Scott moved in the next day. Well, I say moved in, but he arrived the next morning with one small suitcase and a large bag slung over one shoulder. And apparently that was all he needed because he didn’t make a second trip and he never mentioned anything about having anything else. But I suppose Death traveled light.
What did I think he was going to bring? Knick-knacks? A grand four-poster bed with a canopy? A piano? Just thinking about the options made me giggle.
Turned out, the bag had a hammock in it, and he set that up as his bed. I didn’t ask what was in the suitcase. Probably a spare black robe, right? Bunny slippers? And he didn’t eat, so why would he need anything in the kitchen? He took almost no space at all, and if he’d been a regular man, I would have felt sorry for charging him an entire half of the rent. But, under the circumstances, I still felt like it was fair.
And the first few weeks went by fine. It was almost like he wasn’t even there for a while. Maybe he was super busy at work or something, but I didn’t want to know about that. The last thing I wanted was to hear about how many souls he’d collected that day. It would just give me the creeps, and I was trying to be open-minded.
On the fourth week of living with Death/Scott, I invited a few friends over for dinner. He hadn’t been in the apartment for days, and I figured he wouldn’t be home today either. So, I set the table and cooked a simple dinner and my friends arrived around five, as planned.
And the evening was going just fine until music blared from Scott’s room. He hadn’t come in the front door, so he’d done his materialization thing straight into his room. And now I had a mess to explain.
“Is that your new roommate?” Jamie asked. She covered her ears with her hands and hunched her shoulders as though she could block the noise out that way.
“Uh, yeah. I didn’t know he’d come home.” I stood and crossed the apartment as fast as I could and knocked on his door.
It swung open, and he stood there with his robe pulled up and the skeletal hands showing at the bottoms of the sleeves. Luckily, the table was out of sight of his doorframe.
“Yeah?” He said. The music muffled his voice, but it somehow sounded upset to me. But I couldn’t get into his drama right now.
“Do you mind turning that down? I have friends out here and we’re trying to eat dinner.”
“Oh.” He pulled the hood down and revealed the man’s face again. He looked a little worn out, and there were bags under his eyes. Which I tried not to dwell on, because why would Death be tired? “Sorry.” He waved a hand and the music turned off. “Could I join you?” He smiled hopefully.
I made a pointed look at his robe but didn’t say anything out loud.
“Oh, come on Tabs, let him join us,” Michael called from the table. They must have been eavesdropping.
Scott smiled. He waved a hand at himself and the robe shimmered and changed into jeans and a t-shirt.
“Fine.” I pointed a finger at him and lowered my voice, “No funny business though.”
Scott put on a mock face of confusion, but then smiled with glee before pushing past me to join my friends.
“Scott.” I rushed to catch up. “This is Michael, Jamie, and Olivia. My friends from class. Guys, this is Scott, my new roommate.”
They shook hands all around, and Scott lowered himself into the extra chair. I tried not to squirm in my seat. This would not be good; I had a feeling in my gut.
“So, what do you do?” Michael asked.
Scott grinned until all his teeth showed, but I kicked him under the table.
“I’m an accountant,” he said, and I relaxed.
“Sounds… fun,” Olivia said. She was looking at Scott like he was a piece of meat, and I can only imagine what she would do to him if they were alone. And if he was an actual human being.
“Oh, it’s delightful. I love numbers.”
“Me too,” Michael said. “But I’m looking to be an architect. I like building things.”
“What was that band you were listening to in there?” Olivia cut in. “Sounded really cool.”
“Oh, that’s The Screaming Devils. They’re my favorite.” Scott’s eyes twinkled with mischief.
“I’ve never heard of them.” Olivia wrinkled her nose. She was usually on the up and up on all new music sensations and not knowing a band would get under her skin. She would look them up the first second she could, and she’d find what? Were they even a real band?
“Oh, they’re very… underground,” Scott grinned even wider and I rolled my eyes.
“Scott, will you help me get the dessert please?” I asked and grabbed his arm for emphasis.
We moved into the kitchen, and he winked at me. There wasn’t a door, but we were at least out of sight, if not out of earshot.
“They seem nice,” Scott muttered.
“Very. Go back to your room, okay?” I grabbed the jello out of the fridge and shoved it into his hands.
“Before dessert?” His eyes widened with mock hurt.
“Oh, shut up. You don’t even eat.”
Olivia appeared in the doorway. “Thought you could use an extra set of hands.”
I handed her the can of whipped cream. When she smiled at it, I immediately regretted my decision, but the deed was done. I grabbed a handful of spoons and a stack of bowls and pushed them both back to the table before they could exchange any words.
“Jello!” Scott exclaimed and placed the bowl in the center of the table.
Jamie stood to help serve the bowls. But before she could hand one to Scott, a watch that wasn’t on his wrist before beeped and he looked at it with concern.
“Well, darn. Looks like I have to go.”
“Oh, no, why?” Olivia pouted at him and I forced myself not to roll my eyes again.
“Work emergency.” Scott moved towards the door.
“An accounting emergency?” Michael asked with a quirked eyebrow.
“Uh… yes. The numbers don’t run themselves.” Scott grinned wickedly and then dashed out the door.
“Hmm…” Michael frowned. “He’s an interesting one.”
“He’s hot. You already sleeping with him Tabs?”
“What? No way.”
“Then I call dibs.”
I groaned inwardly, but since I couldn’t tell her why she shouldn’t go there, I tried to smile at her instead. Let her try, I suppose. As long as he didn’t kill her.
Oh, lord, what if he killed her?