Status: will update when possible!

Come Live With Me

Chapter 1

I quietly approached the half-glass-half-wooden doors of the Prince of Wales pub, opening one of them and letting in a freezing cold blustery breeze before it slammed shut behind me, forcing me further into the quiet pub. The rain out there was hideously heavy. I shuffled in timidly, pulling the hood of my soaking wet and battered green coat down, revealing my bird’s nest of blonde hair. I looked around the pub nervously, taking my coat off as I embraced the warmth of the pub, breathing its traditional, ale-laden air and approached the bar.

I sat on a bar stool, as the barman approached me. I’d not been in here before, and there weren’t many people around; just some guy reading over a pint, another who was way too drunk to even think and a couple having some wine and a late dinner. I tried to speak quietly, but the pub was so silent apart from the low level music from the jukebox; I guessed that they could hear every single word in the end.

“Hey. Could I have a double vodka and orange juice please?” I said quietly, leaning on the bar with both elbows. The barman asked to see some ID and suddenly my breath hitched in my throat, and I tried to scramble in my mind a way to get served underage. Pushing out my chest and the cleavage I’d pre-thought to reveal, I tried my best to flirt with the guy.

“You see, I left my driver’s license at home,” I began, knowing full well that I didn’t have a license. There wasn’t much point in London when you walked everywhere anyway. “Is there any chance you could serve me without, just this once?” I said, my intonation rising at the end, not caring anymore about what impression I was giving. I heard the guy behind us who was reading some weighty book let out a whispered chuckle, before sipping from his pint. The jukebox continued to play a little ambient music – Tom Odell from what I could hear of it.
The barman’s mouth curled up at the corners slightly, as his eyes darted all over my face and chest. I felt dirty and stupid for doing it, but I just really needed to get drunk. He nodded silently, as he poured my double vodka and orange juice. I thanked him and bent down to retrieve my purse from my bag, sniffing slightly and wiping my eyes with one hand as I did so, just to stop myself from crying. I pulled out a £5 note and slammed it on the bar, probably showing exactly how stressed and agitated I was really feeling. I ran a hand through my hair as I picked up my drink and shoved the change I had just received into my black skinny jean pocket, thanking the man and heading for the other free sofa seat next to the jukebox, a little way away from the reddish-brown haired ‘Reading Guy’. It felt good to finally sit down alone, I thought, as I rubbed my temples with my fingers, sighing before sucking as much of the strong vodka mix as I could through the straw.

I looked around the little tavern style pub; it was nice. It had a wonderful traditional feeling. The floors were a golden wood panelling, covered with a few rugs dotted here and there – all reds and deep greens, creating this sensation of warmth. The walls were a deep woody brown colour, littered with beautifully framed landscapes painted by artists I didn’t recognise. The lights were so dim that the pub felt like it was on the verge of a power-cut, but it was a beautiful place to relax and unwind if you were a sucker for that traditional English feel.

I finished that drink and brought my glass back to the bar and bought three more double vodkas, before drinking them one by one at my table. That was almost £20 on drinks that were going to get me so irresponsibly wasted for a 17 year old - this wasn’t even legal. I just needed to get so drunk that I could forget about everything – it had all gotten on top of me recently and I was exhausted, alone and for the most part bored with life. I wanted some excitement for once.

My head was feeling incredibly fuzzy after my third drink down, and the old-style jukebox next to my seat was calling out to me. It must have been there since the 1950s, I thought, as I slotted in a coin and flicked through the records before settling on that beautiful John Lennon classic – ‘Mother’. I sang along (only God knows how badly) between sips of my fourth double vodka. I swayed drunkenly to the music, holding myself up on the jukebox, closing my eyes and immersing myself in the music. The lyrics felt like they were touching me all over; my body, my mind and my heart, and all of a sudden I felt that old familiar sting of tears in my eyes. I stopped swaying and stood as still as I could, just staring into space as John Lennon’s tortured pleas of ‘mama don’t go, daddy come home’ surrounded me, reminding me of my own problems at home.
As the song ended, I tried to bring the glasses back to the bar, and, realising I wouldn’t be able to carry them all at once, started bringing them back one at a time, stumbling back and forth between the table and the bar. All of the other drinkers were watching me try to drunkenly concentrate on completing the task, probably having a real laugh at how ridiculous, irresponsible and immature I looked. I was so ashamed of myself but at that point, I didn’t care at all.

“Do you do Martinis here? Because I’ll have a big, tall one ‘a those please. What’s your name, by the way... mister?” I slurred, trying to focus my rolling eyes on the man at the bar. He was smiling at me as far as I could tell and I attempted to pull an annoyed face, but in all honesty it probably didn’t work.

“Steve.” He replied, his facial expression becoming difficult to make out in my haze.

“Okay, a big Martini please Stevey baby.” I said, trying to retrieve some money from my pocket. A deep laugh sounded from behind and I turned around and glared at Reading Man, who was watching our exchange, before I turned back to Steve.

“You don’t usually have ‘tall’ Martinis, love.” Steve said, as he wiped the surface of the bar with the cloth he was holding.

“I don’t care, I don’t care how much I have to pay, just... please” I said, raising my voice in protest, not realising how loud I was actually speaking.

“Okay, coming up.” Steve glanced past me over at Reading Man, raising his eyebrows.

“Actually, Steve, I’ll buy this one. I think this lady’s going to run out of money if she pays for any more drinks.” The source of the deep laugh said, approaching the bar. He took £6 out of his wallet and paid for the slightly more extravagant drink, as I turned to him.

“I don’t need your charity, stupid.” I said, ironically before I spilt change everywhere while trying to find a note. Reading Man laughed at me again; his deep, throaty chuckle the main noise in the room as I sniffed back frustrated tears, scrunching up my face to hold back my muddled headache and mish-mashed thoughts.

“It’s not charity; I want to pay for it. Come on, you go and sit back down.” He insisted, leading me towards my seat as I grumbled insults under my breath. He’d just been really kind to me, but I felt patronised and as stupid as I knew I was. I sat down and crossed my arms at the table, running my hand through my hair and pouting immaturely.