Searching for Home
by Chelle & Nikki
Warnings: Deals a little with death, has some drinking in it. Some curse words, violence and sex, but nothing gory or graphic.
That Saturday, they were both off from work and Brianna had decided to go look at three apartments while she had the time and the money. She had been paid well working for the brothers and had long ago grown tired of the motel.
For the rest of week, Taylor and Brianna had lunch together everyday. They’d chat about their families and Taylor grew more and more interested in Brianna’s life. The more he knew, the more he wanted to know. He’d find reasons to come to her office and just say hello. Brianna became more comfortable and more open with him and he sensed that. He never pushed her which she was very thankful for. They enjoyed spending time with each other and found themselves shyly smiling when their eyes would meet from down the hallway. They grew more attracted to each other as well, but neither said a word about that… although they both knew the other one was aware. Taylor, nor Brianna, wanted to push things, they had both been hurt in their last relationships. So, for now, they had silently agreed to just be friends and take it slow and they were both happy with that arrangement.
That Saturday, they were both off from work and Brianna had decided to go look at three apartments while she had the time and the money. She had been paid well working for the brothers and had long ago grown tired of the motel. Taylor had offered to take her around.
“Hey, don’t judge a book by the cover.” Taylor said as he and Brianna stood in front of his car gazing at the apartment building. “Maybe it’s really nice inside.” He added with a shrug. Brianna wrinkled up her forehead and looked over at him. “Come on. It’s a nice neighborhood. It’s not too far from work, and you can have a pet.” He smiled as they walked toward the main office.
“I don’t want a pet. I can barely take care of myself.” Brianna said quietly walking through the glass doors.
“They have a pool.” Taylor replied, slipping off his sunglasses.
“Hmm, right.” was Brianna’s only reply.
They waited for a few minutes until a lady walked in and smiled. “Hello.” She said cheerfully. “I’m Lydia. What can I do for you?”
Taylor glanced at Brianna and when she didn’t say anything, he sighed. “We’re here to look at the apartment you had for rent in the paper. I’m Taylor and this is my friend, Brianna. She’s the one looking for a place.” Taylor and Lydia shook hands and then Lydia shook Brianna’s. Brianna couldn’t help but smile.
Lydia said, “Great. I’ll tell you something. You two are the first to show up to see it. Of course, it’s only been in the paper for a few days, but still.” Lydia led them out of the office and across the parking lot toward the vacant apartment.
“She seems nice.” Taylor whispered to Brianna.
“Yeah, she does.” Brianna said with a nod and smile.
Lydia was short, only about five-five, and was heavyset. She had curly dark hair that came just to her shoulders and dark eyes. Her skin was a creamy white and she had a friendly smile that made her eyes nearly close all the way.
“It’s on the ground floor.” Taylor said as they reached the door on the backside of the building. “No steps when you move in, or are really tired.” He added as Lydia pushed the key in.
“It’ll be creepy at night. There’s nothing but woods out there. The porch lights will barely light the porches.” Brianna whispered back.
“Here we are.” Lydia said walking inside. She immediately opened the blinds that covered the windows to let in some of the bright sunlight. “I’ll let you two have a look around. I have to get back to the office. Just lock the door and bring the key to me when you’re done.”
Taylor smiled and took the key. “Thanks,” he said as Lydia walked out. “Well, it’s not bad.” Taylor said putting his hands on his hips and turning around.
Brianna slowly walked over to the kitchen then back into the living room. It was a nice place. It had wall to wall carpet the connected except in the kitchen. It had a fairly large kitchen that was tiled and had a dinning area by a window. It was clean and kept up. The windows were big and there was a sliding patio door in the living room that led to a concrete area that was big enough for a small table and a few chairs.
“You could put a barbecue grill over there, and some lawn chairs here.” Taylor said looking out of the door.
Brianna just nodded and continued looking around. The apartment had two bedrooms and one bathroom. The rooms were not large but were a good size. Taylor stood back and quietly snickered to himself as Brianna inspected things. He laughed out loud and shook his head in amusement and surprise when Brianna took hold of an outlet and gently tugged on it. She spun around fast, hearing him laugh.
“What?” She asked confused.
“Did it come out?” Taylor asked with a serious expression but instantly had to bite his bottom lip as another laugh came on.
“Oh, shut up. I’m just making sure it won’t.” Brianna said, than laughed at herself.
Taylor crossed his arms over his chest and followed Brianna as she walked down the hall. She seemed to be conducting her own inspection of the place. Taylor’s face would momentarily turn red as he’d smile and try to stiffen his laughter watching her tug on the outlets, knock on the walls, open and close windows, gently kick on the baseboards and open and close the doors a few times.
“Well what’s your verdict?” he asked as they walked back toward the living room.
“I don’t know.” Brianna said with a sigh. “Maybe we should look at the other two before I make a decision about this one.” she added.
“All right, let’s go give the key back to Lydia and head to the next stop.” Taylor said. they closed the blinds and locked the door.
They walked back to the office and thanked Lydia, letting her know they weren’t sure until they saw the other two Brianna had a slight interest in. Lydia waved goodbye as they walked out and got into Taylor’s car.
“Where’s the next one?” he asked, starting the car.
“Over on Kirby Avenue. By Denny’s.”
Taylor nodded as he pulled out onto the road. “Yeah, I know where that is.”
They drove in silence most of the way and then began chatting about Taylor’s daughter. “She’s my little girl, what can I say? I’m a proud papa.” Taylor said with a laugh.
“Taylor, I want to ask you something, and you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to but I…”
“No it’s okay, go ahead. We agreed not to keep secrets anymore remember?” Taylor said.
“Yeah, I remember.” Brianna smiled.
“So, what?” Taylor asked.
Brianna sighed and said, “The day I came to see about the job, when I talked to Ike.” She glanced at Taylor and saw him nod.
“I heard Avery tell him that I was there to take over Andrea’s job. I know Andrea was your wife. I was just wondering what happened. I mean, did you guys fire her ’cause you weren’t married anymore?”
Taylor shifted. He took a moment but answered. “No. Andrea was a good worker. But the thing is, I never really wanted her to work for the company. It was never the plan. She thought I was cheating on her. I wasn’t, not at all, but that’s what she thought. She talked Isaac and Zac into hiring her. She told them that she just wanted to spend more time with me. I was hardly at home when we opened the studio so I couldn’t convince them that it was anything other than what she said. Until she cheated on me.”
“She cheated on you?!” Brianna asked shocked.
“Yeah, with Bobby, one of our security guards. After I found out, I confronted her. The next day, her and Bobby both quit and two days later I filed for divorce. She got Trixie, I got visitation, and neither of us wanted to live in the house anymore so we sold it and split the money three ways. ”
“Three ways?” Brianna asked.
“Yeah, two ways for each of us and the other part went into an account for Trixie.” Taylor answered.
“Oh.” Brianna said.
“Anyway, things moved pretty fast and before I knew it, she was married to Bobby and I was living in an apartment. We didn’t really have any plans to hire anyone ’cause Jessica seemed to have it under control, but in the last few months we have signed a band, a duo and a solo singer. It got to be too much for Jess to handle by herself so she started asking for us to hire someone to help her, which is what Andrea would have been doing.”
Taylor pulled onto a quiet street and pointed out the window. “There’s Denny’s, and here’s the apartment building.” Taylor pulled into a small parking lot. They got out of the car and looked around.
“Brianna, this place is awful. Look, the grass hasn’t been cut in months, and the whole building looks like it’s about to collapse!” Taylor said.
“Hey, you’re the one who said not to judge a book by the cover. Come on, let’s just take a look.” Brianna said walking toward the front office. “Hello, I’m Brianna Dennison. I called yesterday about seeing the apartment for rent.” Brianna said to the older man seated behind the desk.
“Yeah, it’s on the third floor. Number 3A.” he said pointing up the stairs and tossing a key across the desk.
“Right, thank you.” Brianna said taking the key and glaring at Taylor.
They walked up the stairs and found the apartment.
“His breath was awful and he looked like he hadn’t showered in a week.” Taylor whispered, leaning in toward Brianna as she unlocked the door.
“I know. He’s rude too.” she replied as the door creaked open.
The two stepped inside and Brianna turned and glanced at Taylor, who crossed his arms with a slight shudder. They stood silent for a moment.
“Oh hell, Bri! You can’t live here!” Taylor whispered loudly. The carpet was stained and the wall had a few cracks. The place was dirty and had dead insects everywhere.
Brianna slowly walked over the creaking floor and looked down the hallway. “Oh my God!” she nearly screamed as she turned away and closed her eyes, putting a hand on her stomach.
“What?” Taylor asked leaning over to glance down the hallway. He couldn’t believe what he saw. There was a dead rat laying in the middle of the hall. A trap had nearly snapped it’s body in two and there was dried blood around it.
“That’s it. Let’s go.” Taylor said grabbing Brianna’s arm. He led her down the stairs and tossed the key back to the older guy behind the desk.
“So, you interested or what?” the man asked.
Taylor narrowed his eyes and stated in disbelief.
“What’s wrong with her?” The man asked pointing to Brianna, who had one hand on her stomach and the other covering her mouth as she tried to keep from screaming and vomiting at the same time. She was slightly swaying as the sight of the rat had brought on a feeling of nearly passing out.
“No, she’s not interested.” Taylor said through gritted teeth. He led Brianna out to the car and opened the door. She climbed in and Taylor walked around to the driver side. He got in, slamming the door hard, and started the car. He slid his sunglasses back on as he drove off quickly.
“You gonna be all right?” Taylor asked pressing the button to lower the windows.
Brianna took a few deep breaths, inhaling the fresh car flooding the car, and nodded. “Yeah, I guess so,” she answered.
Taylor laughed a little, both out of shock and finding Brianna’s reaction a bit funny. He got a quick shot of courage to push Brianna closer to her breaking point.
“You hungry?” He asked with a laugh.
“Oh God Taylor!” Brianna wined as she pushed the button to make the window go down farther and placed her hand over her forehead, both out of disgust and to help hold her hair out of her face. Taylor laughed a little more while apologizing. Brianna made a mental note to find out what grossed him out and use it for all it’d be worth!
“Where did you say it was?” Taylor asked.
“On the right. Stop! There it is!” Brianna said.
Taylor pulled into a parking lot and parked the car. He turned the key to shut the car off and looked up through the windshield. “Hey, this isn’t bad.”
They got out of the car and stood looking up at the white apartment building. It was in a nice neighborhood and was lined with rows of small yellow flowers among the freshly cut green grass and small trimmed trees. It had a huge pool and gym.
Brianna and Taylor walked toward the office. They were met by a lady in her mid to late fifties and a man that was around the same age. They introduced themselves as Tom and Sheila. They were married and owned the building. Sheila seemed excited to show Taylor and Brianna the apartment.
“So are you two moving in together?” she asked.
Taylor and Brianna glanced at each other. “No, just her.” Taylor said.
“It’s not Buckingham Palace but no one has ever complained.” Sheila said as she led them into the apartment. “You two take your time. I have to go down and talk to your potential neighbor.” Sheila smiled as she walked out.
“Wow, this is really nice Bri.” Taylor said.
“Yes, it is.” Brianna agreed.
The carpet was wall to wall but only the hall, and living room had the same dark blue carpet. The walls were a freshly painted white and Brianna nearly squealed at the three stairs that led up into the kitchen.
“That’s unusual and cool.” Taylor said, smiling.
The kitchen had white walls and black and white tiles. The living room had a large, sliding glass door that led to a concrete patio-much like the first apartment they had seen, only this one was bigger.
“Damn, you could have a party out here!” Taylor said stepping outside.
The first bedroom had dark green carpet and white walls with a border of dark green covered with gold flowers. The blinds over the window were dark green and the closet was lined with shelves on one side. The other bedroom had tan carpet and white walls. The closet was a walk in, and it had a full length mirror bolted to the back of the bedroom door. The bathroom floor was made of a marble that looked almost white but had a hint of a sandy tone in it. The sink and huge Jacuzzi tub were made of the same marble and the mirror above the sink was surrounded by dimmer lights.
“I love it!” Brianna said.
“It’s a great place Brianna. I’d snatch it up.” Taylor said glancing around the living room. “I mean, the door is facing the parking lot and there’s plenty of security lights for nighttime. It’s a quiet, good neighborhood, and Sheila and Tom seem nice.” Taylor added.
He and Brianna looked around again and then walked out. They saw Sheila walking toward them. “Well? What do you think?” She asked.
Brianna smiled and said “I’ll take it. It’s perfect.”
Sheila laughed and said “All right. Let’s go get the papers signed.”
Brianna and Taylor followed. It took all of 30 minutes to get everything worked out.
“Our daughter, Lynn, helps run this place most of the time. She’ll be the one who takes your rent. It’s due at the end of the month and things have to be settled and quiet by midnight. You know, no loud music or parties outside. The gym is open 24 hours, the pool closes at 1:00 a.m. and opens at 6:30 a.m. No large pets and you’ll be responsible for any damage of course.”
Brianna nodded and said “I don’t have any pets but I understand.” She signed the paper and handed Sheila the money for her deposit and first month rent. “I’ll probably be moving in next weekend. I have to work all week.” Brianna said taking the receipt.
Sheila replied, “That’s fine. Here’s your keys.” She handed Brianna two keys on a small key ring with a leather strip which had “Ceder Hill Apartments 2D” engraved on it.
“Thank you so much!” Brianna said and she and Taylor exchanged excited smiles.
“Thank you.” Sheila said.
Brianna and Taylor started to walk out when Sheila suddenly stopped them. “Excuse me, I don’t mean to be nosy but where are you from dear?” she asked Brianna.
“Oh well, I was born in Georgia but I moved to Mississippi when I was three.” Brianna answered.
Sheila asked, “And how old are you now?”
Brianna glanced at Taylor who just wrinkled his eyebrows at Sheila. “24, I’ll be 25 in December.”
Sheila smiled. “What are your parent’s names?” she asked Brianna with a growing-and Brianna and Taylor felt was an unusual-interest.
“Why do you want to know?” Taylor asked, putting his hand on Brianna’s back as they stared at Sheila.
“I’m sorry. I just could swear I know you. I thought maybe you looked like your parents and maybe I knew them is all.” Sheila replied.
“Oh.” Brianna said, knowing that no one would know her just from Ray and Anna since she didn’t look like them at all. “I don’t look like either of my parents. Their names were Ray and Anna though.” Brianna said.
“Ray and Anna Dennison?” Sheila asked, slowly with a stunned expression.
“Yes. Why?” Brianna questioned, getting confused.
Sheila waved her hand. “No reason. I guess I was wrong, I don’t know them. You must just have one of those faces.” She said quickly with a smile.
Brianna and Taylor both smiled a little and thanked Sheila again as they walked out.
“That was weird.” Taylor said getting into the car.
“Yeah.” Brianna agreed. “Did you see her? I thought she was going to pass out when you told her your age.” Taylor said pulling out onto the road.
“I wonder why she said my parents’ names like that. She seemed like she wanted to ask me a lot more. I was getting a little uncomfortable.” Brianna laughed.
“Yeah me too.” Taylor said.
The memory came back that the first thing he’d noticed was that Sheila had a light spray of freckles across her nose and had a skin tone similar to Brianna’s. The nature of her questions had his mind racing but he shook off the thought that he should mention it to Brianna, who obviously hadn’t seen it… or was ignoring it.
This fictional story is hosted
at The Gifted Ones with permission from Chelle.