May 16 202X
@sansan4ever: Ahh server’s been so dead these days... Anything new, peeps?
@modthebod: Been busy with school work. Sucks.
@mr-drake: thank god i ain’t in school anymore. good luck, @modthebod
@modthebod: Thanks. Btw found this photo of Sandra. Enjoy, guys.
@sansan4ever: Aww I feel ya, @modthebod. *hugs* And ooh boy Sandra looks so hot!
@mr-drake: yo check out that booty *whistles*
@kai: Great skirt but not loving that top.
@mr-drake: whoa are you the fashion police or what??
@kai: ? I can’t express my honest thoughts?
@modthebod: @kai Please refrain from expressing criticism of Sandra. This is your first and only warning.
@kai: …. Whatever, fine.
~ ~ ~
As he drove, Thomas bobbed his head to the country rock music blaring from the car speakers. He liked weekends, even when it was his shift. Weekends meant that Marsha would be at home, supervising Percy’s studies. He had the whole car to himself, so he could blast any music he liked without having to listen to Marsha’s complaints.
Weekends also tended to be more relaxing. Not today though. Thomas sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. It was too early in the morning to be dealing with complaints and house visits.
Catching sight of the signboard off the road, he flicked the turn signal and took a left. The car drifted down the road, past rows of houses and playing children. Thomas watched them wistfully. Give them a few more years and soon, they would be shuttling between extra classes, with their free time being occupied by a tiny mobile screen.
He shook his head and turned his attention to the plate numbers on each house. He was looking for number 12 which was further down the road. The neighborhood was not one he came to often, although, in his younger days, he would always pop by. His cheeks flushed at the thought.
As house number 12 came into view, he sneaked a look past it. House number 13 sat right beside his destination. It looked almost the same as he remembered it - simple and dull. But it was the occupant inside that had his heart pumping like a house on fire.
Thomas took a sharp breath. With a quick turn of the steering wheel, he parked the patrol car opposite house 12 and killed the engine. He stepped out, taking in the smell of freshly cut grass. His lips broke into a wide grin and as he strolled through the open gate of house 12, his mind wandered away from his duties. After all, he was right here, next to Sandra’s house. It would make sense to pop by and say hi, right?
No, that would make him seem like a creep. Thomas brushed away his fantasies and rapped on the brown front door.
Hands held behind his back, he waited. Over the sound of shuffling inside the house, he heard the haunting tune of a piano. The melody drifted from the neighboring house - Sandra’s place. He smiled to himself, enjoying the music, and at the same time, excited to know she was at home after all.
The front door creaked open an inch and a pair of suspicious eyes stared at him over owl-rimmed glasses. Thin lips parting in a snarl, the old woman rasped, “What do you want?”
“Hi Dina,” Thomas chirped. “Sorry to bother you but-”
“Then go away,” she snapped and made to shut the door in his face.
Thomas jammed a hand between the door and its frame, his fingers digging into the wood. He held it open and cracked a forced smile.
“Please, Dina. I need to speak to you,” he emphasized.
The old woman’s strength was no match for his and she gave up, letting the door swing wide open. She sighed in exasperation and crossed her arms in a defiant stance.
“Get on it with it then,” she grumbled as she leaned on the door frame.
“Ah right.” Thomas recomposed himself and cleared his throat. He clasped his hands at chest level, putting on a polite smile. “I’m here because we’ve received several complaints about the umm… noise level coming from your house at wee hours in the morning. I-”
“Oh those blithering fools,” Dina cut in as her hand moved to rest on her hip. “What have they to complain about when they are the ones who blast music and laugh so damn loudly and bring back guests! I’ll say I should be the one complainin-”
Holding a palm up to stop her tirade, Thomas tried his best to keep his tone friendly yet authoritative. “I’m sorry about that, Dina. I know that must be frustrating for you but since it’s before midnight, we can’t do much about that. But if you’re having noise from your place past midnight, that would count as disturbing the neighborhood.”
The old woman’s cheeks puffed up and she wagged an accusing finger at him. “Now look here, the only reason I’m even making… noise-” She emphasized the word, her tone dripping with sarcasm. “-is because they woke me up first! I’m a light sleeper and I’ve told them oh so many times about it.”
Thomas felt the situation slipping out of his hands and he scrambled for a way to appease both sides. “Okay, I understand your grievance, Dina. Maybe you can tell me what or who woke you up in the night, and then we can solve all of this.”
Dina huffed and glowered at him. She held her silence long enough for Thomas to shift uncomfortably on his feet. When she was pleased that she held the higher ground, she deigned to give an answer.
“It all started when that lady moved in next door.” She jerked a thumb at house 13.
Thomas’s heart leapt into his throat. He swallowed hard. “What did she do to wake you up?”
The old woman scoffed. “Exactly what she’s doing now. Playing that goddamn piano and always repeating some awful tune over and over.”
Dina’s derisive tone scratched at his ears. The vein on his neck bulged and pulsed as he attempted to rein in his irritation. He managed a thin smile, his reply curt and minimally polite. “Got it. I’ll talk to her. Thank you for your time.”
His cool tone was not lost on Dina. She glared at him for a few seconds before hissing, “You’d better.”
When she slammed the door in his face, Thomas finally let out a long breath. He stalked off her property, his smile morphing into a scowl. He cursed the old woman under his breath. It was no wonder her neighbors complained about her and not Sandra. Who would like that old bat anyway??
He slowed his pace as he neared house 13. Upon closer examination, he found the gate closed but not locked. Thomas pushed past it and slipped into the compound. As he walked up to the door, the tinkling sound of piano keys grew louder, calming his anger.
The thought of seeing Sandra relaxed the tension in his muscles and his lips curled upwards into a smile. He rapped on the door twice, the sound echoing through the house. The piano playing stopped and he heard her airy voice call out in a singsong manner.
Hurried footsteps approached. The front door swung open, revealing Sandra in a baggy tee and shorts, her hair tied back in a lazy ponytail. She broke into a big smile. “Oh Thomas, it’s you!”
He grinned. “Sorry to drop in on you unannounced.”
“That’s fine.” Sandra waved him off. “So is this an official visit or..” Grinning, she threw him a conspiratorial wink that stained his cheeks pink.
“Ah right.” Thomas bumbled and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. “It is official actually.”
“Are you going to arrest me or something, Sergeant Thomas?” Sandra teased, sticking her tongue out.
He laughed and shook his head. “Nothing of that sort. It’s just that umm..”
He cleared his throat and assumed a more official tone. “Your neighbor complained of piano playing in the wee hours of the morning. So I’m sorry to have to tell you but it would be good for all parties if you refrained from doing that.”
Her expression changed into a blank look. Thomas winced and quickly added, “I know it doesn’t sound fair to you - I mean it’s music and all. But some people might not find it pleasant. Not that I don’t- I mean I like your music and-”
“It’s Dina, right?” Sandra interrupted with a sigh, her shoulders slumping. She rolled her eyes and shook her head in exasperation. “I tried to play as softly as possible. Looks like it didn’t work.”
Thomas grimaced. “No, it didn’t. Maybe if you change your schedule a little..”
“I write my songs whenever inspiration strikes.” She folded her arms across her chest. “It just happens that I get them in the night, or when I’m asleep.”
“Oh.” Thomas deflated, at a loss as to how he was going to solve this issue. His eyes darted to the ground in search of an answer that wasn’t there. At the sound of a light-hearted chuckle, he looked up.
“Alright, alright,” She said behind a mouthful of giggles. “I’ll help you out here. I won’t play my music past midnight. That should solve your problem.”
His chest heaved as he expelled a long breath and whistled. “Oh thank you, Sandra. You’ve no idea how much trouble you’ve saved me.”
“Well, how are you going to repay me for this favor?” Sandra cocked her head to one side, soft bangs covering her twinkling eyes.
Thomas’s eyes widened. Color tainted his cheeks. “Umm.”
Damn. Here goes nothing.
“Would dinner and drinks be enough?” he blurted.
A grin tugged at her lips. She laughed, one hand cupping her mouth as she nodded. “Yes, that would be good.”
The young man broke into a wide-toothed smile and bounced on his feet. “Great! I’ll see you at the pub at 7?”
“See you at 7 then.” Sandra smiled.
Thomas waved goodbye before she closed the door. He stood there for a moment longer, savoring the victorious feeling. Then, he turned around and strolled out of her front yard, closing the gate behind him. His face lit up like a thousand watts, exuding a warmth that matched the surface of the sun.
As he headed to his car, he felt like he was floating on cloud ten - fuck cloud nine. Buoyant and exuberant, there was nothing that could bring him down on this wonderful morning. Nothing at all.