It’s National Neighbour Day, which means The Dragon Next Door turns one 🥳 This is one of my favourite stories of all I’ve ever written.
Where I live now, I can see three houses, all of them summer houses that are empty for most of the year. If I go outside, I can see a fourth, and in that there actually is someone living. I can also see the driveway of a fifth house where a 70+ lady is living. If I walk out on the road, I can see the driveway to a sixth house, another summer house that hardly ever has any inhabitants.
I feel trapped. I tell my husband every week, during some periods every day, that we have to move. The next house we live in, there won’t be any visible houses… hopefully. It can go days without me seeing or talking to anyone, but it’s the possibility of neighbours that stresses me out.
So in my world, a good neighbour is an invisible neighbour (Oh, I should write a story with a ghost neighbour!), and therefore Adrian is my worst nightmare. And yet I love him.
I’m glad he’s not real or it would’ve been cool if he was, but then I’d hoped he’d live far from me. He’s still one of my favourite characters though because being in his head was lovely. He’s a sunshine character, and we can all use some light now and then 😊
The Dragon Next Door
Adrian Green’s new next-door neighbor isn’t really a dragon, but he does snarl an awful lot.
The first time Adrian saw Lorcan Walsh, he knew he needed Adrian’s help. Lorcan has a fractured leg and an empty apartment. Luckily, Adrian doesn’t mind helping him fill his lair with gems, and Doris’s second-hand shop has everything a dragon could possibly want.
The problem is, Lorcan doesn’t seem to want his apartment decorated, and sneaking presents past a grumpy dragon isn’t easy.
All Adrian wants is to cheer Lorcan up, but when Lorcan’s ex appears at the door, Adrian fears not even vintage coffee cups will get them their fairy-tale ending. What if the way to a dragon’s heart isn’t lined with treasures?
Gay Romance: 14,488 words
Adrian carried a box of plates, cups, glasses, and cutlery. Not a single piece matched and yet they fit together beautifully. He and Doris had spent a good couple of hours going through the entire shop and settled on blue and white decor. They were all beautiful pieces, and Adrian wanted to keep them for himself, but it was a gift to Lorcan.
No wonder he was unhappy. All dragons needed a hoard, and his cave was barren.
Grinning to himself, he jogged up the last flight of stairs and found Lorcan’s doorbell with his elbow.
Seconds went by without any sounds coming from the apartment. Adrian pressed the doorbell again.
With a huff, he put the box down and opened the mail slot. “Hello? Lorcan?”
Maybe it was wrong to assume he was a dragon? The growl coming from within sounded more like a werewolf. Adrian kept looking through the tiny opening of the mail slot until one bare foot came into view, then he stepped back and grabbed the box of crockery.
The door opened, and Lorcan scowled at him. “What?”
“I come bearing gifts.” Adrian bowed and pushed past him into the apartment, having learned his lesson from last time to not try to hand something to Lorcan.
He went straight for the kitchen and poured water into the sink. “Where do you keep your dish soap?”
Lorcan watched him with narrowed eyes. “I don’t.”
It took several seconds before Adrian understood what he meant. “I have an extra bottle.”
Hurrying out of the door, he almost ran into Jesse on his way to his apartment. “Hi!”
Jesse waved in the middle of a yawn. “What are you doing in there?”
“I brought him some plates and cups and stuff.”
Jesse shook his head.
“He has to have some plates.” Adrian put his hands on his hips.
“Whatever, man. Wanna watch a movie later?”
Adrian glanced at Lorcan’s door. He wouldn’t want Adrian to hang around for long. “Sure.”
Adrian held in a sigh. Jesse always wanted to order pizza. Adrian worried about his nutritional intake, and did his best to sneak in some vegetables and fruit when they hung out. “I can make something.”
Jesse pursed his lips. “No tofu.”
Adrian threw his hands in the air. “There is nothing wrong with tofu.”
“I disagree.” Jesse grinned at him.
“Whatever. Seven?” It would give him time to cook something.
Jesse headed down the stairs, and Adrian hurried into his kitchen and grabbed the extra bottle of dish soap he kept under the sink. Before he went back to Lorcan, he wrote dish soap on the shopping list he kept by the coffee maker. He always wanted a backup of everything, should he unexpectedly run out. And it was lucky he did, since he now had a bottle he could give to Lorcan.
He closed the door behind him and pushed down the door handle on Lorcan’s door only to find it locked. What the hell? He waited, thinking Lorcan must’ve heard him try to open it and would come to let him in. When nothing happened, he pushed the doorbell.
Seconds went by but he didn’t have to shout through the mail slot before Lorcan opened the door. “Oh, you’re back.”
“Of course I’m back.” Adrian glared at him. “I only went to grab detergent.” He held up the bottle. “Jesse and I are gonna watch a movie later, do you want to come? I’ll cook.”
Adrian frowned. “It’s across the hall, at Jesse’s, you don’t have to walk far at all on the crutches.”
Lorcan gave him a look he couldn’t interpret—damned blank face. Maybe he was a gargoyle and not a werewolf what with all those stony looks.
“So, what made you move here?” Adrian poured some detergent into the dishwater and set about washing the plates, cups, and glasses he’d brought. He didn’t ask for a dish drainer. The plates truly were lovely. Maybe he should ask Doris to put some aside for him, should she get more.
“I had to find something fast. This was what was available.”
When Lorcan didn’t explain why he needed to find something fast, Adrian gritted his teeth. “Towel?”
A raised eyebrow was the only response he got. Adrian grunted and pushed away from the sink. “Don’t lock the door. I’ll be right back.”
Dish towels. He’d see what Doris had in the shop. Sometimes you could find beautiful towels of far better quality than those you bought new and for next to nothing. He grabbed one from his linen closet and headed back to Lorcan’s apartment.
“Which cupboard would you like to keep your plates in?” Adrian had his in the cupboard closest to the window, and he gravitated toward it with the stack of dried plates.
“Sure it does.” When Lorcan didn’t answer, he placed the plates on the second shelf and the glasses and cups on the bottom. With a sigh of longing, he looked at them. So pretty.
“Are you sure you don’t want to watch a movie with Jesse and me?”
Lorcan shook his head.
“Okay, then.” Adrian dropped his shoulders. “If you change your mind, you know where to find us.” He motioned in the direction of Jesse’s apartment.