Status: will update when possible!

Come Live With Me

Chapter 2

“I guess Lennon’s your favourite Beatle then?” Reading Man asked innocently, as he sat down opposite me, putting my drink down on the table and chucking his own belongings down by his feet. I looked up at him, my eyes rolling uncontrollably and finding it difficult to focus on anything. He laughed at me again.

“Fuck you” I shouted, swiping my drink, coughing and grimacing as I tasted the strong alcohol. I’d never consumed anything so vile in my entire life, but I would have had anything at that point so long as it got me inebriated.

“That was nice. Usually people say ‘thank-you’” he replied sarcastically, a half-smile playing on his lips.

“S’pose. And yes, Lennon is best.” I slurred almost incomprehensibly, even to myself.

“He’s my favourite, too. I’m Ben.” He said patiently.

“Jennifer.” I said, putting my right hand out lazily for him to shake. He did so, saying my name was pretty before joking that I had a ridiculously limp handshake. “Anyway, I’d love to chat and stuff, but I need to go” I basically spat out amid splutters after downing the last drops of the Gin and Vermouth cocktail.

“Can I call you a cab?” Ben asked kindly, to which I frowned.

“I don’t need it.” I replied flatly, my expression as cold as I could make it.

“Don’t be ridiculous; I’m driving you home if you won’t accept, no questions asked. It’s windy, cold and tipping it down outside and my car is just around the corner. I don’t want you wandering around the outskirts of Hampstead on your own at night, blind drunk. I would never forgive myself if I turned on the news tomorrow and you’d been attacked or something. Come on.” He smiled warmly, collecting his own belongings and grabbing my Tesco carrier bag and incense fragranced satchel. I lazily let him help slip my green, Liam Gallagher-esque coat on, and put his hand on the small of my back to steadily lead me out of the pub. Ben gave a thumbs up to Steve, and I drunkenly raised my hand into a sort-of wave, before we left the pub.

Ben’s car was fancy, I thought to myself as I ran my eyes over the smooth, sleek shape in the dark. It was a Jaguar XFR; black, shiny and sexy. Though it was clearly expensive, it wasn’t obnoxious or over the top, which I supposed helped it not get trashed by jealous types. After seeing it, I was now worried about throwing up in his car as I felt my stomach do flips and tasted that over-salivated, salty taste in my mouth.

“I don’t want to ruin your car, Ben” I mumbled, standing at the passenger door with vacant eyes as the lights blinked and the car unlocked, my head pounding as I struggled to think of more than one thing at a time.

“Jenny - can I call you that?” I nodded sullenly in reply. “I’ve offered to bring you home. If you throw up in my car, what does it matter? It’s my fault for offering you a lift! Now stop worrying about everyone else and get your bum in that seat,” he sighed from the driver’s side of the car, waiting for me to get in before taking a seat himself. I sat in the faux-leather seat and looked out of the window into the lamp lit street, my eyes not focussing on anything, rolling around in their sockets.

“So, where do you live? Just so I know where I’m heading,” Ben asked, turning the key and making the car energetically buzz to life.

“Um, I live on Richmond Street - number 85.” I replied, fumbling around in my mind trying to remember the address of the council flat I shared with my mother. I was beginning to appreciate Ben’s offer of a lift, as I probably wouldn’t have made it home in all honesty. I watched Ben think to himself for a minute or two, trying to figure out the way to Richmond Street. He set off, turning onto the abandoned, midnight main road in the quiet area we were in.

“What makes a nice girl like you set out to get so pissed on a weeknight, then?” Ben asked after a brief but pregnant silence between us – I could tell Ben wanted to ask a question.

“Pfft, you wouldn’t care. I don’t even know you, why would you care?” I replied dismissively, the clichéd teenage drunk - wallowing in her own self pity. I rested my head against the cold glass of the window, enjoying the smoothness of the drive, my eyebrows creasing, trying to make my head stop spinning so violently.

“I do care, Jennifer! Why would I have offered you a ride home if I didn’t, stupid?” Ben laughed, clearly growing incredulous with the way my mind was churning out words. I was surprised I hadn’t passed out. I made a noise in return, as Ben stopped at a red light and looked at me.
“What’s going on in that funny little drunken head of yours?” Ben asked, furrowing his eyebrows and scanning my face for any clues, hopefully finding nothing.

“It doesn’t matter, honestly. Man, I feel so rough.” I croaked, my annoyingly well-spoken accent shining through even more when I tried to use slang. Ben pulled out, turning down Richmond Street slowly and looking out for number 85.

“Here we are,” Ben said, putting the hazards on as he pulled over at my front door. He got out and pulled the hood of his coat up, opening the passenger door for me. I stumbled out and felt the heavy rain tap my head, thanking Ben before making my way to the pavement.
“Look, here’s my phone number if you ever need someone to talk to. You may not want to tell me anything, but if you ever feel like you just need somewhere to vent... I’m a very good listener.” Ben smiled at me, holding out a scrap of paper as I struggled to stay upright.

“I don’t need anyone to talk to, thanks.” I spat viciously on purpose, as I tried to focus on Ben’s blurry face, making out nothing very clearly.
“I have a pen, paper, and myself; that’s all I need.” I concluded.

Ben chuckled at me, his hands in his pockets. He stepped closer to me, the only sound on the illuminated street his feet shuffling on the concrete pavement. I stepped back, worried he was going to touch me or something. Even when I was drunk I had a lot of boundaries, and I wasn’t about to let some creep I’d just met cross any of them.

“What the hell are you doing, you posh bastard?” I asked, knowing I had contradicted myself with my own eloquent voice. Ben rolled his eyes, unable to keep himself from smiling at my silly drunken insult this time. He stepped forward again, slipping the little piece of paper in my pocket, making sure that I had it anyway. ‘Smooth’ I thought, before smiling to myself at my sarcastic comment.
I grumbled as I stepped up to the door, fumbling with the keys in my pocket as Ben stood behind me with his hands tucked into his own pockets, amused. I tried and failed three times to unlock the door successfully, before dropping the keys and loudly growling in frustration. Ben skipped up to me as I tried to balance myself. He swiped them and unlocked the door for me in one swift move, as I steadied myself. I looked up at him and smiled sarcastically, rolling my eyes (or, attempting to) as he chuckled in return.

“Go on, get in there, have some water and get some sleep. I hope you enjoy the hangover tomorrow!” He called out as I stepped into the flat. I waved him off dismissively as I walked into my house, leaning on the closed door as it shut behind me.

My mother was still up and about, wandering around the kitchen like a lost puppy. I hated when her mood was like this – she was vacant, empty and not like a person at all; lost, lobotomised almost. Sometimes it scared me, but while I was drunk I just got on with everything in an attempt to go to bed as soon as possible. I checked that she had brushed her teeth (thankfully she had) and turned the bathroom light out, tucked her into bed as she stared at the ceiling. I slipped two of her prescribed sleeping pills onto her tongue and she swallowed them as she did every night; depressingly she did it with no trouble as she was so used to them. I kissed her forehead and left her room, leaving it slightly ajar before heading to my own bedroom.
I just fell onto my bed, not worried about the clothes I was wearing or the state my make-up was in after the amount of times I had had to crush my eyes together to stop tears that evening.