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The Boy Next Door


Mark needed a new roommate and you needed a new place. But did both of you get more than you bargained for?

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Roommates Wanted

Jackson entered the apartment excitedly, holding a bunch of folders in his hand as he shouted for his roommate’s name. He was surprised to hear no reply since he knew Mark was in there before he left. He walked to Mark’s room and opened the door, finding the elder sitting by his gaming computer with the headphones on. No wonder he didn’t hear Jackson calling out for him. Jackson walked over to Mark and did something that no one else would be brave enough to do - he turned the computer off.

“What the hell?!” Mark yelled out as he took the headphones off. “I was playing. You know the rules Jackson!”

“I do know the rules,” Jackson scoffed. “I did help you come up with them after all. But, I told you we needed to do something important and made sure to tell you not to go on the computer until we did this. Am I wrong?”

“No,” Mark scoffed this time. “What’s so important that couldn’t wait anyway?”

Jackson grabbed Mark’s arm and dragged him to sit down by the coffee table in their lounge room as Jackson sat on the other side. He neatly organised the folders he had on the table, while Mark watched him curiously.

“What are these?”

“A list of potential candidates.” Jackson beamed.

“Potential candidates? For what?”

“For your new roommate of course!”

“Jackson,” Mark whined and he rubbed his face with his hands. “I don’t need these. I don’t need a new roommate.”

“Did you forget I was moving out?” Jackson asked, but didn’t wait for Mark to answer. “You can’t afford this place on your own.”

Mark sighed again before finally picking up the first folder. Jackson was right, he was going to move out with his girlfriend Irene soon, and Mark definitely can’t afford this place on his own. He had just been delaying the inevitable because, he really didn’t like sharing his space with just anybody, and he didn’t want to admit that he would miss Jackson. They were best friends after all.

Mark sifted through the files and didn’t find one single suitable candidate. They were either too boring, too loud, too full on and too lazy. Jackson sighed each time Mark rejected a candidate. He knew Mark was picky, he just didn’t realise the extent of it.

“I move out in a week, Mark,” Jackson reminded him gently. “You need to choose someone by then.”

Mark agreed before heading out to his shift at the local bar.

You were finally ready to head out to your shift at the cafe, when you looked at the mirror to check your appearance one last time. You sighed before grabbing the lint roller and using it on your clothes to remove the cat hair. This was getting out of hand and you really needed to have a word with your roommate about it.

“Jaebeom, you need to do something about this,” you addressed your roommate who was lounging on the couch. “You can’t keep letting your cats come into my room and go on my clothes.”

“It’s not like you have to worry about it much longer,” Jaebeom looked at you. “Your lease is up soon.”

“What about your next roommate? Don’t tell me you plan on torturing them too?”

“I’m not having a new roommate,” he scoffed. “As soon as you move out, I’m turning that room into the cats’ room.”

You looked at your best friend in shock at his plan. You wanted to shake him out of this stage that he was on. You loved him and deep down you loved his cats, but this was getting ridiculous.

“Jaebeom, you are worrying me,” you walked up to him and ruffled his hair. “But I have to go. We’re going to have to sort you out another time.”

“You love me,” he smirked. “And the cats.”

“Yeah, I do. But if they go on my clothes again, I will feed them your music sheets.”

The look on Jaebeom’s face was priceless and you couldn’t help but laugh before waving goodbye and walking out the door.

Working at one of the busiest cafes in town, meant that it was always full of customers. Sometimes it was filled with customers who were filled with character. You always expected them, so that you were prepared to act if necessary. What you didn’t expect though, was to spot your friend and coworker Jackson sulking by the counter when his character was the happy one. It had thrown you off.

“What’s the matter with you?” You asked him as you donned your apron on and prepared to get started.

“I’m worried about Mark,” Jackson sighed.

You’ve heard Jackson mention Mark before. He was Jackson’s roommate and best friend. You also heard about him from Jaebeom, because you all attended college together, though you’ve never seen Mark. It was probably because the trio were music majors while you were all the way on the other side of campus, as an English major.

“What’s wrong with him?” You asked curiously.

“I’m moving in with Irene in five days, and we haven’t found a roommate to replace me.” Jackson explained.

“That’s relatable,” you laughed.

“What do you mean?”

You explained to Jackson about your situation with Jaebeom. You were worried that he was going to turn into a crazy cat lady when you moved out. You hadn’t minded the cats, but when he adopted a seventh one, you knew you had to leave. You were going to go crazy.

“He can move in with Mark then!” Jackson said excitedly.

“That’s not happening,” you shook your head at him. “Jae can afford to live on his own, so he has no plans to leave that apartment. Plus, he already planned to make my room into the cats’ room. I wouldn’t want to put that on Mark.”

“Ugh, this is so frustrating,” Jackson groaned. “Anyway, I’m glad you’re finally moving out of there too. I know Jaebeom is your best friend, but I was worried about you turning into a cat lady too. Where are you moving to?”

“I haven’t found a place yet,” you shrugged. “My lease isn’t up for another month.”

You watched as Jackson stared at you in question, before watching his face light up and he started cheering and jumping up and down.

“You can be Mark’s new roommate!” Jackson said as he hugged you.


“You can be my replacement!”

“That’s not a good idea.”

“Why not?” Jackson asked. “It solves both of our problems!”

“Has Mark ever lived with a girl?” You questioned Jackson and he declined. “Exactly. This isn’t going to work.”

“On the contrary, I think it works perfectly,” Jackson countered. “The both of you are the same. You like it quiet, but not too quiet. You like your own space and so does he. He’s not like Jaebeom, and he has no cats. You wouldn’t even know he was there.”

“I don’t know Jackson,” you replied even though you were almost saying yes. You were desperate to move out.

Jackson looked at you with his puppy dog eyes that he knew you couldn’t resist. You rolled your eyes before saying that you were definitely considering it, but he needed to pitch the idea to Mark first to make sure the guy was okay with it. You didn’t want to be left out in the cold with nowhere to stay if he didn’t agree.

That night, Jackson rang you to let you know that Mark was fine with you moving in, which worked out for you, because you had already pitched the idea to Jaebeom who was all for it. Jaebeom informed you that Mark was a great guy, and that you wouldn’t have any issues at all. You had to discuss the rest of the rent, because Jackson needed you to move in, in a few days and Jaebeom told you not to worry about it. He would take care of everything.

You laid in bed, thinking about the move. You closed your eyes hoping that everything would be okay.

Nothing could go wrong, right?

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