Stay in line

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Wearing her favorite tight T-shirt that read "I woke up like this" across her boobs, and tight silk black shorts with bootie high heels, Candy strode to her new neighbor's house, cupcakes in hand.

There was a moving truck parked in Kevin's driveway, and two delivery men were carrying a thin glass-top dining table with thick steel legs inside. Kevin stood at the doorway in shorts and a T-shirt, watching them with a concerned grimace. Neck stubble revealed that he hadn't had time to groom himself today.

Candy smiled as she approached. Kevin finally broke his stare and noticed her.

"Hey, neighbor. I baked you some housewarming treats," she sang, feeling every bit the regular homemaker.

Kevin's grimace softened at the sight of Candy. He smiled. "You're just in time to help me figure out where the heck to put this monstrosity!" he announced, nodding towards the dining table with his hand on his head. "Come in, come in."

Candy entered quickly, so she wouldn't block the movers with the large table, and took off her shoes. She'd noticed that Kevin didn't wear shoes inside the house like they did at her mom's and, well, every other house around. Still, the somewhat alien concept made sense, she thought. Keeps gross germs from the street out of the house. Why do we think it's OK to wear shoes inside the house, anyways? Candy had wondered over the last few days.

Kevin took the tupperware from her. He smelled of a sweet spice that must have been his aftershave. He opened it and looked inside. Candy did realize the oddity of giving a grown man cupcakes, but it was the thought that counted, right? "How sweet of you, thank you Candy. They look delicious."

"My pleasure. Freshly baked."

Kevin placed the cupcakes on the table, looking up sharply across the room. "Hey! No, don't put that there please," he was pointing to a delivery man carrying a large oil painting of a leopard cub in the sunset. It needs to go on the far wall." Then he looked at Candy, and said in a lower voice, "I think? What do you think? I thought it would make the most sense on the sunset wall?"

Candy squished her face in thought. "I see why you thought that. But hmm. No, actually, I think it would work best between the patio doors and the kitchen, over there."

"OK, let's try that. Excuse me, sorry, changed my mind. Can you put it over there?" Kevin redirected the delivery man according to Candy's instructions. He looked back at Candy. "Would you mind sticking around again today? They're delivering all the big stuff and I could use some help."

"Sure, no problem," Candy nodded. She'd been hoping he would ask her to stay. Now not only did she love being in the house, but she really enjoyed being around Kevin.

After a few hours, the delivery men had unloaded the entire contents of the truck and had left them with a house full of boxes, furniture, and decorations were strewn throughout the house in random places. Kevin and Candy were moving the boxes into their appropriate locations. Once Candy had moved the last one into place, she found Kevin unloading a box that read "Photos" and placing them carefully onto the fireplace mantle.

Candy recognized the twin girls from the photo in his wallet. They were pictured with Kevin and a young boy who looked older than the twins, and an exotically beautiful woman who Candy assumed to be his wife. She had long, black hair pulled back into a beautiful French braid crown, and chocolate-brown eyes framed by thick black eyelashes. She was long and lean, with chestnut-colored skin, slightly darker than Kevin's. The one thing that struck Candy the most was the genuine smiles worn by everyone in the photos. They seemed so happy and wholesome. Candy couldn't help but think how she would never have such photos of her own family.

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