tagLesbian SexOld Neighbours Become New Friends

Old Neighbours Become New Friends

byScattySue©

Welcome, dear reader, to my latest story.

This is a romance -- or rather it is two romances because I wanted to try and tell a story from two separate characters' individual points of view.

This means three things. Firstly, there is, in places, a degree of repetition as each character tells their own versions of events. Secondly, that the story is rather long; I did consider dividing it into parts but there were no points at which the story could be split without losing the flow. Lastly, as with many of my other stories, the story builds slowly so if you're looking for a quick sex romp story then this isn't for you!

Thanks, as ever, to my wonderful editor, Winterreisser, for his excellent editing, comments and encouragement and to Gay Kay for being a lovely friend and chief guinea pig for my writing.

Feedback is, of course, very welcome whether as scores or (even more useful to an author) by comments.

I hope you enjoy the story.


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Chapter 1: My Neighbour the stranger

Mattie

I push open the back door of my small block of flats and walk across the small paved area that the estate agents always insist on referring to as a 'patio', though 'small, bleak slab of concrete' would be more accurate as there isn't really room for chairs, much less a table or barbecue. I clamber down, putting my legs under the lower balustrade rail to dangle down towards the garden some six feet below and hook my arms over the middle rail.

It's a surprisingly warm evening for the end of April; perhaps the cold, wet spring that felt more like winter is finally ending and summer is here at last. I look across the rectangle of hedge-bounded lawn that is the flats' small communal garden and out across South London towards the North Downs in the hazy distance. That always seems a bit mad, looking south to the North Downs, but that's the way it is.

I fumble in my back pocket and pull out the battered and rather squashed cigarette packet trying to ignore words 'Smoking Kills' emblazoned across the front. Yeah, right; and being dumped puts you at risk of terminal depression. I tip out the disposable lighter and shake out a single fag, light it and take a deep draw. Ten weeks, five days, two hours and... forty six minutes since Lisa walked out of my life and I still don't feel I can smoke in the flat because she always hated it and always seemed to know, no matter how many candles I lit or windows I opened. Even cooking curry didn't work; that woman's nose was unbelievable!

Shit, I'm crying -- again! The cigarette trembles between my lips, dumping ash onto my white tee shirt that I hastily brush off. God I miss Lisa and, even after the way she left, walking out with the news that she'd been seeing someone else for the previous two months, I'd still have her back in a heartbeat. Of course I would: we'd been together for four and a half years, since her second year at university and I was just an apprentice; she'd been my first proper girlfriend and the girl I'd come out to my parents to be with.

And now she is gone.

I stub out the cigarette, flicking the butt into the bush below to join the others, before immediately lighting up another. It is going to be a dull, depressing Wednesday night, I can tell. Still, I never get tired of the view, one that I also have from the flat but on such a pleasant evening being outdoors is good.

The sound of the door opening behind me makes me jump but I don't turn round; I really don't feel very sociable. I'm surprised therefore when, after briefly standing next to me, someone climbs down to sit beside me. "Hi," the woman says. I glance to the right and see that it's a neighbour; she lives on the first floor I think and we have a nodding 'hello' relationship. There are only eight flats in the whole block, just two per floor, and I don't even really know our -- now just my -- neighbours on the same floor much less anyone living two floors down. However, while I don't know her that doesn't mean I've not noticed her: with her long, dark hair and attractive face, her shapely hips and waist and the latte-coloured skin, of course I've noticed her.

"So, is this the smokers' corner?" she asks, trying to engage my attention. My brief glance takes in again the latte complexion and the lustrous, long and dark hair but also this time the dark eyes, above high cheekbones in a heart-shaped face.

"Um, yes, I guess," I reply and look away. It occurs to me that I sounded like one of my sullen, teenage nieces when asked if they're enjoying a family gathering. The woman, however, doesn't seem to notice my tone and proceeds to take out a pink tube that I realize is of those e-cigarette things and begins fiddling with it. "Look, I'm sorry if I was a bit rude just then," I apologise, "I'm just a bit out of sorts, I guess."

"No, it's fine, really," she replies as she places the tube in her mouth and starts puffing. "You live upstairs, don't you?" she asks and I nod. Looking more carefully she doesn't seem much happier than me. It appears that misery attracts company. I vaguely recall that she lives with a guy; I've seen them together from time to time, coming and going. I wonder why she's upset and whether I really want to know. In the end, my curiosity gets the better of me.

"Er, why do you need a smokers' corner to use one of those?" I ask. "I mean, it's not like they give off smoke like real fags do." I hold up my own cigarette as exhibit A.

"Oh I don't need to come out for this, particularly not now. It's just an excuse to get outside on a nice day, that's all," she pulls her mouth into what might have been intended as a smile but is more of a grimace. "So are you banished out here when you want to smoke?"

"No, well, I used to be, before..." Oh god, no! I'm determined that I will not start blubbing in front of this almost-stranger. "...before my partner left," I finish quietly.

"Oh god, you too," she says quietly and her large eyes glisten. "I'm sorry." Is she saying that her bloke has walked out on her? I try to recall and I don't remember their car being in the car park for the past few days.

"Sorry, are you saying..." I begin, not sure how to ask what she means but she nods.

"My completely ex-boyfriend Gavin's told all our friends that he finished with me because of 'irreconcilable differences', rather than the truth, the lying, shagging bastard." I'm a little startled by how open this woman is being to me.

"And the truth was?" I ask without thinking and then worry that I shouldn't have. Pain twists her features but before I can say anything else she replies.

"The truth was that I caught him buried cock-deep in a woman -- ha, practically a girl! -- in our bed when I came home early last Monday."

"Oh shit! That sounds like a pretty irreconcilable difference," I tell her and she gives a tearful little chuckle.

"Very true," she sighs. "So anyway, it's 'Hello, Dumpsville, Arizona, population: me...' and you too by the sounds of it." She gives a slightly strained smile and I give a slight smile back. "Oh, I'm Raveena, by the way, Raveena Roy."

"Mattie, er, Mattie McConnell. Nice to finally talk to you Raveena."

"And to you, Mattie. You've now spoken to me more than my next-door neighbours in number four ever have: they always both blank me as they walk past," she grumbles.

I finish the second cigarette "I don't really know anyone in the block. I guess we all ought to know each other really, given how close together we all live."

"Maybe, but then this is London and we're all too busy with our own lives I guess... until something goes wrong." There is that edge of despair in her voice again. If I were a better, stronger person I would reach out and comfort her and know the right thing to say, rather than the only thing that occurs to me, which would be a very unhelpful comment of 'That's what you get for being with a guy.' However, I can't honestly think that what Gavin did to her was too much worse than what Lisa did to me, so I can't claim any moral superiority for lesbianism.

I climb to my feet. "Sorry but I've got to go, Raveena," I tell her. "I hope you'll be okay."

"Thanks, Mattie; you too." She turns to look out into the distance as I head indoors and up to my top-floor flat.

- - - - - - - - o o O o o - - - - - - - -


Raveena's Diary

Wednesday 16 April

I hate coming home to an empty flat. This was only the second evening but somehow it seemed worse than last night; perhaps it felt more permanent, like this is how it'll be from now on. Maybe I'll get used to it in time, even come to enjoy the solitude: it's only my second day on my own, after all.

Two days; can that really be all? Just two days since I came home early and caught him. I spoke to Katie this morning and she informed me that he's been going around telling people that we'd split up, that he'd had to leave due to 'irreconcilable differences'. When I told her what really happened she was shocked, though not shocked enough not to ask if I was going to give him a second chance. "Not a fucking chance!" was my reply. Maybe I should have sent her the photos I took; then she wouldn't have asked.

My phone beeped just after I got in and it was a text. "Oh crap!" was my heartfelt response because I'm going to have to put up with him coming round on Saturday to collect his stuff. I've been so tempted to dunk his clothes in tomato soup, to run his leather shoes and his games console through the washing machine, to clean his CDs and DVDs with a Brillo Pad... but I have decided to be the bigger person and retain my dignity as a grown-up. It's worked so far.

I've realized that I can minimize the time he spends here when he comes so I took the roll of bin liners and began filling them. The cases of the CDs split the bin liners so I used a couple of pillow cases and a duvet cover instead. It took two hours but at the end I had all his stuff, all that I think is his anyway. I'm sure there'll be arguments over some of the furniture but he can't need much, surely.

When I looked out the window it was into beautiful evening sunshine and the view across the houses and offices to the wooded hills where I grew up in the far distance was particularly lovely; it made me want to take a break and get some fresh air.

I made my way to the shared garden, somewhere I've only visited once or twice. As I pushed open the door and stepped out a I saw a woman, a resident of one of the flats upstairs, sat with her legs dangling over the drop down to the garden and leaning on the centre railing as she smoked, obviously a smoking pariah banished outside for her habit.

I walked across the paved area to the railing, surprised again by how far below the grass of the garden lay; of course, we're on the side of quite a steep hill. I leant on the railing and took a few gentle puffs from my e-cig. I know: the e-cig was meant to be a step on the way to giving up smoking but that hasn't happened and what with all the crap with Gavin I suppose I should at least congratulate myself on not going back to real cigarettes.

I peeked down at the woman who seemed to be ignoring me. There was something about her body language and the half glimpse of her face that suggested she was in a similarly low mood to me. In fact, in the odd sightings I've had of her recently she has always seemed very glum. A brief internal struggle followed, as my desire to be on my own and ignore her came up against my habitual urge to fix things for people. When, thirty seconds later I found myself climbing down to sit beside her, I realized that perhaps there never really was much of a struggle.

I glanced at her fleetingly; she had short brown hair which gleamed with an auburn tone where the low evening sunlight caught it. Her skin was a very pale rose, with a dusting of light freckles across the bridge of her thin nose and the tops of her cheeks, and I caught a flash of denim blue eyes as she looked down. More than anything, what I noticed was the air of deep sadness that surrounded her and that tugged at my heartstrings, tangling empathically with my own sadness. I can't help it: I hate seeing anyone sad and upset and I found myself wanting to comfort her. I wondered what her life story was and if some bloke had been a bastard to her too. I tried to recall if I'd seen her with anyone and all I can think of is another woman, a friend bit older than her.

"Hi," I said to her as brightly as possible, trying to exude friendliness. "So, is this the smokers' corner?" I asked.

"Um, yes, I guess so," she replied uncertainly and a little grumpily before looking away. I noticed a slim silver ring in the side of her nose, the double piercing in her left ear and, as her head tipped forward, below the collar of her white, slightly grubby tee-shirt I saw the top of a tattoo: an intricate Irish knot pattern at the top of her back. I opened e-cig to check the fluid level before taking a few more draws. She turned back face me and apologised: "Look, I'm sorry if I was a bit rude just then. I'm just a bit out of sorts, I guess you could say," she said.

I assured her that it was all fine as I continued to smoke my e-cig.

"Why do you need the smokers' corner to use one of those?" she asked. "I mean, it's not like they give off smoke like real cigs do." She waved her cigarette, wafting the smoke around to demonstrate.

"Oh no, I don't need to come out for this," I told her, pointing out that it was simply a good excuse to come outside on a nice day, that was all. I ventured a little smile of friendship. "So, are you banished out here whenever you want to smoke?" I asked.

"No, that is, I used to be, before..." she hesitated and I saw pain and sadness in her eyes, "...before my partner left me," she concluded quietly.

"Oh god, not you too," I exclaimed without thinking and then quickly apologised. Hang on, I thought to myself, does that mean that the woman I'd seen her with wasn't just a friend? Is this woman a lesbian? The short hair, the tattoo and piercings, the boyish clothes had me wondering but then I began to worry that I was stereotyping.

"Sorry, are you telling me..." she asked uncertainly..

"Gavin, my now completely ex-boyfriend, has been telling our friends that we split due to 'irreconcilable differences', rather than telling them the truth, the lying, shagging bastard." I told her. She then asked me what the truth was and somehow it felt right to tell her. I loved her reply:

"Shit, that sounds like a pretty irreconcilable difference to me!" It was so nice to hear someone think that I was right to end it with him instead of being asked if I was going to 'take him back' or 'try to patch things up'.

"Anyway, it's 'Hello, Dumpsville, Arizona, population: me,'" I said to her, trying for humour, "and you too by the sound of it." I added in an attempt at sisterly empathy. She gave me a smile, slightly forced perhaps but still a smile, so I introduced myself.

"I'm Mattie McConnell," she replied and for the first time she seemed to relax a little. "It's nice to meet you and actually talk to you."

"And the same for me, Mattie," I assured her, not wanting her to slip back into her melancholy state. "You've spoken to me more than anyone else in the block has in the past year and a half; even my neighbours in Number Four ignore me. They're not a very friendly lot," I told her and then bit my tongue; some could be good friends of hers, for all I knew.

"I don't really know anyone in this block of flats either," Mattie replied as she finished her cigarette. "We ought to all know one another since we live so close together, I suppose."

I had to agree but, as I pointed out, this is London where people only seem to take an interest when things go wrong. That thought unexpectedly choked me and filled me with sadness: we're only talking because things have gone wrong for each of us. Suddenly she shuffled back from the edge and climbed to her feet.

"Sorry, Raveena," she apologised, "I've got to go but I hope you'll be okay." I wished her the same back and she went inside. I sat out a little longer, watching the sky darken from dark cobalt to navy to deep indigo and towards the near-black of city skies. By then I was stiff and cold so I headed back indoors.

It's getting late but I've managed to keep my renewed resolve to keep a diary -- for the first day at least!

- - - - - - - - o o O o o - - - - - - - -


Chapter 2: A new friend in need

Mattie

Since it's a Saturday, and one on which I have no work, I'm not impressed to be woken up by shouting that I can hear through the open bedroom window that overlooks the car park. I turn over and am about to pull the covers over my head to muffle the sound when I register who is shouting: it is the woman I talked to during the week, Raveena. "You selfish shit, can't just take what you like!" she yells.

"I'll fucking well take what I want of my stuff," a man's voice shouts back. I'm intrigued and fully awake now so I climb out of bed and walk naked over to the window to see what's going on.

From the third floor I'm looking down at a steep angle to the small car park. A large white-roofed van has been reversed in, selfishly blocking the exit. The back door of the van is open and there are two men pushing a large piece of furniture, a bookcase by the look of it, into the van. From this angle I recognise neither but one turns as Raveena calls out, "We got that for my books; why do you even need it? You never read!" From this angle I can't see her.

One of the men, Gavin obviously, turns to reply and I think I recognise him. "We didn't buy, I did. Anyway, my CDs and DVDs need somewhere and Sadie's got books and stuff." He glances back and I notice the head of a very attractive woman leaning out of the van's passenger window.

"That bitch can stay away! She's not coming in, ever." Raveena's sharp, bitter exclamation confirms my guess that this Sadie woman is the one Raveena caught Gavin in bed with. The woman says something I can't hear but Gavin laughs. As I watch they finish loading the bookcase and head back towards the flats and there are more comments and laughter. I feel a sudden sadness for Raveena: when Lisa left and took her stuff it was horrible, and there are still gaps where the things she took used to be, but at least she didn't bring her girlfriend round to laugh at me. I'm going to go and support Raveena.

I think for a moment before opening the middle drawer of the chest of drawers and pulling out a running vest, underwear and shorts that I wear when I occasionally sufferer from a bout of exercise-guilt. I dress quickly (the lack of bra isn't an issue when even your lover describes your tits as fried eggs!), stuff my feet into my training shoes and head out, grabbing my keys. Now I can claim that I was just going for a run and bumping into Raveena was an accident.

As I near the first floor I hear voices: Raveena again objecting. I'm halfway down the final flight of stairs and I can see the door of Number Three is open. The woman, Sadie, is stood by the door holding a pair of dining chairs stacked seat-to-seat, and struggling a little with the weight, while Gavin and his mate manhandle a small dining table out through the door. I stay out of sight in the shadows as the men pass. They are held up as they try to work out how best to carry the table down the stairs and I take the opportunity to admire Sadie's figure: she is gorgeous, though Raveena is by no means completely outshone by her. She is younger even than me and I can understand why Raveena loathes her for it. It occurs to me that if she is an old girlfriend of Gavin's then their previous relationship can barely have been legal! However, no matter how attractive she is, she is also feeble as after a short while she has to put the chairs down to have a rest.

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byScattySue© 38 comments/ 71881 views/ 124 favorites

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