sephydark: (cat ears)
[personal profile] sephydark
Title: Alone in a Crowd
Character(s)/Pairing(s): America/England, France
Genre: Romance, Drama, AU
Rating: PG for swearing
Warnings: none
Summary: Arthur's new neighbor is an annoying American.


Mrs. Brown was old, so when she moved out of her apartment to live with her children, Arthur thought it was probably for the best. All the same, he was now the only person living on his floor, and since he didn't know many of the other tenants, it was rather a lonely position to be in

The apartment next to his remained empty until about two months later, when one Saturday Arthur woke up to the noises of someone moving in next door. Curious about this new tenant, he looked at one of the boxes the movers were bringing up and saw the name Alfred F. Jones scribbled on it. He wondered what this Mr. Jones would be like.

Just as Arthur finished thinking this, a young man came out of the apartment, having finished directing the movers as to where their last load should go. The man, who Arthur supposed must be the one whose name was on the box, had a rather young, innocent face framed by short blond hair. His bright blue eyes smiled from behind a pair of glasses, and he was dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt. He spotted Arthur and hurried over.

"Hi! I'm the new tenant here, Alfred."

Great. A big, dumb, loud American. Just the sort of person Arthur needed living next to him. Still, it couldn't hurt to be nice, could it? "The name's Arthur Kirkland. I live right next to you." He stuck out his hand.

Alfred looked at the hand for a few moments before remembering what he was supposed to do and shaking it. "It's really great to meet you," he said. "I need to go back and start unpacking right now, but maybe we could go somewhere for lunch? I really want to get to know everyone here better."

"Sure," replied Arthur, without thinking. Although he wasn't planning to show his feelings, he was really ready to get rid of this idiot.

Arthur busied himself with cleaning for the rest of the morning, trying to forget how annoying his new neighbor was. So, when he heard a knock on his door at about noon, he wondered who it could be. Upon opening it, he was surprised (and slightly annoyed) to see Alfred outside.

"Hey, you want to go somewhere for lunch? You said you would when I asked you before," he added upon seeing the confused look Arthur gave him.

"I did?" asked Arthur, trying to remember their conversation that morning.

Fuck. He had said that, hadn't he? He had to try to get out of it. "I really can't. I have to clean today. You understand, don't you?"

"But can't you do your cleaning later?" asked Alfred, giving Arthur a horribly pathetic kicked-puppy look which Arthur was unable to resist.

"Fine," Arthur said, a little of the annoyance he felt creeping into his voice. "What did you have in mind?" He hoped that his tone would hint to Alfred that he did not wish to go.

Alfred, however, seemed completely oblivious to Arthur's annoyance. In fact, there was no sign of unhappiness on Alfred's face now. "Great! Is there anywhere we can get hamburgers around here?"

"We are not going to have hamburgers! If we are going out to lunch we are going to get something good!"

Alfred was looking rather disappointed that his suggestion had been shot down. "Do you have something against hamburgers?" asked Alfred, "Because everyone I know likes them."

Arthur muttered something about those Americans, and then said out loud "They're cheap and taste like nothing but grease. Why would I like them?"

"But they are so good. Anyways, if you don't like my suggestion, what do you want to do?"

"Do you have any problems with Indian food? There's a good restaurant nearby." Alfred shook his head. "Right, then, let's go."

---

Once they had gotten to the restaurant, Alfred rambled about what things were like back in America for a while. He finally stopped talking when their food came out, though and for a while the two ate in silence.

Eventually, Arthur began to feel that things were too quiet, and asked Alfred why he had decided to move overseas.

"Well, my company offered me a position here. I always wanted to live in another country, so naturally I took it."

"Well, I hope you will like it here," said Arthur without really meaning anything.

Alfred gave a goofy smile. "Yeah. I don't know how it'll be in the long run, but so far this place has been awesome!"

"Oh," Arthur said, before asking Alfred a few more questions about what he had done and what he liked. By the time they got home, Arthur was unsure weather he thought the American was nice, if somewhat clueless, or the most annoying person he had ever met. He was leaning toward the latter, though.

---

Alfred didn't bother Arthur on Sunday, and on Monday Arthur was feeling confident that he wouldn't have to see much of his new neighbor. That day had a good start: he was able to get to work without seeing any of the annoying American.

Unfortunately, as Arthur went into work, slightly late (which was rare for him; he was usually very punctual), he found a different annoyance waiting for him. Francis, a Frenchman and Arthur's arch-rival, was standing around in the lobby. Arthur attempted to sneak by without being noticed, but just when he thought that he had actually made it someone grabbed his chest from behind.

"Why Arthur, You're late. I was beginning to think that you weren't going to come," said a French-accented voice from behind Arthur.

"Get off me you bloody pervert!" Arthur shouted, slapping the hands away. "How dare you grab me like that!"

"But I didn't know what had happened to you, and I was starting to worry."

"Liar. It wasn't even fifteen minutes," snapped Arthur, looking at his watch. "Besides, it's not like you're ever early." He stormed off before Francis could reply, hoping that he would be disturbed as little as possible.

Fortunately, nobody bothered Arthur that morning, and he was beginning to feel that the day might turn out all right after all as he walked to a McDonald's just down the street for lunch. He ordered the same thing as always, and when he got his food he took it to one of the plastic tables near the window, where he could look out. But just as he was about to take his first bite, someone nearby called out to him. Looking up, he saw Alfred standing nearby, carrying the largest meal they sold.

"I didn't expect to see you here! Are you by yourself? If you are, can I sit with you?"

"I wasn't planning on eating with anyone, no," said Arthur, hoping to indicate with his tone that Alfred was not welcome to sit with him either. But the American seemed completely unable to tell that he was unwanted, and sat down opposite Arthur with an exclamation of "Great!"

"So, you work nearby?" Alfred asked in an attempt to make conversation.

"Yes." Arthur was not going to say anything more than was required to answer his companion's questions. He hoped that would make the idiot go away.

"I work pretty close too. Guess we'll be seeing a lot of each other." Alfred trailed off into silence as Arthur hoped the prediction wasn't going to come true. After a while, Alfred seemed to remember something and said "Wait. Didn't you say that you hated hamburgers before?"

"I, uh," stammered Arthur, cursing mentally. Why was this guy, who normally seemed so oblivious, able to remember something he had said two days ago?

"That was simply the wrong time for them," he said defensively, finally having gotten his voice back. "I wanted to go somewhere nicer than this if I was trying to get to know you."

"Well, um, all right." Alfred was clearly puzzled. He probably didn't even know what he had said, the git.

The rest of the meal passed with Arthur in a furious silence. Alfred wondered about his companion's anger, not realizing that his own words had caused the problem.

Finally Alfred left, saying that his lunch break was over. Arthur knew that he needed to be getting back too, but couldn't bring himself to get up yet. He slumped down and put his head on the table, feeling utterly defeated.
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January 2013

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