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A Shadow Over Ormond

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I saw this massive triangle shaped thing in the distance and at first, I thought I was seeing things, it was a cabin…my cabin.

From a distance, it looked small…but I knew I’d have to get closer to see it at its full size…which was huge! The front had two rows of tall glass windows that seemed to reach from floor to ceiling. There was a chimney sticking out of the top and a balcony with at least a few years’ worth of dead leaves buried under another layer of snow. There were no lights inside so I figured everything was just as bad inside and I started to doubt Meg.

She said I was going to like it…that it fit me and what she figured I needed right now. I swear if this was her idea of a joke, she would be receiving a very strongly worded phone call.

I got out of my truck, locked it up and started walking towards it when my foot sank much deeper than I was expecting it to. My ankle made this loud pop sound and I shrieked in surprise as I fell flat into the snow, almost being buried by it. I raised my head and saw that if I had wanted to, I could have just laid flat and hidden on my own front lawn!

Jeez this is a lot of fucking snow! I forced myself up and started limping towards the cabin, feeling my ankle aching from having rolled it so hard. Damn it, I hate this feeling.

Finally reaching the front porch I could see a little better now how the front of my house was structured. The ground floor was actually narrower than I had first thought, since that large triangle shape I’d seen was the front of the cabins roof extending almost all the way down to the ground. The roof over the balcony on the second level slanted at less of an incline so it stuck out like a flap on the side of this thing. I also noticed that the balcony was not a mirror effect in the architecture, it was the only balcony on the left of the building, my right, as I stood before it.

I couldn’t see into the first floor as the windows were covered with thick curtains and from the bare edges that I could see within, there was a sheer cover on the other side to make it look pretty. I looked up and while I couldn’t see the second floor at all, I could see that the two windows at either end of that four-pane row had their outer corners clipped to match the shape of this huge triangle roof.

It was unlike any house I’d seen while living in the city, everything in the city was sleek and modern, sharp and sparkly. This was more rustic looking, which wasn’t a problem per say…I was just worried about the interior and how bad it might end up looking…if that balcony was any indicator.

I found the front door actually underneath the balcony, a little lantern hanging over it but the bulb within it was broken. Too bad, it looks like it would cast a pretty light.

I stuck my key into the lock and I actually half expected it to break…but it held firm and opened the heavy wooden door with a loud click.

Alright…let’s see if I regret this decision any more than I already have.

Pushing the door open…it was still practically pitch-black inside so I just hurried myself inside and closed the door behind me. It wasn’t that light out anymore anyways so I started limping around and feeling my way around when my finger tapped something smooth but hard. I recoiled by instinct but laid my hand against it slowly and recognized the texture as a cardboard box, this sent a lightbulb off in my head.

Were my things already moved in here? I hadn’t even seen the movers since I got here…did I really take that long to get out here? No wonder Meg called me.

Sadly, the little bulb in my head did me no favors in the dark so I kept feeling my way over the boxes, seeing that they’d been stacked up together beside what I could only assume was the wall. I felt a little uneasy as I wasn’t sure how high up they went and I pictured them finding me in the morning, crushed by my many boxes because I chose to walk around in the dark.

I keep reaching around, trying to find some section of the wall not covered by boxes with hopes of finding a light switch, when I was startled by the sound of the phone ringing. I couldn’t even manage to find it because it seemed to bounce off the walls of this place, the whole room was filled with the sound of it blaring like an alarm.

I frantically dug into my pocket for my phone but once I pulled it out and tapped the screen, nothing happened. Fricken…great, I can’t fucking see! At least there’s a land line incase something does happen; I’m not completely stranded.

Hey, you’ve reached the home of (f/n)! If this is Ace…please only reach out to her through your lawyer! Anyone else, she’s single and ready to get it ON! Bow chicka wow wow!

Meg…I’m actually going to kill you.

BEEP

Hello Mrs. Visconti-ahem, um Miss (l/n) …This is Jane Romero, I’ll be representing Mr. Visconti. I’m calling to inform you that Ace would like for you to come in so we can discuss the terms of your paperwork.”

I thought my stomach just did a back flip at the sound of that bitch on the phone. He was still using her for this? Of all the people on earth he could have gotten to be his fucking lawyer…he chose her?!!

“See, there seems to be a few discrepancies with the papers you provided and due to the prenup you signed, we have to ensure that you aren’t trying to sneak any of Ace’s assets out from under him.” Her voice was absolutely condescending and I actually started storming towards where I thought the sound was coming from.

“What fucking assets?! He’s in fucking debt to-” I’m cut off by colliding my rolled ankle into something solid and I screamed as I fell and hit my face on the floor, my nose exploding with pain!

“FUCK!” I yelled and Jane just kept talking. The really fucked up part, is that I don’t think she would have stopped talking if she’d been standing in the same room as me.

“There could be a suit filed against you for this considerable oversight, but Ace has insisted that he wants to speak to you first as a sign of good faith. I’m sure we can come to some sort of agreement, please contact me so we can schedule a time to go over this. I’ve also been made aware of your new living arrangements. Please be sure to provide us your new address and source of income.”

I curled up into a ball on the floor as I could feel my heart breaking all over again. My head was absolutely throbbing at this point, I couldn’t see anything and I just kept seeing that horrible woman over and over again. My nose felt like fire was pouring out of it but I knew it was blood…I didn’t move, nor bother to wipe it away.

Oversight…good faith…some sort of agreement…fucking bitch.

I let the fire pour from my nose and eyes, my chest aching and my hands tucked between my thighs. I was curled up like a pill bug and I wish I had its strong exterior to protect myself. I was not nearly as fortunate; a little critter that lived in the dirt and hid from all its problems…was better off than me. Me, a decorated officer with enough smarts and experience to go back home and head my old unit…am no better than a measly little insect.

This…isn’t…happening. David and I poured over that agreement for weeks before I dropped it off, what could have possibly been missed?! I made sure that everything was perfect, he keeps his shit, I keep mine; nothing more and nothing less. I send the papers, he signs them, sends them back and we’re no longer husband and wife!!

I’m not letting go without a fight because I love you!

His voice echoed in my head from our last argument when I told him I wanted a divorce. I loved him still too but…I can’t handle him coming home whenever, drunk or too exhausted from gambling all fucking night!

He stopped treating me like a wife once he was comfortable again.

I’ve faced hardened criminals, been in fire fights with drug lords and held a child’s hand before they faced their predator in court. I’ve done countless acts of bravery and rescue…I was a hardened officer who fought for the good of the public…yet Ace. He was the one person I’d met who turned my diamond rough exterior into molten mush with a single look, I felt like I was in a dream when we were together…but now?

Why can’t he just let me go?!

I sobbed like a child, my emotions flooding out of me through my tears, when I heard the door clicking as someone unlocked it. Meg was early and boy was she in for it when she came in.

“Hello? Miss (f/n)?” a man’s voice and I sat up. Raising my head and halting my sobs; I see the silhouette of a man in the doorway when I’m hit with a flashlight beam. I raised a hand to block the beam, unable to tell who this person is. “Oh my God! Are you alright?!” he rushes over to me and kneels down before me.

“Um…yeah, I…fell?” I say, hoping he didn’t notice the slight inflection to that. I let him lightly touch my jaw to turn my head; seeming to examine my nose. The beam from his light actually warmed my cold skin a little and I he hummed as he looked carefully at my nose.

“Ok, stay right here; I’m gonna go turn on the power. I wasn’t expecting you to be here already, I would have had them on already.” He frets then leaves the flashlight with me and runs out the door, leaving it slightly ajar.

The chilly air from outside creeps in and I hadn’t even realized but I’d begun to sweat. My forehead and cheeks and upper lip growing cold almost immediately as that air began to fill the room.

I must be completely out of it because I just laid back on the floor, flicked off the light and just stared up at the blackness above me. The air out here…smelled incredible.

It was clean and fresh and felt so good to breathe in deeply as I just…existed for a moment. I wasn’t even sure who this guy was yet, he talked about the power and called me Miss so…maybe a groundskeeper or electrician? I heard something flicker and was practically blinded as the bulbs flickered and lit up the whole place.

I’d had to cover my eyes and blink several times with my hands over my eyes, slowly ridding me off the ache from the flash. Once that was gone, I slowly moved my hands away from my eyes and my jaw dropped…is this real?

There is a stone fireplace sticking out of the wall, slightly elevated off the hardwood floors. Dark stained support beams with soft cream walls, the kitchen was small but had granite counter tops and a shiny black and silver stove.

There was a short hall to some double doors that lead outside, glass windows making up their center but bordered in that same dark stained wood. There was a washer and dryer stacked beside the doors and that man came in through one of those doors.

“There we go, looks like they only set up the land line and forgot to flip the other breakers. Everything should be up and running now.” He says and approaches me, this soft smile on his face.

He’s roughly average height, black rimmed glasses and short black hair, a little spikey from being styled that way. His skin was fair and his eyebrows were thick, he was skinny looking but not unfit looking. He was wearing a black button up with the sleeves rolled up, black gloves and a black watch on his right wrist. His pants were also black but appeared to be covered in sawdust, with black work boots to match.

“Thank you,” I say and he rushes over, pulling out a handkerchief and handing it to me. “I’d introduce myself but it seems like you already know my name.” I say, trying not to sound nasally as I pressed the cloth to my nose.

“Oh, sorry. I’m Dwight, I’m just the carpenter.” He says offering me his gloved hand with a smile.

His smile fades though as I look at him, confused and not taking his outstretched hand. “Carpenter? Was something wrong with the place?” I asked and he seemed to grow more nervous all of a sudden.

“Um…no? I was just checking it out to make sure everything was set up right.” He says and clears his throat while I’m still just staring at him. “Um…I built it…just checking to make sure-”

“Wait, what? You built this place? Ground up?” I asked and he nodded, looking a little frightened as I looked around quickly. “You built this,” I said again, somewhat breathlessly and more of a statement than a question.

“Yeah…Meg said that you would like it this way, I’m sorry if it’s not what you expected. I can fix whatever you don’t like for a reduced rate, if you like.” He offers and I just look back to him, my eyes starting to feel dry from how wide they were.

“No! It’s beautiful, I thought…Meg said she was handling the sale for me but I didn’t know she was having my place built for me!” I said and he smiled, his brown eyes lighting up at my delight.

“Yeah, I owed Meg a favor so I did this project for a discount.” He says, walking over to the wall and placing a gloved hand on the dark beam. “Staining the fir was a little tricky since they usually have red or blond colors to their timber, but I think it came out rather nice.” He says, looking at the place like a work of art, this warm admiration in his eyes.

“It’s amazing, I’m gonna need to ask Meg what kind of favor you owed her.” I say and he laughs, his cheeks turning a light shade of pink.

“Hey, make friends in the right places.” He says when the phone rings again and I felt my heart leap into my throat but I remained still. “Aren’t…aren’t you going to get that?”

“No, I um…tissue?” I ask and the color in his cheeks drained almost immediately.

“Oh! Yeah, bathroom is right over here! Follow me.” He rushes back to those double doors and opened a door between the laundry area and back doors.

As I went towards that area, I discretely unplugged the land line and the ringing stopped. Now that the ringing had stopped, I followed Dwight and saw my bathroom.

“We decided to keep the bathroom more modern, as much as people claim to love the rustic aesthetic; they have a few misgivings about the plumbing. We have a chrome finish and all the tile in here has that wood finish. The tub and toilet are pearl porcelain and the sink is the same dark chocolate brown as the support beams in the living area.” He says and hands me a small cluster of toilet paper.

The tub was indeed a pearly white porcelain color, walled in on three sides and the only way in was through the pristine glass door with a silvery handle. I couldn’t see the showerhead until I looked at the ceiling and saw that it was a large square panel built into it. There was some shelving space built into the wall and I even walked around Dwight to look at the rest of the bathroom. Just in front of the tub was the sink, mounted into the wall with a rectangular mirror above that. The largest wall on the shower wasn’t the end of the room, there was actually a narrow space behind it where the toilet resided with two skinny doors on either side for storage. This far back wall of the building had that same modern look to the rest of the bathroom, with a few narrow windows up near the ceiling.

“I wanted to put some blinds up to begin with but I figured you might want to pick what they look like.” He says and I actually lose grip on my nose for a moment as I take it in…this is mine…my new home.

“Oh!” I hear and look down to see I’m dripping blood onto the floor.

The dark droplets of my blood look almost brown as they hit the wood designed tile and I step back, not wanting to bleed on my shoes too. Dwight gently takes the tissue from my hand and places it under my nose, placing a hand on my shoulder and having me lean forward. “It’s better to let it flow out, in my experience it’s no fun when you get blood clots in the back of your throat.”

“Agreed, thank you.” I say and look up at him, holding eye contact for a long moment.

His cheeks started to turn pink again before he looked down and focused on his hands and not my eyes. He’s pretty handsome, he’s got that delicate jawline that makes me think he was probably picked on a lot as a kid. His eyes were narrow and focused, a few creases between his brows; he worries a lot.

“You’re a nervous person,” I say without thinking and he looks back up at me.

“I’m sorry?” he says and I laugh a little.

“You’ve got a few wrinkles in the dead center of your forehead, it shows that you scrunch up your brow a lot. You’d have more wrinkles if you scowled a lot, that would tell me that you’re angry. You’d have less if you were more laid back, it would tell me that you don’t emote with your face much. That and your nailbeds are completely history on all ten of your fingers; nervous nail biter and your hair may be styled but its messy because you run your hands through it a lot.” I say and he chuckles.

“Holy crap…you…hit the nail on the head. In school they called me the Nervous Nerd; are you some kind of medium?” he asks, lightly pressing the tissue against my nose again.

“No, but I appreciate the compliment.” I say and he pulls away, the tissue looking red but my nose wasn’t gushing anymore.

I lightly pressed the back of my wrist against my upper lip and nothing came away with it so I figured it was fine now. Dwight tosses the tissue into the nearby waste bin before turning back to me.

“Seriously, how’d you know all of that?” he asked and went over to the sink to wash some of the blood smears from his fingers.

“Uh…call it a party trick.” I say awkwardly and despite his back being to me, I flirtatiously twist in my spot.

Ok…could I be anymore pathetic right now? I haven’t even been here a day and I’m already looking for a rebound!

“Oh, also…before I forget.” He says, turning to me and wiping his hands on another cloth that he must have had in his pocket. “There’s a nature preserve behind the property; my friend Jake lives out there.” He says, scratching the back of his head; awkward…he’s nervous again.

“Oh, does he like, run the preserve?” I asked and he looked physically uncomfortable.

“No…he doesn’t really have a job.” He starts and that’s when I cross my arms and lean against the wall. “Meg said that if anyone would understand how Jake likes to live, you would so I…wanted to hopefully talk about that…as well.” He says nervously, seeming to notice how annoyed I look.

“Ah, is that the real reason you came over today?” I asked and he shook his head frantically.

“No! I did actually come over to look at the house but…I just wanted to mention that before I left, maybe convince you to let him stay there?” He said and I tilted my head.

“Um…if he’s on a nature preserve then…its none of my business. He’s not going to be a creep and perv out on me or something, right?” I asked and he shook his head frantically.

“NO! Of course not!! I’d never ask you to let him stay if he were like that! He’s just anti-social and he’s never just asked someone where their property line ends so…he’s been arrested a few times for trespassing despite not knowing. Not to say that he’s a criminal or anything like that-ooh…I’m not explaining this very well, am I?” he stammers, grabbing the back of his head with both hands and looking down at the floor.

“No…but since Meg trusts you, I trust you and by extension; I will trust your friend. Jake, you said?” I say and you’d think I’d just given him a million bucks.

His face absolutely lit up and he smiled at me, it was rather cute to see that kind of expression on a man. Whenever Ace was happy, he was calm and collected; confident and extremely full of himself. Dwight didn’t seem like he got happy about things often…how sweet.

“Yes, even if you run into him, he’s very polite just…quiet.” He says quickly and I nod.

“Ah, so he’s shy.” I say but he shakes his head and I stand up away from the wall, putting my hands on my hips.

“No, he just…lacks real social skills. He’s my best friend so it’s not my business to speak of but, if you meet him you can ask him. He’s quiet but if you ask about him, he’ll tell you.” He says and I nod.

“Alright, I’ll take your word for it.” My attention is then drawn to the wrought iron black spiral stairs that lead up to a second level. “What’s up there?”

“That’s the loft, it serves as your bed room. Here, this is actually something that Jake recommended for it.” He says and starts up the stairs, me following close behind him.

Up on the second level, I’m met with a triangular room with sloping walls and those same dark chocolate colored support beams. The walls were a softer and warmer blond and there were two skylights on the two high sloping walls, showing me the night sky above me. I could watch the sun rise and set this way.

“Wow…this is breathtaking.” I said and I turned to see him leaning against the wall, his hand against the beam.

“I’m glad you like it; this is the part that Jake recommended.” He says and pulls this tall Japanese panel out of seemingly nowhere and points at the beam directly across from it and behind me.

I touch it and find that there’s a small dip in the wood, that my fingers hook onto and start pulling until I bumped into Dwight’s shoulder and allowed him to take over and close the doors. They were made of several tall and skinny wood panels that all linked up and neatly folded over each other to create this divider.

“He said that his mother deeply valued privacy so when I said this house was for a woman, he said that the bedroom area needed a door. I took some inspiration from his Oriental heritage and built something into the plan that was both effective but also maintained space.”

“This place is amazing Dwight, thank you so much for this. I owe you and Meg a few rounds of drinks.” I say and his eyes light up.

“Hey, if you’re buying; I know the perfect place.” He says and I gesture for him to lead the way.