The new neighborhood was quiet. Way too quiet compared to his last apartment. It was weird to be able to step outside of his front door and hear things like birds and squirrels rather than the couple across the hall arguing again over bills and babies.
Still, he could get used to this. Being able to have an actual yard instead of a two-foot balcony was a refreshing change. Maybe he’d get a dog.
Or maybe a cat. They were less work, weren’t they? Still amiable companions but liked their space, just like him.
Glancing at the wooded area surrounding the road of houses, he decided that his cat would be indoors. No telling what was hiding in the trees. He had heard something about this state having wild coyotes around, and he wasn’t going to take the chance on getting a pet only for it to be eaten.
Damn, his thoughts were cynical.
He ran a hand through his hair and double-checked to be sure that he had his house key in his pocket. House key. Not apartment key, but house key. It was a pleasant novelty.
His new house – he had no idea when he would get tired of thinking that – was situated on a circular road, a perfect little walk that he could take whenever he needed to get his mind off of things or needed to move around a little after sitting in front of his computer all day. The road itself, if he took the complete circle, was only about a third of a mile long, and he had already seen a few people walking, jogging, getting dragged by their dogs around the block since moving in the day before.
Vaguely, he wondered how many of them were his actual neighbors and how many just liked the quiet road for some me-time and exercise.
He walked slowly along, glancing at all the houses and wondering what kind of people his neighbors were. Most of the houses looked similar to his own – a Cape Cod style – but definitely had modifications. That one had a nice porch right beside the driveway, this one had an attached garage, and there was even a ginormous one that towered over its next door neighbors. That particular family must have deep wallets.
Plenty of houses had fences with dogs clamoring behind them, more often than not barking at the stranger wandering their streets. The noise further cemented the idea that he would rather get an indoor cat.
A rather shrill bark caught his attention and he looked forward again, seeing a Chihuahua furiously trying to pull out of its tiny-ass harness to come and maul him. A young woman glanced down at it before lifting her head to meet his gaze.
Her eyes widened slightly and she brushed back her dark hair that had started waving in the wind as she tugged the little yapper back toward the fence of a green house.
“Moose, leave it,” the woman commanded.
Moose? Really? Moose the Chihuahua?
He continued his walk, being sure to give the pair space, even as Moose’s yaps turned into soft whines and growls from beside the woman’s feet. Catching the woman’s gaze, he nodded in greeting and she gave him a bright smile.
The front door to the house banged open and a smaller version of the woman – albeit with lighter hair and eyes – came dashing down the walkway.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry, I finally found the turtle,” the girl said. “She was, like, almost upside-down after getting herself caught between the wall and the T.V. stand—Oh, hi!”
The girl waved to him and he instinctively waved back.
“Who’s this?” She directed her question to the other woman, obviously thinking that he and she had been talking.
“I’m not sure.” The woman glanced at him. “He was just passing by.”
“I’m the new guy,” he found himself saying. “Bought the blue house around the corner. Joshua Kent.”
“Rebecca Miller,” the woman said. “This is my younger sister, Sarah.”
“Nice to meet you,” Sarah said with a bright smile. “Glad Moose didn’t scare you off.” She stared down at the dog, whom now looked confused between the two girls before glaring up at Josh with his ears flattened back. At least he wasn’t growling anymore.
“When did you move in?” Rebecca asked.
“Just yesterday,” he said. “Kinda crashed before I could explore the block, so I’m taking a walk now.”
“Going our way, then?” Sarah asked, taking a few little steps down the road.
“Your guard dog here won’t mind?” Josh asked, pointing to Moose. His ears perked up at Josh’s gesture.
“Nah, he’ll be fine,” Rebecca said. With a gentle tug, she started leading Moose down the street after her sister.
Joshua smiled and fell into step beside Rebecca. Rather, he fell into step as much as he could with Moose taking up the space in between them. The Chihuahua still looked up distrustfully every once in a while at Josh, but he didn’t vocally protest at all.
“Alright, you see that red house?” Sarah whispered conspiratorially. “Coolest old guy ever lives there, but he totally has connections to the mafia…”
Yeah, he could get used to this neighborhood.