They'd left the foothills and climbed well up into the mountains some time since he'd last been aware of the scenery outside; the road was lined with patches of trees, vast stony cliffs rearing up behind them on the left of the bus, while on the right there was a steep downhill slope. He could see a glitter of water somewhere down slope, and ahead... houses. The bus did another left and then three rights, circling a small block lined with old houses, before pulling to a squealing stop in front of a small municipal building.
"All out for Pentland! Pentland stop!" the driver called out in a bored voice. David hurriedly rose to his feet, yanking his briefcase off of the overhead rack and moving to the front of the bus as the driver opened the doors and hurried down the steps.
The morning air was cool after the heated interior of the bus - it was still early spring, after all - and David felt himself waking more fully as the driver opened the luggage compartments and hauled out his single bag. "Thanks," he said, picking it up as the driver rapidly closed the compartment. The man responded with a grunt and a nod before hurrying back onto the bus, pulling away from the curb again before the door had even finished closing.
David looked around. The streets were deserted, not a soul in sight. Spotting a nearby street sign, he walked over and peered up at it, then put down his briefcase and suitcase to dig in his pocket, carefully unfolding a sheet of paper worn from much handling and comparing the address on it to the street name. He smiled in relief - the road the bus had followed into town, and dropped him off on, was the street he needed. And they must have passed the address coming into town, as none of the buildings on this short stretch of it was residential.
He crossed both ways at the lights, and walked back towards the distant highway. The building wasn't far; fourth from the corner, and the second last one before the town ended and the forested landscape began. He stopped, putting down his suitcase and looking up at it, surprised by its size. It was a big Victorian house, with a tower on one corner. The porch railing, door, and windows were all topped by panels of decorative stained glass - in the shape of roses, red ones. (0001)
He walked hesitantly towards the front door. Should he knock? Or just let himself in? He was still pondering the question when a car pulled up to the curb behind him, the driver giving the horn a light tap that made him jump. Moments later the front door swung open, and a well-dressed young man hurried out of the house and down the porch stairs, pausing as he saw David blocking the front walkway.
"Are you David?" he asked, and at David's nod of surprised agreement, grinned widely and shook his hand in greeting. "James said he thought you'd likely arrive some time this week. He's going to be insufferable about being right." (0002)
The car driver honked his horn again. The young man frowned. "I have to run, that's my car pool... I'm William Kennit, one of your tenants. We'll have time to talk once I get home this afternoon. Robin can get you sorted out until then," he added, and turned towards the house, cupping his hands around his mouth. "Robin! He's here!" he called towards the second floor, then hurried off to the waiting vehicle, waving casually at the house "Just go on in, she'll be right down," he called back over his shoulder.
"Thanks," David called, then added "I think," under his breath as William got into the car and it roared off. Retrieving his suitcase, he walked into the house.