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   Chapter 7 The Ravenwood Arms

The Ravenwood Arms By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 19676

Updated: 2018-03-14 10:25


Chapter 7

The next day I left the shop a little before ten and headed over to Ravenwood for my meeting with Davis. I brought along my messenger bag, stocked with a note book and assorted items I thought might come in handy, including a pair of bolt cutters and a new padlock in case he wanted to check out the parking lot. The bolt cutters stuck out from under the bag's flap and made me feel as though I were planning on committing some sort of burglary. I had the paperwork proving I owned the building with me just in case I was stopped by the police thinking I was up to something nefarious. When I added the bolt cutters to the bag, I found the peppermints I tossed in earlier in the week and as I walked I ate them compulsively trying not to worry about the possible horrors Davis might uncover.

"I really need to stop looking at that website, " I told myself. No matter how disturbing I found the landlord themed website to be, somehow I kept finding myself going back to it. Last night's viewing had taken me into the world of potential sewage disasters. "Really need to stop looking." I repeated shaking my head.

Davis beat me to the property and was standing on the sidewalk, studying the half hidden building while he waited. Since he didn't see me, I let myself study him for a moment as I approached. I had to admit, he was an easy on the eyes study. He turned to me as he heard the scuff of my shoes on the sidewalk and smiled an easy grin. He looked much more relaxed than usual and I guessed it was because he wasn't knee deep in construction and bucking a deadline. I shook my head as I realized he still looked amused.

"Hi, thanks for coming, " I said by way of greeting.

"Well far be it for me to resist an accidental building purchase, " he replied. "No wonder your message was so vague."

"I was mid-way through the call when I realized I didn't know if your receptionist was part of the magical community or not which meant I couldn't say, I'm the Alice who the Commission sent to do the shielding and then I realized I didn't know your first name and your website listed a lot of Davis men it its registry so I sort of got a mental kink." I explained.

"I see, " he replied, still looking amused.

"I hope I didn't sound like too much of a spaz, " I added.

"Nope, " he assured me. "Just vague."

"Good."

"Shall we see what you got yourself into?" he asked, gesturing to the front door.

"Sure, " I replied turning towards the door and pulling the keys out of my pocket. The bag with the bolt cutters swung around and smacked me in the back. Davis grabbed the protruding handle and slowly extracted the tool from the bag. He looked at me quizzically. "The lock on the gate to the parking lot isn't mine, " I explained. "I was going to remove it and replace it with one I have the keys to."

"Ah, " he said looking like he was holding in a laugh. "I'll set them down inside the door and we can get them after we have a look around then."

"It's not that funny, " I told him as I continued towards the door. "I needed bolt cutters, so I brought bolt cutters." I unlocked the front door.

"In a messenger bag, " he added clearly still amused. I ignored the comment and led him inside. Once in the door, Davis let his amusement fade and I could see his eyes start to appraise the building around him. We moved through the vestibule and into the hallway, Davis studying things as we moved. He crouched down to look at the hall's floor boards and tapped the walls. One by one we went through each apartment, finally ending up back down in the basement. Davis's amusement returned as I pulled my large flashlight from my bag and handed it to him.

"Very practical, " he replied still grinning at me. He moved deeper into the basement than my visiting party had as he looked at the building's foundation. Satisfied by what he saw, he poked around at the supplies left behind by whoever owned the building before me. He looked into the laundry room studying the arrangement of pipes and then led me to a door I hadn't seen before. It was large and, like the door to the stairwell, made of a heavy metal. While I didn't have keys to it any more than I did the front door, it was locked from the inside with a dead bolt rather than something requiring a key. He unlocked the door and pushed it open.

I followed him outside and found myself standing in the parking lot behind the building. As Sean mentioned, it was fenced off from the surrounding buildings. The fencing however looked as though it had seen better days. The asphalt of the lot was cracked and in a few spots around the perimeter, buckled by tree roots. Davis crossed the asphalt and looked at the fence. I had no idea what he was looking at, but he seemed satisfied by what he saw.

Together we went back into the building, Davis locking the door to the parking lot behind him. We left the basement and stepped back into the first floor hallway.

"So, " Davis began. "Why don't you tell me what you have planned?"

"Planned, " I repeated as though the word were foreign to me and this the first time I heard it spoken aloud. "Right, planned. I figured I would look at getting the apartments finished and then look at renting them out." I told him.

Davis laughed and shook his head. "Okay, let's start with this, are you planning to put shields in the building?"

"Yes, " I replied feeling like I was on solid ground again. "That is a definite."

"Okay, who are you planning to rent these shielded apartments to?" He asked.

"People, " I replied. "Mostly those who need shielded apartments." I added when I saw his lips twitch in amusement. My solid ground began to get a little soggy. "Just average people."

"I see, " Davis replied. "What sort of rents were you looking at getting for these shielded apartments?" he asked.

"Oh, " I said

oking over the furniture, ignoring the small shiny bits our younger selves would have flocked towards. I pushed my worries away and studied some of the more interesting pieces, running my hands over the wood, checking both construction and potential maker's marks.

The cushions on the wooden lounge chair were ratty and a bit moldy, but the wood was good. In addition an old trunk caught my eye. I told Sean which pieces I was interested in and whispered the limit of what I thought we should pay for them and then moved on to the next booth while Sean began to haggle with the owner.

There were few people at the flea market as the weather had warned most of them that staying inside would be a much better prospect. We took our time moving from booth to booth and while I concentrated on design, Sean was in his element. I knew one of the things he missed most about the courtroom was the chance to argue against a worthy opponent. Unfortunately, he hadn't learned how to keep his skills in check prior to the Commission's ruling and these days this was as close to he got. After mastering his abilities he filed an appeal to rescind the restriction, but was denied.

"You miss it don't you?" I asked as Sean and I finally made our way back to the van to begin loading our purchases. My ears felt like ice and I rubbed them trying to warm them up before they fell off the sides of my head in protest.

"Miss what?" he asked. Sean was studying the odd shaped objects and trying to determine the best way to fit them inside the vehicle.

"Arguing in the court room, " I replied as I helped tug a trunk into the depths of the van.

"Sometimes, " He admitted. "Does it show?"

"Only when you are haggling."

"Well it doesn't help that things have been a bit quiet lately. Very routine, you know. The most excitement lately has been you buying a building and even with that, figuring out how to keep the apartment budget separate from the shop's budget was the highlight of my involvement. That didn't actually take that long."

"Did you want to be more involved?" I asked.

"With the apartment?" he asked. I nodded. "Not the construction work or any of the dirty bits, but I wouldn't mind being a part of things."

"Well we do need to figure out some of the non-dirty bits, " I told him. "Like finding tenants and making sure they have what they need and other management type stuff, " I said running out my mental list. At the moment I hadn't much thought beyond shielding the apartments and making them livable. I wasn't quite sure what else was involved. "If you want the job of figuring out what to do once the construction settles, I will be happy to pass it on to you. For the shielding bits the regulations say the building has to be under my sole ownership, but beyond that legal bit, I am willing to make you a full partner in this crazy thing if you are interested."

Sean immediately brightened. "Really?" he asked.

"Really."

"And I could come up with a whole big management and marketing plan?"

"If you'd like."

"I would."

"Really?" I asked. I helped him heft a chest of drawers into the van. "That sounds absolutely horrendous to me. Are you sure you would want to do something like that?"

"Of course. I like planning."

"Weirdo, " I replied with a grin. "You can't be that bored."

"Only a little bored. And I really do like planning."

"Then we are settled, " I told him as we finished loading the last of our things. "You plan the whole management thing."

"And you handle the dirty bits, " We shook on it and locked up the back of the van. I noticed Sean's steps were a little lighter as he moved. I wondered how bored he had really become. He handled the business side of things as well as his various contract jobs with ease. I knew he was capable of more, I just hadn't realized he wanted more.

'Yet another thing to worry about.' I told myself.

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