail flicker with agitation. “Sorry Luna…” he said softly. Leaving the living room, dark stained floor boards creaked as he walked. He made he was back into his office which was just down the hall. The room was dual and grey, except for the computer screen that illuminated the room with a harsh white light. With the dark colored curtain closed shut, you would think it was night. Sitting on the wooden desk near he computer was his phone, it seemed to have gone off a few time with message and other notifications. Nikki let out a sigh as he sat back down at his chair.
Reading over a few messages, he quickly got back to work. It seemed his client wanted something done differently. He really wouldn't of minded if this wasn't the fifth time already. He would do his best to please them, after all it was his job. He was good at his job, but this job was particularly boring. The design his client wanted was standard look alike, there wasn't much that made it stand out. No matter how many time he tried to explain, or do something slightly differently the client would tell him change it back. Letting out another sigh as he heard his phone got off. When his eyes landed on the phone he seen he had a message from this mother. This has to be good he thought, as he opened text message. Only to find his mother was displease with his attitude. Apparently Mrs. Fernsby called her to complain. Nikki snarled as he harshly sat his phone down on the desk. His mother was in a completely different state yet her she was trying to lecture him, a grown ass man. He that damn property why did she still care? If he remember correctly his mother never really like her in first place.
Hours seemed to pass, as he continue to work on a couple projects. The house was mostly silent other than the sound his finger tips made as he typed on the keyboard. When he looked at the the time in the corner of his computer screen it was already 7:30pm. After putting his computer sleep, Nikki stood up from his chair and stretched. He then made his way to the hall. The hallway was dimly lit but night lights guided his way. He could vaguely see Luna sleeping on sofa on her favorite blanket. He smiled as he approach her. He petted her softly, before heading to the kitchen to make dinner. Nikki enjoy cooking but since he never really had time it was mostly a lot of frozen dinners. He opened the freeze and let out a soft sigh. Pulling out a brightly colored yellow box, that had the words smile written in big bold letter across it. It was a low calorie, healthy, teriyaki beef dish. Of course it wasn't as good as the restaurants in the city, but it did the job for a quick meal.
After throwing the bowl into the microwave for at least four minutes. He happily pulled it out after hearing the chime. The steaming teriyaki dish at least smelt some what appetizing. He pulled out at fork and carried the bowl into the living. He sat down near Luna who was still sleeping soundlessly. He turned the tv on which lit the room up, with its vibrant colors that appeared on the screen. He ate, listening to the news. His mind drifted back to his rather awkward interaction with his new. Surely this was going to be another person on the block to avoid. At least he seemed to like Luna, he wasn't bad on the eyes. Nikki let out sigh as he pushed the thoughts aside. He then felt Luna nudging her head against his arm. He smiled softly petting her sleek fur, she started to purr. He smiled at her and she end up in his lap, after sett the plastic bowl and fork aside on the table. He petting Luna, he ended up falling a sleep for at least an hour. He woke up to the sound of an old horror movie. Dracula. It was a classic but nothing he really to interest in.
Nikki sighed as he turned the tv off. He cleaned up his mess from dinner. Then went to his room where he quickly changed into pair of short, and hooded sweatshirt. It was time for his evening run. Of course the would of much rather went earlier but work had him rather tied up. He petted Luna before turning on a lamp in the living room. “I'll be back Luna… keep an eye on the house… Love you." he said as he tied his running shoes. He open the door feeling the cold evening air hit again his exposed skin. He wouldn't be cold for long, walked down the side walked to the gate that opened with a rather annoying squeaking sound. Yet another thing on his list to fix, that he probably wouldn't get around too. As he looked ahead he glanced towards Yuri's house. It seem odd that someone of his age would want to move into that run down house.
Nikki sighed as he looked away thankfully there was rarely anyone out at this hour. It was as if they were scared of the dark. With Mrs. Fernsby around who wouldn't be, thank god that old hag went to bed relatively early. Nikki took in a deep breath before he started to jog, his jogging soon turned into sprinting. Just how far could he go before having to slow down. Nikki had ran about half a mile before slowing down. It wasn't far but it was defiantly better than the other day. He was sure if he kept at it would only get better. After his caught his breath his did his best to sprint home, unfortunately he was worn out his sprinting became more of walking. The exercise felt nice after being stuck at his desk all day. Making his way home he found his eyes wonder back towards Yuri house. Maybe he should apologize in the morning for acting so childish in front of him. Nikki open the small white gate, made he way to the door. Nikki shoved the key into the top locked and opened it. He stepped inside quickly and shut the door.
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