I have been working on this story since the beginning of time, well that is how it's felt. Actually this story started, ironically, at my neighbor's place while I was dog sitting for them last summer. They live four doors down from me, hence the title of my story. While this has nothing to do with the story itself (other than the neighbors in my story living four doors down) it was such a catchy title I couldn't resist using it. The story takes place in bucolic Lancaster PA (I am living in Virginia) I've visited there several times and love the area. I'm posting an excerpt
Alex Perez is my main character he works as an art teacher. He notices a moving truck and a new neighbor has joined the neighborhood. Alex is curious but doesn't know how to make the introductions. This is a scene between him and his older sister. (remember this has not been edited so any mistakes are mine)
Four Doors Down by Lily Sawyer
Alex was one of those people who liked his solitude, but that didn’t mean that he lived like a hermit.
Once a year he donated some artwork to the community center for charity. Alex loved giving back and he looked forward to the volunteer work he did in the fall teaching kids art.
He was sitting in his office writing out his classroom plans for the week. His mind kept going back to the gorgeous neighbor that was just four doors down. He could easily see the house from his window.
It had been a week since he’d moved in and Alex had been gun shy about going over to say hello. He couldn’t believe it, he didn’t have a problem speaking in front of the kids or to the other neighbors but put a tall, handsome dark-haired Adonis in front of him and his brain turned to mush.
Tara’s familiar voice carried down the hallway. Alex loved his older sister but he hated her checking up on him.
“Tara, don’t you know how to knock?”
“And hello to you little brother.” She kissed his cheek and deposited a cup of coffee she’d picked up at Starbucks in front of him. “You’d better be nice to me I come bearing gifts.” She brought several pasties out of the paper bag and placed them in front of Alex. She picked up a cranberry muffin and took a bite. “Mm, they have the best muffins, you should try the blueberry.” She pointed with the half-eaten muffin in her hand.
“You should remember I don’t like blueberries, but I’ll take that cheese Danish.” He picked up the sweet pastry and took a bite.
“Are you still working on that painting you told me about?”
“Yeah, it’s in the workshop would you like to see it?” He led his sister to a back room he had converted into an art studio after he moved into the house. There were various canvases; each had paintings that were at different stages. Some were still pencil drawings while others were finished and waiting to be brought to the show.
“This is beautiful.” Tara saw the orange, red and yellow colors on the fall leaves depicted on Alex’s painting.
“It’s going to be joining the others at the charity show over at the gallery.”
“When is the show?”
“This coming weekend at the Clark gallery over on Maple Street.” Alex could tell by the expression on Tara’s face she didn’t just come over here to check out his paintings.
“So how is the dating scene going? Have you met anyone lately?”
“I knew it!” He put his coffee down on one of the work benches.
“What? Is it so wrong to want to see my brother happy?”
“I am happy, Tara, I’m doing what I want to do, living in a nice house.”
“I was just hoping you’d be dating a hot looking guy by now.”
“Look, sis,” he got up and put his arm around her shoulder and kissed the top of her head. “You got lucky when you met Mark, he’s a great guy.”
“Yeah he is, and after ten years of marriage we still act like we’re still on our honeymoon. I just want you to have the same happiness we have. “ Tara sat down on one of the stools behind the large table. “Isn’t there anyone that’s caught your eye?”
“Damn, look at the time, I gotta get my act together and get these paintings down to the show.” He tried to make a quick exit from the room.
“So close.” He mumbled.
“Who is it?”
“The new neighbor up the street.” He confessed.
“Oooo, who is he?” Tara was leaning forward, her elbow resting on the table and her chin on her hand. She looked like a hungry dog looking for a bone.
“I don’t know.” He said.
“You don’t know? How can you not know?”
“I haven’t met him, he moved in a few weeks ago, but I’ve only spotted him once or twice while I was on the porch painting.”
“Did you even think of going up and introducing yourself?”
“Maybe that’s your style, not mine. Besides I don’t even know if he’s gay.”