1. inclined; disposed; given; prone
3. unusually intelligent; able to learn quickly and easily
4. suited to a purpose
see also: the shortening of the word 'apartment'
A/N: This is a side project I'm doing. It won't be very long, and I'll keep going with Borderline at the same time.
Alice Bathers kicked open the door of her Chevrolet and looked apprehensively up at the old, crumbling stone apartment building in front of her. The gilded letters above the door read "Wonderland Apartments - 154 Jabberwock Rd".
Alice was 21 years old, and had just moved out of her parent's house on the other side of town. Her things would slowly be moved out via her rusty old Chevrolet and her parents' roomier Honda over the next few weeks - for now, she had brought a suitcase of clothes and needed toiletries, plus her white rabbit, Sniff, in a rectangular wire cage on the passenger seat. Alice tied her long blonde hair back with a black elastic, straightened her cardigan and smiled at Sniff, who was cowering in a pile of sawdust shavings from the bumpy ride.
"Well, this is our new home," she told the rabbit as she pulled his cage out of the car, the edges bumping painfully against her knees. "Do you like it?"
Sniff twitched his pink nose fretfully. Alice sighed. "No, I don't like it much either. But it was the only way I was going to afford rent on my salary."
Alice left Sniff briefly in the lobby of the apartments, which had a low ceiling, a broken, lopsided chandelier, peeling fleur-de-lis wallpaper and patchy red velvet carpet. It looked like it had been a regal building until it had fallen into the careless hands of Time. When she returned with her suitcase and wallet, a little boy in a purple-striped jumper was leaning over Sniff's cage, poking a chubby finger experimentally through the bars. He looked up at her as she hurried over, saying, "Oh - please don't do that! Sniff is very nervous." The little boy blinked large eyes, and then grinned wider then Alice would have thought a child could smile.
"There are no pets allowed!" a squeaky man's voice called out across the lobby. Alice almost leapt out of her skin and whirled around. A short, portly man was scurrying towards her. He had thinning, mousy brown hair and watery blue eyes. He was wearing a dark blue polo shirt with an embroidered yellow crown over his breast.
"It was clearly outlined in your contract, Miss Bathers, that there are to be no pets in the apartment!"
Alice blinked. She recognized this man - his name was Elroy Hart, the lessor of Wonderland Apartments. She had met him several times for discussion and contracts and had thought him an all right person, though a bit nervous and rat-like. "My wife doesn't like animals." Elroy was saying, wringing his hands together.
"In my contract, it said no large animals. I was assuming you banned just cats and dogs." Alice felt a spark of panic. "Please Mr. Hart, Sniff is a good rabbit! He doesn't make a mess and he's very quiet and your wife won't even know he's there!"
Elroy's chin twitched and he glanced quickly around the lobby, as if his wife was suddenly going to pop out of the wall. "Fine," he said finally. "But if I see even a "hare" of that rabbit - " here he paused to chuckle briefly at his own joke. "Then out it goes."
Alice nodded quickly, took the keys from the lessor, and said, "You won't see my rabbit at all. I promise."
Elroy clicked his tongue and said, "For both our sakes, it's my wife you better not let see your rabbit. Now upstairs, quick, and stash his cage somewhere."
Puzzled, Alice turned, suitcase and cage in hand, and turned briefly to ask, "Um...where's the elevator?"
"You're kidding, right?" Elroy asked and, when he saw her serious face, snickered. "You'll learn that nobody uses the elevator." he said, pointing around the corner where the stairs started. Alice peered into the gloom, just making out the gate door of an old-fashioned, foreboding looking elevator. "Oh. Does it not work?" she inquired, and Elroy shook his head. "Oh no, it works."
Alice was about to ask him what he meant when he tapped the oversized wristwatch on his arm and bubbled, "Well, time to get back to work! Call if you need anything else, Miss Bathers!"
He was gone. Alice ventured closer to the elevator and stared at it hesitantly. It looked all right, perfectly normal - her new apartment was on the fifth floor, a trip Alice didn't want to make on foot after a post-secondary time's worth of instant noodles and cram sessions. "Well, if anything goes wrong I'll hit the emergency button." Alice murmured to herself. "I'm sure it'll be fine."
Sniff hiccuped. Alice pushed the up button and the elevator dinged immediately - Alice pushed back the heavy gating and pushed her luggage into the elevator before getting in herself and pushing the fifth floor button. As the elevator started to life, grumbling and groaning, Alice realized that something was wrong. The elevator was unusually cramped - not just because of her baggage but the entire elevator felt like a small rectangular box. Alice could lift her hand and touch the ceiling without fully extending her arm. The elevator was making its painfully slow ascent. Alice's breathing became shallower as the feeling of claustrophobia started to set in.
Just when she couldn't stand it anymore, the elevator dinged and Alice practically fell over herself to push the gate aside and get out. Taking a few deep breaths, Alice looked back at the elevator and shook herself. "What a weird place." she muttered under her breath.
Her apartment, 532, was located at the very end of the hallway. It had a fleur-de-lis eye peeper on the outside and the doorknob was tarnished brass. Alice fitted the key in the lock noisily and fumbled with it for a few minutes before finally getting it. "Here we go." she told Sniff, and opened the door.