Next Door:

For some reason when you're looking for something it's always in the last place you'd think to look.

A man enters a subway station, alone and forlorn…feeling lost deep in his heart. He thinks he'll be this way forever; he's anxious as a minute rolls by after another.
"Patient is a virtue. Wait, wait. They'll come along; I'll catch her eye…the one staring at me from across the way. I have to, I'll look out for her." He mutters under his breath to himself.
He is tall, almost too tall and gangly with a bit of an athletic build. He runs in the mornings till his cheeks burn red and his shoulders ache; he's always run. Women smile at him when they pass, but of course they would…he is after all a tall man, young and peachy skinned, with dark wavy hair that shines golden in the sun. But their eyes never meet his, though they are beautiful and kind hazel eyes. They never look at his eyes because they see his heart that he wears too proudly, his desperate heart.
He ran away from home when he was seventeen, bitter from his father's abuse and his mother's disappearance so many years before. And now nearly nine years later he stands alone in a subway station muttering to himself.
He's only ever loved a girl once, but she never knew…that's the other reason why he left home, he could never tell her. He doesn't recall her name or her appearance, but he does remember he loved someone once.
He waits quietly at the stairs where he entered, watching as people rush in and out of the station. But no one looks at him, not at his eyes.
A young girl, who could be a woman but refuses to acknowledge the fact, peeks at him from behind a pillar for the third time. She is young and small, her hips full and her chest small; those that walk by pay no attention to her because to them she seems an adolescent. She's has yet to fall in love, not a man or a boy has ever said they liked her even…but a lingering feeling stops her from going home as she sees the man near the stairs. Now suddenly she feels lonlier than she's has ever felt in her life, she needs him.
She is a very beautiful girl, though she has grown up never knowing so. Her life before this is sporadic…which caused her to become an introvert. She is afraid of men because of how her father was; but truly at heart she has always been a romantic.
She just moved to the city some months ago on her birthday; her eighteen year old sister came along who is fifteen months younger.
Someone, a large man in a hurry, runs into her and she falls dropping her groceries, "Hey!" she yells out to him, but he's already gone.
She moves her long black hair out of her face and begins to pick up the food. People walk by looking down at her, but no one helps. "No one ever helps, no one ever cares." She mumbles sadly to herself.
Once all the food is back in the paper bag she shoulders her purse and stands. Instantly she feels pain in her ankle, "Ah…" she groans as she limps over to the stairs.
She looks around shyly for the man near the stairs, her deep brown eyes searching for him. He's not there anymore, but he's coming towards her his eyes on hers.
He smiles at her sheepishly, and it's as if her heart jumps out of her chest, "Do you need some help, you took a pretty nasty fall back there." He says as he takes the sack of groceries from her and her arm to steady her.
"Oh…you saw me, did ya? Thanks, I think I just twisted my ankle is all." She says shyly, her cheeks flooding a deep red.
He smiles even more at her reaction and feels something like butterflies in his stomach. "Do you live close by, I'll help you to your door." He asks; his heart no longer feeling lost.
"D-down the street and around the corner next to the Laundromat." She said her voice shaky.
He watches her tuck a black lock behind her ear, her hand so small and golden…there's no other word for the color of her skin but golden. "Oh, great. I live in the same building, what apartment are you?" he asks staring at her, swallowing up and memorizing every bit of her.
She looks up at him, "308." She says; her pink lips in a grateful smile and her deep brown eyes happy.
"You're kidding, right?" he asks overjoyed.
"No, really…why?" she laughs.
"We're neighbors." He laughs.
"Nice to meet you, neighbor." She grins as she puts out a hand.
"Nice to meet you, too." He grins back as he shakes her too small hand.
They enter their building and use the elevator that is for once completely empty.
"What's your name?" he asks curiously with a smile.
"Vera…Eliu." She says happily as she bites her lip, blushing again.
"Thome Carter…but you can call me Tho." He says, his eyes focused on her pink lips, he licks his hungrily.
She looks up into his eyes then, her cheeks still red. He leans in to tuck a piece of hair behind her ear. He trails a finger along her cheek and traces her top lip. He lowers his head till their eyes are level with each others. "Would it be wrong if I kissed you…?" he asks quietly as his eyes flash to her lips.
"…no." she manages to say before their lips meet.
She pulls herself closer into him, her hands resting on the nape of his neck. He pushes her up against the elevator wall, his hands weaving into her hair. He trails his hands down her arched back to her full hips, he feels her breath catch as he crushes his hips into her. She gets on the tip of her toes and pulls at his shirt, wanting him closer, he smiles into the kiss at that.
It is her first kiss and she feels as if her lips will melt and like she can't breathe, but she can't stop…won't. But the elevator doors opening stops them.
"Guess this is our stop." He says out of breath as he lets go and picks up the bag of groceries.
"…yeah." She sighs, slightly dizzy and out of breath as well.
They walk down the hall a bit, both taking out their keys. They both stop at 308, she puts the key in the door knob and unlocks it.
"I'll see you around…?" he says as he hands over her groceries.
"Yeah…and, thanks again." She says her cheeks red once more.
"That's what neighbors are for." He says as he unlocks his door.
"See ya." She says as she opens her door.
"Vera…?" he asks shyly.
"Yeah?" she says, happy that he's called her name.
"Could I take you on a date sometime?" he asks blushing.
"Definitely. I'd love to go on a date with you, Tho." She says, overjoyed.
"Great…cause, I think you're the one." He smiles.
"Ya, know, I think so too." She grins.
"Then Saturday at seven, I'll knock on your door for you." He grins, ecstatic.
"I'll be waiting." She sighs.
"Till then." He chuckles.