|Aleksandra Makarov ❅ Maržanna (koliada) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-10-09 12:07:00
|Entry tags:||marzanna, uke mochi|
“Curiouser and curiouser!” Cried Alice
Who: Alex and Alice
What: Neighbors meet.
Where: Alice’s apartment
When: Morning of Oct. 1.
Alice had circled her kitchen island at least three times now with Molly following her heels, looking up with concern as she sensed something was bothering her owner. Alice had her hair pulled back in a messy ponytail, a loose tshirt and pink pajama pants hanging low on her hips. She had just woken up and made coffee when Molly kept meowing at the doorway, scratching at it as if she wanted to be left out. To appease her kitten, as Alice was still a new cat mother and somewhat spoiled the little thing, Alice plucked the kitten up in her arms and opened her door to show that there was nothing out there.
Except there was. A black box which she took in, initially thinking it was a gift from Isobel or Rafael. It wouldn’t be the first time, they often left little presents outside of each other’s door, but when she opened the gift and read the invitation inside, Alice came to backing away from the box and staring at it as if it might move.
So she took to circling the box, pinching at her bottom lip with her free hand while the other held her coffee mug, all the while staring at the box and considering what she could do until a knock stirred her from her circling and she rushed to the door, hoping it was one of her friends on the other side with an explanation. Instead, she found a pale woman on the other side. “Oh, uh, hello,” Alice said, her surprise obvious.
Alex stood ramrod straight just outside the door, something that she thought passed for a pleasant smile on her face as her hands held out a black box not unlike Alice's own. She could spy the thing on the table just beyond the redhead who'd answered the door.
"Hi," she said, her voice a little displeased to be meeting someone this early in the day; black pajamas with stars and moons on them clad her form, and she had black slippers on her feet. It was clear, though, that she'd taken the time to at least comb her short, shoulder-length hair into some semblance of order. "Did you... Ah. Yeah. Hi, we're neighbors, I'm Alex, and...I wanted to ask, what's up with the box?" One hand gently lifted the item in question as Alex's shoulders rose.
“Um, yeah, I…” Alice blinked and looked uneasily at Alex’s box and then back at her face. She shook her head and cleared her throat. “You want to come in? I’m Alice, by the way, we sort of met already on the message boards.” She stepped back and held the door open as Molly, forever at Alice’s heels, pranced backwards and looked up at the newcomer with a meow.
"Oh, the bakery girl?" Alex commented as she swept her way into Alice's apartment. She glanced down at the cat, one brow piqued, before returning her attention to the redhead.
"I don't suppose you have any brownies lying around... But that's not why I'm here," she amended herself, stopping in the empty no man's land between front entryway and communal living space. "It's just... is the management always like this? I don't usually get strange gifts from completely unknown sources, and it's certainly liable to put a girl off her newly signed lease."
Alice closed her apartment door, flipping the lock as she was prone to do, and returned to her kitchen island with her coffee still in hand. She didn’t bother to point out that she was indeed the bakery girl, already suspecting that Alex was clever enough to know the answer to that based on the items in her kitchen and her own memory, but she also found she had no words in regard to the gifts, at least not at first.
“Would you like some coffee?” Alice offered instead, moving her free hand to present the still-steaming coffee pot that sat just under half full. “It’s early and I just got up, I assume it’s the same for you.” She glanced from Alex to the box she held and then to her own box on the counter, frowning.
Alex came to a slow stop in front of the dining table, placing her own box atop it. She nodded to Alice's offer of liquid wake-me-up.
"Yeah, that would be great." Her attention was wholly instead on Alice's mask, which looked... Well, golden, and she couldn't rightly say what it necessarily reminded her of. Grain, or maybe rice. "So, since you're working your damndest to avoid my questions, I'm going to assume that you're just as unsettled by the masks as I am. Unless there's something else going on, of course, but..." She shrugged, pulling a chair back to seat herself.
Alice paused at her coffee maker and closed her eyes for a moment before answering. “It does unsettle me,” Alice admitted. She felt uncomfortable with all of this, but already her neighbor was proving to be more observant than Alice would like. Even if she lied, she suspected the woman would call her bluff.
Alice poured the coffee into a cup and moved out of the kitchen area to the dining table where Alex had chosen to sit. Sitting the cup in front of her, she retrieved the milk and sugar from the kitchen island and brought it to the table as well before also grabbing her box with the invitation and mask. She gripped it in her hands before Alex and looked down at the intricate mask. It was beautiful, that was for sure, but she had to admit it scared her.
“I got this this morning,” Alice admitted, her eyes still on the box. “I opened it, saw the mask and the note, but when I read the note I sat the box down and that was that.”
She took the seat opposite Alex and placed her box on the table. “There’ve been… gifts left at apartments before. Weird things with no notes and it’s all been unsettling. I don’t know, maybe management wasn’t behind those gifts, but considering it is apartment-wide that makes sense.” She frowned and pushed the box closer to Alex so she could look within. “Odd things have happened here and...I don’t know, I don’t necessarily get excited getting messages from the management.”
Alex pursed her lips for a moment, considering how her closet door had suddenly shifted to become an entry point into another tenant's apartment; 'odd things have happened here' seemed like an understatement.
"Is there a joker in the building, perhaps? It sounds as though management's simply doing its utmost to keep tenants happy. With these prices, I'm not very surprised," Alex replied, her hands reaching forward to drag her own box toward her. Its contents were different from Alice's mask; instead of the warm gold, hers was an icy silver on a velvety black expanse, almost like stars in the night sky. Or snow, a voice added from the back of her mind.
Alice shook her head and leaned back in her chair. She wrapped one arm around her form and pouted out her bottom lip. “No, no joker that I know of and management does seem deadset in making us happy if they can. They’ve hosted parties and stuff in the past, little get togethers for all the tenants. But…” She took in a deep breath and opened her mouth, as if she were about to say something, but seemed to change her mind with another shake of her head.
“I wish I could tell you that you moved to a great apartment. I mean, it is great. The apartments are nice, the kitchens are great, neighbors are wonderful and the amenities are fine, but beyond that… there’s just been some unexplained things that have gone on here that are concerning. Just… be careful, I guess.” She shrugged and managed to pull her gaze up to meet Alex’s.
The gaze she met was clinical, at best; Alex's eyes roamed over Alice's face, taking in every inch of the other woman's discomfort.
"So I've been told," she replied thoughtfully. Then she reached forward, plucking up her box. "Well, thank you for this little...interlude. I must be interrupting your morning routines, and, frankly, I've interrupted my own, so I think I'll leave you be." With her box in hand, Alex rose from her spot, pushing her chair backward with the slight sound of chair leg scraping on floor. The black box containing her mask floated just in front of her, grasped by a pale white hand.
Alex stopped, smiling briskly in Alice's direction. "Oh, though, I definitely won't take anything chocolate amiss. If you need a test subject, or happen to have overmade a batch of anything... though I'm sure I wouldn't be the first you'd have to tell to take a number, hm?"
Alice smiled genuinely and it seemed to light up her face. “Next thing I make, I’ll make sure I leave some extra for you outside your door. Just don’t tell anyone that you’re jumping ahead of the line.” She got to her feet to show Alex to the door. “And thanks for coming over. Let me know if you need anything, okay? And if you like whatever treat I leave you.”
"Of course," Alex replied, inclining her head briefly. Her smile retreated, and she found her own way to the front door she'd come through.