By Anna Royle – Creative Writing Editor
Sea air thrashes my ear drums, hair slips into my mouth and sticks against my lips. I climb the three flights of stairs, wine bottle in hand, stopping to look over the tennis courts below. Double checking the flat number on my phone, I ring the door bell.
“C’mon in, the door was open.”
He’s got his shoes on, scored Dr. Martens pressing into the thick beige carpet. I wipe my trainers on the mat, knowing mum will cringe when I tell her.
He tells me to make myself at home, taking my coat and hanging it over the banister. He shows me around, leading me up to the attic room, which has two twin beds against the back wall. “This is your room. Well it will be. I’m not sure if the landlord will let me paint it, but you can pick out whatever bedding you want. And I’ll get you a lamp and a wardrobe. And even a bookshelf, if you want.” “Thanks.” I reply. I don’t remind him that I’ll be going to uni in three months and I can’t see a time when I’d be staying over.
Back in the open plan living room/kitchen he asks me if I’d like to smoke on the balcony, suggesting he’ll bring me a drink outside. I don’t remind him that I don’t smoke so I sit outside, watching the sun slide into the sea line as I shiver. He brings me a blanket, still with the long flappy Ikea label attached.
“Do you want a glass of wine?” He calls from the kitchen.
“No…I’m not drinking. The wine is just for you. As a house warming present.”
“It’s good stuff. How did you know?” I see him squinting at the back of the wine bottle.
“Is it? I just guessed.”
Mum bought it. She insisted it would be rude to turn up empty handed, which I disagreed with, seeing as I
basically have my own room here, it’s basically my house too, so why would I bring myself a gift? But I know it’s
not exactly like that. I know he wants it to be but I’ll never walk in without knocking, I’ll never dump my bags at
the door and slam my keys on the island.