Status: will update when possible!

Come Live With Me

Chapter 7

Benedict walked me home at 9.30, after a wonderful four and a half hours enjoying each other’s company. We were still somewhat merry, nicely so, chatting about any old thing as we strolled. I decided 10pm was probably long enough to leave my mother, and now I had told him everything, Ben completely understood my self-inflicted curfews. We hadn’t let go of each other’s hands the whole way there, just stroking each other’s fingertips tenderly as we strolled in the dark.
I couldn’t understand why after such a short amount of time, I felt so comfortable and at ease around him. I supposed we were kind of ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ now, in my eyes anyway. I wouldn’t mind that – he was so easy to talk to, to get along with.

“Ben?” I asked, wanting to ensure there was no ambiguity at all through shivers.

“Hold on a second,” He replied, slipping his jacket off and putting it over my shoulders to warm me up. I thanked him.
“What’s up?” Ben said, taking my hand again.

“Is this... are we boyfriend and girlfriend now?” I asked mousily, keeping my eyes in front of me. He chuckled a little.

“I don’t know. Do you want it to be?” He said, smirking down at me. I rolled my eyes and hit his arm.

“I’m being serious, Ben!” I smiled as we reached my front door, turning to each other to say goodbye. He smirked at me, his eyes roaming my face before he took hold of it and kissed me, a lot harder than the first time. I melted into him, moaning innocently just as he pulled away leaving me wanting more.

“How’s that for an answer?” He smiled smugly.

“Good luck this weekend. I’ll be thinking of you, partying with all the A-Listers.” I joked, poking my tongue out at the older man. He gave a deep, throaty chuckle as I turned to go inside.

“Uh, Jen,” he started. “Could you not tell any of your friends about this? It’s just, I know you understand” he said nervously, clearly not wanting to offend me.

“Yeah, I completely understand. I wasn’t even going to try and tell my mother, either. I don’t want to cause some kind of scandal for you. I promise.” I interrupted, finishing with a smile. He skipped up to me again, pecking my cheek softly before leaving me to venture inside.

“Jennifer, are you here?” My mother’s crass voice yelled, as the tranquillity I was experiencing shattered suddenly. I sighed, leaning on the door as I so often did when I returned home. My head was still a little swirly from the wine and I just didn’t want to put up with my mother after such an enjoyable evening.

“I’m here, mother.” I called out, before taking the familiar route through our desolate hell hole to the kitchen.

“Who was that?” She yelled, her dressing gown billowing as she crossed the kitchen to grab me. “Who was it, you little tramp?” She shouted into my face, making me cry again.

“Mum, have you taken your pill?” I whispered desperately, trying to get out of explaining everything to her while she was in one of her rages. Her nervously-picked nails were digging into my arms as she held onto me, almost shaking me.

“You know that you only call me ‘mother’. Just answer my question, bitch. Tell me who that man was with you outside - I was watching through the window the whole time.” She said, gritting her teeth as her bloodshot eyes bore into my hazel ones.

“Just a guy, is that okay? Please take your pill.” I implored, gently pushing her backwards so that she could sit on the wooden kitchen chair she usually used. Her hands fumbled as I tried to work out why she was so upset about this. I knew now that I couldn’t tell her anything about Benedict – if she found out he was a successful actor, she would want some money from him, and if she found out he was older, she’d keep me away from him because she’d find it odd that I was with someone so close to her own age.

“I need you, you know I do,” she began, as I started to feel some sympathy for the woman I tried my hardest to care for through everything.

“I can’t have you whoring yourself out to some guy while I’m here, hungry and cold!” She shouted, exploiting her disabilities to make me feel guilty, shattering the sympathy I felt seconds before. I was feeling confident after my evening, so I answered back – something I very rarely did. I hadn’t been anywhere near a guy since my Dad left, as I’d had to care for Mother, so this was something I hadn’t experienced before and I wasn’t about to let it become a regular thing.

“Mother, I am not whoring myself out. He just walked me home – it means nothing,” I lied, knowing full well that I was keeping me and Benedict a secret anyway.
“I always come home in time to cook you dinner, run your baths or put you to bed. I understand my responsibilities and I haven’t let you down yet, so please just take your pill and leave me alone.” I said, exasperated with my mother for the first real time. Usually she just upset me, took a sleeping pill and fell asleep, leaving me to cry in my bedroom.
She picked at her nail, allowing me to lead her to her bedroom and slip her a sleeping pill. Peace on earth.

However much I tried to stay strong, I couldn’t help but break down when I shut my bedroom door. I sat in the middle of my bed and sobbed, tucking my DVD player and the small collection of DVDs Benedict had lent me underneath my bed. I thought to myself why anything was worth it when this was what it all boiled down to at the end of the day – harking back to the hopeless early days of my mother’s illness, when I wrote ‘I’m the kind of girl they find dead in her bedroom holding an empty bottle of pills’ in my diary.
I pulled out my crappy mobile and called Ben’s number, just wanting some reassurance and calm back.

“Couldn’t stay away, Jenny?” Benedict said in the voice I knew was accompanied by a cheeky smile. The thought made my stress subside a little. It sounded like he was still on his way home.

“Hey Ben,” I croaked, clearing my throat.

“Babe, what’s up?” his deep voice cooed, suspecting something was wrong; it was more than enough therapy in itself.

“My mum watched us through the window – she yelled at me and called me horrible names and I... I just needed somebody to talk to.”

“Jennifer, I’m so sorry. I should’ve been more careful...”

“Don’t you dare blame yourself for this, Benedict. She’s my mother; I should’ve remembered she’d be on a comedown.” I sobbed, feeling embarrassingly vulnerable and delicate.

“Honey, don’t cry, please, I don’t want this to be the way I remember you while I’m away. We’ll just have to carry this on carefully. I think it’s best that we don’t tell my parents either – they’ll only do the same.” Ben tried to make it seem as though it was the same for him, but I knew the world.

“Honestly, Ben, you haven’t met my mother. It’s probably not quite the same as your relationship with your parents,” I said bitchily, as tears plopped from my eyes onto my legs. I wiped them away as the silence made me worry I’d upset him.
“But I agree that we shouldn’t tell our parents, or your friends.” I said matter-of-factly.

“I’m so sorry. I’ll send some positive energy your way tonight. Try to get some sleep; it’ll help you feel better.” Benedict naively told me. Little did he know I had problems with my sleep anyway, but I wouldn’t burden him with even more rubbish about my sorry excuse for a personal life.

“Okay. Thank you, Ben. Goodnight,” I mumbled.

“Goodnight, sweetheart,” he said with a smile, and with that we hung up. Hearing Benedict’s voice had been calming, but I had trouble forgetting my mother’s face when she confronted me, and how she looked when she called me a tramp.

I looked at myself in the mirror, seeing through my tight fitting leggings and low cut top as just a cheap whore’s clothes. It was irrational and ridiculous; how on earth could I possibly be a whore? But my own mother had made me feel like I was just a saloon door for men. Despite this, I loved her more than anything. She was the only family I had left in the world that could stand being anywhere near me. I pulled my shirt up to cover the little cleavage I was actually showing, slipped my shoes off and went to curl up on my bed, squeezing my eyes shut in an attempt to induce sleep.