I came to this city for a fresh start; for a new beginning in which I could forget things.
I came to this city to escape, and wash away, the nightmares that lingered upon my heart and soul.
I came to this city not expecting what I found; not anticipating the kindness that dwelt here.
... I came to this city not expecting to run into someone like you.
"So you've worked in food service a bit then, eh?"
The words were that of a young woman and held a light Ulster accent as they flowered from her lips in a bit of sing song. She seemed impressed by the resume that had been placed before her and showed the emotion well by kneading at her defined jaw. The lass was tall, maybe 5'10" in passing, her most defining feature being a mass of ruddy brown - half shaved mind you - hair that was pulled into a low pony tail. It reached her shoulders and was kept peacefully in place beneath a snap-back cap holding a worn Pokemon logo. Her distinctive jade eyes etched over the papers within her hand a minute more before rising to meet the pair of moss greens staring at her impatiently. "Ever tended a bar? I've been looking for someone to watch over the place for a week or so thanks to my last one stealing brew. Yer cute enough to bring in customers too if you're up for the task."
"I have once ... and if you give me a shot I won't let you down!" The answering voice was also that of a woman, probably around the same age if not a bit younger, than the Irish lass. It was smooth and sounded confident as if she were a heroine from a fantasy drama filled with dragons and princesses. The girl was a smidgen shorter, probably two or so inches, but built just as sturdy as the female she conversed with; both were built like runners with lean muscles and straightened backs from proper posture. Unlike her counterpart, her hair was a deep brown with flecks of red highlights that reached down to her elbows in free wavy tendrils. This one's most defining features? Her large square, thick framed, glasses and her right arm which was filled with color from her wrist to her shoulder in ink.
Tulley, the owner of the pub known as Finnegan's, laughed wholeheartedly before extending her hand. "You don't look even twenty one, ya know. If I wasn't looking at your ID I wouldn't think you were twenty four, Isabella." The woman smiled, "You just moved here, right? Found a place to live in yet? I can't really have you working here and not sleeping in a bed."
"So you're giving me the job?!" A puff of excitement lit up the squared face of the spectacled woman, lighting her doll like features and porcelain skin as if the sun had kissed it. Something about this seemed to give the owner joy for she nodded in return and nodded towards a large cork board on the opposite side of the restaurant. Isabella, the young woman whom had been searching for work for nearly two days followed the other set of greens with mild confusion. "Izzy is fine ... and a bulletin board?"
Tulley nodded before crossing the space and motioning for her new hire to follow, "I let the folks around here post up things. It gives the locals free advertising and gives me a bit of a closer knit crowd coming by as well. We get apartment vacancies, local gigs for artists and music festivals, room-mate searches and the like so it's a nice resource with this being a heavy populated and rather diverse area. Matter of fact a friend of mine put of something yesterday looking for a mate." The twenty six year old nodded and pointed to a simple flier holding a small message and a phone number upon it. "He was forced out of his old flat and moved into a newly renovated space down in the ole ninth ward. He makes decent cash but doesn't want to dole out $1000 a month on a spot to live in, so he's looking for a roomy if you need a spot to sleep in." Whilst explaining Tulley extended the flier to her companion and nodded towards the number, "I can give him a ring if you'd like. He's a bit of a sour puss but he's a trust worthy guy. There's gentleman down there beneath all his sarcasm so he'd look out for you at least if you needed it."
Izzy had taken to looking over the message and reading it repetitively within her head: 'Guy looking for a roommate to split $1000 rent - male or female is fine. Two bedroom, two bath, apartment with huge kitchen/living area between. 1500 feet to share so call if you're interested and don't mind pets. Out a lot so you won't deal with me much.' It was a simple message that wouldn't strike up too much attention, and the last line came off almost as if it were reassurance to the interested party. Were there really people that didn't want to see their roommates? That, admittedly, was something she didn't understand for if you would live with someone it didn't make sense to not want to see them. "If you wouldn't mind I'll give it a go."
This seemed to give the other female satisfaction for she smiled and turned on her heel to head for a phone behind the bar. She was followed, however the inked young lady stopped to glance over the patrons and the vast quantity of liqueur on the bar's back wall. She'd spotted several brands she'd worked with before and a few that looked to be imports that she'd only heard of before her line of sight slipped to the beers on tap. Fifteen, so it wasn't a massive selection but larger than most places she'd entered had; some of it was local but most of it was clearly imported. She'd been ready to ask a question when a simple phone ringtone entered her ears mixed in with the sound of music from the jukebox to her left.
"Oi you're out earlier than normal. It's only seven you know, Fitz." Tulley sighed, hanging her phone up instantly as her large eyes shot past her new hire and landed upon a man several feet away. He'd stopped in the middle of the pub to look at his phone with a soured expression before lifting a pair of chocolate eyes laced with weariness. He seemed to be thinking over a retort as he stepped closer and sank into a sit on a bar stool, phone already safely within his back pocket, "Couldn't sleep." He leaned forward, placing his head within his left hand and used the bar-top for support. "Only day free this week and I can't sleep ... figures really."
"Found you a roomie." Tulley smirked before pointing towards the girl on his left and noting the spark of surprise that lit itself within him. "This is Reid, the writer of such eloquent words that you hold in your hand, Izzy. Seems like the devil knew we were knocking and sent him over ahead of time for us."
Isabella looked up from the flier and glanced sheepishly towards the pair of chocolates scrutinizing her; really he did match the description she'd been given: sour puss. He was better looking than she'd anticipated however, and this alone caused her to shell up as she'd done upon first meeting the pub's owner. She wasn't good with new people in general, and upon meeting another being she found attractive her social anxiety skyrocketed. The man at her right looked mildly interested and seemed to look her over before glancing back to Tulley and prodding his jaw, "She new or something?"
"I just hired her today. Poor thing moved here two days ago and been sleepin in her car." Tulley smiled and leaned forward, apparently playing at his Achilles heel.
Reid sighed before standing and returning to his 6'0" height; his voice was a medium baritone and much like he'd been described gave off a heavy blanket of sarcasm. Much like his friend his black hair was held securely to his head by means of a snap-back hat and cut in layers to press against his neck. His most defining features were his thin build and his left arm covered from shoulder to wrist in black and grey ink. It was a strange emotion that passed over his face as he glanced over the brightly colored right arm so close to his own, "If you want to see it it's three blocks away ... I can walk you over and back here if you want."
Izzy seemed to have taken interest in his colorless work as well for she'd nearly jumped from her skin when his words addressed her. Moss gaze yanking up she nodded, unable to force up her voice at first and simply clutched the paper in her hands. Her new boss seemed to take note of this and rounded the counter to extend her hands and push the two towards the door; clearly she'd noted the contrasting arm work upon first meeting the young woman and seemed to pass a smirk off at the look she'd been given in response to her actions by her friend. "He doesn't bite, Isabella. Just whines a bit so you have to get used to his demeanor, right Fitz?"
"Fuck you too." Reid hissed, already yanking away from the woman's touch and aiming out the front door.
Isabella laughed despite herself, which earned her a raised brow from the exiting man and a smug look from her female companion. "Thank you. I'll be back to get my car within an hour, okay?" She'd smiled as the words escaped and she aimed for the door, tossing a wave back towards the redhead. The twenty four year old closed the pub door behind her and paused momentarily as the smell of smoke hit her nose, "Camels?" This alone gathered her a piqued interest from the man waiting on her before he extended a pack towards her. "Ah I quit a couple years ago ... but I smoked Blues for a while so I remembered the smell."
"Don't mind it?" The blackhead spoke as he walked to his right, hands diving into his pockets without a second thought.
"No, it doesn't bother me." She'd taken stride, worried for a moment about being left behind, and simply started fiddling with the listing she still clutched. There was a strange silence that fell between she and the man on her right, one that was unsettling and forced her to search her brain for a topic. Izzy glanced over, taking note of his dress as if planning to strike up a conversation about his clothing; worn jeans and a faded shirt that held an old band logo with a sleeveless jean vest covered in patches. Music? He seemed to enjoy music ... "Um ... do you work with music?" It was a vast enough question to hopefully spar a bit of conversation ...
"Ever heard of the label ran by Fitzgerald?" He spoke calmly, dark eyes never leaving their spot ahead of them as they scanned the street before he crossed it quickly.
"You mean the producer that spits out artists overseas and ones in the electronic department over here?" She knew of it well, for many of the artists she heard frequently at festivals worked with the man. "He's really talented ... do you work for him? Or do you work with him with your music?"
"A bit of both." Somehow the topic seemed to amuse the man for the calm, almost bored look that had taken up his face vanished with a small smile of satisfaction. "I am him so I suppose I work for myself ... the label's music would be my music, so I suppose I work with him on my music too." Before he'd finished the twenty five year old stopped short, eyes large as his counterpart stopped in her tracks in the middle of a cross walk. "Oi, move before that truck plows you over!"
Fitz? Wait that was why Tulley was calling him such a thing?!
The brunette yanked her mind back to reality when the vehicle to her right honked loudly and the man leading her snapped out again for her to move on. Moss gaze lifting she'd taken a sharp breath and stopped again upon hitting sidewalk; there was no way that this guy was Fitzgerald ... right?! "Why the hell are you living in a renovated building? Shouldn't you be in a house on a hill then!?" This alone seemed to make the man laugh and nearly loose his cigarette. How such a thing was funny she wasn't sure yet she'd found herself pressing closer as if trying to understand, "Shouldn't you be behind a locked gate and such so that people don't intrude?"
"I'm not a terribly popular guy, hate to break it to you. Besides I'd rather live in the city where I can walk to things and my studio ... though a house on the beach would be nice one day when I retire." Reid laughed again, finally giving up on his cigarette as he took a final huff and nodded towards the next block over. "It's around the corner if you're still interested in sharing a spot. There aren't any reporters or such that loiter so you don't have to worry about privacy." This woman was a bit strange, and her reactions were over the top. "Besides wouldn't a big house draw more attention than a simple apartment in the older part of the city, Izzy?"
"I guess that is true." Speaking lowly she may have been whispering to herself for the young woman started forwards as if she knew where she was going, thinking over the issue at hand. It took her a moment before she'd realized she was no longer being lead or followed and stopped short, yanking her eyes around sheepishly. Isabella spotted the blackhead watching her with a quirked brow and lifted one of her own, "Um ... I don't really know where I'm going so ..."
"Eh? You looked like it a second ago."
The smirk that crossed his lips, much like the amusement that played his features were enough to cause her face to redden in embarrassment. For a moment she thought over her actions, as if analyzing them to understand his implications. Isabella yanked her attention upwards, finally coming to a decision as she started forward after the man. "I was simply thinking and forgot ... I tend to hyper focus when I'm thinking so ..." This seemed to force out another laugh, and light a small flicker in the cheeks of the male at her right. It was something she'd noticed briefly before he forced it to fade and crossed another street ... his face lit up when he laughed. He looked a lot better when he smiled and lost the bored scowl that seemed to be his resting face. Reid shook his head, "It's fine. I tease a lot."
The producer passed over another street corner before finally stopping short in front of an older brick building with five stories. He nodded for a moment towards the third floor before pulling a hand from his pocket and lifted it point towards a window near the center with a large balcony. "That's the place. It looks a bit worn on the outside but the appliances and the piping are new. It's got a nice feel to it inside thanks to the brick ... just a bit big for one person really." His eyes wandered over, as if expecting her to second guess the proposition upon seeing the building. Instead he was met with a look of awe and clear satisfaction; surprised the male continued on, "It's got a pin to enter the building and only stairs ... you can see the river on the other side of the apartment though from your room. I prefer city view so ..."
"There's a riverbank on the other side? Wow! Can I see the inside, please?" Despite her attempt to hold her excitement Izzy smiled, the action causing her cheeks to alight and the glow that had taken over her face upon her new job hire to return. For a moment her companion seemed at a loss for words before he cleared his throat and nodded before heading towards the door in silence. She followed him inside and up three flights of stairs before coming to a newly finished oak door that held the number 315 and a dark iron door knocker. Upon the door opening the sound of a dog barking filled the space and she watched in mild joy as a cheerful red and white Akita came bounding from the nearest bedroom.
"Zoey sit!" Reid laughed as the pup bounded around his feet as he closed the door before finally settling down as he gave her a command. Despite this the dog's tail wagged furiously and a small whine escaped before she started pawing at her owner's leg as if wishing for a head scratch. The male knelt down and rubbed her jowls lovingly before glancing to the pair of moss orbs watching contently, "This is Zoey. She's about two years old and is rather playful so you'll have to deal with her fluffy butt as well ..." This didn't seem to be a problem for he watched as the young woman leaned down and patted her hands together lightly, calling the dog forward. The Akita seemed to look towards it's master a moment as if asking permission and when he nodded towards the waiting brunette bounded upwards excitedly and skipped forwards.
"Oh you precious fluffy beast!" Izzy laughed, already scratching at the dog's back before leaning over to give the animal's neck a hug. "I had Chows growing up so she's most welcome. I love dogs, and cats really ... dogs are better cuddle material though." Glancing upwards she spotted the look she'd seen earlier upon his face and quirked a brow, "You seem like you're looking for a reason for me to reject the room you know ..." This seemed to quake the man's resolve for he shook his head abruptly and stood up to head further into the house, "Just warning you about the place is all. I don't want you to say yes and then a week later bail on me."
The answer was fair enough.
Isabella stood, giving the pup at her heels a last pat before following after her tour guide. He took her through the kitchen, which as he stated was large with a circular dining table within it and then into the den. The den as well was large and on a lower level than that of the rest of the apartment so one had to step down a few stairs to enter it. It was filled with shelved records and collectibles here and there and was furnished with a large couch, a small love seat, and two arm chairs. The TV that sat in a massive oak entertainment center had to be 60 inches or more and was attached to a collection of older, and newer gaming devices. These alone caused the young woman to take interest and want to step forward to look them over, as well as the hidden collection of games clearly tucked into the drawers lining the entertainment center. Reid finally paused and nodded back towards the kitchen and towards a small hallway where a full bath and a bedroom sat.
"My room and bath are on that side. Yours is on this side down this hall; it's empty at the moment so you can see that size well." He spoke bluntly and stepped up the few steps on the opposite side of the living space before taking a left to pause in front of a doorway. The young woman followed and poked her head inside a moment, taken back a bit by the size of the space she was being presented with. Reid cleared his throat a bit, "This is the master bedroom ... I took the smaller one on the other side. I don't have much need for a large room, or an attached bath so ..." He was ignored finally as the female pushed past and stumbled into the room to look around it in the fading sunlight.
Isabella stepped towards the large window with a small nook and a seat; she smiled as she looked down towards the river that snaked it's was through the city. The sun was reflecting off of it as it set and giving the large park on the other side a warm glow, much like the empty space behind her. For a moment she simply took in the view which her mind and heart found beautiful before turning to peek over her shoulder. Her fingers lifted and adjusted her glasses as a larger smile crept over her lips and the words that formed on her tongue slipped out softly, "Could I start moving in tonight then?" She'd spotted it again, the strange look that she couldn't quite place that had taken root in his features. It wasn't boredom, nor was it disgust ... it was more of a calm. Acceptance, maybe that was the word she was looking for as the male leaned against the door frame with crossed arms and nodded in response. Zoey bounded in finally, rushing past her master and jumped upon the window seat with a wagging tail. Her whine, much like the paw she'd lifted to nudge the girl's side brought a laugh out of the male across the room.
Reid smiled lightly, weariness still present within his form yet it seemed to have taken a back seat to contentment. "I'll walk you back and show you the parking lot if you don't mind giving me a ride. I can help you bring your things up when we get back here ... probably get something to eat at some point too." He spoke as if he were talking not only to the girl in the room but to himself, as if planning out his actions. "Haven't had anything since breakfast yesterday besides coffee so ..."
"Sounds like a deal."
Reid paused, the words he'd been ready to speak falling off at the smile he'd been given. He took to watching the woman interacting with his dog a moment, still mildly unsure of her presence in the old room much less his living space. Zoey liked her enough ... almost instantly which hadn't been a complete surprise. "Reid Fitzgerald."
Izzy looked up in surprise from his sudden outburst of his name and thought it over a moment before understanding, "Isabella Thompson. Nice to meet you."
I came to this place to escape things, and to leave memories that haunted me behind in my last home.
I came to this place for a fresh start; to start over from the beginning and sleep more.
I came to this place because it was conveniently close to work and the pub.
I came to this place ... and I did not expect for someone to warm it this soon.