After Castiel Corder shut the front door of his new home, he wandered into the kitchen, reached into the fridge to pull out a couple beers he had placed on the shelf upon arrival. He walked around the boxes and made way to the sofa where his younger brother, Nathaniel, sat.
"Cheers, little bro."
Nathaniel accepted the beer, "Cheers, mate."
They sipped in silence for a few moments. Cass looked at his brother with curiosity and gestured around the room, "What do you think about it?"
Nathan shrugged after a moment before giving a slight smile, "You did alright, in my opinion. It definitely has potential."
Cass smiled wide. He had always valued his brother's opinion despite being the only parental figure Nathan had. Most older brothers could write off what their younger brother's thought about them but they were all each other had anymore. Their parents had been dead nearly all of Nathan's life, due to a traffic accident. They were taken in by their uncle and his wife. As they grew older, Cass grew angry at how much differently they were being treated than the rest of the family. They always received less affection and attention than their cousins.
Cass and Nathan always received fewer gifts on birthdays and holidays, they could never do what they pleased in their free time, and were given more tasking chores than the other two boys. When Cass was finally of age, he decided to get himself and little brother to a better place where they weren't taken advantage of and could be free.
They rented a small, run-down apartment near Twikki Bay while Cass worked to save up money. He worked in construction for years and made a decent enough living. He'd been saving ever since. But it was time to move on and make a fresh start. He grew tired of the big city life, the rising rent costs for something so cramped and dingy, and decided to relocate to Pleasantview. It was a small town further north where he was once assigned to a remodeling job of the local YMCA. He enjoyed the atmosphere, the way people seemed to know each other, and the mountain views. He thought it was perfect for them. They had trouble making and keeping new friends in Twikki Bay. Everyone who passed through seemed to be gone just as fast, like they were rocks at the bottom of a stream and everyone else was the water rushing past.
So, here they were! Cass was brought back to reality when his brother tried to stifle a rather large yawn.
"Damn. It's already three o'clock? Let’s call it a night and get some energy before we finish unpacking."
Nathan nodded in agreement, "Yeah. Thank God we at least got our beds assembled."
Jasmine, their grey Persian feline, strutted into the living room and was ready to follow Cass to bed. She was a sassy thing, but he adored her. "Night, bro."
Cass opened the door to his master bedroom. It was amazing at how this room already matched some of his own furniture. "One less thing I have to paint."
He found the duffel bag that contained his clothes and dug for his favorite pajama bottoms. He changed quickly, eager for a good night's sleep. Jasmine was already curled up waiting on him. He turned off the lights and climbed into bed.
The next morning, he awoke to the smell of something burning. Had Nathan already managed to catch the place on fire? He hopped out of his bed, accidentally evicting Jazzy from her spot at his feet which he knew she wouldn't appreciate, but didn't have time to pet her and apologize because he was running to the kitchen at top speed.
"What the hell?!" he bolted into the kitchen and looked around, finding Nathan waving a dish-towel at the smoky oven.
"I'm sorry! I was trying to actually cook for once, and, well, you see the result!"
Cass started laughing and helped his brother remove the burnt remains of what looked like morning pastries.
"At least you tried, though. I appreciate it," he gave Nathan a sarcastic smile.
"Smartass," he heard his brother mumble underneath his breath. Cass decided to take charge and serve up some simple omelets. They were limited on grocery supply but had at least managed to stop at a convenient store as they pulled into town. They had just enough to get them through the next few days.
"You can at least put the coffee on, right?" he asked Nathan because they needed something to wash down the omelets with. Besides, he couldn't seem to function the rest of the day without at least one cup after waking up.
"Shut up!" Nathan bit back, while searching for coffee grounds to put in the coffee maker that had been unpacked already.
Cass gave another chuckle.
Twenty minutes later, they were sitting in the dining room enjoying their breakfast in silence. Cass doctored his coffee with some two percent milk that he had picked up along with a few packs of sugar that he had found in his jacket pocket; Thank God he remembered to take extra while stopping for coffee on the road! It was not his usual french vanilla flavor, but this would do for now. He was about to take that first heavenly sip when the doorbell rang. Nathaniel and Castiel looked at each other with confusion. Cass got up and made his way to the door. He opened it and found himself face to face with a bubbly looking redhead. She was freckled with wide, bright, blue eyes.
"Hey there, I'm your new neighbor, Jenna. Welcome to the neighborhood!" she handed him a box with a red bow.
He was slightly embarrassed. He didn't even have his shirt on!
"Oh, my. You, uh, you didn't have to do that. I really appreciate it." He accepted the package, "I'm Castiel Corder. It's a pleasure to meet you."
He gave a casual smile. She seemed to lose focus for a moment as her eyes dropped from his gaze and kept lowering...was she really checking him out right now? She blushed when she realized the long silence and where her eyes had landed, immediately making eye contact again, "Um, yeah...well. I just wanted to welcome you to Pleasantview. You have another neighbor, too. Her name is Ellie. I'm sure she'll eventually stop by too. She's my bestie. You'll probably be seeing us often. And you have a lovely--" She stopped midsentence as she noticed another male walk up to the door, "---home."
Nathan smiled. "Hi there. Nice to meet you..?"
“Jenna. Jenna Wesley."
“Jenna. That’s a nice name. I'm Nathaniel but you can call me Nathan."
Cass fought back a laugh. Was his brother really flirting now?
Nathan spoke again, gesturing behind him toward the kitchen, "Would you like some omelets?"
Cass gave him a quick look of incredulance as he had only made enough for the two of them and thankfully, Jenna replied, "Oh, no thank you. I'd better get home before my son burns the house down. He wanted to be in charge of breakfast this morning. Not sure how much I trust him with a stove..”
Nathan blushed. Cass giggled and said, "Funny. We almost had the same problem with this--"
"Yeah that’s okay, maybe next time, Jenna," Nathan shot a dark look to his brother as he cut him off. She turned and gave them a wave as she walked back to her home across the street.
"Taking a fancy to her already?" Cass teased.
Nathan shrugged, "She's pretty cute. What's wrong with making a few new friends?"
He winked at Cass and went to place his dishes in the sink. Nathan never much of a homemaker, but he did know how to impress the ladies.
"Don't you have a girlfriend or something?" Cass asked and Nathan looked a little guilty but shrugged it off.
"Sandy? The little blonde? We're just kinda friends with some benefits, ya know. Casual."
Cass just sighed. "Be safe, little man."
“Whatever. When are you going to actually try dating? You're too picky, that’s your problem."
Cass took offense, "Am not! It’s just most girls are vapidly boring. You can't find one with personality anymore. They're all the same. Pumpkin spice lattes, instagrams full of selfies and their obsession with Lulu Rose, whatever that is."
"Yeah, yeah. Whatever you say, Picky."
"Go unpack your room and butt out.”
Nathan grinned and followed orders.
Cass followed suit and went to his bedroom to start unpacking his clothes. Once they were neatly folded and assembled in his dresser, he set up his personal computer. It didn't take long connecting the wires and plugging it all in. Configuring the wifi and router was a bit more work. He decided to set the password to 'NateSux2017'
He then checked his email to find nothing new. Typical, as he had no lasting friends and no job at the moment. Just junk mail of scam offers because he'd entered his email to win free tickets to Takemizu a few weeks ago.
He then got ready to shower, and pulled his long hair back into a bun before stepping in. Nathan often made fun of him for this. Nathan always had shorter, messier hair.
"The girls dig it, mate," is what he'd always told Nate in response.
Cass considered himself to have a decent build. He had wide shoulders and stood tall, favoring his late father--bright eyes and thick hair that didn't seem to stop growing. Cass had a kind, handsome face with a moustache and a small beard that he kept neatly trimmed. It shaped around his smile perfectly. He dressed and brushed his teeth after emerging refreshed and clean, then headed into the living room to finish setting up the TV, hang up the pictures, and set out his potted plants. The poor things hadn't had sunlight in a couple days since being put into the back of the moving van. He made sure to give them extra water and arrange them so they had the most sunlight.
Jasmine had wandered down to nibble at the food in her bowl before sitting at the window to watch any movement outside. She often did that in the city, but there wasn't as much traffic going by during a week day in Pleasantview, pedestrian or otherwise.
A couple hours later, he had the living room and dining room unpacked and set up completely. He took a break and called for his brother.
"What's up?" Nathan said as he joined him in the kitchen wearing nothing but a pair of sweatpants.
"You're still not finished in there?"
"Yeah I finished unpacking ages ago."
Cass threw his hands up in disbelief, "Great, but you could've helped me out a lot, ya know!?"
Nathan laughed and offered some semblance of helpfulness, "What do you need me to do now?"
“Just finish putting everything up in the kitchen. There's just utensils and cups left in that box. OH! And that package from Jenna--I haven’t opened it yet. See what it is," Cass instructed Nathan as he pulled a cold beer out of the fridge. He felt that he deserved it after all that work. He went to relax in the living room, flopping into the sofa, turning on the stereo to some classical music, and propping his feet up on the light-wood coffee table. He closed his eyes as he took another swig of his beverage. It was feeling like home already.
Jasmine had given up on watching for anything interesting and was laying on the countertop, purring away. He looked over at her and said, "I think you like it, too Jazzy. Glad you approve."
He then heard his brother shout from the kitchen, "Hey, Cass. She got us another coffee pot. What should I do? I don't wanna be rude, but we already have one!"
Cass opened his eyes and called back, "Put it in one of the cabinets. The old one is bound to give out at some point."
He listened to Nathan shuffling around in the cabinets, looking for a place for Jenna's gift, and he started to doze off. He was awoken an hour later by the doorbell. He assumed it was the other neighbor Jenna had mentioned. Ella? Eva? He couldn't remember the exact name. Nathan had already finished the rest of the unpacking and had more than likely went off to play video games on his desktop.
Cass opened the door, and there stood a woman with deep brown eyes and a nervous smile, spilling out her words with hardly time for a breath in between, "Hello! I'm Ellie. I live across the street and I brought you some cookies. Welcome to the neighborhood!"
He gave a warm smile to ease her nerves, "Why, thank you very much. I'm Castiel. Castiel Corder."