Hello, everyone! Thank you, Addison, for letting me drop by again 😊. [Thank you, Holly for visiting. It’s always lovely to have you here!]
Love thy neighbour, they say, but do you really love your neighbour? Do you even like your neighbour?
I often tell my darling husband that my biggest dream is for us to buy a teeny tiny house with lots of land, and that the house is to be placed right in the middle of that land, so no one comes walking by for the fun of it. I’ll throw in a couple of mean-looking dogs in the mix as well.
I’m not even kidding. An island would work well too. All I need in life is peace and quiet and a reliable internet connection. I get a little panicky when in a city – there are people everywhere! – but I’ve lived in cities. I’ve lived in apartment buildings, and I went to a boarding school for three years, so I have done the packed like sardines kind of living.
Do you know what we’re celebrating this month? You guessed it! National Neighbour Day 🥳 which happens to be today. It’s held annually on September 28, so if you don’t have time to do anything special for your neighbours today, you can plan for next year.
So why would I go and write a story for National Neighbour Day when I don’t really like neighbours? Good question! I had this idea of a grumpy man not wanting to live in an apartment building and his kind, caring neighbour. It kept popping up in my head, so I gave in and wrote it.
I loved writing it. Some stories are easy and some are hard to write. This was one of those where everything flowed, and I liked my characters throughout the entire process.
It’s a short little story about Lorcan the dragon – he’s not a dragon, this is a contemporary story – and Adrian. Adrian is this warm, cute guy who wants everyone to be happy.
He’s my biggest nightmare.
I love him in a book, and I loved writing him, but if I’d met him in real life, I probably would have moved. He rings Lorcan’s doorbell… several times. And when Lorcan doesn’t open (repeatedly), he calls for him through the mail slot 😳
I love Adrian.
In a book.
Not in real life.
Lorcan is more my kind of guy. He doesn’t answer the door. He doesn’t go outside. And he growls a lot. Not dragon growls (if dragons growl) since again, this is a contemporary story. Adrian sometimes forgets he lives in a contemporary world, though LOL.
It had been two weeks since the dragon on crutches—Mr. Walsh, Adrian had checked the name on the mail slot several times—had moved in, and Adrian hadn’t seen or heard him. It was worrying.
No one had been to visit him and Adrian had tried to see past the divider separating their balconies several times.
There was no weird smell, so he assumed he hadn’t died in there.
Enough of this. Adrian stomped into the kitchen and set about baking cupcakes. It was a creation of pink frosting with candy flowers. Super cute. He put four in a box and headed out into the hallway.
With a speeding heart, he knocked on the door.
Seconds went by without a sound, so he knocked again.
He knocked a third time and stilled when he heard something that could’ve been rustling. He held his breath until his lungs screamed for air, then he opened the mail slot. “Hello?”
The door was yanked open, and the dragon almost fell over while balancing on one leg.
“Oh, hello.” Adrian smiled and held out the box with the cupcakes.
The dragon stared at him. He looked like he hadn’t slept for a week and hadn’t been in the shower for two.
“Welcome to the building.” Adrian moved closer, offering the box anew. “You’re Logan, right?”
“Lorcan.” The man cleared his throat.
Lorcan? Hadn’t the other man called him Logan? Adrian sucked at names. “It suits you.” A good dragon name that made him think of the green hills of Ireland which were where all dragons came from… or was it Scotland? It didn’t matter, Lorcan was here now.
Lorcan scowled, and Adrian curled his toes inside his shoes.
When Lorcan shifted his weight on the crutches, Adrian realized his mistake. Of course, Lorcan couldn’t accept the box, he had his hands full. It was too bad he wasn’t a dragon for real for if he had been, the fracture would have healed by now. “Oh, sorry. Here, let me…” He pushed the door open and walked past Lorcan into the hallway. There were no clothes. No shoes, no jacket, nothing. Did he use shoes? His gaze fell on Lorcan’s feet—barefoot. Poor thing. Adrian allowed his eyes to sweep up a strong, hairy leg. “Oh…”
Lorcan was in his underwear. His black T-shirt matched his black hair and covered the interesting bits, but still. Adrian’s mouth went dry.
When Lorcan didn’t speak or make a sound of any kind, Adrian turned his focus on the living room—the only room. It was a super tiny apartment.
It was barren.
There was no furniture, nothing on the walls, no plants—nothing. In the corner farthest from the balcony was a mattress on the floor. “When do your stuff arrive? It must be hard to get up with a leg in a cast when you’re on the floor.”
Two weeks he’d lived here. Whatever moving company he was using, Adrian wouldn’t hire them the next time he moved. He hoped the next time he moved it would be to a house.
“I’ll take these to the kitchen.” He hurried along. Their kitchens shared a wall. It looked the same except Adrian had curtains and flowers in the windows, a table and four chairs, pots and pans and plates and— He opened a cupboard—empty.
He’d make some cuttings from his plants and put them in water when he went back to his apartment.
“Where do you keep your plates?”
Lorcan gestured at a package of paper plates in the corner of the kitchen counter. Next to it were plastic cups and clear plastic cutlery. A 360-piece set, the package announced.
“Plastic is bad for the environment.”
Adrian might have imagined it, but he believed there was smoke coming out of Lorcan’s nostrils when he breathed. Dragon. How could he have forgotten? The way he snarled at his lover—who most likely wasn’t his lover—when they moved in had told him he was an ill-tempered dragon.
“I haven’t been able to go cutlery shopping.”
Of course not. Sometimes Adrian was so stupid. “Hey, you can order something online, and I can get the package for you.” Sometimes having a mail slot was a curse, no packages fit and they had to get them at the post office. “When does your furniture arrive? Jesse and I can help you put things together.” He gestured in the direction of Jesse’s apartment.
“Nothing and no one is coming.”
Adrian tried to decipher the look, the tone, the words, but Lorcan’s face was blank, his tone even, and the words… He sighed. “Well, you can’t live like this.”
Still nothing but a stony face. Those eyes, too damn blue for his black hair, bore into Adrian’s. Maybe he didn’t have enough money to buy stuff and was trying to stare Adrian to death so he wouldn’t have to admit it. Adrian had assumed Lorcan was on sick leave due to the leg.
“Let’s taste the cupcakes!”
He had an urge to run down to the second-hand shop right away. He bet if he told Doris that his neighbor had nothing at all, she’d help him find some great stuff. She always helped him find great stuff.
Adrian Green’s new next-door neighbor isn’t really a dragon, but he does snarl an awful lot.
The first time Adrian saw Lorcan Walsh, he knew he needed Adrian’s help. Lorcan has a fractured leg and an empty apartment. Luckily, Adrian doesn’t mind helping him fill his lair with gems, and Doris’s second-hand shop has everything a dragon could possibly want.
The problem is, Lorcan doesn’t seem to want his apartment decorated, and sneaking presents past a grumpy dragon isn’t easy.
All Adrian wants is to cheer Lorcan up, but when Lorcan’s ex appears at the door, Adrian fears not even vintage coffee cups will get them their fairy-tale ending. What if the way to a dragon’s heart isn’t lined with treasures?
According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.
Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.
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