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Come Live With Me

Chapter 10

“Where the fuck are they? What the hell have you done with them, you little bitch?” I heard the familiar shrill sound of my mother’s voice shout from the kitchen, not to me particularly, more... about me. I closed the DVD player Benedict had given me quietly and slid it under my bed, putting my pen down and venturing out into the familiar unknown.

“What’s up, mother?” I asked tentatively, wondering why she was so irate.

“You’ve hidden my prescription, haven’t you?” She said, pointing a prematurely aged finger as she advanced on me menacingly. I stepped backwards into the fridge.

“The bottle’s there by the kettle.” I said, pointing across to the bottle as I had placed it earlier, in its usual place. She glanced over, her vacant eyes bloodshot and straining. Her hair wasn’t brushed; she looked a mess. I hated seeing her in one of these states. She chuckled slightly maniacally before turning to me, her eyes shooting daggers.

“Are you trying to undermine me, kid? Are you fucking mocking me?” She asked, paranoid that I was laughing at her – which I wasn’t.

“No, mother, I promise I’m not laughing at you.” I babbled, trying to stop these delusions and paranoid mood swings that she suffered. I don’t know why they didn’t change her medication; she hadn’t improved. I wondered if there was any cure for what my mum suffered from – actually, hoped is probably a better word.

“You are, you fucking little bitch!” She said, bringing her hand up and striking me across the face, leaving a hot, stinging sensation on my cheek. I clutched at my face as she grabbed her bottle of pills and downed a few. I didn’t even bother counting; she could’ve overdosed and I wouldn’t have cared in that moment. My eyes filled with tears as I sank to the floor of our kitchen.
Mum settled back in her usual seat in the kitchen, crossing her arms and looking down her nose at me on the floor. I looked up at her with scared eyes, terrified of what she might be thinking or contemplating; she had never struck me before, though I knew she could be unpredictable.

“Oh, you’re not going to cry now, are you?” She said, almost snorting with smug laughter. I shook my head and wiped the tears away before she could see me cry.
“Have you made my dinner yet?” She pried, as my heart raced and I could feel an anxiety attack coming on. I shook my head and stood up to get to it in order to avoid another fit of viciousness. I chucked some beans in a pan and heated them, stuck some toast under the grill (we didn’t have a toaster, so I had to compromise) and shoved it all on a plate silently.

“There.” I mumbled as I slid the plate towards her on the kitchen table, along with a knife and fork. She looked down at the plate suspiciously.

“You’re so god damn lazy, you know that? Some of the mouse shit in this house could probably cook up something better than you can. Speaking of, you better get some sweeping done, too.” She said, as I stood in the corner of the kitchen, allowing myself to be compared to a piece of excrement. I stroked the burning side of my face, and realised I was letting my mum know she was making it hard for me. I don’t even think she realised I was her daughter anymore. I couldn’t be sure, but it wouldn’t surprise me. I decided to just leave without explaining myself. She’d be out cold in about half an hour now, anyway, and I couldn’t care less if it was on the cold kitchen floor or in her bed.

“Fuck this.” I said, shoving a few bits into an overnight bag. I had a drawer at his house now since we’d begun sleeping together, so a lot of my stuff was already there. It had been a few months since our first proper night together, and I thought of that time to calm myself down as I looked around for any other bits I might need, before grabbing my little satchel for college the next day. I hadn’t planned to see Ben that day, but I needed to now. I checked my face in the mirror and realised I had a huge red mark on my face, with three cat-like scratches running through the middle. It stung to touch, so I dabbed some cool water over it and left it damp.

I stormed out of our flat, wrapping my coat around me tighter as the chilly breeze whipped around the scratches she had left on my face. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, and being treated like I was nothing to that woman, when I sacrificed my all for her. Tears fell silently as I made my way to Ben’s house, tired, frustrated and annoyed, craving his welcoming smile if nothing else.
I knocked at the door, wiping away any tear stains on my cheeks. The door opened a crack, and when he saw who it was, Ben opened it fully. I tried to push past him and walk in, but he stopped me before I could.

“Jenny, we didn’t plan for today...” Ben whispered, stepping outside onto the doorstep, closing the door. I looked to the side slightly so he didn’t see my wounded face as I spoke.

“I really need to talk to you, Ben. Why can’t I come in?” I pleaded, desperately wanting to spend time with him after everything that had happened, realising that I was completely dependent on him for my happiness.

“Mum and Dad are here.” He said hesitantly, holding one of my hands. Perfect. He was enjoying time with his parents while I was being destroyed by mine.

“Oh, well I’m very sorry. I won’t bother you while you play happy families then.” I said, turning away. I was pissed off and upset, and I just didn’t want him to see me cry particularly that day. He grabbed my arm, pulling me back, exposing my face.

“Jesus, what happened Jen?” He asked, eyes wide as he examined the disgusting injury on my cheek.

“No, you better get back to mummy and daddy. I’m sure I heard someone say they wanted to get out the baby photos in there.” I bitched, trying my damnedest not to burst into tears then and there.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, Jennifer?” He asked exasperatedly, letting out a confused laugh and shrugging his shoulders as I clenched my jaw in stress. There was a pregnant pause before I broke down.

“I just wish we could tell everyone. That way I could have you when I need you, like I need you now...” I sobbed quietly, as Ben opened his arms out and pulled my into a loose embrace, stroking my shoulders in the darkening London street. I realised how inconsiderate I was just then, how immature I was to come here and run my mouth without realising I was taking out my stress and anger on the one person who loved me back. His big hands rubbed my shoulders as I rested my head under his chin.

“I know, I know. So do I sweetheart, but we both know how awkward it would be. When we’re both ready we will, I promise. I can come and meet you after college tomorrow if you want? I’m not filming at all next week so I have a load of free time. You have me at your dispense.” He said, trying to cheer me up.

“I just don’t feel in the mood to be kept a secret right now. I’d do anything just to have you all to myself.” I whined selfishly, staining Ben’s shirt with a salty patch of tears.

“It’s difficult; we always knew it would be. Your mum will be out cold now, won’t she?” I nodded in reply to his question.
“Well, if you go back home but you feel too scared or anxious, then come back to mine later and my parents will have gone home. You can stay here if you’re frightened.” He offered kindly. I wiped my eyes and started down the steps to the pavement.

“Oi, come here.” He called out. I turned around and hobbled up to him.
He took my face in his hands, giving me a real Hollywood kiss on his doorstep as we were suddenly more open than we had been in a street before, despite the sky being pitch black anyway. It was so tender; I wished that I could jar the feelings, the tastes, smells and sounds to come back to when I was feeling low. The electric current sensation was starting to creep into these kisses we exchanged when we were out and about, hiding in plain sight. It made me remember the excitement of keeping our relationship under wraps, and I forgot about the irritation I had felt about it moments before.

I walked home ambivalently. I wasn’t cheerful, but the short time I had spent with Ben had cheered me up, despite the fact that mother would be back to her old self come the morning. Happily, I had college the next day, so I could be away from her for a few hours.