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Sipping an ice tea which may have been of the lengthy isle variety, the stately young miss watched her scurrilous neighbor's antics done in the name of "irony".

She believed that "irony" actually meant nothing to the young man, except as a label applied to uncouth shenanigans as an excuse. It hung one rung below "the voices made me do it" on the ladder of pathetic excuses. She would love to see the look on a lawyer's face as a toneless, "For irony, brah," came forth from across the table. Oh, yesss.

Deciding the window obscured his words too much, she stepped outside onto the porch. Her pink sundress caught a slant of sunlight, glowing orange one side and revealing the silhouette of a single leg. She did not fail to notice, and did not move into the shade.

The young man, across the street and one house down, sat back in an old wooden rocking chair on his own porch, shouting obscenities at neighbors' children with his feet up on a hideous ottoman -- no, wait, was it -- it couldn't be.

A petrified, blackened tree stump, plopped right there on his beautiful antique porch. She narrowed her eyes, and could have sworn he'd placed the finest of high-heeled men's shoes, tuxedo steppers with slate-gray spats, on that very... thing he deigned to refer to as a foot rest.

Not that she was paying that much attention or anything.

After his latest tear-inducing tirade on what mommies and daddies do when they love each other very much, illustrated with a puppet show, he tossed his dirty plush toys over his shoulder, drew a beer bottle from thin air, and cracked the cap off on the arm of his heirloom rocking chair OH MY GOD.

Just watching him, she felt the property values of her beautiful New York neighborhood depress like a table bowing under an elephant's behind. Do you see her contempt, Mr. Stupid Pointy Shades? You're an elephant sitting on her property values, and the real estate is cracking under the weight of all these mixed metaphors.

She decided to elongate the atoll of her tea. She definitely wasn't drunk enough for this display.

As she took a seat on her own perfectly unmolested white rocking chair, she blinked and suddenly felt a warm weight against her shins. She gasped and tried to jump as she realized her brash neighbor now leaned against them!

"What are you doing!" she yelped as indignantly as she could, completely ignoring the obvious muscles and shoulder blades inside his shirt, or the strangely pleasant, feverish warmth he seemed to emanate, like a hot little dollop of sunshine dropped into her upstate autumn.

"I'ma just relax right here now," he said. He glugged his beer. She watched his hands. Heavens, he had fingerless gloves. This would not stand!

And neither could she -- stand, that is. "I did not invite you here, SIR."

"Calm yo tits, and don't call me no 'sir', the name's Strider. Bronte Strider. Means 'thunder' in Greek."

"I do not care who you are or what your name means. But I suppose while you're here, I should talk to you about your behavior," she said. She quaffed the rest of her tea so she could set it aside and cross her arms. She gave an excellent pout right to the back of his head. Oh yes, Mr. Strider, feel your crass little brain burning under her gaze!

"You can tell I'm Greek, right." He turned his head halfway to look at her, and doffed his black cap to her, showing off practically platinum (and awfully hat-rumpled) hair. "I'm a dark and sultry Adonis, blessing you with the exotic mystery and intrigue of my presence."

"You're a silly hooligan and I have no idea how you got into my neighborhood."

"I am rich as shit, girl, I can get got into whatever the hell neighborhood I want to."

Her jaw clenched and slid further sideways with every word out of his finely chiseled face. I mean, his stupid dumb ugly face of dumb.

"You can barely command the language," she said.

"Oh, paawwdon me, Little Lady Fauntleroy, I just got so wokked up in a tizzie when I couldn't find the Grey Poupon."

"That is not how we speak!" she hissed. "You just moved in to, to act like our nice neighborhood is a joke! You-- you'll get thrown in jail for scaring those kids!"

"Naw they ain't heard nothing new from me they ain't heard from the Information Highway already," he laughed, slipping back into that thing he called an accent. Well, he hadn't actually called it that. She did, just now, in her head. But that didn't matter -- nor did the fact that the slow drip of his words pleased her after so many years of sharp city bite -- er, that is, it annoyed her! So annoying, gosh golly.

"Now... see here," she started, feeling the air rushing out of her argument even as she spoke.

"All I see's a lady getting drunk mighty early because she'll get the vapors over this beautiful gentleman of a new neighbor otherwise. All the mares hit the watering hole once this stallion canters into town." He finished off his beer. "Hey, go get us some more drinks, now're both out."

She rocked the chair back as hard as she kick, her feet picking him up by the ass and sending him head first down the porch steps. Or that's what she'd hoped would happen. Instead, he preternaturally predicted her attack and had leapt to his feet the moment she swung. She would have instead sailed backwards if he hadn't slung his arm around the back of the chair.

And there he was, leaning right there against the side of her chair, his chest not far from her face, his jaw not far from her forehead. From this angle, for just a moment, she saw a shocking cherry red behind his shades --

"Want to hear about the time I totally kicked ten ninjas' black-clad asses simultaneously in a duel?"

A part of her believed this was a true story. The rest of her wanted to hear more.

"How about I get those drinks first," she said. He smirked.

Smug bastard.