hwango: (hermit crab)
[personal profile] hwango

"There's Foster street," Wayne said, "and it should be the second house on the right."

"I really hope it's as great in person as it seems from the web site," Carol said as she made the turn. "Remember that place on Grant that..." She trailed off as the house came into view.

"Wow," they both said in unison.

"It's even more amazing in real life," Carol said as she parked in the street in front of the house.

"I know," said Wayne.

"We need to get ahold of ourselves. We'll never be able to negotiate the price down if we stumble up there drooling in anticipation," said Carol.

"I'll try to stop drooling if you will," said Wayne.

"Right. No drool. On three. One, two,..."

The emerged from the car and made their way up the stone mosaic walkway, trying not to gibber. The path was lined with flowers and greenery that were almost eerily perfect. Wayne was a little dismayed that if they did end up buying the house they probably wouldn't be able to keep the landscaping this flawless. Not unless he quit his job and devoted every moment to taking care of it, anyway. Still, it was nice to know that the property had the potential to look this nice.

Eventually, they reached the house itself. It was lovely without being ostentatious. The exterior was all natural wood shades and black rather than the gaudy white and gold of many expensive properties. Carol was trying to decide between using the simple but elegant silver knocker or the obvious but discrete button doorbell to announce their presence when the door whipped open and a terrifyingly cheerful woman sprang out onto the front step with them. She was shaking Wayne's hand almost before he registered that she was there.

"He-LLO!" she chirped. "I'm so glad you could make it! I'm Astra, and I'll be showing you the property today! Did you find it okay? Are you hungry? Thirsty? Let's go right ahead and have a look at the kitchen!" She rattled all of this off without pausing in the slightest, even when she switched from shaking Wayne's hand to Carol's. Then she grabbed Wayne's hand again as well and practically dragged them both into the house.

The kitchen was amazing. Carol and Wayne had been to view several other houses before this one, and were hardly surprised to find that the kitchen smelled of freshly-baked cookies. It seemed to be common sales tactic. Here, however, there was also a pie, which came as a bit of a surprise. In mere seconds, Astra had each of them holding a plate burdened with a slice of pie and a scoop of ice cream melting over it, and a cookie in the other hand, which of course made it impossible to eat the pie.

"You're going to love the dining room!"

They did. They also loved the bedrooms, study, breakfast nook, and every other room in the house. Even the attic was amazing. And then they were in the back yard, taking in the flower beds, ornamental trees, and discretely lurking tool shed.

"It's...it's incredible," Wayne said, in spite of himself. He looked down as an errant candy wrapper blew across the lawn toward him. As he watched, a squirrel ran down the side of one of the larger trees, picked up the bit of trash in its teeth, and then scampered over to throw it into a trash barrel. He blinked in disbelief. "Perhaps too incredible." He suddenly realized that he could hear songbirds in the trees. An enormous butterfly wobbled through the air and alighted on a prodigiously large rose blossom.

"Um," said Wayne.

"Isn't it simply MARVELOUS?!" squeaked Astra.

"This is all starting to feel a little too good to be true," said Wayne. He looked at Carol, who dazedly nodded in agreement.

"I'd swear that the sky actually looks bluer from this yard than it did from the street."

Wayne started to walk back towards the house, then furrowed his brow in confusion and lifted a foot to inspect the underside. He handed Carol his plate so he could pull something from the tread of his shoe.

"Is this...is this a gold nugget?" said Wayne, peering at the tiny gleaming object.

"So, how about the house, eh?" said Astra, perhaps a trifle desperately.

"Okay, what's going on here?" asked Carol. "This is ridiculous."

"No it isn't!" Astra disagreed. "It's wonderful! You couldn't ask for a more wonderful house!" A small object fell out of nearby tree and pinged off the ornamental waterfall fountain to land at Carol's feet. She handed both plates of pie to Wayne and knelt to pick it up. It was a diamond. Granted, it was tiny, but it was still an actual cut diamond that had fallen out of a tree. Carol raised an accusatory eyebrow at the realtor. Astra's face fell.

"Um. Alright, I didn't want to say anything. But there might be just a...tiny...really barely noticeable at all...population of faeries living on the property."

Wayne and Carol had nothing to say to this.

"It's really not a big deal. I mean, you can see the benefits, right? And all you have to do is make sure to leave out bowls of cream now and then, and maybe some sugar. Also, you can't use a powered lawnmower or any other machinery outside the house. But the ritual you need to recite at the circle of standing stones that materializes in the back yard on solstices and equinoxes is really, really short...really, it's hardly any work at all. And the benefits! I mean, just look at this place!" She gestured expansively and almost struck the fawn that had silently approached her to nuzzle at her hand. She petted it absently.

"We...we need to discuss this," said Carol. Wayne nodded, and then took a few steps away to speak in relative privacy. They spoke for a while, thoughts things over, and then spoke some more.

"I think I could learn to live with using one of those old-fashioned lawnmowers if it means finding gold nuggets in my shoes," said Wayne at last.

"I think I agree. I mean...it's a little weird, but wow, it really is an amazing house," said Carol. Wayne nodded, and they made their way back to Astra.

"I think you'll agree that this sort of unusual circumstance ought to bring down the price a bit," he said. Astra nodded, obviously defeated. Negotiations took place, though Astra's heart didn't seem to be in them.

In the end, Carol and Wayne went away with some preliminary paperwork signed and a feeling of triumph.

Astra managed to hold in her sigh of relief until the couple was all the way down the street. Getting the faeries to move in had been an enormous amount of work, but it was worth it if she managed to unload the place at any price.

What with all of the faerie glamour, the buyers had totally failed to notice that the place was haunted.
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