The Beast Next Door

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Chapter One

Submitted: January 16, 2017

Reads: 208

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Submitted: January 16, 2017



Chapter One Fall

Jade gazed out toward the old mansion as the remaining leaves blew from bare limbed trees. Autumn had fallen upon them quickly but there were only a few days before winter was about to hit. Fall was her favorite season. She loved to stand in amidst the flame colored leaves as they swirled around in the breeze. It kept her mind from becoming too serious. The thoughts of school after Christmas break weighed heavy on her mind even though the break was fixing to begin.

Honestly, she worried too much.  A month to enjoy time with her mom and dad and get some much needed sleep in before new classes was just around the corner. She didn’t want to think of life after the month ended. She did know, however, that she had a month to relax. At least, she hoped so. Once the month was over, she could become serious.  Then, and only then, should she stress out like she had been. This thought alone was enough to sober her thoughts and allow her to focus on what she had been doing.

Raking dead leaves.

She hastily picked up where she left off lest her dad show up and think she hadn’t been doing anything. That was one thing she didn’t need to be gotten onto for: day dreaming. Or, as she liked to refer to in its adult form, day stressing. Her father thought it was the first but it was honestly the latter. Seeing how her thoughts normally drifted to the stressful side of things instead of boys or stock shows, she wouldn’t classify her thoughts as peaceful. Day stressing was something she normally did at school but since a break was around the corner and there was no school to stress during, she took the liberty of stressing out at home.

Jade Miller was an undergraduate student at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She lived in Ponca City, which was about forty-five minutes north of Stillwater. This trip made it easier on her since before she had been three hours away at junior college. That hadn’t been very convenient since she hadn’t been able to see her parents or see her animals. Her dog was especially sad when she had left.

Since there was a break coming up, her mother had asked that she come home the weekend before to get things ready before her parents left for a cattle sale. They would be gone for about a week conveniently before Christmas holidays started. She had a weekend to get things cleaned up before they left so she didn’t have do it while they were gone since how she had cows to mainly get ready as well as show cattle ready for some winter shows.

She heard the loud rustling of leaves behind her. She turned to see where it had come from but the only thing to be seen was the huge pile she had already raked up. She gripped the handle of the rake, thinking back to all of those horror movies she had seen. A rake wouldn’t do much good against zombies but she could only hope she could defend herself enough to run away.

Her field of study at OSU was Animal Science. This undergrad degree involved learning all she could learn about cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, and horses. She herself lived on a farm her mom and dad owned. She looked over back toward the pastures that stretched on either side of her and smiled. Animal Science was the best choice for what she wanted to be in the future.

A teacher.

Some of her cows had come up from the pasture to stand by the lean to out of the chilled wind. She gripped the handle of the rake once more and shivered. She was glad she had heavy gloves on as well as a heavy jacket but the chilly Oklahoma wind had a way of sneaking its icy fingers through the thickest of jackets to rake its chill down one’s spine. This thought made her shiver once again and she put a reminder in her mind she needed to get a thicker jacket someday. Maybe she could buy one for herself for Christmas.

The rustling occurred again right as she turned to continue to rake the leaves up. It was loud and Jade figured there was something moving around in her newly raked pile. She turned slowly to see what was causing such a noise. She blinked at the wobbling pile as her assumption was quickly answered. There was something in her leaf pile.

In the country where her parent’s house was located, there were many different types of wildlife. There was the typical raccoon, opossum, deer, and rats. There were also snakes and such that liked to come out during the warmer climates and hide in the colder ones. She didn’t figure there was any snakes or cold blooded animals around in the chilly weather. She held her rake at eye level, readying herself for whatever was to come.

Suddenly, a hairy four legged creature leapt from the pile. Leaves erupted everywhere as the animal barreled toward Jade in a flash of fur. Following such an entrance was a quick noise letting her know what type of critter it was. Immediately she laughed and fell down on her rear.

“Max!” she laughed at her four legged canine. He quickly began licking her face with his long slimy tongue. Bits of leaves stuck to his brown and black fur as he wagged his tail vigorously.

Max was a neutered German Shepard. Being only two years old, he was still a puppy at heart and tended to do a lot of activities that were far from proper. However, she still loved him no matter what he did to her parent’s better judgement. Still, being two years old he was still somewhat of a puppy and boys will be boys as they all say.

“Jade,” she heard upon the air. It was a tingling; light hearted voice she knew very well. “Lunch is ready!”

“Okay, Mom! I’m coming!” Jade called back. She looked at Max and smiled. “You ready to go boy?”

The dog barked to acknowledge her question. Obviously, it was a yes in dog language and enough to get jade to drop the rake despite the mess Max had caused and head toward the house. She broke into a full run since she was terribly hungry and Max loped behind her. Her mother stood out on the front door to the wrap around porch stained the color of rust. Her hair was in a natural bun which meant there was cooking to be done as well as cleaning. It seemed Sundays were always cleaning days.

“Max get into your leaf pile again?” her mother’s grey green eyes creased as she smiled.

“Of course,” Jade replied. “Expect anything else?”

Her mother laughed. “Your father isn’t going like that.”

Jade followed her mother through the open screen door and let it lightly shut behind her. “He never does.”

Inside the house, Jade noticed her mother had been baking. For some reason, her mother figured they all needed lots of food on Sunday. Jade was out of school for a while so she didn’t really need all of the food besides what she could cook for herself. However, mothers will be mothers, and her mother was no exception to that rule. She figured out a scheme of cooking meals on Sundays storing them for eating throughout the week. It was ingenious but meant Jade had to pick up some of the housework if her mother hadn’t finished baking yet.

A casserole dish sat atop the stainless steel oven. Next to the cow colored spoon rest, Jade saw various ladles and other spoon-like objects. Her mother usually taste tested everything which was normal. However, what wasn’t normal was the fact she forgot she had a spoon somewhere and would pick up a clean one only to realize she had one out already. It was something Jade and her father laughed over many times.

“I need some help dusting, Jade.” Her mother said while she began picking up the spoons she had used. “Would you do that for me?”

Jade nodded and grabbed the remaining spoons from the oven top. She placed them in the rustic colored double basin sink and watched as her mom began applying soap to them to clean. She had to wait until her mother was out of the way to grab the duster located underneath the sink. Various cleaning supplies were nestled in the cupboard by her mom’s legs.

“Your dad out feeding cows?” her mother asked while using the white dish scrubber to get the residue off of one of her spoons.

“Yeah, he is.” Jade replied, taking the clean spoon and using a dish towel to dry it off. “I was surprised when he asked me to stay behind and rake leaves.”

“That is odd. Usually he takes you with him.”

Jade placed the dried spoon in the dish drying rack. She didn’t know why she did that even though she knew the spoon was dry. However, it didn’t matter. “Yeah, I figured he would, too. It doesn’t matter. He wanted the leaves raked anyway.”

“Max saw to it that they wouldn’t stay raked, though.” Her mother chuckled.

“Don’t remind me.” Jade sighed.


Finals were the following week. Jade had prepared herself to the best of her abilities but no one could prepare themselves enough for finals. It was impossible. Tons of coffee and caffeinated beverages were not enough to keep a person sane. However, Jade managed to make it through all of her finals. There were some she believed she aced.

Jade walked down the hall for the last time that year and took in the sights. She saw people she knew walking past her while she smiled their way and told them Merry Christmas. She was about to walk out when a familiar voice call out from behind her. She turned to see one of her good friends walking toward her accompanied by another one of her friends.

“Hey, guys!” Jade smiled. “What’s up?”

Her friend Mason flashed his white smile and perfect teeth. “Oh, just thought we would catch you before you head home.”

Mason was tall and handsome with a shock of red hair akin to flames. His green eyes were similar to Jade’s. He was an ex-football player from a small town in northern Arkansas. Their mutual friend, Tabby, was about Jade’s height and about the similar attitude. Her golden hair was long to her shoulders similar to Jade’s strawberry blond hair. They both had theirs in a loose pony tail due to the lack of effort because of finals. They were the best trio and had been through a bunch during their semesters at OSU. Honestly, they had been through everything together.

“Yeah,” Tabby smiled. “We figured we’d see you next year but we might have different classes.”

Jade laughed. “It’s the Animal Science department. We will have the same classes.”

They all laughed and opened the door to the Ag Hall building. The large flight of stairs heading straight down to the fancy brick sidewalk and post lined road. There weren’t that many students out at the time the trio was but it was nice. Jade enjoyed the silence compared to the bustling of the sidewalk around noon.

“Hey, Jade,” Mason asked. “Have you heard anything about that old mansion? Is it still there across the street?”

Jade nodded while she turned north toward the parking garage. “Yeah. It’s still there.”

“Hmm…” Tabby calculated. “I really thought a place like that would have been moved into by now.”

“Well,” Jade corrected. “Some rich guy in D.C. owns it because it was passed down in his family. I don’t know if he wants people to live in it.”

Mason walked ahead to avoid hitting a passing student in the shoulder. “Well, if he wanted to sell it, who would he sell it to?”

“Mason,” Jade chuckled. “Who knows what rich people do. I could care less.”

“Jade Miller,” Tabby chortled. “You are so cruel.”

Jade turned to her friend and smiled. “One thing is for sure, though. I would love to see the inside of that place. I think it is absolutely beautiful.”

“Well,” Mason gave a mischievous grin as he joined the girls once more. “If some rich guy’s handsome son moves in, you can work your charm on him enough to score a free tour.”

“She can try.” Tabby chuckled. Mason and her both began to laugh.

Jade sighed. “You two are hopeless.”

“But seriously, Jade,” Tabby’s face fell for a moment. “Are you going to be okay by yourself while your parents are gone?”

Jade shrugged. “If I am not, I know two people to call for help.”

“Hey, now!” Mason chimed in. “I’ve got plans!”

“Yeah,” Tabby snorted. “Video games and babysitting your little brother while not seeing daylight for weeks aren’t part of those plans are they?”

Mason shook his head and slumped his shoulders. “Yeah, if you need me call.”

Jade smiled as they crossed the crosswalk. The campus wasn’t lively at that moment but it was all right to Jade. She liked the small bickering of her friends because it showed how close they were to each other. She knew Mason was a good hand because he had helped out many times at her farm. Tabby was a good worker, too, and surprised a lot of folks who thought girls weren’t good at farm work. Jade, herself, was very handy on the farm. As a trio, they got work done when it needed to be done so her parents could do their jobs in town.

“See you, Jade.” Tabby and Mason both said their farewells and turned to leave. Jade sighed and turned to her truck in the shadowy parking garage. She didn’t think the winter break was going to be much of a going concern since there wasn’t much to do but take care of cows. The grass was dried and brown so mowing it would be pointless. There wasn’t much to be done but paint cattle pens if she had to. That could be an option, she thought.

Right then, her cell phone began to ring. She had forgotten to turn it on silent but was very thankful it hadn’t gone off during the test. A slight rush of heat covered her face out of shock but subsided once she saw the name on her cell phone screen.

“Mom, what’s up?”

Her mother sounded out of breath when she replied to Jade. “Jade, you are not going to believe this!”

Jade rolled her eyes. “Mom, what is it?”

“Someone has moved in across the street!”

At first, Jade didn’t think the winter break was going to be much of a going concern. However, things were about to take a turn and Jade was beginning to think she shouldn’t have said those words. 

© Copyright 2019 Jessica D. Miller. All rights reserved.


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