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Apartment 24B

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"Marron! Marron! Oh shit, watch out for the dog mister!"

Sam vaguely processed the words before a bright flash of yellow fur had him splaying paper all over the hall. He landed on his ass as a man took after the golden retriever barreling down the hall.

Sam looked at the paper scattered all over the hall and his first thought was man, I wish I had numbered the pages. He tried to swipe them together to the order before they had fallen. 

Before he knew it the man who chased the dog was on his hands and knees helping him, Sam wouldn't say anything but he could see that the man was thoroughly shuffling the papers.

"230-300 words per page, nearly 200 pages of work, that's around 52,000 displaced words." Sam had never been good at socializing, but it was automatic, a need to immediately fill the void of silence in a room, or need to keep an introduction from an awkward end.

"Unless words grew legs I think you're safe." Sam had spoke on instinct and had not remembered what he himself had said, but he laughed at the stranger's comment. 

Sam stood with all the papers in his hand and fumbled for his new key. Struggling, he handed all the papers to the stranger. He tried the key three times before it actually opened. "I, um," he cleared his throat. He took the papers and set them on the first table he saw and pushed in the box of books with his foot before closing the door behind him. "Do you want help? With the dog, I mean."

The stranger looks down the hall. Now, standing, Sam can see truly how short the man is. it seemed that his head came up to Sam's chest. "Uh, yeah, yeah that'd be good. I'll grab treats, and a leash."

Sam stood in the hallway dumbfounded, not a minute later the man comes from the next door apartment with a large puffy coat, a leash draped over his neck and a twix candybar in his hand. Sam was in apartment 22B, so that must mean he lives in 24B.

"Here ya go sasquatch," There was a candy bar flying through the air that Sam fumbled to catch.

"Actually my names Sam," he kept a steady pace as the shorter man was speed walking, he didn't seem overly concerned about the dog escaping.

"Okay, Samsquanch then. Hello Samsquatch, I'm Gabriel." He follows Gabriel down two flights of stairs to where the hyperactive Golden Retriever stood wiggling  in front of a door. He pushed it open and the dog went running into the snow. The cold air rushed on Sam, grabbing at him like an enemy in a fight.

"Jesus, it's only November."

"Welcome to Utah!" His arms fly out wide, encompassing the thick layer of snow over icy roads, dead oaks and snow covered pines, mountains lined the horizon. Sam couldn't tell if he liked it better than Kansas, he hoped he would. 

"We are known for freezing winters, ski resorts, Ted Bundy, mispronouncing the word mountain, and Mormons, everywhere. If you're lucky you'll see a polygamist at Home Depot."

Sam thought it was funny, Gabriel knew he mispronounced mountain, and he said it anyway. Skipped right over the T.

"Gabriel, that's a religious name, an archangel, are you religious?"

"Right into the heavy questions Samsquatch."

Sam moves to apologize but Gabriel hadn't taken real offense, and showed no signs of slowing his speech.

"Born an' raised, don't hold the faith myself, but my parents sure did. At least I got Gabriel, My older brother got stuck with Raphael, and don't get me started on Luci, he took the name seriously." Sam was quite amused by his new neighbor, and of course enjoyed the company of his overeager golden retriever.

"Maron! Inside time!" Sam snorted at the way he talked to his dog.

"Is it Marin? or Maroon?" Sam didn't think he ever heard the dogs name in a way he could repeat.

"No, no. Maron, Mah-ron. Short for Maron Glace, an Italian confection. Sweet chestnut covered in a honey and syrup glaze. Same color as her fur." Gabriel was kneeling down and petting Maron while speaking. Once he noticed Sam shiver he ushered the dog and the taller man inside.

While walking up the stairs Gabriel voiced many of his curiosities. "What's all the paper for? And where are you from? Any rowdy roommates I could befriend and ultimately turn against you?"

Sam was grateful the man could carry a conversation on his own. "I'm an author, moved out here to finish a novel while taking a break from work. I am from Lawrence Kansas, and I have the apartment to myself, so no backstabbing roommates." Sam let a beat of silence follow before he returned the favor. "What about you? Why this apartment, where do you work?"

"I own Mystery Spot, a bakery cafe down on main street. You should check it out, I'll give you free chocolate, and besides, I know you'll miss me." By this time they had made it to Sam's door. He was a little flustered by the man's flirting, he'd always been one to be very casual. Mr. Casual. Sam assumed Gabriel was the opposite of Mr. Casual. 

"I'm gonna unload the rest of the boxes from my car, I'll see you later, goodbye Gabriel." He felt awkward, it sounded so forced so scripted, he wanted to facepalm. 

He was already walking away and Gabriel was half through the door when he spoke, "Please, call me Gabe, I'll see you at the shop samsquatch!"

It was so definite. Not hope to see you or you should drop by it was like he knew Sam would show up. It bugged Sam, like the man could control what he did. But then again, Sam couldn't deny free chocolate, and a chance to explore his new neighborhood.