"Er... Mfhs-s...." You mumbled into your pillow, reaching for the other that you had been using the past few nights to block out the noise.
It was the fifth night since you had moved into your new flat in central London.
The fifth night you had been unable to get a decent night's sleep because of your next door neighbours.
You crammed the pillow over your head.
"...Right, that's it!"
For the second time in two nights, you threw your pillow on the floor in defeat.
After having a door unceremoniously slammed in your face, you had gone back and climbed into bed, feeling for all the world exhausted and exasperated. Thankfully, the noise had stopped completely, much to your relief. It was just a shame that couldn't have fallen asleep even if you wanted to. Your mind refused the sweet release of dreaming and instead had to replay your encounter with Mr. Kirkland over and over with its own running commentary and assessment, reminding you of how horrible your first meeting had been with the stunning Englishman – Which, despite his behaviour the previous night you could help but admit, much to your chagrin.
You'd only had two hours sleep in the end, not including the twenty minutes you'd slept past your alarm.
Some expert rushing on your part left you ten minutes behind by the time you left the flat. Panicked, you had forgotten to pick up the directions left on your counter, resulting in you getting lost Hammersmith’s busy streets. Eventually, someone had given you directions, and you boarded to catch the Piccadilly line to Holborn
Thirty minutes later, and feeling as if you had been thoroughly molested on the tube you had bought a coffee from a nearby vender. Only, you were still rather drowsy from the lack of sleep as you approached your work building and stumbled into somebody, spilling your lukewarm (thank god) coffee down your skirt.
And because fate has a rather sadistic sense of humour, and felt that you hadn't already had a bad enough day as it was, it didn't end there. After arriving half an hour late, and having to repetitively apologize to your new boss you were shown the desk you were working at. This was fine, up until the point when you realised that nobody had thought to tell you were anything was, who anybody was or in fact what it was you were supposed to do. So naturally you spent the better part of the morning looking like a fool and the rest trying to ignore your fellow female co-workers at the desk next to yours blathering on about some male co-worker who "-knew his was all the fancy London restaurants and had a nice tight bum."
...And to top it all off I've been woken up in the dead of the night by my neighbours, because of the noise once again....
Least to say, you were definitely annoyed.
You shut the front door of your flat and walked the short distance to the Kirkland's front door.
I tried being reasonable... I gave him the benefit of doubt last night, he looked tired, he has children, et cetera, et cetera. But I have a right to sleep! He's lucky I've not gone to the landlady about this... Especially since he slammed a door in my face! How rude!
You were still internally ranting by the time you got to his front door.
...This is the second time I've had to come round! This has to stop. I'm going to give him a piece of my mind about this and if he thinks he can act all condescending and talk to me like he did last night then he's sorely mistaken.
Knock, knock, knock.
... What?! This is ridiculous. I could hear the noise through my wall!
You went to knock again, determined to get them to open the door even if it meant knocking it down yourself.
...Ignoring me you rude bast-
The door opened mid knock and you straightened your posture, prepared to give your neighbour, or his wife (Who you had yet to meet), a verbal lashing. Except, instead of being met with a pair of cold green eyes, or even a female's, you were instead drawn to an equally familiar pair of Violet ones, several feet downwards.
Mr. Kirkland's child, Matty, if you weren't mistaken.
"Um... Excuse me. Could I speak to your father please?" You asked politely, quickly schooling your expression from angry to pleasant.
He regarded you anxiously, eventually shaking his head.
"Well... Could I speak to your...Err, mummy?"
"..." He shook his head again, only this time his head had dropped low, long tendrils of blonde flopping over his face like closed drapes. You couldn't make out his expression, but noticed the grip on his stuffed bear tighten ever so slightly.
You tensed at this response.
Have I said something wrong?
"-Matty! Daddy said not to answer to door!"
You looked up from Matty, who was also regarding the figure approaching the doorway.
Another young boy.
You remembered Mr. Kirkland speaking of another child, and by the looks of it he certainly must have been his son. He appeared to be older than Matty, by maybe a year or more. However, compared to his younger brother he seemed to be a complete contrast. From what you had seen of Matty you assumed him to be the shy and timid type, especially by the way he clung to his stuffed bear. But this boy seemed the complete opposite, in appearance and presence. His hair was choppier, and shorter, and he was stockier, although that could have been down to age. His eyes were as expressive as his brothers, but unlike his they were a powder blue with a boisterous quality that suggested that he got into more trouble than the average little boy.
He currently had concern in his eyes as he turned to Matty. The younger sibling was now hiding his face by nuzzling against the white fur of his stuffed bear.
He leant in close to him, "Go to daddy Matty..."
Matty nodded and went out of the room.
He then turned to you, fixing you with harsh look.
"Go away." The boy said firmly, and made to shut the door on you there and then.
"--Wait! Hold on a second!" You took a step into the doorway, determined not to have the door shut on you again even if it meant getting a nasty bruise on your ankle. Thankfully, he did not shut the door, but this result earned you a glare from the young boy, who had realised that you weren't going to leave as easily as he had hoped.
"Daddy said not to answer the door if someone-"
"Look..." You started, "Your brother already answered the door, and if your father's in then can't you just tell him-"
"Daddy doesn't want to see anybody - so just leave, okay?"
He was shouting now, his eyes aflame with hot anger. But you weren't going to leave until you had spoken to an adult and sorted out this whole noise issue. The only reason you were round was because you wanted to sleep without being woken up by excessive noise.
Couldn't these people show a little consideration?
All I want is one night of undisturbed sleep... Without crying, or banging.
You mentally sounded out the word.
Come to think of it, you had heard banging coming from next door.
Not, crying, like previous nights. But banging.
You suddenly became incredibly aware that perhaps there was more going on here than just noisy neighbours. After all, crying could easily just be children being children.
Hearing banging could signify a lot of things, and not all of them were entirely pleasant.
You looked at the little boy in front of you. Although he didn't look as placid as his younger brother, somehow, you doubted that he was the cause of the noise. And certainly not his younger brother.
Which meant, that it must have been one, or both of the parents.
You were becoming increasingly concerned.
I'm sure it's not as bad as what you're imagining _______. Remember, you've already stuck your nose in their business once...
"Look, it's important that I speak to your Daddy... So if you would please get him..."
The boy was about to reply when he heard Matty run back into the living room. He stopped in front of his older brother, his pyjama sleeves gripped fiercely in his hands like you had seen the following night.
You noticed he didn't have his toy with him.
Tears were pooling up in the corners of his eyes.
"Ally, Daddy..." He was looking at his brother with desperation, his voice so quiet you had to strain yourself just to make out what he had said.
Ally had heard though, and with widening eyes and a look of realisation he turned and ran into the what you now presumed to be their parent's room, his younger brother hesitantly entering in after him.
What's going on?... Is something wrong with their father?
The feeling of concern had begun to well in the pit of your stomach, making you feel ill, but awake - Which at least was something. Mixed with the feeling like you were once again intruding on matters that didn't concern you however, you were left standing awkwardly at the door, torn between entering after the boys, or bolting for the safety of your own flat.
The former feeling won out.
You were just about to step into the flat when Matty had once again ran back into the room. Only this time, he made eye contact with you, vivid violet eyes now red and teary. He wore a heart-wrenching look on his face, no different from the one you had seen only a day ago, and whimpered,
"Please. Daddy needs help..."