This chapter is short, but it’s setting some stuff up for the next chapter (where I cannot confirm or deny there will be some sexiness)
Finn found himself on the floor next to the couch, still in his street clothes and trainers. His brain thundered against his skull and his mouth tasted like he’d spent the night snogging an ash tray. Rosy morning light filtered in through the gauzey curtains that adorned the bay windows in the living room. He fluttered his eyes open to find a bag of weed with a note affixed to it on his chest. He rubbed his eye and squinted to make out Archie’s neat handwriting:
Up early and out for all-day study session with my cohort. Left you something for the morning after
The flat was dead silent and he glanced at Rae’s door. She must be sleepin’, he thought to himself. With a lot of effort, he willed himself up and into the toilet. After what felt like a record-breaking piss, he headed to kitchen and investigated the fridge and larder for breakfast.
All he found was an odd assortment of condiments and dodgy take-out containers. He grabbed his coat and headed for the Tesco down the street for provisions.
By the time he got back, it was almost 10AM. He was caught up with the bacon when her saw Rae stumble out of her room. Her hair stuck up every which way and her makeup was smeared all over her face.
“Mornin’,” she yawned. She wrapped her dressing gown tighter around her body and headed for the loo. Finn heard the shower switch on and suddenly regretted his completely disgusting state of hygiene.
He had just finished dishing up bacon, eggs, beans, toast, and tomato slices when Rae emerged, fresh-faced with her hair twisted up in a towel. Without even bothering to get dressed properly, she grabbed the plate.
“You’re lovely, mate. Archie and I usually end up with coffee and dry toast in the morning.”
“Well, I’m staying rent free so I thought I ought to pitch in a bit. I call this Half English breakfast.”
Rae laughed and grabbed a seat at the tiny dinette table in the corner of the kitchen. Finn followed suit. He couldn’t help but think to himself, God, this is easy. He could really get used to her in her dressing gown, eating his breakfasts.
They chitchatted about the night before and Rae told Finn to take a shower and she’d clean up. By the time he emerged, feeling like a human being again, the kitchen was tidied and Rae was dressed. She was wearing her signature leggings and chucks, and a body-hugging dress with a tee shirt layered over it. She even had one of those lovely floaty little scarf things tied around her neck. He caught a wiff of her perfume in it and he couldn’t help but want to bury his face in it. Rae looked at him quizzically and he realized he’s been staring.
“Wanna have a smoke of the puff Archie left?” he said, trying to fill the awkwardness.
“Yeah, sure. But you gotta roll it. You’ve got that finesse still?”
“Yeah, I still got it.”
He busied himself rolling a few joints, expertly maneuvering the skins in his hands. He couldn’t stop looking at her. He was sure it was freaking her out, but it was like he had to make up for three years of her absence in his life. Christ, had it really been three years?
He passed her the joint and they both headed to Archie’s room to the fire escape. Finn was halfway out the window when he doubled back.
“What is it?” asked Rae.
“I gotta put on some tunes.” Finn went back to living room and thumbed through Rae’s vinyl collection. He’d gone through it about a hundred times this week when she wasn’t around. It was like he was trying to fill in the gaps of their estrangement the best way he knew how. He withdrew what he felt to be the perfect wake-and-bake album for a Sunday morning after a night of too much drinking. He dropped the needle on a reggae remixes of the Gorillaz (points for obscurity!) and headed back out the window.
He settled in next to Rae and she smiled one of her brilliant smiles at him and passed the joint. As he took a long drag, she said, “It always comes back to Damon Albarn with us, doesn’t it.”
He stared a beat too long. “S’pose so.”
They shot the shit for a few minutes about Finn’s new job and Rae’s opinions about the current state of affairs of the nation’s radio. Finn kept stealing furtive glances at Rae as she went on and on about The Arctic Monkeys and the electronic influences on pop. Her lips were still pouty. He wondered if she’d used them lately. Wondered if she was out of practice. Further wondered if she’d like to brush up. The reggae bass lines reminded him of lovely afternoons spent in her arms in his room back home. He stared at her, trying to see if she’d forgotten all the fun they’d had, just the two of them. Back when things were so much simpler but felt so much more complicated.
“I was thinking, if you aren’t busy today…”
“Yeah,” said Finn, not even waiting for her to propose anything. Shit, I’m being way too fucking forward. What happened to being fucking cool? Why did he feel like a fucking teenager?
Rae scrunched her nose up at him but continued, “…I thought maybe we could take a walk down to Camden Town or somethin’. Check out some record shops. Grab some street food. Laugh at tourists?”
“That sounds brilliant.”
He stared longingly at her arse as she climbed back into the flat, falling face forward and giggling. Finn was suddenly aware of the lightness of his limbs and he wondered if maybe getting high on a fire escape 4 stories in the air was such a good idea. He resisted his desire to jump in after her.
I’m working on Chapter 5 tonight, may or may not post it. I like to take things slow, but please stick with! I’ll try to make it worth everyone’s while!
Also, if it isn’t already really obvious, I’m writing from the States and while I lived in London, I’m not the best with the slang. Please let me know if anything is way off base!
A festival but it’s more like a city split into districts and honestly I’ve never been to something like it before it is literally amazing and has such a huge selection of music from drum n bass, garage, reggae, psy trance, ska, punk, folk and so much more and it was intense and there is no way to can explore it all in one weekend and I am 100% going again next year because that was an amazing experience.
“Drag Me Down” is a slight departure from the music the band was making with Malik in tow, which tended toward power-pop and classic rock on their later records. There’s a bit of The Police in the loping, reggae-lite bass line and guitar riffs, and the song’s structure is cribbed from the last few years’ finest EDM-pop crossovers. This might be the closest a One Direction song comes to having a “drop.” When you fold in the melody, the whole package is reminiscent of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and that qualifies as praise in this space.