first impressions by phoenix.writing

6 Jun

Susanna stalked around the house, peering into closets and cupboards, inspecting the bathroom, and even peeking behind the sofa and looked in the oven before she offered her final verdict.

“Nice place. Not bad for a starter home.”

Jon made a face at her.  “We’re awed and humbled that you’ve taken the time to give us that verdict, Suze.”

She waved this aside with an airy hand.  “No, seriously, it’s quite decent.  I’d say something about the lovely decorating upstairs, but I’m afraid that might come across as a rather clichéd observation.”

Deadpan, Mike pointed out, “We’ve been watching lots of episodes of Colin and Justin’s Home Heist.”

Jon snorted, and Susanna laughed.  It was the first time that Mike had spoken since she’d got here, and while she knew that one sentence didn’t mean that he’d warmed up to her entirely, it was still a step in the right direction.  Mike didn’t appear to be big on family gatherings, but she knew it was important to Jon that they get along.  Since she’d heard enough to know that Mike was normally the outgoing one, she realized that there was more going on here than she was aware of, but all she could do was try to set him at ease as best she could.

It had been she who had pointed out that if they moved into a house together, they weren’t going to be able to avoid family forever, and Jon appeared to have decided that she was the least objectionable—or perhaps that one sibling was proportionally safer than two parents at once.

“That explains it,” she agreed.  “And I’m reminded that I haven’t seen outside yet.”

Justin always made her think of flowers.  She headed out the backdoor to peer around.

“Not exactly a yard.”

“Less upkeep,” Jon pointed out immediately.

It had all been paved so that each row house had parking.  Not a bad way to do it, she supposed.

“Now the front.”

“You came in the front,” Jon pointed out.

“And now I want to see it again.  It works in conjunction with the interior.”

They seemed to decide it was better not to argue, so they trooped back into the kitchen, through the living room, and out the front door, where Susanna inspected the façade of the house and the small lawn.  Then she turned to Mike.

“I hope you have a green thumb,” she said as she gestured at what should have been a garden in front of the house.  “Jon’s useless.”

“I’m quite handy with all my fingers, thumbs included,” he told her with a wink.

A faint blush had spread across Jon’s cheeks, and Susanna was quite sure that she and Mike were going to get along splendidly.

Looking further down the row of houses, comparing the lawn competition, she frowned.

“Doesn’t the landlord take care of the vacant ones?”

They peered past her.

“Oh, that one’s not vacant.”

“Scold the tenant for failing to come up with a plan while on vacation, then?”

“Tenant’s probably home right now,” Mike said.  “Rumour has it there’s a tenant/landlord dispute, and he refused to move out for renovations.”

Susanna eyed the wild area.  “And is that an attempt to grow an impassable jungle so no one can get in to evict him?”

They laughed.  “Possibly.  Next door’s even offered to mow for him and been refused.”

“Wow.  We’ll hope the maturity of the rest of your neighbours is a little higher.”

Her attention was caught in the other direction by two women who were taking multiple photos down at the end of the row.

“They look like they’re casing the joint.”

Jon shook his head.  “Prospective tenants.”

Mike nodded.  “Far too enthusiastic to be thieves.”

“So the one on the end’s empty?”

“And the one next to it.”

“And you guys just got this one?”

“And the family next to the jungle down there just moved in, too.”

Susanna counted the houses in the row.  “So … there’s asbestos in the walls and that’s why you got it for so cheap and the turnover’s so high?”

Jon rolled his eyes and shook his head.  “The owner just sold them.  Ended up with several different landlords, and they’ve been fixing the places up.”

“We’ve been told it’ll settle,” Mike added, slinging an arm over Jon’s shoulder.  “Mostly we’re just hoping we wind up with neighbours who don’t mind if we’re having sex all the time.”

Jon coloured again, and Susanna grinned.  “At least I know my big brother will be having fun until you’re kicked out for noise violations.”

Mike laughed, and Jon cleared his throat loudly.  “Okay, and that ends the discussion of my love life.  Thanks for coming, Suze, and we’ll invite you again for the proper housewarming once everything’s set up.”

“Why do I get the feeling that I’m being hurried away?”

“That would be because you are,” Jon said, colour still high.  “We’ve still got lots of unpacking to do.”

Mike leaned closer to her and spoke low enough that she doubted Jon could hear.  “We’ve got to christen all the rooms.”

They grinned at one another, and Jon looked at them suspiciously.

“It sounds like you’re going to be very busy,” Susanna managed with nearly a straight face.  “Have fun.”

“Oh, we will,” Mike promised.

Jon rolled his eyes, waved goodbye, and tugged the other man back into the house.

She offered them a last wave and headed for her car.  She doubted that much unpacking was going to get done in the near future, but she was delighted that Jon was so happy.  They made a cute couple, and she’d be sure to get them large flowers for the housewarming and tell them she expected them to wear them as boutonnières.


Jon and Mike have been seen before in Bills, Books, and Blue Eyes as well as The Ties that Bind.


2 Responses to “first impressions by phoenix.writing”

  1. ingridfnl June 7, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    Love it. As usual. It felt really intimate and real. Great dialog!

    • phoenix.writing September 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

      Thanks. 🙂

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