Maelstrom | Part 2 | Neighbor

The Doctor woke with a dreadful fright, as the crash of a breaking bottle landing on his balcony from the apartment above him, jarred him from his rest. “You’re quite the specimen, aren’t you?” A feminine voice said from above. Julian looked up to see a woman who looked to be around his age, drinking some kind of beverage from a martini glass. He smiled coyly, embarrassed to be caught so off guard like this. “I – well, thank you.” Even though he enjoyed his more rich meals, Dr. Gale did try to keep himself in good shape. And judging by this woman’s remark, his time at the gym had been well spent.

“I thought you were empty.” The way her smile curled around her full lips, coupled with the glint in her eyes made Julian think of an exotic cat looking down at a crippled mouse.

“I just moved in.” He explained frankly.

“You should come up for a drink later. I’m having a party, don’t be a stranger.” And at that, she gave a wave of her martini glass, and disappeared from view. Later when Dr. Julian was sweeping up the broken bottle that she had dropped, all he could think about was what bottle of wine he should bring.


Come seven thirty, Julian thought it would be a good time to head on upstairs to the party. As he could hear the music through the ceiling, loud and clear. He had decided to opt for a business casual look. But then again, most of his wardrobe consisted of business casual suits. They were good for work. So he headed took the stairs to the next floor up, as it was only one floor, hardly worth waiting for the elevator. Bottle of Merlot in hand, and hoping to impress. When the door opened, Dr. Julian smiled warmly at the woman who had woken him up earlier that day. Much to his pleasure, she reciprocated the expression. She was a pretty woman, he couldn’t deny. With long dark hair that cascaded around her in waves. “I don’t believe I caught your name.”

“I’m Dr. Julian Gale. It’s a pleasure to meet you, officially.”

“Rochelle Talbot. Please come in!” She gestured and ushered him into the bustling apartment. There must have been over fifty people crammed into the space, all either dancing, talking, or drinking. Some doing all three. “You simply must met some of the neighbors. Is that Merlot?” He quickly passed her the bottle, it seemed that for a moment he had forgotten he’d had it.

“Something of a thank you gift.” As Rochelle examined the bottle, she let out a laugh.

“A fine vintage. I should drop bottles onto your balcony more often!” At that the pair of them laughed together, sharing something of a moment, before she lead him to the drinks table.


It wasn’t long before Julian started to think that maybe he was getting out of his depth. He wasn’t usually one for social things, but he figured he should get to know some others in the building. Rochelle’s good looks didn’t help either. The doctor found himself leaning against the wall watching the people in the living room drunkenly fall over one another. He was sipping on his drink, contemplating going home, when a very pregnant woman came up to stand beside him. “Hello there, you must be the new man in 1314.” Her smile was soft, and face prettily round.

“Yes, I am. I’m Dr. Julian Gale.” He held his hand out for her shake, which she met firmly.

“I’m Sophie Sommers.” She then spared a glance over at one of the drunken figures lounging on the couch, a grizzly looking man wearing very worn jeans. “That there’s my husband, Travis.” Her hand then moved to her very large belly. “And this one’s late.” The two chuckled lightheartedly.

“Do you have any other children?” Julian asked, trying his best to make conversation. At that Sophie nodded.

“Yes, my oldest Valerie, and her brother Benji. They’re probably in Jack’s room, Rochelle’s boy. Playing board games or something.” Upon hearing this, Julian was rather surprised. He didn’t see Rochelle as a motherly type, but then again, he barely knew the woman. “I must say, it is nice to get away to these parties every once in a while. Not an awful lot goes down on the lower floors where we live. The only reason I was invited is because I’m on the children’s committee. Rochelle’s in all kinds of different groups and committees so we know one another through that. Plus there aren’t many children that are Jack’s age, so it’s good that the kids can play together.”

“Yes, it must be very convenient.”

“So what are you a doctor of, Mr Gale? Maybe you could help with my overdone bump?” At that Julian laughed sheepishly.

“No, I’m afraid I’m not that kind of doctor. I study the minds of others, make sure everything is ticking along nicely.”

“Ah, I see. Well, I’m not going to lie,” Sophie said with a sigh as she looked out at the swaying sea of increasingly drunk patrons. “There are some people in this building that could use with a tune up.”


And thus concludes part two. Let me know if ya’ll are enjoying it. Who knows, maybe if you do, part three will come out sooner. Eh, probably not. But it’s worth a try.

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