The Long Wait into Paradise
Purgatory. A place that wasn’t yet was, an existence that did not exist. A state of being where your only goal is to wait. And wait you shall, until the day comes where you are judged, whether it be to ascend to a higher plane or to be forced deeper underground to hellish punishments and terror abound. Some say purgatory, itself, is a form of Hell, forced to stand around and do nothing while the lingering day of judgment ever draws nigh, unable to change the course of Fate, Itself.
Johnathon Blaze was facing such a predicament. He stood in the Pittsburgh International Airport, watching the baggage carousel continue its loop. He swayed on his feet, eyes heavy and red, matching the flight he took. It was still dark outside the building, the sun still a few hours shy from gracing its lofty heights. It was still well lit, fluorescence giving the soft yellow concrete an almost eerie glow, the red beams an unnatural gleam, adding to the assault on the senses. The place smelled of day-old food, sweat of hundreds of people that passed through long before, yet an odd, pungent, sterile undertone. Then there was the noise; even at these hours, the airport had a constant drone, a buzz from all the displays and overheads that all culminated into a boring drill into the back of the head. While he was forced to still wait.
Johnathon sighed, the opening a yawn needed, breaking his gaze for a moment from that carousel, but it was fine. He saw the piece of paper he placed on their return to him, set there four revolutions ago, and the oncoming line still had nothing to his... and the other four people waiting’s dismay. Really, Johnathon shouldn’t have been there. That bag was meant to be a carry-on, but it weighed just enough to be forced down into the cargo hold, even after he offered to take one thing out. He was in his casual wear at the moment, little more than an old, rocker t-shirt and a pair of raggedy sweatpants well past their prime, so he thought he could get away with taking his coat out, but no. They wouldn’t allow him, so he was forced without it, his phone, his pillow, nor his headphones for the three-hour flight. Guess he shouldn’t have been wearing the pillow and headphones when he arrived.
He yawned again, and, when his eyes opened, he had a faint glimmer of hope. A bag appeared at the end of the carousel! It was bright yellow so it couldn’t have been his, but it was at least progress. He ran a hand through his shaggy brown hair, letting it fall to his brow as he creased and eased it. Though he was no stranger to stress, his fair face didn’t have a single wrinkle nor blemish on it. It was the very definition of masculinity, a well-defined jawline, strong cheek bones and chin, bright, pronounced eyes of steel blue, and a perfect set of thirty-two behind his lips... yet he could never grow a beard or mustache. He already made peace with that back in college, and, really, would he want the scruff over this perfection –well, perfection was probably too strong a term, but he knew he was good-looking. And loved it.
But even the pretty people must suffer, all equal under the gaze of their mechanical overlords. Though it felt like they were singling him out. The others bags came, they left, and now he was forced there, alone, to watch as his bit of paper continue to circle back to him, over and over. It didn’t really matter. He doubted his ride was there yet, but, in case they were, he really wished his bag would come along already so he can at least wait outside. As interesting as the architecture was inside, especially the Transformer knock-off to commemorate Pittsburgh’s heritage, he was tired of being confined. He needed to stretch his legs, and standing there wasn’t enough.
As the paper came around for the fiftieth time, however, he hit his limit. He picked it off the carousel, started to walk away, but every part of him told him to stop and look back one last time. He had hunches like this before, will continue to have hunches like this, and, as always, he listened to it. And, as he expected, it was right. Every single time. His bag finally emerged, as if with fanfare, marching to its own tune. It approached him faster than what he thought was possible, but it didn’t matter at that moment. He finally had it, so he could get moving. And he thought the in-flight movie was bad; he didn’t care how popular it was, those sparkling prima donnas were not vampires... though he could see them as demons, skinwalkers. The movie even played into that, but no. Vampires sell –now, at least. If it was only a decade before, maybe, just maybe, it could have been demons. Or angels... same thing, in the end.
The walk out went by faster than he expected, but, again, that could be solely his perception. He made no effort to slow his gait nor change his stride, even as he walked along the inclinator, feeling almost superhuman in how fast he went –which only made him remember that movie again. Movies, but mostly the first one. In truth, the part that irked him the most about it was how the main character reacted when she realized she was literally sharing a world with monsters. The idea of vampires and otherkin was nothing new; humanity has always believed there was other, supernatural beings among them, mostly born from misunderstandings on illness and deformities. Poetic, in a way, but would one really be so accepting if they found out it was all real, all of it? The things, the beasts that live in so-called mythology; would one really be enthralled to find out they really existed, and would be more than happy to eat them?
Well, in the movies, she was more than happy with that notion. At least, he thought it was happiness. The actress’ foray of emotion was so immaculate that she showed and portrayed so many emotions all at once in that stony, absentee expression. Johnathon, though, believed that she was happy, but probably, more than likely, wasn’t thinking of being eaten as he was trying to convey. In truth, Johnathon wouldn’t know what to do if he found out, but one thing was for certain: He wouldn’t be standing wherever he was. He would be making like a bat out of hell, faster than he ever was. He thought he was going at an unnatural pace now; put him in a room with, say, a werewolf or a harpy or a demon, and he would be on another continent if not in space before they had a chance to exhale. That’s nothing to say about witches and magic, but then, at that point, he didn’t really have a chance. He doubted real-world witches would be as conspicuous as they portrayed in media and just be another person like him, which only terrified him more.
Johnathon finally slowed as he reached the entry, forced to as he pressed open the steel-reinforced glass doors, and was ready to stop at the curb, to wait once again, when he noticed a black sedan waiting. The windows were tinted, making it hard to see if there was anyone inside, but he knew it was for him. The sign plastered to the back right window with his name was sort of a huge hint. They even had his middle name, Allen.
The door whirred and clicked as he approached, and opened with ease. The interior was blacker than the outer shell, but was far more pleasant to sit on. For now, at least; Johnathon doubted the leather would be very welcomed when it had been warmed from sunlight, especially now during the dog days of Summer. It carried over into September, but, thankfully, it never hit above 90 back home in Washington. He wasn’t in Washington anymore, though, and he had no idea what the weather would be like in West Virginia. All he ever heard of the state was that it was the Scotland of America: Beautiful scenery, angry denizens, lots of rock.
The three states shared a common trend. He could feel the rain in the air, the darkness overhead not from the lack of sun nor star but from the coming storm. That, in combination with the soft jazz emanating from the speakers on the sides, lulled him to sleep before he could question why there was a block between the front and back seat. The car’s rumble was but a distant thrum, lost to the bliss of respite, if only brief. It felt like it was only minutes before the car came to a jarring stop, but, as he clambered out of the vehicle, he knew it was far longer. The sun peeked over the horizon, far higher than it was before he went to sleep, before he left the airport, and shown and gleamed upon rows of trees, sprouting from that mountaintop. They were so densely packed that it was a wonder they didn’t choke themselves, but they didn’t. In fact, it was quite the opposite as the entirety of that mountain was lousy with them, as were the other three around.
It seemed Paradise, West Virginia, was located in a canyon, which was more information than he could find otherwise. No matter how many times he searched, Johnathon couldn’t find a single mention of Paradise, West Virginia, on any online nor physical search. He wondered if it was an actual place, at all, if he wasn’t being scammed, but the money was placed into his account all the same when he accepted Her offer. The plane ticket arrived, transport was waiting; even if this was a scam, he made more out of it than he would have staying in Washington. All that was left was to see if the apartment was true or if that’s where he would be sliced up and sold. He already wrote up his will, signed it off with his parents as his witnesses, so if they don’t hear back from him in three days all his dust bunnies were theirs. Which were worth more than his life insurance and bank account.
The apartment complex was as to be expected. A solid, concrete building. He was too tired to count how many levels it had; all he had to focus on were the signs with his name on it and arrows that lead the way. The more he saw, the more his mind prepared for the worst. This felt too apparent, and was erring on insulting to his intelligence... until, that is, he missed his door. It literally had his entire name on it, in bright red marker, and he kept going to the next sign at the right end of the second level, plastered on the iron railing. When he reached and read it, he rolled his eyes, feeling like a complete jackass.
Got you. It was back a few doors.
He sighed, opening the way to another yawn, and teetered on his feet, moved by the gust that blew through the building. It whistled against the concrete, cut by the jagged edges, and reeked of ozone, ushering in the soft rain that raced through the forest beyond and pattered on the town. He turned around, lumbered back, and found the door emblazoned with his name –pun very intentional. He chuckled at his addled mind for even finding the means to think it, and tried the door, finding it unlocked. It swung in, stopped by a little rubber flap on the left wall, right before another door. To the right, there was a small rug placed in the nook where one can slip their shoes off and a compact, wooden stand with a glass, bowl top. In it, there was a sealed letter and a set of keys.
The entrance continued for a few steps before widening to the living room, but before then, halfway down and off to the right, there was a cutaway, leading to a galley kitchen. It wasn’t anything grand, but somehow it felt it with its marble counters. There was a fridge, a flat, slate colored thing with the freezer on top with no handles for either one, and a stove, bright white, clashing with the rest. The floor was a soft cream tile, with enough room for two people to move around in it with ease. Any more, and they would have to sit at the table at the end, which was more akin to a booth, including a rugged, red wraparound seat that was molded to the wall. There were two chairs for those that didn’t want to get too intimate, pressed in and matching the dark wood that was the actual table, and just as rounded, all lit by three, round orbs that were indented into the faux white wood ceiling.
What Johnathon was happiest to see in that kitchen, though, was a coffee pot –well, that and the dish washer and trash compacter, but those were under and beside the coffee pot. It was a newer model, meant to take capsules, which meant he didn’t even need to brew it. He simply had to slip a cup under when it had warmed up, press a button, wait a minute, and have his fix... If ever there was a vision of what heaven might be, it was in that black, curvy machine.
For now, though, he simply opened the letter and unfurled what he expected right beside it, letting it warm up as he looked over his welcome letter and his schedule. His eyes weren’t agreeing with him, fading those small, black words together, the time table one, solid slate, so he lumbered into the living area. It was already lit thanks to his “foresight” earlier of flicking up all the switches that were beside the kitchen, all seven of them, which made the air drone with the two fans above. In truth, it was wider than he anticipated; apartments like this usually are little more than boxes, but he could fit two couches with ease in this expanse and still have room for a pool table. The things it lacked, though, were windows, but it made up for it for having a door on both the left and right. The left housed the bedroom, which even had its own bathroom, while the right was little more than a guest bath. To call it a room would be giving too much; it was little more than a cubical, with just enough room to step in, turn, and either use the porcelain throne or look at yourself in the mirror on the medicine cabinet as you used the sink. It had an exhaust fan, at least, and a toilet paper holder, built into the wall, lit by a single light centered above the door.
Sadly, he wished he could make out more of the living room, but it was currently infested with boxes, his life packed up a week before and transported here by their hands. He looked at them, searching for one in general- and found it almost instantly, set before all the others. It was a long, slender box, the opening on the top that folded down, which he did just that, taking out his TV. It was light, but fatigue made it weigh a ton; he had to search for a socket and the cable before he lifted, all done in one, quick motion. They were both against the back wall, a bit off to the right but were able to be pulled to center, where he turned it on and flipped to the news.
“Good morning, Tri-state area!” The woman on the TV announced at the perfect moment. She was a bit older, but still pulled off looking twenty in her forties. She was in a bright blue dress with a white jacket, yet it and the rest of the apparel might as well have not existed. It hid none of her curves, and even teased with how her ample breasts pressed against the thin fabric –which, Johnathon thought, whoever made that dress needed a medal. It made those sagging set look perky and prime. Her opening jingle finished at last, and Johnathon finally noticed what channel it was on.
You’ve got to be shitting me, he thought as she continued.
“This is Aunt Flow, your weather girl here at Convenient News Network. If it’s wet and steamy or hot and heavy, you know I’m here for you.” A map of the United States faded in on the green screen behind her, replacing the soft spring sky that was plastered there, and she turned to the side, showing off her other half. Again, whoever made that dress, damn medal. The map focused on West Virginia, then cropped to the upper panhandle, specifically on the area in between it, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. “It looks to be to be a nice mix here in the tri-state. Morning’s going to start moist but comfortable in the mid-50′s before getting up to 69 this afternoon. It’s looking to be a wet one, if you know what I mean. Expected to rain all day before clearing up at ni-”
“All I needed to hear,” Johnathon mumbled, and turned off the TV. He yawned, stretching towards the ceiling, knuckles just grazing those blades as they whiffed by. He cracked his neck, groaning, and trudged back into the kitchen. The coffee pot signaled that it was ready... If only he was. He couldn’t help but sob a little at the error he just realized: His cups were still packed away... At least that helped clear his vision a little. He checked his work schedule, and felt a bit special, if silly, as he looked over it. His name wasn’t printed on it at all but written. In bright red marker. He tapped it, at the very bottom, and shook his head. “Start at nine, end at five... Same shit, different place.”
He shook his head, and lumbered back into the living room, leaning against one of the boxes still strewn across its sea of brown carpet. Another yawn rumbled through him, and this time his eyes were adding their two cents. The bit of rest he had was wearing off, and the bags under them were starting to weigh. He rubbed his eyes, lumbering over to his bag set beside the opened box, and pulled out his phone. It was a quarter til eight, but he knew the time table wasn’t meant for the AM. That was clarified when She first approached him about the job.
That didn’t mean he could go to bed just yet. He had a few things he needed to do before then. Much to his chagrin. His first task didn’t cause much umbrage, thankfully; his garment bags were hanged neatly in the closet in the main bedroom, hidden in sliding doors almost right beside the entrance into it along the same wall. The bedroom, itself, had a long, squat chest of drawers at the foot of the bed which was, once again, centered against the far wall. It had two nightstands on either side, both them and the chest of drawers matching the motif of the rest of the wooden furniture, made of that dark, glossy wood. There was no light in the bedroom but, on the nightstands, there were two, stained glass lamps, as well as a wide, glass pane against the northern wall. He could make out four clasps that could be undone from it and two molded handles into the frame to allow him to lift it out if he so chose, but that was not his focus at the moment.
He fished through the four garment bags, each one holding eight ensembles, including shoes tucked in the bottom, and picked out his suit for the day before putting them away. He went with “old reliable” for his first day, his finest, black dress coat and pants, with brown leather loafers and his favorite undershirt. How it clashed, though, the blue faded, crumpled, looking to fall apart from a stiff wind, which, when it did, it would be the saddest day in Johnathon’s life.
Johnathon carried the loafers out to the entry, placing them on the rug, before returning to the bedroom and went into the bathroom, which put the guest one to shame. The space, alone, would swallow five of them and still be wanting more, and it reveled in its grandiose stature, its soft, turquoise tile gleaming from the six lights once again molded into the ceiling. There was a long mirror along the right side, with a matching counter under, while a tiny medicine cabinet tucked into the far wall that joined it. The left side had a shower-bath combo but also a walk-in shower, but it was what was built into the CENTER of the room that stole most of the attention. There, lined with hard, tacky rubber, was a hot tub that could house four easily. Its basin was originally a hard, black plastic, but it had a clear shell molded over it, only allowing the jets, six of them on each side, to be free... which made Johnathon wonder what those- no. He knew what they were. There was a raised lip on the tacky mats, which he raised and saw a USB plug, also covered in thick rubber. Those black, wiry nodes under clear plastic shell were speakers.
He huffed, and returned the mat before turning around and returning to the door. He shut it a little, and was thankful to see that there were a few hooks there, hanging his suit on the left-most one. He tested how far it could open, and once more it simply thumped against a plastic nubs, leaving the towel hamper and closet beside it completely untouched. For being his second-ever apartment, this was quite the bar it set... There had to be something wrong with it. There must be, and that only left one thing to test. The one thing he hoped wasn’t messed up... As it stood, though, that was all that could be... He could remain ignorant to it. For at least a day. He didn’t need to test it right then... right?
“But thou must,” he grumbled, and trudged over to the shower. He kept his gaze averted from the mirror, though. Last thing he needed was a nightmare before falling asleep. His hair must have been a mess, and his face might be enough to break it in its monstrous glory.
He opened the smoked glass door of the shower and turned the knob for hot water. The pipes in the wall rumbled, but only just, and it wasn’t long before water streamed from the perforated head directly above. One might say it was centered –whoever made this building was a perfectionist, apparently. Johnathon held his hand under the water, finding it far colder than he expected. It was almost ice... but, in no time, it gave way to steaming relief. He waited for the pipes to finish, then gave the cold knob a turn, a mere formality as it came sputtering out, just as quick to be removed. He looked over the shower one last time, and saw that there was a steel bar set in the back right, where four mesh levels were soldered on. The bottom had a few hooks on it, small things to hang loofahs and bath sponges from, while the top had two a well, added to the outside.
Was this place haunted? He thought, closing the shower door and returned to the bedroom. He sat on the bed, a flat king covered in dark blue sheets. It had four pillows at its head, the top two in matching shams to the comforter while the two under were in white slips. How his head yearned to lay down upon them, but his mind was now whirring away. Roach infestation? Insurance fraud? There’s no way this apartment could be this good witho-
There was a knock... It came again, pulling him to his feet. There was no denying it that time; it was his door. He shuffled as fast as he dared himself to hate, turned to a brisk limp as he reached the entrance, looking through the peephole. A woman stood outside, her red hair disheveled, clashing against her bright pink top and its assortment of cartoon critters. Her flannel pants at least were gray, them and her feet apologizing for the above in their dark green slipper glory. She heaved a sigh, and knocked one more time, smiling as he opened the door, the warmth of it reaching her teal eyes, making them shimmer. Her cheeks, also, warmed, rounded with the rest of her face. And portions of her body. Proper proportions, at that.
“Hi! Morning,” she said, offering her hand. “You must be the new tenant.”
“Nah. Just sort of followed the signs and broke in. Did you know they left it unlocked? Even left the keys; any random shlub could have broken in.”
He laughed, but she was slow to join in. She was quicker to pull her hand away, but the horse finally crossed the line. Her smile had faltered but, once she realized he was joking, returned to full, laughing with him.
“Right,” she said, drawing it out, and he could just hear an inflection of a southern belle under her thick West Virginian accent. “Well, I’m Bridget, your neighbor from down the hall. Thought I’d come say hi and welcome you to the neighborhood.”
“Thanks. Name’s Johnathon, but you probably knew that from all the-” The sign, at least the one on his door, was gone... He shook his head. “Anyways, call me Johnny.”
“Well, Johnny, I know it’s still early, but what say you come on over and we can talk. I just brewed a pot of coffee.”
“That sounds wonderful, but tell you what: you bring over a couple cups and we can break in my kitchen.”
She nodded, and left, leaving him to crease his brow and lumber into that nook. He decided to sit along the booth, leaning his head into the corner until she arrived –far too soon for his liking. He was almost asleep, but, as soon as she knocked, he sat upright again. He called her in, and waved for her to join. She sat in the booth with him, handing him a cup as she slipped her curvy body into the tight fit. The black nectar steamed, bubbling around a silver spoon, but it turned out she was carrying another item, hidden against the side of her magnanimous bosom. She set a wire basket down onto the table, housing a container of creamer and sugar, which he made use of. She didn’t, though, her coffee already a nice, tan color.
“Wasn’t sure if you needed them or not,” she stated, sipping hers.
“It’s okay. I’m a bit picky with it, like only a touch of creamer, little more than a teaspoon but not a half- oh, and no sugar. Cutting back on the sweets.”
“You? Really? That’s just rude, you know.” She giggled, but pouted her lip. “You’re skinny as a twig. I mean, look at me.”
He already was, but now that he had permission... She had exchanged her pink top for a tight green tank. Her chest bulged, quivered against the fabric, and was untouched by any bra. How they fought, attempting to push their way through the loose opening, stretching the fabric as much as they could. She had a bit of a pudge on her stomach, giving her waist a good bit of grip, but she was in shape overall. At least appealing, if his “judge” below was to be believed.
He yawned, taking his mind off of those at last, and stirred in the creamer. He tapped the spoon on the side of the cup before setting it on the table, as well. A single drop leaped from it, landing perfectly across on her shirt, staining, enticing him to further stare at that pale cleavage.
“So. Bridget,” he said, clearing his throat, “what are you doing up so early? Job? Kids?”
“Kids? No. Not even a man. Just got off... my job, I mean. Work at the local night school. Was getting settled in when I heard the pipes rattle -this place has paper-thin walls- so I came to check.”
There it was! Thank you! “No kidding?” He said. “I start there tonight. I mean, unless there’s more than one.”
“Around here?” She shook her head and giggled, wagging a finger as she set down her coffee. “And really? You start working where I and two other tenants from this building work? Small world.”
“I know, right? It’s as if this place was made for the teachers.”
“Nah... Can’t be... I heard you saw a lot of the world coming over, though. Washington, huh?”
“Good ole Washington. Brunt of jokes ever since those vampire movies, so how could I say no when I’m invited out of the blue to come here... Especially when they offered triple of my initial wage, got me this apartment, and covered all travel expenses? And I mean all; they had a car ready and everything after the red-eye. Talk about dedicated.”
“Huh. We weren’t given any of that when we applied... Any idea why they asked you, specifically?”
“None. I mean, I’m a decent enough science teacher I suppose, but if that places me as THE top pick for this area... That scares me a little. J... Just a touch.” He chortled, taking a long gulp of his drink at last, cool enough on the throat. “That’s a good blend... and I wasn’t going to argue.”
She hummed, biting her lip, and traced the rim of her cup with her finger.
“Yeah... Ron retired earlier in the year. He was our best science teacher. Others tried, but... Well, here’s hoping that you stick.”
“Anything I should know about th... Sorry... Weird time for a school, isn’t it?”
“It’s a school for... special students.”
“Special? How so?”
“They... Some can’t go to normally-scheduled schools. Others... are better attending this one.”
“Eighteen to twenty-five.”
“... They did know I was a high school teacher, right?”
“And you are still giving a high school education. You can just be a bit more... free with your scheduling.”
“So I saw. Six days instead of five...”
“It’s going to suck the first week, but you’ll get into the swing of it.” She picked up his cup, emptied, as well as the cream and sugar, giving him an ample view down her tank. Those fair ladies swung just a touch, their pale tips seeming to perk with the attention, keeping him up... and awake for that bit longer. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Johnny- Oh! Do you have a car? Do you know where the school is... Johhny?”
He shook his head and looked into her blues again at last, his cheeks a bit warm. A bit more awake than he was a moment before.
“Supposedly I have an escort coming later on in the day to show me the way. Orientation, all that fun stuff. After that, no idea.”
“Well, if you ever want to carpool, you simply have to ask.”
He nodded, and followed her to the door. He rested against its frame, saluting as she skipped (skipped?) away, disappearing into her apartment at the left end. How he loathed watching as the last of her bum slip inside, but he couldn’t argue that it wasn’t worth watching it leave. It even had a standing ovation.
However, it was as tired as he, and slipped away just as quick. He closed the door, yawned, and finally, at long last, began his dirge to the bedro-
There was another knock.
You. Cannot. Be s- He thought, began to think, cut off by another round of rappings. He turned around, looked through the peephole again. This time he was met with black hair, tied back in a ponytail, bright green eyes, made brighter by her purple lipstick and her paler skin, and a bad attitude. She scowled at the door, knocking, practically pounding i, jiggling her chest, barely kept in her black silk top. Skulls meshed, melded, clashed across it, tucked into crimson satin pants. She had no slippers, tapping away on the concrete outside of his door as he opened it.
Her scowl turned to a smile, as if just his presence removed the surface-level bitch, but the bitch would always be true deep down. She rested her hands on her hips, jutted her chest forward, making up for the space the door once held domain over.
“May I help you?” He grumbled.
“Just wanted to come say hi to my new neighbor,” she said, yawning, and offered her hand, as well –which, even how she flourished it screamed “overcompensating.” “Lola. I live in the apartment right next door. Heard you and Bridget talking and thought I’d say hi before hitting the hay.”
“Let me guess: you work at the school, too.”
“English? By the way, do you know what Bridget teaches?”
“English. All three of us d-”
“Thanks for ruining my introduction.”
A blonde pushed Lola aside, releasing the bitch once more. It was only a matter of time... Her hair was rolled into curlers, complimenting her white bath robe, also forced to endure her chest. It failed more than the others, though, the largest set so far, their light pink tips just seen, basking in their victory. She had wide hips, flaring the robes enough to show off her tanned thighs, leading to her rather large feet, all snug in their white slippers which would give any man a run for their money trying to fit in hem.
She cleared her throat, her blue eyes cold, and bowed, showing off more of her front- one actually flopped out.
“Tanya,” she said. “A pleasure.”
“Huh. So... Bridget... Lola... and Tanya,” he mumbled, flushing a little.
“Yeah? What about it?” Lola said, crossing her arms.
His mind came up with a retort, but it was slow enough thanks to how tired he was that he was able to bite it back, instead shaking his head.
“Like BLT, right?” She pressed, though, giggling, and rolled her hands to herself. “I might be the lettuce, but why not try and get your whip on this part of the sandwich before the others.”
“I... have no ide- So do you two want to come inside, as well? Have coffee?”
“Nah. I’m pooped.” She huffed, stretching, testing the limits of that shirt. He could just make out the underside of her lovelies through the fabric; she was the smallest of the three, but still far more supple than any he had been exposed to before. Must be something in the water in the area... Note to self: only drink bottled. “Just wanted to say hi, all that good stuff. Get you all hot under the collar before I go pass out. You’ll find out quick I don’t give a fuck –and that is also literal; go bark up another tree.”
She patted his shoulder, sneering at him, and sauntered away. She didn’t go too far, though, only a door to the right, leaving the wind to shut it behind as he heard her feet padding away on stairs... Tanya, meanwhile, entered his apartment. She simply... listed her way in, aimless yet focused. She drifted into the living room, weaved between the boxes, looking at them all yet none at the same time, head lulling the entire time. She passed the television several times, circling it four times as she mumbled before sprawling on the mound of boxes in the center. At least, from his angle, that’s what it looked like. The way fabric whispered, though, hushed, he hurried around and realized there was a couch there. It was made of coarse, blue material, but it appeared soft, contouring to her, accepting her into its folds, sighing as she splayed out on it.
Johnny, though, after that first sight, avoided looking any further. Her robe did nothing to hide her pink thong anymore, and that didn’t do anything to hide the forest under it. Not only that, the top part of it might as well have been loosed, her breasts sagging out of the white material, heaving in victory. Instead, he looked to the door, to the bedroom, glaring at how close yet how far it seemed.
Soon... He cleared his throat, and rolled his wrist her way.
“So,” he drawled. “Tanya was it?”
She hummed, yawning, and he heard her raise a touch.
“And you’re Johnny.”
He nodded, and hid his relief as she stood- only to have to fight harder as she pressed against his chest. She yawned into it, resting her head on it after, mumbling as she drew a figure-eight with her hand on his left pec.
“Did you enjoy my signs,” she asked... and he could feel the smirk cross her face. “Did you read the one at the end?”
“I did. That was a good one.”
“Thank you... I came back before the others so I could take them down. I’ve been up almost two days now... I know it’s a bit sudden, but do you mind if I stay? I’m too tired to walk back upstairs.”
“S... sure. Let me just clear the middle of the room. I can set up a makeshift futo-”
“Hmm? Why?” She drew harder on his chest, her nail digging in a little, creasing into his t-shirt. “Besides, this feels more comfortable.”
There was a third knock at the door, and for once Johnny sprang at the chance, practically sprinted to answer it. He threw it open, and, of course, as was the trend that day was going, another woman awaited. Her dark skin seemed to glow, gleaming in the sun, allowed a moment out from that overcast just to wash her in light, as if it knew she was his saving grace. No shirt hindered her bountiful chest, winning first place. Instead, a single, quivering, pink bra braced against them, pushing them together. Her rounded face was flushed, “pink” eyes unfocused, glassed, and her breath was hot on his collar as she fell into the apartment.
Glass clinked against the tile, the empty bottle of whiskey shimmering so, her hand still trying to cling it.
“Hey there, handsome,” she said, and flung her hair back, giving him a haughty look. Those locks were dyed white to the amber roots, shimmering more than her eyes, which was no small feat. “I’m drunk; let’s fuck.”
“Oh, not again Lily,” Tanya grumbled, pulling her away from Johnny. “Come on. Let’s get you home... Sorry, Johnny. Looks like we’ll have to wait another day.”
The two left, walking far straighter than what Tanya was letting on, and he couldn’t have closed the door fast enough. He locked it and made a mad dash to the bedroom, leaping from its entrance to the bed, crashing into its satin, rubbing his head against its pillows as the covers welcomed him into its embra- of course there was a fourth knock... of course... and it repeated again and again, over and over until he stormed back through the living room. He stomped through the entrance, every part of him feeling not but rage. He threw the door wide- but caught it so it could slow to a soft tap on the rubber nub, smiling, beaming at the person behind, cheeks aching it.
This woman had long, brown hair, left to its own volition. It whispered against the wind, stirring, forcing it to dance over her fair shoulders and before her face and its hazel eyes, as warm as her smile, making him feel like a real heel for the anger he had let grip him for her presence. She wore a loose blue top, which only affirmed his resolution to drink bottled water. It was pulled tight against her, though she had the second smallest set (yet), but was raised enough to show off her caramel-colored belly and its diamond stud at the navel.
“H-hi,” she said, her voice so soft. And foreign; almost a middle-eastern accent, dulled by her time here. “I’m-”
“A neighbor, right?”
“I take it I wasn’t the first, then.”
“If it’s any consolation, I already like you the most.” He chuckled, offering his hand. “Johnny. A pleasure, Missus...” Hopefully missus. Please let one of these women be-
“Miss, and please. Just call me Isiah.”
Of course... “Isiah? That’s pretty... and unique.”
“Not in my family. Actually rather common.”
“Well, I never heard it before... So...”
“Are you going to ask to have coffee or come in and chat or...”
“Oh. No. I just wanted to say hi. I had a late night-”
“The school, right?”
“Y... yeah... Oh! You must be the new science teacher.”
“That’s what they keep telling me. What do you teach?”
“Oh... I don’t teach...”
“Then what are y... You’re a student?”
She nodded, blushing. “I know... Must be silly for a woman my age to still need high school education, but...”
“Hey, I’m not here to judge. Just to teach. Plus, you don’t look that old.”
She brightened back up, and bit her lip, marring its cherry coat a little. He could have drank that image like it was a cup of coffee, but a yawn stole his sight a moment. She giggled at it, but answered with one in turn.
“You must have had a long flight,” she stated. “And a longer drive.”
“Nah... it wasn’t that bad. That is, after the TSA theater. They had a field day... Meanwhile, I slept the drive. Actually a bit scared by that, in truth; do you know of Convenient News Network, or is my TV the only one with it?”
“We all have it... I must say, it is eerily clairvoyant with its delivery, but after living with it for a few years, it has been a boon.”
“A ‘boon’, huh. You sure you aren’t older than you let on?” He chuckled, giving way to another, staggering yawn, but he hid it as him leaning forward, rolling his wrist at her. “Well, I won’t keep you.”
“You weren’t. Don’t worry... Can we have ‘breakfast’ later? Around 7?”
“If I’m awake by then, sure. I tend to sleep until the last minute.”
“Right... See you later, Johnny... Or Mr...”
“Blaze. Yes, yes. Skull on fire, that kind of thing, no big deal. Dad had a lot of fun naming me when I was born.”
“Is he still alive?”
“Yeah. A boring doctor. Mom’s still with him too. A cop.”
She shook his hand one last time, and he closed the door, toppling against it. He slid down it, looking out to the living room, to what awaited after so wistfully... but he didn’t want to tempt it any longer. It had already been a long day, and it hadn’t even started. Instead, he grabbed the rug beside, put his shoes under, and got comfortable, welcoming sleep at long last.