The townhouse at 8422 Fordham Ave had a lot going for it. It sat at the alley break between two townhouse blocks, a split-level three story home plus a basement access garage. Having only one neighbor on the west wall allowed for a unique interior, with the living/dining room having an elevated ceiling with overhanging second floor balcony. The kitchen had a breakfast nook that jutted towards the alley and the front yard was marginally wider by three feet.
As far as locations went you couldn’t get better in the city. Being at the corner of Fordham Ave and 11th Court placed it two blocks down from the dining district. Most of the area townhomes were quaint, red brick and copper color trim affairs. The interior of 8422 used peach, orange and beige accents along most walls.
Going from the bottom up, the basement included a single car garage, laundry room and small den. On the ground floor was the main entrance, kitchen, dining table and living room. The second floor contained two small bedrooms and a short office. The third floor contained the master suite and another small room that had been converted into a bedroom. Each floor also had a bathroom to some capacity.
While the home had a lot going for it vertically, horizontally it left a lot to be desired. Despite the small floor space the house was the definitive model modern townhome that provided some luxury but only for a renting couple or small family.
8422 Fordham Ave had not been designed to have five residents. Yet five women ended up living there.
The original tenants were the Durant sisters; the oldest, Audrey and her twin sisters Reagan and Phoebe. Audrey was the first to look for the listing but couldn’t afford the price solely and agreed to let her sisters live there, who were still in university downtown. Before long not only was the Durant sisters’ cousin, Ixchel Park, asking to move in but Audrey’s former college roommate, Uma Ferro, had needed a place to crash. That was two years ago.
These five ladies were quite different people but had more or less gotten used to living together.
Audrey Durant was the oldest occupant at 26. She was also the tallest, the primary breadwinner and the most serious much to her chagrin, as she felt she had to take care of everything. She wore glasses for green-eyed farsightedness and had a copious amount of bushy blond hair, much like a decades old fashion trend. She was fair skinned with the occasional freckle. Although she stood two heads taller than her twin sisters she never really had a thin physique growing up. It was kind to call her chubby or plump as her body settled into an apple shape.
When she wasn’t stressing herself out with earning money to pay for bills, getting to work on time and keeping the house afloat she had mildly antiquated interests. She liked her sappy romance novels and the chance to have a bubble bath, she preferred the stage compared to the movies for theater and she had attempted to keep a garden in the front yard as she knew a lot about flowers. Although she could get easily riled up as most of her other housemates found most of her tastes boring.
Reagan and Phoebe, the identical twin Durant sisters, of course had matching features. While some of their facial features and skin tone matched Audrey their physiques were quite different. At 22 the twins were just under the average height for an American woman, with slender necks and small shoulders. Both had reddish hair with naturally blonde highlights. Both were hip heavy, having developed wide hipped pear shapes in late middle school. As they grew older the twins had a pair of fine booties to match, making them very attractive and popular but for vastly different reasons once you got to know their personalities.
Reagan was the oldest twin by two seconds. She was fierce, mischievous and very standout. If you called her the evil twin she would wear the moniker with pride. She was too clever by a half when it came to nearly flunking out of school because of an academic career of getting associated with trouble but (thus far) she was still working on her acoustical engineering degree. Yet her penchant for calling others out and wanting to have the last laugh or last insult at all times often left her with her foot in her mouth. She also wasn’t brilliant by any means, although she foolishly though herself smart, getting by from guile alone. She’d had plenty of boyfriends and left plenty of broken hearts along the way.
Phoebe was the youngest twin by two seconds. She was very much the baby of the family, bubbly but naïve and way too much of a ditz. While she was kind and friendly she was far too gullible for her own good, such was the case with being the good twin. She was also prone to klutziness and generally making a mess of things despite her best efforts. Her simple mind meant there wasn’t a conceited bone in her body, although some found her blind optimism a bit grating after awhile. She was looking to get into modeling and was pursuing an acting degree from the same university as her sister. She’d had plenty of boyfriends and suitors over the years but was a hopeless smitten kitten that couldn’t tell a decent boyfriend apart from a jerk.
Telling the twins apart came down to their body language, fashion, and attitude. Reagan favored darker colors and often kept her hair just shorter than her twin, while Phoebe favored brighter colors and was the girly-est of the duo.
The next closest relation to the Durant women was their cousin Ixchel Park, who also went by Chel. While the Durants had a mix of Euro-Caucasian ancestry Ixchel was the offspring of a multiracial marriage. About 43% of her genomes came from Central and South American while 39% was Asian by way of Korea with a smattering of Chinese, with mixed American and European as the remaining slurry. Despite her origins as a child of her mother’s second marriage she was closer to her Durant cousins than her multiracial relatives, as they were of the same generation and had spent quite a lot of their childhoods together.
Ixchel was 23, the second youngest of the household not accounting for the twins, with dark skin, grey eyes and long deeply dark brown hair. Her genetics left her moon faced and somewhat pudgy, as her body was entirely made up of rounded curves. While she had an even balance of introverted and extroverted tendencies she preferred the company of family and friends she already knew. Ixchel was very nerdy, both a band geek and a pop-culture obsessed otaku who used the cramped office for remote working in her programming job for a medical-tech company. She liked a lot of genres from fantasy to sci-fi to mysteries. And although she was loath to admit it, she had inherited a bit of cooking skill from her biracial father and had an index of Mexican and Asian fused dishes.
The only occupant not to be related by blood or family was Uma Ferro, Audrey’s roommate in college. Both had attended on scholarship but whereas Audrey’s was academic Uma had been under a sports scholarship. Uma was 25, black, and thickly built, voluptuous with athletic muscle mass. She had hazel eyes and liked to bleach the tips of her dreadlocks. Originally she had been a long distance track runner in high school, before drifting to lacrosse and her volleyball scholarship. Although a strong competitor she had yet to break into any big leagues, mainly for two reasons.
Uma could have a gruff, almost abrasive personality towards any perceived opponents. But mostly she was a raucous partier ever since college, being primarily responsible for helping Audrey get out of her shell. Uma never met a drink she didn’t like, a party favor she didn’t want seconds of and a groove she couldn’t drop a beat too. She’d grown wilder during college, looking for fun even if that meant her grades or training diligence suffered for it. At her worst, Uma could be considered a moocher since coming to live with the other women of the house. She didn’t have a steady job or a reason to return to school and while she trained constantly (or so she claimed) she no longer had a clear goal in mind to shape her drive. Her appetite was something fierce, the product of when her metabolism was hyperactive to fuel her adequately for all her team sports.
Altogether, while the female residents of 8422 Fordham Ave came from various walks of life and had such differing perspectives, they wouldn’t still be living together if they didn’t like each other. They got along fine; although like many families especially for an arrangement of twenty-something adults there were plenty of disagreements, outbursts and drama on any given day. Nobody ever got the privacy they hoped for with a townhouse that small, as each woman’s sheer force of personality, lifestyle, and the baggage that came with it left the house stuffed to the gills enough already.
And that was before they all got really freakin’ fat.
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