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THE GUY NEXT DOOR

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"I'll call you." Maybe she needed to say something to clear up the tension between then. Something. Just anything. "Looks like you'll be having brunch wherever it is that you'll be so..,so..maybe..I'll eat by myself this time. Like you always do every other day. You know." She chuckled. Apparently, he looked confused because he tilted a brow and just stared at her. She couldn't quite read the expressions he gave but he took a step closer and closed the distance between them. But it only made the hallway more suffocating for her and her heart began to palpitate with excitement. Or maybe anxiety. He stopped a few inches away from her. His strong masculine presence overwhelming small fragile figure with a huge gap, both in height and size.The scene was set and the tension was palpable. She looked up at him, her heart pounding in her chest, unsure of what he was going to do next. He towered over her, his broad shoulders and chiseled jawline making him look like a Greek god. She couldn't help but feel intimidated by him, but at the same time, she was inexplicably drawn to him. The way he held himself with such calmness and the intensity of the air around them had her both scared and aroused at the same time. She held her breath, waiting for him to make a move, not knowing what to expect. The silence between them was heavy, but somehow, in that moment, it felt like everything else melted away and there was only the two of them. Maybe she could just leave all the drama in her life behind and get all the pleasures from this next door guy. A little fun would do no harm. Or so she thought. But it wasn't long until it all came crumbling down. Did she have all it that it took to endure and stick to her first love or will she run away when the storms came? Read on to know what happened between Capri and her first love.

Chapter 1 Capri..

LONG hours spent at the office meant more to Capri than a few hours spent at home. She would bury herself in the paperwork till the sun came down and she was all alone in the office. Her co-workers nicknamed her Gum-butt Capri because she hardly got up from her desk except she had to get more paper work from her boss and she would be right back in her seat to continue working. She dedicated her entire life to her job and after work, she'd go hang out with herself at The Hilton Bar before heading home. She did everything within her power to make sure that she stayed away from home because it was the last place she ever wanted to be.

Her parents were estranged with one another and would more often than not, involve their kids in their fights. Her father was a womaniser and a wife batterer who spent more with other women than he did his own wife and children and she had a hunch that she had other siblings from these women as well. Her mother was a heavy drinker and was always depressed. Every business she tried had failed and this put her in so much debt because she spent both her profits and capital on liquor. Capri had to support herself and her little sister, Lily through school. She hoped that the money she had raised was enough for her to move out by weekend. She would take Lily with her. Her older sister, Denise, was married and lived two states away with her husband and new family while her older brother Willie, had run away from home and their parents never stopped blaming each other for his flight. Everyone knew it was their fault but they would only accuse one another instead.

Willie was such a good child. He was obedient and honest and very kind to everyone around him. He was the older women's sweetheart and treated the younger boys and girls like his own brothers and sisters. He loved his sisters dearly and always loved to spend every free time he had with them. When Capri was in junior high, he would hang out with her at every chance he got and helped her out with school work. Lily was his favourite. She was seven when he left and she never stopped asking for her only brother.

Years had passed before they began to receive letters from him. He sent them money too and kept them updated about himself. But he never mentioned where he was nor did he give a hint of his whereabouts. The letters carried no post stamps. They were anonymous. But the girls knew for sure that their only brother was alive and breathing and hoped that one day, he'd come home. Denise hoped it would happen before her wedding but he never did. Although, it was rumored that he was there among the guests, they never saw him. He sent a letter the next day congratulating her and wishing her a happy married life. But gradually, their worry grew into hope and expectation and soon that too, grew into anger and loathe. Lily always said that he abandoned her and Denise said he was never a man because 'a real man never left his family behind'. She said she was ashamed of him. Well, for Capri, he was dead even if the letters kept coming in. She'd stopped reading them. Instead, she had worked hard to raise enough money to move out like an adult should. Not like he did, it was cowardice. She just had to be patient. One more week and she would be free from her parents and their drama. All she needed was to close early from work the next day so she could check out the apartment that Kylie had told her about.

Her heart leapt for joy as she walked out of her office that night and breathed in the fresh evening air. The walkway was filled with people like her who were just returning from work as well as those who had just begun their shifts, people who went shopping either for themselves or for their families, kids with their parents, boys with their sisters, friends having drinks together and couples who were either going on dates or taking a stroll together. She envied the way they held hands and laughed occasionally. Their happy laughter was quite captivating and beautiful.

It made her feel lonely, jealous and hungry for love. She ached to fill up the emptiness in her that she had attempted to fill with more and more workload at work. She longed for a loving gentle touch with someone who made her laugh like the lady who had just passed by her with her significant other. For evening walks and cuddles on lonely nights. Someone she could talk to during work hours and share details of her day with. But she was alone, like always. Like she has always been her entire life. The only family member that got so close that she could laugh and chat with was long gone. From heart, mind and sight. All she had left was herself and a younger one to look after and for these reasons, she had not the pleasure of admiring and desiring companionship. There was no time to fool around and live in fantasy.

Following her evening routines, she took a walk down to the Hilton Bar where she usually had her dinner. It was just a few blocks away from her office. She soon slid into her favourite spot in the dark and secluded part of the bar. There she had her meal as quietly and as slowly as possible so that she could spend extra time away from home. It was this routine that saved her traumas and nightmares every night as her parents were unpredictable and extreme in their fights. One thing was sure, this would be her last week living like this. There will be no more coming home late and leaving very early. She would enjoy her weekends at home instead of giving herself extra work loads and unnecessary visits to the park. Her sister could sleep comfortably at night too without nightmares. She could bring her friends home too and they would spend more time together as siblings. Just one more week.

Chapter 2 Maybe, maybe not.

SHE had dialed the line three good times but no one answered. The sun had begun to set and dusk began to settle over the face of the earth. She wondered if she had dialed the wrong digits but after she cross-checked, she was convinced that she wasn't wrong. She wondered what it was that made Kylie cancel on her and ask her to meet with someone else instead. She received a call from her earlier to excuse herself because she had an emergency that she had to attend to and she sent her a number to call explaining that he would take her place. But so far, the owner of the number didn't seem interested in helping out.

She looked up the tall white apartment building and wondered what it felt like to live in it. The walls were clean and neat because the building was still new and there were few residents for now. She could only imagine what it would be like when every apartment in the building became filled with people. The daily bustle and charm of people going about their

Heroes

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