Muscle and Music Ch. 01bydomiroa©
The fucker across the hall would not stop playing Beethoven. Its pissing me off. It's three in the morning, I'm tired as hell, I have to get up at 6:00 AM, and the new neighbor doesn't understand the fucking building rules.
I groan and pull my pillow over my head, trying to drone out the noise from across the hall. I have yet to see this damn new neighbor, who moved in a week ago, and who apparently has a habit of making a fucking racket when normal people are trying to sleep.
I throw an arm over my head to block out the stream of moonlight that falls over my pillow- I guess the world just doesn't want me to get any sleep tonight. My thoughts drift away to buildings and contracts and marble, but again I am jolted back to the present by the persistent music. Finally, after another hour of hell, the music stops and I immediately fall asleep.
The next morning I wake at five, as usual, and feel like my eyes are coated in sand. I painstakingly open my eyes to the silence of the grey dawn, normally of my favorite part of the day. It's warm and quiet but I can't appreciate it because I'm so damn tired. If that fucker tries to pull that shit again tonight I'm going to go over to his place and let him know how it works here. I wrench myself off my mattress and pull on a pair of jeans and a flannel shirt, searching blindly in the half-dark light of morning for the refrigerator. I manage to find some leftover pizza for Bear, my giant black lab mutt, and make coffee for myself before grabbing my keys and heading out the door. Bear follows me as usual but while I lock the front door behind me, instead of trying to lick my leg off or chasing his tail, he eagerly gallops down the hall to where the door to my new neighbor slams shut before I can get a glimpse of the person.
After a long, hot day on the site and a hasty dinner with Paul and Shawn, I head home. I really enjoy owning my own construction company, especially since it's doing well and I'm only 28, but it's also a pain in the ass because I have to work as hard as I can everyday to keep up my company's reputation. And that's not easy when shit keeps me up all night.
I walk along the semi-crowded street toward my building, past the noisy restaurants and florescent convenience shops, and watch the people around me spin in their own little spheres. It's nice living in the city on nights like this, where so much is happening and there are so many people but somehow they all fit together and manage to get along. Sometimes, increasingly, I feel lonely walking past these people with their bright lives and their bright families. But most of the time, including tonight, I just like to walk next to them and observe, on my way to my small, quiet, adequate apartment.
I guess I'm not lonely, although my younger sister lives 300 miles away and my parents simply don't live anymore. They passed away in a car crash five years ago, but I don't think about that often for my own sanity. Instead, I focus on my company, and Bear, and email my sister Sophie often. No, I thought, as I strolled along, Just because I'm alone doesn't mean I'm lonely.
My good mood lasted all of about ten minutes until I got home and heard that fucking music from across the hall. Bear loved it though, he went nuts running around the apartment trying to figure out where it was coming from. Damn adorable dog. I reread some contracts for a few minutes, thinking about two-by-fours, then put away my work and picked up Empire Falls. I read for a while then turned out the lights around eleven, trying to make up for the sleep I missed last night. I barely closed my eyes when I heard the music start up, Clementi tonight, start up. I sighed and clenched my eyes shut, willing my anger to subside. After as long as I could take thrashing around trying to sleep (about ten minutes) I lept up, pissed as fuck, and without even putting on shoes or a shirt strode over to the new neighbors door and banged on it. Hard.
But the music continued, and at that point I was so tired and pissed off I was ready to kick in the door. I pounded as hard on the door as I could, and I heard some wood crack. The door was wrenched open as I raised my hand to knock again but as I looked up into the eyes of my new neighbor, I froze.
I vaguely registered that his face was attractive (straight nose, white teeth, dark, soft-looking longish hair, tanned skin) but of course, like every sappy love story ever written, it was his eyes that made me freeze. Of course, I cursed in my mind.
In all my life I have only once ever seen that same shade of gold. It was in a quarry where I was working when I was nineteen and me and some other workers had just poured the tile mixture into the mold. Before we added the red paint the mix had been the most unusual color I had ever seen, a dark gold with gentle swirls of yellow, brown, oak, and so many subtle shades that I could barely even name the color. It wasn't gold, it wasn't brown, it wasn't tawny, it was a combination of all those, and it changed with the light. At that quarry eight years ago I had stood dumbstruck, as I did now, unable to move past the power of the color.
"Yes?" My neighbor asked, those eyes moving down the length of my body. I was suddenly very conscious of my larger body, tall and muscular from construction. I glared at the man's face, and couldn't help noticing that it was an open, friendly one, looking like a smile was always waiting.
I mentally slapped myself than shifted my feet.
"Your music is keeping me up," I growled, while taking in the rest of the man.
He was shorter than me, but everyone is, and the fact that I noticed that didn't surprise me. What did surprise me was that I also noticed his dark blue t-shirt, which hid his sleek, well-formed muscles. He had a nice lean figure, and his muscles looked too appealing for my comfort zone. What the hell, I thought to myself when I attempted to swallow and realized my throat was dry. This was a man, like myself, and I was reacting stronger to him than I ever had to a woman.
The man's eyes snapped back up to mine, amused, and I could see his lip twitching. The fucker was laughing at me. I wanted to bite his lip.
"Well how strange, I've always been told that Clementi often puts grouchy people to sleep," He said back, leaning against the door frame and crossing his arms over his chest. He raised an eyebrow at me, a mischievous smile on his face.
His eyes looked straight into mine and I felt so jumbled up, and I didn't understand it. Why was my heart pounding? Why was this guy different from everyone else?
I stood straighter and clenched my fists together to avoid punching the douche bag.
"Listen man, I don't give a shit what you do from seven to five but until then I would appreciate it if you would shut the fuck up because like it or not, I live here too and I have shit to do that cant be done with your damn music disrupting the peace." I spat, recognizing my unreasonable anger but not completely understanding it.
The man held up his hands in a Who, Me? kind of way. "Hey don't get mad, I'll consider turning it down a bit," He said, still clearly amused at my anger.
I cursed under my breath and felt frustration and something else curling in the bottom of my stomach.
"It's fucking keeping me up every night! I can let this go or I can make your stop it, and I promise you that if you don't cut that shit out I will be on your ass and you will be spending the next week or so in the hospital." Now I was fucking pissed, if the next thing this man said was a threat I would be on his ass faster than he could blink.
The man gazed at me for a minute, his eyes still moving slowly down my (me now realizing,) almost naked (boxers) body. His eyes ran leisurely up my frame, pausing on my bare chest, and I became too aware of my bare skin. His eyes flicked back up to mine and my heart jumped, and the heat in his gaze shocked me and sent a jolt straight down to my feet. And other places in my body.
"Honestly," he said, grinning arrogantly in a way that made me want to punch him, "I would very much enjoy you being on my ass. But for now, I'll just turn the music down and we will save the pleasantries for another time." His eyes were laughing at me, but they still held desire, and they flicked down to my bare chest one more time.
I stood shocked as he grinned one last time than shut the door in my face.