Chapter 1: That should have been for me
“Hey Internet, so I wanted to share so pretty special news
with you today!
So many have you have been wondering why I’ve not been uploading or tweeting
etc. as much recently, and after careful consideration, I thought you had the
right to know…I’m engaged! I know right, you weren’t expecting that! So her name’s Astrid
and we’ve been dating for…”
Through the wall I could hear Dan filming his new video, announcing his
engagement to Astrid.
“What kind of a name is Astrid?” I muttered bitterly into the pages of his new
Stephen King book. “Stupid name for a stupid girl.” My thoughts had drowned out
Dan talking into his camera, with so much energy and enthusiasm. The last time
I had seen him that excited with when we announced the book. God that seems so long
“So I’m not sure how much I’ll be
uploading over the next few months, because I’ve got a wedding to plan! Bye
guys!” Dan finally finished talking and I was drowned in a sad silence. I
had to pretend I liked her, because Dan seemed so in love with her. I remember
he’d spent hours choosing that fucking ring which should have been for me. So
I’m salty about it. Because yes, I’m still in love with my best friend.
I heard him get up and soon, he was stood in my room. I distinctly remember
closing the door, and he definitely hadn’t knocked, but that’s irrelevant, I
have to be nice.
I looked up, “What?” as I spoke, I noticed the broad smile on his face and the
sparkle in his eyes which was now only saved for her.
“How did that sound?”
“Great yeah, you going to edit it now?” I replied snapping a little too much.
“Yeah,” He seemed taken aback by my abrupt reply. “You okay?”
I almost jumped in surprise at him actually taking notice of me and my
feelings, that’s nice of him. “Yeah, I’m just tired, it’s been a long week.”
“Try planning a wedding.” He replied sarcastic as ever. Of course the attention
was back on him, of course it was all about him. It had been since he met her,
he had become so self-centred, he became a…a diva.
I don’t like to be too mean to Dan, but on days like this, I just want to throw
someone off a bridge. “I’m not the one who decided to get married.” I stood up,
grabbing a jumper. I needed some air, the atmosphere in the flat was so
horrible, and I couldn’t stand it for long. Walking past him I snapped, “But to
be honest, the way you’ve been going on about it, I could do this wedding
I ran downstairs, grabbing my keys and slamming the front door. As I got
outside, I ran into Astrid, who was just getting back from work.
“Hey Phil!” She called politely, but I knew she didn’t actually like me.
Ignoring her, I stumbled along the road, finally reaching the end of our
street. Living in London meant that there was a constant stream of traffic, so
after waiting for a lifetime to cross, I made my way to the tube station.
It was midday on a Wednesday, and the station was packed. People pushed their
way around and past me as I walked onto the train and found a glorious empty
seat. The train left, but I didn’t really know my destination.
‘I’ll get off when I feel like it’ I told myself, as the train slowed and
pulled into the second stop. Not here, the next one.
We were plunged into darkness, and the carriage rattled through the tunnels,
the stench of exhaust and sweat filling my nose. Ah the tube, London’s finest.
I felt the wheels begin to slow beneath me, and I stood up to get off as we
pulled into Covent Garden. The doors opened and I almost fell out; I
double-stepped up the escalator – Dan didn’t like me doing that, not since he
grated his elbow on the one in Manchester – and arrived outside, the air was
cleaner up here and I inhaled heavily, clearing my lungs of not only tube crap,
but also the claustrophobia I got from the flat these days.
It wasn’t our flat anymore, because
Astrid lived there too. I was planning on moving out soon, I earned enough
money to afford a flat in London, and I had been flat hunting a lot over the
past few weeks. There was one I’d found which I just loved, it was so nice and
so different to the current one. Dan had had most of the say in it, so I liked
it but I never loved it. I like it even less now Astrid’s got all her shit
lying around the place.
There’s scented candles everywhere – and not like my shitty ones – actual
proper expensive ones (and they’re gross); she’s vegetarian so we can’t possibly have meat when she’s eating at
home which is literally every night, so now I eat at a different time, and I
have a feeling that she’s turned Dan vegetarian (but then again, I caught him
snacking on a bacon sandwich whilst she was out a couple of weeks ago). She bought all these authentic and handmade cushions
covered in beads and embroidery and some shit, which are the worst to sit on
because they scratch your back so I moved them into the office and replaced our
old ones. We’re, sorry, I’m not
allowed to listen to music or watch TV or play video games between half seven
and half eight in the evening because she has to meditate. She fucking meditates. And the worst part is, she
goes for a run at five in the morning, every morning, waking everyone up with
her loud footsteps on the stairs.
I tried to tell Dan how annoying this was, but now he’s joined in. He goes for
runs. Dan Howell goes for runs.
To be truly honest, I find it hilarious. But I can’t tell him that.
I reach our favourite Starbucks,
I get lunch and a lemonade. I found my phone and my wallet in my coat pockets,
so it looks like I can spend the rest of the day out.
There’s one seat, well two, next to the window in Starbucks that looks out
across the road, and into Covent Garden. We always sat here, but I haven’t been
to Starbucks with Dan in god knows how long. He and Astrid go to some stupid
expensive organic café now, and I think she knows the owner.
As I sit and watch the people go by, I realise how pretty it is here. How light
and bright the shops are; how the people walk with a spring in their steps over
the paving stones, smiling in the spring sun. I never noticed it like this
before, I was probably too busy staring at Dan. ‘Love Eyes Lester’ that was the
nickname the fans gave me, and Dan was ‘Heart Eyes Howell’. The thing is, mine
were true but Dan’s weren’t.
I finish my lunch and take the
drink with me. I walk up along to Seven Dials and then back down the hill to
Forbidden Planet. My favourite store, but good lord I haven’t been in a while.
As I enter, I realise how much I’ve missed this store, I’ve missed the vibe
everyone has, and I miss the way we would recommend things to strangers if they
were struggling to choose. I wander around, picking up an Adventure Time mug
(since my old one has mysteriously gone missing) and I go downstairs to the
book and DVD selection.
“Hey?” A female voice behind me says.
“Yeah?” Turning around I see a teenage girl, with a nervous smile on her face
looking up at me.
“You’re AmazingPhil right?” She still looks nervous.
“Yeah that’s me. You a fan?” I love meeting fans like this, just when they’re
casual and it’s a chance meeting.
Her expression softens. “You have no idea, can I get a photo?” She pulls out
her phone, opening the camera. “So is Dan around, it would be great to get one
with both of you?”
I stiffen at Dan’s name, they don’t know about Astrid, but I kinda hate her
enough to want to tell this girl. There’s a strong and angry debate going on in
my head, but eventually evil wins out and I tell her.
“No, he’s at home, editing with his financé.”
The girl’s eyes widen and she stares at me in disbelief. “He’s…no…he’s not? Is
he?” She stutters.
I nod, “Yeah, now do you want that photo or not?” I turn to stand next to her
and she takes a couple of photos.
“Thank you so much! Is the Dan situation public news or not yet?”
Again I think about this, but really I’ve got nothing to lose. Dan’s getting
married, and he barely talks to me anymore, I’m moving out and so I say the
worst possible thing. “It is now. Put it on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook or
Instagram. I want to the world to know before tomorrow.”
“Really? Okay.” She waved goodbye and wanders
off, leaving me slightly regretting what I just did.
I can’t really remember what happened the rest of the time I was out, because
my head was a whirlpool of emotions. But as I reached home, I began to feel so
powerful of what I had done, it gave me a new kind of energy.
I got the front door and unlocked it to a silent flat. No TV, no music, no
nothing. That was unusual. Trekking up the stairs, I got to my room, I pulled
off my jacket and threw it onto the bed, along with my shopping bags.
Everything was still suspiciously quiet, but I ignored it and went to make some
But as I passed the lounge, I noticed Dan sitting in his browsing position and
Astrid sat up to the table also on her laptop.
“Guys, would you mind being a bit quieter? I’m going deaf.” I said
sarcastically; that’s another thing actually, since she moved in, I’ve been a sarcastic asshole who swears a lot. It’s
almost like me and Dan have switched roles.
They made angry eye contact and both looked up at me, leaning on the door
“Was this you Phil?” Dan turned his screen around so I could see it.
I read “@danisnotonfire is it true you’re engaged? @danisnotonfire when’s the
wedding? @danisnotonfire you’re getting married?! Looks like someone let the
cat out the bag.” I sniggered, it was funnier seeing Astrid’s horrified face
more than anything.
“We were going to announce it tomorrow!” She whined at me.
“Well I didn’t know that” I held my hands up in innocence.
“Phil why did you tell someone?” Dan had his angry voice on now.
“Because I’ve got nothing left to lose.” I shrugged and went to make some tea,
leaving them in stunned silence.
A few minutes later, I heard Astrid yelling “I don’t know why I bother!”
Followed quickly by the front door slamming. Oh good, me and Dan can have a
proper argument now, when I won’t get Astrid barging in with incense sticks or
a fucking crystal ball.
“See what you did?!” Dan yelled at me from behind as I poured the hot water
into the mug.
Placing the kettle down carefully, I turned around, crafting my reply in my
head. “What I did? So it’s my fault you’re engaged to a bitch.” I wish I had
taken a photo of his face.
“What’s your problem with her?” He shouted again.
“She not the right person for you! You don’t suit each other!” I yelled back.
“And what does that mean?! She makes me happy!”
“You’re not right together!”
“Who cares? We’re getting married!”
“She’s not the right person for you!”
“And who is? You?” At Dan’s final remark, silence falls in the kitchen. The
intensity of it drowns out the sounds of the city.