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The Boy Next Door

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If there was something Astrid hated, it was moving away from her nice and comfortable appartment in the heart of the city to live in an suburban home in a neighbourhood far removed from a different city and leaving both her school and her friends behind. It might be a little specific, but it was true.

Her mother had gotten a promotion at work and her daughter was happy for her. She really was! She just didn't understand why that meant they had to move.

Sure, their appartment was a little small, but it was just the two of them. They didn't need that much space. They lived close to her school, to the mall, to the supermarket, to the gym, even to the hospital! Where they used to live was perfectly fine for a single mother and her only child. Plus, all of her friends lived in her area!

They hung out together almost daily, walked to school together because it was just that close by, met up often for homework, exercised together, ... Now what was she going to do? How was a girl supposed to stay active now?!

Astrid had to admit though, her mother had chosen a gorgeous house. She might've even loved it if it hadn't been for the fact that she had to leave behind all that she knew and loved.

There was a lot of space, the people who had lived here before them had obviously taken great care of it, the wallpaper was pretty and modern... It honestly wasn't a bad place to live in. Astrid just missed her friends, missed life in the city in general, she missed her best friend, Heather. Though the girl had certainly promised to come for a visit.

It was too quiet here. Nothing ever happens in the suburbs. That was why all the good tv-shows took place in cities. There was not a hint of the bustling life she had gotten so used to there and it was unnerving.

"Astrid, will you please grab some of those boxes? Otherwise we'll be unpacking for days, Honey!" Her mother requested her help and Astrid did not suppress a sigh as she stood up from the porch and pulled her earbuds out of her ears.

"Okay, mom." She let her displeasure be known even as she agreed to help. Stuffing the phone with her earbuds wrapped around it into the pocket of her jacket, she went for the car to grab another one of the last boxes. The moving van had already brought most of their stuff over. All that remained were the last of their things, unpack them all, and they'd be officially moved in.

Astrid was not looking forward to it.

A box or two aswell as one text exchange with Heather later was when one of her new next door neighbours opened their front door to leave the house. Astrid, as she removed another box from her mother's car, didn't pay much attention to them.

She'd say 'hi' another time, if it ever came to that. Meanwhile her mother, just as blond as she was, was already unpacking in the living room. She thought it would make things move a little faster. They didn't have all day, after all.

It wasn't until she heard a phone ring, papers dropping and someone equally as young stopping themselves from cursing that she bothered to look up.

The boy she saw couldn't have been much older than thirteen, judging by how short he seemed to be, with limbs as spindly as willow branches and brown hair that probably wasn't as short as its volume seemed to suggest.

"Oh! Hey, Hiccup! Is your father home?" Her mom came outside at that exact moment and the boy seemed to answer to... 'hiccup'. Looking up, he gave the woman a crooked smile before approaching with a tighter hold on what looked like a sketchbook and some art supplies.

"Uhm, no, my dad isn't home at the moment. You need him for anything?" This 'Hiccup' walked closer to the hedges that separated their front yards and Astrid found herself losing her grip on the box she held.

Not only was his name 'Hiccup', honest to God 'Hiccup', but he had the sort of dorky appearance that you would expect from him. Lanky body, freckles, teeth, chubby cheeks and all.

But then there were his eyes.

His green, green, forest green eyes.

And Astrid found herself staring.

How dare he? Who gave him the right to have such gorgeous eyes? The poor girl found herself captivated and could not look away no matter how much she tried.

It was only when the box did eventually fall from her hands and landed on her own toes that Astrid could finally tear herself away from his gaze.

Cursing and jumping at the weight crushing her toes, she decided that this was definitely the worst way of meeting a boy. They had barely exchanged a word and already she was embarrassing herself. Hiccup was staring at her.

It was when she went down to her knees to pick up what she had dropped that she stopped herself and wondered just why she was already worried about what this complete stranger thought of her.

Hiccup was cute sure, downright adorable even, but Astrid would rather wait and see whether he turned out to be an asshole or not. Until then she would not care a bit.

"You need help moving? I have nothing to do." He suggested with a shrug when the girl straightened herself, box once again in her hold.

And it seemed, Astrid just noticed, he had a hard time looking at her.

As subtle as he attempted to be, with his head somewhat downcast and his gaze moving to the corners of his eyes to look at her, Hiccup was definitely sneaking shy glances at her. And he utterly failed at the sneaky part.

"That... would be really helpful, Honey! Thank you!" Her mom decided to accept the boy's offer for help and Astrid felt her heart skip a beat as Hiccup walked away to leave his sketchbook inside his own home

Her mom had just called Hiccup 'Honey'. She used that little petname! And the only boys she had ever used it on were either her friends or the one or two short relationships she's had! And she used it on Hiccup!

Astrid only snapped out of her shock in time to notice her new neighbour passing her by with a box in his fishbone arms and a small limp. She had almost asked what that was all about when her mother stopped her, resting her hands on her shoulders as she pulled the girl closer to her.

"Adorable little thing, isn't he? And the best part? Not only is he going to your new school, but he's in your year." At that did Astrid turn her head to look at her mother in total surprise.

"He's fifteen?! But I thought he was thirteen or something!" Hiccup only didn't hear them because he was already inside.

"Oh no, he's short, but his father definitely told me he was fifteen. Just like you." She pressed a brief peck on her daughter's temple before continuing to unpack, all the while muttering how strange it was for a man the size of a grisly bear to have such a twig for a son before figuring that his mother must've been a short woman. What a height difference that must've been.

Hiccup passed her again with that same smile and limp. Astrid was reminded that this was something she needed to ask her neighbour about, her curiosity was killing her. About that and if he could draw. Because she was pretty sure she spotted the doodle of a very judgy, very dark axolotl on that sketchbook of his and she was curious what else he could draw if that was really done by his hand.

Astrid didn't outright hate moving away from her old home she now supposed. Perhaps there was something good that came out of this after all.