Chapter 7:

The Loveliest Landlord

Corruptions Are Best Exposed In The Autumn!

Pigeons chirped away on a tree branch outside my window; their songs were so loud that I could even hear them chanting away in my slumber. Maybe placing my bed right against the window was a bad idea. Even the occasional drilling from nearby construction was stronger than my own alarm clock. Today, however, I needed as much noise as possible.

Ring ring!

“God, just shut up…” I muttered while reaching for my phone, which was charging on the table next to my bed. My vision was as groggy as a dense forest fog, and my energy was nonexistent.

The ringing persisted as I struggled to unlock my smartphone. After weeks of using the standard alarm ringtone, perhaps it was time to switch it to something different - its melody always lingered in my head for the entire morning.

“Well, I guess I’m not going to that hotdog stand anymore…” I mumbled while remembering the words of the hotdog man. “Fuck, what time is - oh shit!”

I flopped out of the bed, causing my blanket to fall on the floor. It was already 8 AM, only half an hour before my scheduled shift at Muller’s Blend. Rushing over to my closet and grabbing my work clothes, I then slammed my toe into the bed frame.

“Ow! Shit!” I yelled, jumping about like a kangaroo against the old wooden floor. The thumping I caused probably gave my lower floor neighbor a headache.

“Shut up!” an old man’s voice screamed from down below.

“Okay, okay,” I hopped back onto bed while grasping my toe, but there was no time to waste. I sat back up in my pajamas and quickly threw my top off as if my life depended on it.


Thinking back to just a few days ago before I left the shop after my shift concluded, Julian did mention something:

“Dude, you’re overworking yourself. Take Saturday and Sunday off this week. Consider it paid time off.”

I checked the text messages in my phone, and sure enough:

“Don’t forget you have this weekend off. See you Monday.”

- the words were right on the screen, giving orders right to my face. Sighing and slipping on my outdoor clothing anyway, I fixed the bedding and picked my pajamas off the floor. Just what was I supposed to do now that I had the whole weekend off? I glanced around my apartment room; it featured only a small kitchen, my bed, and a small table. One could probably think my place was still vacant.

Ding Dong!


“Who could that be?” I murmured, and paced over to the door, which was only a few feet away from my closet and bed. Never did the doorbell ring so early during the day. “Coming!”

Sliding my feet into the slippers I purchased from the dollar store, I then poked my eye into the peephole, and to my surprise…

“What are you doing here?!” I shrieked, swinging the door open in a jiffy. The balcony exit, which led to the stairway to the streets, was easily accessible for anyone. My room was just one door-swing away.

“Because I wanted to know where you…” Lily, who arrived at the door with her hands tucked away in her long black coat, paused her greeting. Nothing but an open mouth of questions was leftover. “What the fuck are you doing half-naked like this?!”

I watched her cheeks flush a peach pink while covering her face with both hands.

“W-What?!” I asked, but then gazed down to find the answer. “O-Oh, shit, my bad…”

The dress shirt I was meaning to put on wasn’t even buttoned - leaving my entire front torso exposed. It only took another second from being tickled by the icy breeze outside for me to hide my skin with the dangling front panels of my shirt. I wrapped them around tightly and shivered.

“Are you doing this on purpose?!” Lily stepped back, her cheeks were still blushing, and her hands stayed glued to her face.

“N-No! And like I said, what are you doing here?!”

Don’t I have the right to ask questions too?

Lily finally threw her hands back into her pockets, and glanced to the side, perhaps embarrassed. “A-Are you going to let me in or what?”

It took a second of jaw-dropping for me to process her ask: the girl who yelled at me at the café and then took a job there a week later was now at my doorstep, asking to be let inside.

“Sure,” I answered and widened the door for her. “Come in, it must be cold like shit outside.”

“It sure fucking is,” she hurried in and kicked her boots off, with one flying into the wall. I swear, with the way she swung her leg, I thought she played soccer too.

“H-Hey! Be careful, if you dent the wall, the landlord is going to kill me!”

“Why do you care?” she retaliated rather calmly with her arms crossed. “I doubt you’re actually in all that debt. Don’t you have your sugar daddy’s money still with you to pay for all this shit? Why do you live in such a slum?!”

“Shhh!” I drew a finger to my mouth, begging her to shut her trap. “The landlord lives right next to me; she’s going to hear you! And besides…”

I pulled out my one and only chair for her and buttoned up the rest of my shirt. “I really am in that much debt, and the only money I have is my paycheque from Muller’s Blend!”

“Stop lying to me about this landlord shit, I bet she doesn’t give a single damn since you live in such a ghetto anyways!”

“She does! She’s most anal at me than all the other tenants for some reason,” walking over to the kitchen (which was in the same room) counter, I proceeded to boil some hot water in a kettle and prepared two mugs. “Anyways, I’m guessing you don’t have work today too. Do you want coffee or tea?”

Lily stared blankly at me while I prepared the drinks; her face grew pale, and her eyes didn’t blink once. “Uhm, tea, thanks.”

“Well, I reckon drinking coffee every day at the café must be pretty tiring.”

I tried to smile while pulling out two Febai Lavender tea bags from my cupboard. If she was going to pop out of nowhere and join me for morning tea, then I thought I’d at least lighten the mood.


“Hmm?” I turned around just as I finished pouring the boiled water, and almost splashed the tea everywhere in startlement: Lily was standing right in front of me with her frown close to my face, staring down with fiery eyes which pierced into my soul. “W-What are you doing?!”

“You can stop bullshitting me with that good boy act,” her arms clutched her waist while she leaned in, as if lecturing a child. “I know how much of an arrogant piece of shit you were in the past. You can’t just change that fast.”

I backed up against the window, with her glaring eyes following me. “I-I don’t know what else to say besides that I’m trying to change myself for the better!”

“Yeah right…” She sighed and walked back to the chair. “You can’t run away from the past like that. Even that hotdog man recognized you.”

A shiver glazed my spine, and I found my body covered in goosebumps by the mere mention of that event from last week.

“I’m not running away! I plan to face my problems head-on!”

“Are you really-”


Both Lily and I paused by the cling from behind us, which vibrated across my entire room. We immediately directed our gazes to the door, where the sound bounced from. I don’t know what was worse - Lily’s arrival, or…

“Elias?!” shrieked Lily, who pulled her hands against her chest in shock. Her head bumped into the counter, pushing both cups of hot tea off the counter and splashing all over the wooden floor.

“Ugh…” Elias was caught red-handed peeping at us through the front window of my apartment. The clang of his phone against the windowsill was more than enough to catch our attention.

“W-What are you doing…” I muttered, too distracted by the entrance of Elias to notice the water spreading around the floor.

“Y-You…” Lily blushed yet again and leaned closer against my shoulder. “You’re a fucking stalker!”

“I-I just!” Elias backed away from the window, but then dashed away.

“Hey! Where are you…”


Lily and I both looked at each other in confusion and darted to the door. Poking our heads out to the side, my eyes caught him face-down on the floor; he must’ve face-planted into the wooden planks after tripping over his own feet. I covered my mouth and smiled, forcing myself to avoid laughing.

“You…what the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” screamed Lily. It was her who was first to burst out in anger; I didn’t blame her one bit.

Elias struggled onto his knees and peered down at the floor, too embarrassed to face us. “I was just curious where you were going…”

He then got back on both feet and dusted himself off. His face was red, and I couldn’t tell if that was because of his face-plant, or because of his embarrassment.

“Well, why couldn’t you have texted me inst-”

“Because you would’ve lied, telling me you were going to the mall or something!” Elias turned his head at us while showing his teeth visibly gritting in anger. “You always lie to me about where you go, even if I want to see you instead of Rin!”

God, what an asshole of a guy this man is… I thought.

“See me instead of Rin?!” Lily retaliated with her fists shaking so hard that I could feel her pumped rage ready to spill across the entire city. Stepping out the door completely, Lily stomped up to Elias to scream at his face: “Do you even hear yourself?! Why haven’t you dumped her yet?!”

“Shut up, I told you it’s difficult!”

“Then stop trying to-”

At that moment, I knew I was in trouble:

“Will you kids all be quiet with your stupid affairs?! Just pick a partner and stick to them for goodness’ sake!”

Out popped my landlord, Mrs. Tren, with a million veins and wrinkles across her face. Her old olive-green dress and apron further developed that “landlord” look, and her ferocious scream could probably reach mountaintops.

Everyone froze, perhaps too petrified from the scolding. Lily and Elias kept their eyes gawking at Mrs. Tren, too scared and embarrassed to respond. Initially appearing as if she was trampling toward them, Mrs. Tren walked past the pair instead, stomping her way to yours truly with eyes of fiery.

Shit… I thought. Why is it always me?!

“Mr. Darak!” Her scream didn’t let up in amplitude, not even by a single decibel. I straightened my back and closed my eyes to embrace myself. “First, that woman’s ridiculous screaming wakes me up…”

She turned and pointed at Lily, who twitched in fear. “...Then that tall man slams against the floor like he’s trying to break it,” she moved her finger to Elias, who gulped. “And now, this whole couple spew is going to make my eardrums explode!”

By now, her wrinkly face shoved in front of my view; her reading glasses looked ready to shatter, and her gritting teeth growled like a provoked dog.

“I-I’m terribly sorry, ma’am…” I quickly bowed while throwing my hands against my sides. I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping she would accept my apology.

“Kai,” she muttered, now with a calmer tone. “I will forgive you.”

I lifted my head up with a wide, beaming smile of relief.


Mrs. Tren crossed her arms and produced a devilish smile.

“You are suspended from living on my property... for two weeks!”