Chapter Two

So This Is Home?

The apartment building wasn't big. Well, it wasn't really an apartment building. More like a three story house with a crappy yard and broken fence. The windows were kind of big, but there weren't all that many. There was a front porch, but it was basically a rectangle of concrete with four steps leading up to it. Their wasn't even a roof over the porch, just a little half umbrella over the door. Which was either a very nice color of off white, or very dirty… On both sides and along the top of the door were little bitty square windows. Stacked on atop the other, and then side-by-side above the door. It was kind of nice if not for the fact that about half of the five inch glass panes had been broken and replaced with cardboard or plywood, most likely duck taped in place.

Taking a deep breath, I pulled the key from the engine of Ol' Lover and shoved the door open. Falling out as ungracefully as I could without hurting myself, and slamming the door shut with a loud bang that almost sounded like a gun shot. Instead of grabbing a box, I just headed for the door. Unsure if it was the right place.

I walked the driveway slowly, taking in the cracked concrete and weeds that grew wild. It was kind of nice… In a run down way. When I reached the steps I was about ready to turn around and go find an motel room before it got dark. It was about seven so there was still plenty of sunlight, but…

I was at the door, to late to turn back now. I knocked swiftly, hoping some one was there.

Less than a minute later the door opened to reveal a young man, about twenty-two, with short blond hair and demanding blue eyes.

"Can I help you?" He asked in a husky voice. He seemed to be sizing me up. His eyes traveled from my head to my feet and back to my eyes.

"Yes, I'm Rachelle Hope, I called about the room a couple of days ago." I sounded breathless, which was really weird for me. I never acted that way around guys. Yes, even hot guys.

"Do you know who you talked to?" He asked with a frown.

"I think it was a Nigel."

"Nile!" He called over his shoulder. "There's a chick here about the room!"

"Rachelle?" Nile, I'm guessing, called back.

"Um," The guy looked at me. I nodded. "Yeah!"

"Bring her in, dude!"

"Come on in," He stepped back and allowed me through. "I'm Ricky." He smiled a half smile, crinkling the skin around his left eye.

"Thanks." I smiled back, scolding myself mentally for even thinking about blushing.

"Nigel is in the living room, just follow the hallway, it's to the left." Ricky pointed.

"Okay." I nodded as I started down the hall. There wasn't any lights, but I could see that there were a few pictures hung on the walls. At the end of the hall and to the left, just like Ricky had said, was the living room. The first think I noticed was that there were two sofas, one black and one a light gray. They both looked very comfy after my long truck ride. The second thing was the huge TV. It stood almost as tall as I was, on its stand, and covered most of the picture window behind it. Which, to me, seemed like a waste.

"Rachelle Hope?" A guy, most likely Nigel, pushed out of the black sofa and started towards me. "Hi, I'm Nigel Black. We spoke on the phone."

"Hi," I wasn't sure if it was just me, but the guys in this house were really hot. Nigel had shaggy black hair and hazel green eyes. He was only a few inches taller than I was.

"Well, your room is this way, on the second floor." Nigel started towards the hallway. "As you know that's the living room, across from it is the kitchen, feel free to sniff out something, but if it has a name on it, don't touch it."

Just before the hallway opened into the living room and kitchen, there was a slim brown door. It looked like a closet from the outside, but Nigel opened it to show a narrow staircase. It made me sick just think about going up them.

"It looks a lot smaller than it is." Nigel most have seem my face. "We're going to be making it bigger as soon as we get the money in."

"Okay." I reminded myself to breath. Nigel clicked his tongue before leading the way up the stairs. "So, you said you were a doctor over the phone. Did you get a job up here?"

"Yeah, there was an opening at a hospital not far from here."

"Cool. One of the guys here is a doctor. Maybe you'll work together."

"Maybe," I had the mental image of Ricky in scrubs… Not bad. "What do you do?"

"I'm in a band, lead singer and guitar." He strummed a few air-chords. I laughed.

"What's the name of the band?"

"Well, it's going back and forth between 'Fire Da'Light' and 'Late Night Fever.' Davy won't make up his mind, he's the manager slash producer."

"Fire Delight?" We came to the another door. Twenty steps? Really?

"Fire Da'Light," He corrected as he opened the door. "I like Late Night Fever better, but he thinks it's to long."

"I like that one too." I was looking around, taking in the second floor. It was mainly a hallway with four doors, each spaced decently away from the other. There were two close to the stairs Nigel and I had just come up, and two down at the other end of the hallway, closer to another door that was probably a bathroom.

"I'll tell him." Nigel smiled. "This is your room," He opened the door on the left of the hallway, I was glad that it was close to the stairs.

My room was pretty cool. It was the perfect size for a bed room and already had a bed and dresser. As well as a closet. The walls were white with little pink flowers. The floor was bare, but I could get a couple of rugs that would work for winter. The closet door was wooden and painted white. It had the downward blinds carved into the wood. which reminded me of countless scary movies. There was also a huge picture window that faced the front yard.

"The girl who lived here before left the bed and dresser. She also did the walls herself. No one wanted to mess with it, so we left it." Nigel shrugged.

"What happened to her?" I was half afraid to ask.

"She moved to Canada with her new husband."

"Oh," Yay! She didn't die here!

"Well, there's one bathroom on the first floor and one on the third," Nigel explained. "If you have an problems with the plumbing look for Patrick. If you have problems with the lights or plugs, then look for Harrison. Anything else look for me. Any questions?"

"Is Ricky Patrick?"

"Yes."

"Okay. Is there anyway I could get someone to help me bring up my thing?"

"I'll help, Ricky might look all big and muscle-y, but he can't even change a tire." Nigel smiled.

"Great." We spent the next twenty minutes carrying boxes from my truck, to the house, then up the stairs. I was glad I didn't have much to pack. Just my clothes, must have books and random items of interest. Some kitchen stuff, some bathroom stuff. Random nick-knacks. Twenty framed pictures of mom; mom and me; me and my old friends; one of my father. Nigel carried that box up.

"You know," He said after setting it on my bed. "If you want to, you can hang some of these in the hall way down stairs. We've all got pictures of out family's."

"Cool." I nodded, fixing the nick-knacks just right on the dresser. "I might do that."

"How long are you planning on staying?"

"I make it a point of not making plans. They always backfire on me." I shrugged. "Hey, there's a name for your band. Backfire." Nigel laughed.

"I'll have to throw that one in!" He looked around the room. "You don't have much stuff."

"I left most of my not-so-important things in Virginia."

"Oh, do your parents live there?"

"No," I plopped down on the bed. "My father lives in Australia, and my mother passed away a few months ago."

"Oh… You seem to be handling it well." He seemed uncomfortable.

"I am. She taught me to be strong." I smiled. "Thanks for not apologizing."

"My dad died in a car crash when I was fifteen. Everyone kept telling me they were sorry… It annoyed the hell out of me."

"I know the feeling." I had to bite back a laugh.

"Anyway. If you need anything, just come and find me. For the most part I stay down stairs. But I sleep in the last room on the right with my girlfriend, Amelia."

"Thanks."

"No problem," He nodded, he seemed to be trying to think of something to say, but couldn't. "Good night."

"'night" I watched him leave the room before looking at the seventeen boxes around me. Ten were filled with clothes. Two with random stuff. One of pictures. One half full of newspaper covered nick-knacks. Two full of books. And one had blankets and pillows.

"So this is home?" I breathed to myself. "Well mom," I picked up a picture of her and me. She was smiling at the camera while I had my arms wrapped around her neck and kissed her cheek. "Wish me luck." I sat the picture on one of the two nightstands.

Down stairs I found my way to the bathroom, it was just across the hall from the stair way. I found the light switch and flipped it up… Nothing happened.

"Crap," I flipped it up and down a couple of times before giving up. I turned towards the living room.

"Is the light acting up again?" the voice was behind me, I jumped and turned around. He was tall, with short, dark hair. His eyes were soft and brown, the perfect shade for his face. He had a slight tan, and wasn't even looking at me.

"Um, yeah." I watched as he pushed by me to try the switch.

"I'll go grab a couple of bulbs. You might want to try the third floor bathroom, though." He finally looked at me. A slight smile tugged at his lips. "You the new girl? I'm Harrison." He held out his hand.

"I'm Rachelle." I couldn't believe it. Three amazingly hot men in the same apartment building. There had to be a catch. "I could get the bulbs…"

"I keep them in my room, I'm the lighting of the house." I got the feeling he didn't find me as interesting as I did him. "I'll see ya around."

"Yeah," I nodded, watching him climb the stairs. Rolling my eyes, I headed towards the kitchen.

"Hey, you met Harrison," Nigel called from the living room.

"He's getting bulbs for the bathroom." I gawked at the kitchen, half expecting the sink to be full of dirty dishes, the stove to be sticky and covered in pizza boxes, and everything to have a fine layer of crude, but that wasn't the case at all.

"Yeah, he's a little weird that way. He got lighting, Ricky got plumbing and I got everything else." Nigel was still talking. "Which is mainly cleaning, Amy helps me out. She's my girlfriend."

"That's cool." I couldn't believe how everything looked. The kitchen was painted a soft pale, pasty yellow. The stove was black. The fridge was white. The cabinets had the plastic-like paper that looked like wood. The sink was doubled and silver. The floor was hard wood and barely scuffed up. I couldn't believe it.

"Nice, huh?" Nigel said from behind me. I jumped. "Sorry." He laughed.

"I have to say I'm impressed." I looked around again, this time noticing the two microwaves and a coffee maker.

"Cleaned it just this morning." Nigel nodded. "But it isn't always this clean. You should have seen it last night. Amy got a part in a play-we celebrated."

"Can I ask a question or two?"

"Yep."

"Are you guy vampires?"

Nigel laughed. "That's the first time I've heard that one." He chuckled. "I'm not, but I could tell you with Harrison. He sleeps all day and works at night most the time. I'm almost surprised he's up now."

"So no one will try and turn me in the middle of the night?"

"No one will hurt you here."

"Okay."

"Where did you say you were from?"

"Virginia." I didn't want to go into the fact I was born in Australia and only moved to the states a few years ago.

"Wow. Nice drive, huh?"

"Oh yeah. But Ol' Lover got me here pretty good."

"Ol' Lover?"

"My truck," I shrugged. "I named him that 'cause he's an old truck, but I love him."

"Nice."

"I like to think so." I opened the fridge, looking through the stuff if only to give me something to do. The top shelf seemed to be normal house-hold items, Milk, eggs, mayo, hot sauce, cheese, pickles and two bottles of beer-one half full. The second shelf was mainly leftovers in sealed bowls. The bottom shelf, however, was filled with drinks. Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Pepsi, and two twelve packs of canned beer. "You guys look about ready for another party." I commented as I closed the fridge.

"Yeah, well… We like to be ready." Nigel shrugged again. His hazel eyes sparked playfully.

"I think I'm going to enjoy it here more than I thought I would." I smiled.

"I hope so."

The rest of the evening was spent unpacking. I put all of my clothes in the dresser, except my one dress, to which I hung in the closet. All of my nick-knacks were placed on top of the dresser and nightstands. I had brought my old bookshelf so I had Nigel help me carry it up the stairs and into my room. We put it next to the closet. I slipped all my books into place, I'm a little OCD so they were alphabetized by author and title. Since I didn't have all that many books, I put a lot of my pictures up with them.

It was about eleven when I left my new room. My stomach was demanding food and I needed to get something's from the store. I was just shutting my door when I bumped into someone.

"Oh! I'm sorry!" I turned to see Harrison. He was also leaving his room.

"It's fine." He said, but his voice told me other wise.

I wanted to say something, but what could I? We stood there awkwardly for a moment. Neither saying anything. I was mainly toying with my nails. He looking at the floor.

"Well," I said after the moment was up. "I've got to run to the store. Do you know where the closest one is?"

"There's one about two miles from here. Just go left and follow the main road. You can't miss it."

"Thanks." I nodded, feeling awkward again.

"Sure." He turned and headed towards the third floor door. I sighed before turning to the first floor door. Wondering what I had done that pissed him off.

Once out of the tiny closeted stairs, I turned towards the door. But a few pictures caught my eyes. It was up in my room clearly, the view out the window was the same. In the picture was a beautiful blond with demanding eyes as white as frost and a smile any model would kill for.

The next picture was of the living room. Nigel had his arms around the shoulders of a foxy dark hair girl who sat in his lap. Harrison sat beside them with an arm around the shoulders of the model girl from the last picture.

With a sigh I left the house. Sure that the reason Harrison didn't like me was because I was in his ex-girlfriends room.

"Great," I mumbled as I opened the driver door to Ol' Lover, "haven't been in town twenty-four hours and I've already pissed someone off."

I turned the key and, as soon as Ol' Lover stopped complaining, pulled out of my parking place and started down the road. Hoping I could find something to eat before my stomach killed me.