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Jericho stepped into his house and quickly perused the surroundings. Nothing had changed. The furniture and pictures on the wall. Even the books on the shelf. Everything was the same. He made a mental note to talk to his sister about the house. Time to buy some new furniture. Except, he didn't think the itch he now felt was from the furniture or the pictures on the wall. Something else had stirred a scratch inside him. His new neighbor came to mind. He shook off the thought and moved through the house.
He walked to the kitchen, dropped the few bags on the counter, and then strolled toward the back door. Opening it, a soft smile tugged at the corner of his mouth as a breeze wafted in, caressing his face and arms. It felt good. Fragrant scents of honeysuckles and azaleas permeated his nostrils and rushed to his brain, bringing back past pleasures and joys of his summers in St. Agnes. Soon the aroma of barbeques and smoking grills would float through the air and take over his senses. He could almost smell them now.
He grew up in this small town. He went off to college at Penn State and for the first time in his life knew what big city life was all about. So much to do. Places to go. The culture. The Art. The noise. He swore he'd never come back to small town life, but a year after graduation, he yearned for the peace-filled countryside. At first, he thought his sister was crazy when she told him she bought a small house here for her getaways, but soon he understood why. Two more years passed before he begged her to let him come down for a few days during the summer. Soon those days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into months. Every time he inquired about the occupantusage, she laughed. Eight years passed, and regardless of what he said, he knew St. Agnes was home. Always was. Always would be.
He stepped out onto his back porch. Looking from side to side, the thought of soon having to cut the grass and trim the bushes came to mind just as he caught sight of his elusive new next-door neighbor.
There she was, leaning over the railing with a mug of something hot cradled in her hands. Even from a distance, she still had that "don't bother me" look on her face. He wondered where she was from and what she was all about. What made her tick? Why had she chosen to reside in St. Agnes beside him in the Davis house? And, why didn't anyone know anything about her? The last thought clouded his mind when he remembered he hadn't really spoken to anyone except Donald. He shrugged it off, turned, and walked back into his house.
When he saw her in the store, she intrigued him. Now, she bothered him. Not so much because she lived next to him and he knew nothing about her, but because she was someone with an aura of mystery, pouring off her like water down a duck's back. Her standoffish attitude did nothing but fuel his need to get to know her.