Friday, 31 March 2017

New story....

it doesn't have a name yet... but it's taken over my life today... here's the prologue of my latest effort, enjoy...

“You’re going to have to go ahead and find a house without me,” I dragged my hand through my hair as I stared at the board in despair. My flight had been cancelled and the next available flight wasn’t until Monday – when I was supposed to be teaching again and the house my friend Chelsea and I we were supposed to be viewing back in Birmingham would have been viewed by a million students and snapped up, leaving me and Chelsea quite possibly homeless for our last year in uni...
Chelsea was – is – my best friend in the whole world and she’d suggested my moving in with her and her other physics friends for the last year, since all of my other friends that I’d gone through the first two years with, were only doing three year courses and were not, therefore going to back for my final year.
Of course, they hadn’t taken a language – and therefore hadn’t gone abroad, teaching English, for their third year like I had. Fools. It had been the best experience of my life so far and my understanding, not to mention my accent, of the language had come on ten-fold. I didn’t sound native, which pissed me off a little – I was a bit of a perfectionist on the quiet, but I wasn’t far off and I planned to go back over the next year whenever I could to visit the friends I’d made – and I’d been offered a summer job for the next summer in my favourite coffee shop, so hell, I’d got next summer’s vacation all sewn up already and it was still only March...
“What?” she squawked, “Why?”
“My flight just got cancelled.” I grumbled, “You know what France is like...” Another strike...
“Oh, God, Josh!” she admonished, “You don’t seriously expect me to find a house for six of us to live in by myself, do you?”
I frowned, “I thought your mate was going with you.”
She snorted rudely – and, I might add, very impressively, “Oh, for God’s sake,” she muttered, “Lorenzo’s useless.”
I chuckled, “I thought you said he was a genius.” I said.
She sighed, “Well, yes.” She conceded, “He is a genius – there’s no question about that. The guy could give Sheldon Cooper a run for his money – but when it comes to choosing somewhere to live...”
I nodded sagely at my end of the phone, “I get you.” I said with a sigh, “He’s got no nouse.” He sounded like a total loser to me. I had no idea why she was bothering with him
“None whatsoever.” She groaned, “I knew this would happen.”
I sighed, “So why ask him to come in with us?”
I could hear the smile in her voice when she talked about him. She was clearly very fond of the guy, “Because he’s the sweetest soul that ever lived and I just know that you and he will be a match made in heaven.”
I laughed. She was definitely kooky... “I’m really sorry that I can’t be there to meet him then, babe.” I said sincerely, “I really wanted to come home.”
She immediately turned into ‘concerned Chelsea,’ which was kind of like a mother hen. I loved Chelsea. She was my best friend – and she was my best friend because we had absolutely no sexual chemistry going on at all.
I loved girls. I had a different girlfriend every week in the first year of uni – well, hell – give a guy a break. I was eighteen – I’d been let loose and I just wanted to have as much sex as it was possible to have. I was lucky that I was cute and chatty – girls just seemed to fall at my feet but Chelsea had never been sucked in by my awkward flirting and had told me in no uncertain terms that if I was interested in her in any other way than being her gym buddy, we weren’t even going to be friends.
It had been very refreshing. I’d only ever had mates that were guys before. She’d been in a committed relationship with her boyfriend since year eleven at school, which I thought was kind of cute, but very restricting...
My biggest problem was commitment. I really didn’t want any of the girls I got with to be my girlfriend. And I never lied about a thing. I never said I’d be their boyfriend. I was always quite clear (or at least I thought I was) that it was a one night only kind of arrangement. I gave them a good time. I had a good time myself. End of...
Unsurprisingly, I’d pissed off a good half of the girls in my building by the end of the first year and by the end of the second year, I was well known as a player. “Joshua Martin. Nothing but a hook-up kind of guy with no staying power.” Was apparently written on the wall in the girls’ bathroom in the SU bar. Well, I guess I kind of deserved that. I was my own worst enemy and the kinds of girls that were interested in me by the end of my second year were kind of a reflection of that whole attitude that I’d had going on. Still, it gave me time to work on my studies with no drama of a girlfriend dragging me down...
I was bored with all of it by the time I was going home for the summer and I was very glad to be spending a year away from all that shit. France... A whole year to re-invent myself. To take in the culture and quite possibly to meet a completely different type of girl...
Well, the culture was apparent in bucket loads. My little area of France, a small province in the South, was absolutely unbelievably beautiful. It was olde-worlde and yet chic and modern with wi-fi everywhere. Having said that – over winter it almost completely shut down with only a couple of die-hard coffee shops remaining open year-round. Still. I managed. Girls, sadly, were a different matter altogether. I hadn’t actually managed a date with even one girl in the whole six months I’d been away – not that I’d actually missed any of the whole chase thing. I was perfectly happy doing my job and learning to speak the language properly. I was getting pretty darned good at it too. Very few people immediately reverted to English anymore when I started up a conversation...
“Oh, sweetie,” Chelsea said, “Are you missing England?”
I swallowed. The truth was that actually, yes. I was missing England. France was beautiful and cosmopolitan and exciting and different. But it was also exhausting. Constantly thinking in one language and having to translate and converse in another made my head ache by the end of the day and I’d been really looking forward to seeing Chelsea again – and weirdly, to meeting Mr Lazzari. Oh, well, never mind... “I’ll be fine.” I assured her, “I’ll see you soon.”
“I’ll text you and forward photos of the houses.” She promised.
Well that was something at least...