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The girl next door

Chapter Text

She sat with her back against the bedroom wall, her head tilted so her ear was pressed against the cold brick. Her red hair fell past her shoulders, making light contact with her pale skin due to the low neck of her pajama shirt, her bare legs loosely covered with a blanket. A copy of wuthering heights lay open on her lap, a bookmark placed lazily on the page that she had lost focus on since the noise from next door had begun again. She didn't mean to intrude, but her bedroom wall was too thin to block out the sounds of shouting and crying that would erupt more often than acceptable for a healthy relationship. She presumed the women next door were together, but considering she had never met either of them it was mainly logical guesswork and basic deciphering of the arguments that the whole apartment block got to listen to.
The room fell silent and she turned back around, removing the bookmark and getting lost in the words of Emily Bronte, an unusual choice compared to her other reads, but still a classic no doubt. After a few minutes of silence, the only sound to be heard was when her thumb touched the top of the page to turn it over, the silence was destroyed by the familiar sounds of raised voices and tears before a crash. The sound of what she speculated as plates or cups smashing against tiled flooring made the redhead almost jump out of her skin; almost immediately putting her ear against the wall to get a better portrayal of what was going on. She couldn't quite make out the words within the sentence, but the different tones of voice between the two women gave her a good impression of what was going on.
The front door slammed next, the frame of next door almost shaking the walls of her bedroom, her eyes gaze lifted from the book and to where the majority of the uproar was appointed. She took no notice of the couples' common dispute, but when she heard a thud against the wall behind her, her attention shifted again. Her eyes squinted with confusion before she heard the muffled sound of someone whimpering into their arm. The faint sound of sobbing made her heart lurch further out of her chest than it ever had before. The woman's tearful cries were nearly as loud as the sound of her own heartbreaking and the confusion revolving around her mind, wondering whether she should go and see if she was okay.
She soon decided against that idea as soon as she realized, she wouldn't know what to say, but after hearing the tender cries, she almost felt closer to her than she had with anyone before. She put the book to the side, slipping her legs under the duvet and pulling it up over her shoulders, her eyes staying fixed on the shared wall, questioning whether the woman was doing the same thing just with bloodshot eyes and a tired frown.

The sunlight tumbled through the gap in her curtains, orange and red glow falling in rays landing in her bedroom, igniting life into her. Her eyes opened and she had pretty much forgotten the events of the night before, the intimate connection she had felt with a woman she had never met, but a woman who she had never felt closer to. She turned to look at the radiance emitted from her alarm clock, reading the exact time: 06:30. Sighing as she picked herself up, her head heavy with annoyance from having to go back to work on a Monday morning. She usually had the infuriation at her job when she knew she had to go back, but when she arrived it was almost like coming home after a while away. She enjoyed building up trust with people before proving that they were wrong and almost destroying their lives, she fantasized about the lifelessness embedded in someone’s face, a deep sadness behind their eyes as she strutted in front of a court, everybody's eyes on her as she spurted out intelligence in order to prove people wrong.
She stepped one foot into her kitchen before hearing a heavy knock on her front door, the noise echoing through the apartment. She checked her watch before standing still in front of the door, making sure that she wasn't being overly delusional. Another pound fell upon the door and she swept her red hair to one side as she walked over and unlocked the chain, forcing the door open only to reveal a brunette. Her eyes were tired and mascara stains fell either side of her cheeks, but they were also a deep hazel color, her pupils fully dilated, specks of burnt umber and emerald engraved into her iris. She stood staring at the woman she had never seen before, wearing a blue patched dress, her hair up in two plaits twirled around her head, wisps of brunette falling out of the updo.
'Hello?' The redhead questioned with heavy levels of confusion as the woman almost knocked her over, jumping full force into a tight embrace which she wasn't exactly used to. The woman's long arms wrapped securely around her waist and her immediate reaction was to push her off and ask her to leave her apartment, but something was different with her, she let this woman have a few moments of contact before asking her what she was doing
'This is my apartment.' She slurred, nearly collapsing without the supports of the redhead. Rose almost didn't get where she had heard the woman's voice before until she realized that due to the current state and mistake she had just made, she instantly linked her to the woman from next door.
'I think you live next door, come on, I'll take you back.' Rose smiled, but the panic that passed the woman's hazel eyes was enough to break anyone's heart.
'No, No, No.' She flustered, 'You can't take me back there, you have to let me stay here.' This woman almost hid behind Rose with the nerves taking over her body, her body malfunctioning due to a large amount of alcohol currently in her system.
'Okay, okay, you can stay.' Rose didn't know what else to say, she would simply have to call in late to work, as she couldn't just leave a mentally incapable, drunk woman sat on a doorstep of a potentially dangerous apartment.
'Don't make me go back to her, she will kill me.' She tried to ignore the possibly hyperbolic language escaping the woman's lips. She stuck out her arm which she immediately grabbed as Rose led her into her living room, helping her onto the sofa. She went and collected her a glass of iced water and handed it to her, demanding that she drank it. They ultimately sat in a comfortable silence considering the circumstance until the woman shuffled up next to the redhead, laying her head on her shoulder.
'Why is the room spinning?' She asked, her eyes slammed shut as Rose just handed her the glass of water that she took one sip of and put down on the side before.
'Drink this, it will help, I promise' Rose sighed, feeling oddly content and at ease in such close proximity of someone. She took a few large gulps from the glass before handing her the glass back and lying her head back on her shoulder. A few minutes later and the woman's eyelids fell and the consistent rise of her chest suggested to Rose that she was asleep, and the alcohol would send her into a subconscious trance. She got up, gently laying the brunette horizontally along the width her sofa, grabbing her blanket and tucking her in so she wasn't cold when she woke up. She moved her left arm carefully, noticing a dark purpled mark around her wrist, bruises scattered up her arm. She may be a lawyer, but you didn't need to be a detective to work out the underlying secret of this woman's life.
Due to a new instinct Rose had discovered within herself, she grabbed a notebook and scribed a quick message explaining the woman' situation and stating that she did only live next door, along with a sentence at the end stating that she would always be there for any more drunken nights before leaving it stood up against the half-empty glass of water on the side.

The brunette awoke a few hours later, her eyes adjusting to the light before jumping up due to being surrounded by things that weren't hers but scattered around her apartment, like all of her stuff had been switched by someone who had a darker outlook on life. She scanned the room before spotting the note on the glass-topped coffee table; she picked it up, reading the cursive handwriting. She smiled at how someone had just opened their arms to a drunk woman who had just turned up on their doorstep. Her eyes fell to the bottom of the note: - Rose. The name didn't spark any memories of that morning, but she did remember the quantity of alcohol she consumed through the night so it wasn't a surprise to her that she couldn't picture this woman, no matter how much she wanted to. She felt like she had way overstayed her welcome, so scrawled a note back:

To Rose, Thank you ever so much for taking a drunk, mentally incapable, middle-aged woman into your home at whatever hour this morning. I will be forever grateful. Hope to bump into you soon neighbor. -Luisa

She hearted the i before clicking the pen off, rubbing around her wrist sub-consciously before leaving the apartment with only the imagined version of 'Rose' that she had in her mind, and that wouldn't leave for a long time.