the modern neighbours.

When Douglas signed the lease for his apartment in Hyde Park One he was quietly satisfied. He’d always wanted a premiere address. Pus they vetted the people who moved in here – there’d be no riff-raff. His girlfriend Melody loved it – who wouldn’t? Picture windows looking over Hyde Park, smooth marble in the bathrooms, modern chic everywhere. After a few weeks, they both felt that they’d really found the perfect place.

They were on the twelfth floor – high enough for a view, but not too high. There was one other apartment on the twelfth, but it had been empty since they’d arrived. Now a couple was moving in. The removal process was a little disruptive, but the new neighbours were polite enough to come over and introduce themselves, so Douglas and Melody were gracious. There names were Freddie and Leon, one was in real estate, the other was the director of a gallery. They seemed nice enough.

“They seem nice enough,” Douglas remarked when they were gone and he’d mixed their first gin-and-tonics for the evening. “I’d love to see what they do with their apartment,” said Melody. “Gay guys have such good taste.”

After a week or so, Melody’s wish was granted when Freddie and Leon held an open house drinks party as a kind of house-warming. Douglas and Melody hadn’t bothered with a house-warming – so much trouble, and people mucking up your new place. Freddie and Leon’s party was quite successful, in a languid kind of way. Their guests were limited to a select few, plus Douglas and Melody, whom they felt they had to invite, being neighbours. But the neighbours left by 11 pm and Freddie and Leon and their friends turned up the music and opened another bottle of red.

“Humph. I hope that noise doesn’t go on too late,” said Douglas. But it didn’t, and his slightly uncomfortable feelings about his new neighbours, borne mostly of the suspicion that they were richer than he was, subsided.

A few weeks late Douglas was doing his household accounts and took Melody to task for a particularly high internet bill that month. “You’ve been downloading movies,” he said accusingly. “I have not!” said Melody. “Then why are we so far over our allowance?” asked Douglas. Then a thought struck him. “You have put a password on it, haven’t you? Otherwise those new neighbours of ours could be nicking our bandwidth.” “Oh, they wouldn’t!” said Melody. “Such nice quiet boys.” “Really? You think so? Have you heard any good opera lately?” said Douglas, rather bitterly. He’d been disturbed by the strains of ‘La Traviata’ wafting through the communal corridor. “Douglas, come on, they’re really very good neighbours. We’re lucky – it could have been people with a bevy of screaming kids.”

The next evening Freddie and Leon knocked on their door.

“We just have to tell you our news!” said Freddie.

“We’re going to have a baby!” said Leon.

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