After six years of a relationship going nowhere, Jett Thompson has moved away to start over. Maybe his new neighbour David can help distract him from the ache left by his ex's absence. To get closer to David, Jett invites himself for a cup of tea, but things don’t go as planned. David is standoffish and secretive, and when Jett asks about the strange noises coming from the back of his garden, he gets no answers.
David’s life is good. He has a whole root cellar full of lovers, and he doesn’t need a nosy neighbour meddling in his business. He doesn't need a friend, but maybe he can make room for another lover. Jett might make beautiful cakes, but David knows nothing tastes as good as thin feels.
Jett felt more alive than he had in a long time. His kitchen smelled of chocolate and vanilla, and the sticky cake looked perfect. Not even the white blob of whipped cream that fell to the floor when he lifted the whisk out of the bowl too quickly could dampen his mood.
He put on his shoes, not wanting to wait another minute before he handed over this magnificent chocolaty creation to his neighbour. It would make any man melt, and he felt giddy at the thought of trying it on the thin, brown-haired man next door.
Cake in one hand, the bowl of whipped cream in the other, he was ready to go. Slowly, he made his way around the cardboard boxes to the front door. As he tried to open it with his elbow, the tune of Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” cut through the air. Jett froze. He was dying to hear Josh’s voice, had been longing for it all day, for several days, but he needed to put some distance between them. The ache in his chest was overwhelming; he didn’t think he’d ever been this lonely in his entire life. He put the cake down on top of one of the moving boxes and took his phone from the pocket of his jeans. The butterflies in his stomach wouldn’t stop fluttering around, even though he tried to tell them it was over. Unless Josh changed his mind, they would never go back to being an item.
The display was lit, Josh’s name written in stark white over the black screen. Jett let his thumb hover over the green icon, the butterflies urging him on, but he managed to put the phone down without answering. He reached for the cake and hurried out the door. That didn’t stop him from hearing the phone start to ring again as soon as it had quieted. What’s making Josh so eager now?
The knot that had replaced the butterflies in his stomach made it hard to smile as he neared the neighbouring house. So typical of Josh. Jett had managed to forget about him for a few hours, had been excited about baking for the neighbour, and now all he wanted was to run back and fetch his phone so he could talk to his partner. His former partner, he reminded himself.
He tried to shut down his brain as he gazed up at the house. In the dark it almost looked like his, the white façade spooky in the moonlight, but still hauntingly beautiful. He shivered. He was being silly; this was the kind of house he’d always wanted. The fact that it was dark outside didn’t change that. It would’ve been better if Josh had wanted it too, but he hadn’t, and now here Jett was -- in front of another man’s house.
With a deep breath, he raised his hand to knock on the door, but then he hesitated. Not a single lamp was lit. Maybe he wasn’t home. Jett listened. The wind rustled in the trees, and he thought he heard a soft clinking noise from the garden. Maybe he’s out working on something. Jett had seen some kind of garage on the side of the house, maybe it was a workshop of some kind.
He started to walk around the house. An owl hooted in the dark, making Jett flinch. He hesitated. He’d never been afraid of the dark, not really, but it was very dark. Raising his head and squaring his shoulders, he started walking, the gravel crunching beneath his feet. It’s just a few metres in the dark.
“Where are you going?”
Startled by the harsh voice, Jett whirled around and almost dropped the bowl of whipped cream. “Oh, erm ... I thought you were in the garage. Thought I heard a sound.”
“As you can see, I’m not.” The neighbour stood inside looking at him, the door opened just a crack.
Jett tried to read his facial expression, but all he could see was the eyes glinting in the dark. “I brought cake this time.” He raised the plate and smiled.
The silence went on for a little too long before the man opened the door some more. “How lovely, why don’t you come in?”
“Are you sure?” Jett suddenly didn’t feel certain about going inside, cold washed over him as he waited for the man to answer.
“Of course, do come in. My name is David, by the way.”
Jett walked inside, carrying the cake as a shield. “Nice to meet you David. I hope you like chocolate.”