The World is Vast (Thomas Brodie Sangster - Imagine)
AN: This is based off the video 30 Minutes Break by The Luka State and I strongly advise you watch it for a better understanding of this imagine. I wrote it as fluffy as I possibly could without turning it into a disgustingly cheesy and unrealistic mess.
The clacking of your heels on the ground was the only sound breaking the silence of the night. You dived your hands in the pockets of your jacket to keep you warm and hurried a bit to get home quickly. London. What a beautiful city, even at night. Apart from some groups of friends going out for the night and the sound of cabs, it was completely still. It might seemed a little creepy to be out there on your own when you’re a girl and you just arrived in a new city, but not to you. You found that oddly calming and reassuring. As if the world allowed you to have a break and appreciate silence and just think. You moved to London two weeks ago. You couldn’t even count how many times a stranger in a bar – sometimes even more than one in a night – asked you why you moved here. The truth is, there is no reason. You were just sick of where you used to live, you needed change. And something – though you haven’t found it yet – was drawing you here.
Finally, the slightly washed-out facade of your building appeared further down the street. Once again, you quickened your pace when you felt a drop of rain hit your forehead. It was a really humid night and you’d bet that your makeup was right about to leak everywhere on your face, making you look like you haven’t gone home for three days and your hair, messily put into a sort of deconstructed bun, was probably full of small rain drops. Yes, better hurry before the fashion police finds you. You let out a sigh of relief when you reached your apartment and began to climb the stairs. Eventually, you reached the third floor and opened your door. The unwelcoming darkness and the cold atmosphere in your small flat immediately made you wonder why you wanted to go back to this place in the first place, but then your eyes were caught by your reflection in the mirror. Nice. After turning on the heater, you got rid of your wet clothes and jumped into the shower, in great need of warming up, but you were greeted by ice-cold water. Someone used all the warm water.
“Fucking hell, it’s the second time this week!” You cursed as you hurriedly took you shower. When you were done you almost jumped in fresh clothes and rubbed your arms forcefully. You were still cold, though your blood was boiling in your veins. Suddenly, you jumped in surprise as you heard a loud thud coming from the apartment above, as if someone broke a glass of something. Out of your mind, you grabbed your shoes and your bag before going out, leaning over the balcony. Just when you were about grab a cigarette in your bag, you saw something fall from the balcony above you. Frowning, you leaned over the railing to take a look and you saw someone. A guy, most likely about your age, maybe a bit older. He was shirtless and every one of his breath drew small clouds of steam in the air, but when you looked at his face he seemed pissed, just like you. You stayed still for a couple of seconds, evaluating the situation before shrugging. You had nothing to lose.
Grabbing your stuff, you climbed the stairs leading to the fourth floor and walked towards the mysterious guy. It was only when you were a few steps away from him that you realized you had no idea what to say, but it turned out you didn’t need to.
“What are you doing here?” The boy asked, not even looking at her. His eyes looked straight in front of him, at nothing in particular. He then reached for the back pocket of his jeans and took out a cigarette. It reminded you of why you came out in the first place. You mimicked his gesture and grabbed a cigarette too, offering him your lighter when he was struggling to lit his own. Deciding that you wouldn’t be shy tonight, you chose attack as the best defense.
“I could ask you the same question, aren’t you freezing?” You questioned, sucking at your cigarette and inhaling the smoke. He seemed surprised by your change of behavior, since you looked slightly shy when you approached him. Eventually he looked at you and offered you a crooked smile. That’s when you saw that he was hurt. He had a cut near his left collarbone and his sides were covered in bruises.
“Nah, actually my blood is boiling,” he stated, a bit more friendly.
“Went into a fight?” You cocked your brow, making a little head move towards his abdomen.
“You should see the other guy,” he bragged a little, the smile on his face growing as he said that. “So, why’d you come here?” He asked again, but politely this time.
“Just moved in. Right under your flat,” you answered and tapped your cigarette to get rid of the ashes. “What ‘bout you?”
“My girlfriend doesn’t want me to smoke inside,” he said in a husky voice, making a clicking sound in the inside of his cheek when he said 'girlfriend’. Well, that explains the broken glass, they must have been arguing. Once again, his eyes drifted off into the pitch black night. That’s when you recalled you didn’t even know what time it was. Probably past midnight, though.
“That sucks, but at least you have a charming neighbor to make conversation, right?” You teased him, feeling yourself being filled with contentment when a smirk spread his face.
“I’m Thomas,” the boy faced you and offered you his hand to shake, his cigarette tucked between his thin lips.
“Y/N,” you answered, accepting his hand and smiling.
“So, does your boyfriend know you’re chattin’ up handsome strangers who were kicked out by their psychorigid girlfriend?” Thomas asked playfully, making you blush slightly, causing you to look away, faking to be captivated by a cat crossing the road.
“No, actually I just don’t like to smoke alone,” you shrugged, voluntarily skipping the boyfriend subject just to tease him. He seemed to notice your little game though and a mischievous smirk appeared once again on his face. It was only when he looked away that you allowed yourself to look at him. Although his bruises looked quite bad, they didn’t seem to bother him, nor did the cold October night. His wore a thin gold chain around his neck – looked like something he got from his girlfriend, boys don’t just buy jewelry on their own. He was pretty tall – but you weren’t really a reference since you were quite small – and his chest was toned. The lanky boy only wore blue jeans and sneakers yet he seemed like a fish to water here, leaned over a dangerously rusty looking railing, in the urban slums of London.
“Tell me about you,” he suddenly blurted out. “Why did you come here?”
A smile crept onto your face and you threw your cigarette away.
One Month Later…
You finished cleaning up your flat and slouched down onto your bed – which was also your sofa, because in one month and two weeks you still didn’t find the time or the money to buy one of each. What you found the time to do though, was to decorate a bit, just enough to turn this depressing place which smelled like cologne and cigarette – and obviously not because of you – into a cozy apartment which you hoped, didn’t look like an old alcoholic lived in there.
The other thing that changed since you moved in is that now, you had a friend. And you like to think that you found a good one. Thomas was a good guy, even though he tried to act like a badass, with his never-fading cuts and bruises, his cigarettes, leather jackets and his motorbike. Which actually, you liked a lot. The night you met, you started to talk about stuff, making small conversation before it turned into a long, deep, open-heart conversation about life. You didn’t have a car, but you had a motorbike too, when you told him that his face lit up and you two began talking enthusiastically about motorbikes for a solid half hour. Then, the conversation topic switched to music and then cinema, and so on, until the sun showed up. Dawn. You had talked with a stranger – not so foreign anymore – until dawn and you haven’t seen time pass.
After that, you made the unspoken promise to not let this chance of making a friend slip away. Whether it was you or him, you somehow always ended up having a talking session a few times a week, until it eventually became a routine.
The only thing you didn’t know about him after one month of conversation, was basically everything that revolved around his girlfriend. He didn’t talk much about her, he just mentioned her every now and then when it became late, or when he was late to your 'meetings’. “My girlfriend is probably wondering where I’ve been, I should go.” “Sorry I’m late, I was with my girlfriend.” Stuff like that.
But you didn’t mind, they obviously weren’t in the best terms. You kept hearing stuff getting broken and sometimes, a girl’s voice yelled for a couple of minutes before silence fell over the place again. You even thought – just for a second – that maybe Thomas could beat up his girlfriend. But then you shook the idea off. No way he would do that, he looked too sweet, and he wouldn’t just walk around with bruises all over himself if he had something like that to hide.
You checked your phone and hopped on your legs, getting rid of your sweatpants and quickly jumping in clean clothes to go to work. You had found a job as a waitress is a small Café – your only steady job. You were also giving reading lessons to children, you posed for the art department of the nearest University, you also took a few night jobs, when the bar around the corner needed an extra barmaid for special occasions – you did basically everything as long as it was well paid.
But your waitress job was the only one you kept. It was a half-time job though, you only worked the morning – yet it was by far the one you liked the most. The customers were usually nice and polite – not like the night club she works for a couple days before being thrown out for punching a client who had wandering hands – and you coworkers were friendly and they were obviously all young adults in need of a job and determinate to keep it. Plus, you get free coffee.
A bunch of coffees, teas, croissants and tips later, your shift was over and you grabbed your jacket and your bag before taking your motorbike and riding home. The ride home was only ten minutes long, but you liked to take a longer way, for the simple fun of riding and visiting new places of the city. You never went to the actual London, with Buckingham Palace, the London Bridge and Big Ben – even breathing in those places was too expensive for you.
Soon enough, you were on your way back to your tiny apartment, but just when you were about to take the street leading to your building, a car made you a fish tail, and if you hadn’t good reflexes, you would have ended up in the brick wall on your right. After getting your balance again, you continued until you reached your place and stopped, as well as the car and the bastard you almost got you into an accident.
“Hey!” You shouted, taking your helmet off and going off your engine. You called a second time, for the person didn’t seem to hear you. “Are you completely irresponsible?! You could’ve made me crash!” It was obviously a chick, she had long blond hair and she wore her handbag in her elbow. “Hey, are you listening?!” You shouted and she eventually stopped.
“What is your problem?” She cringed through her teeth as she turned around. She had a long face, and her eyebrows looked anything but natural, but she wasn’t too bad all together. Her light eyes were shooting lightnings.
“My problem?” You squealed in disbelief. “You are my bloody problem, god damnit!” You were out of your mind by now, the bitch was acting stupid just to get on your nerves you knew it, but it still worked. Actually, if her goal was to make you mad, it worked wonders. “Where did you learn to drive? Or did you learn at all, because ti looks like you got your license in a cereal box!” You spitted.
“Excuse me? You’re the one who was driving so slowly in the middle of the road,” she huffed, refraining the urge to hair-flip you.
“I wasn’t in the middle of the road, and I was just respecting the speed limitation you brainless twat!” If it wasn’t so expensive, you would’ve thrown your helmet at her, but she wasn’t worth it. Steam was most likely coming out of your ears by now and both of you were shooting daggers at each other – if looks could kill…
“What’s happening there?” A voice interrupted you and both you and the girl turned your head towards the unfortunate person who was speaking.
“Thomas!” You and the reckless driver said at the same time. She frowned as she realized that you knew him and then turned to you, taking a few steps.
“How do you know that bitch?!” She asked angrily while pointing at me.
“How do you know that bitch?!” You repeated the question, but pointing at her and looking at Thomas who seemed about to pass out, he was as while as your sheets.
“I’m his fucking girlfriend, don’t you dare approach him!” She yelled at you, her face becoming redder by each passing second. Something about this whole situation made you want to laugh, but you considered it would be inappropriate.
“This is the brat who kicks you out at ungodly hours because she doesn’t want you to smoke inside?” You asked him, once again ignoring her which only caused her to get angrier.
“Don’t ignore me!” She shouted at you. “You better fuck off, got it?!”
“There’s no need to get excited girls!” Thomas tried to separate us. “No one’s hurt, okay? Y/N I’m sorry but you need to go now,” he looked at you, pleading you with his eyes. After a couple of seconds deciding whether or not you should break his girlfriend’s nose on the edge of the sidewalk, you finally took a step back.
“You, you shut up you idiot!” She then burst in anger, talking to Thomas. “So that’s where you’ve been when you left the flat? With that whore?”
“Don’t talk to him like that, it’s between you and me!” You grumbled between your closed teeth.
“Or what?!” She raised an eyebrow, daring you to answer. “You’re gonna send your boyfriend after me if I don’t shut up?” The condescension in her tone was the straw that broke the camel’s back. You close the space between the two of you and in that moment, even though she was taller than you, she looked the smallest.
“I don’t need no boyfriend to kick your ass, and if Thomas wasn’t my friend, it would already be done,” you stated threateningly. She swallowed hardly but backed off, letting you win this round.
When he was sure none of you were going to rip off the other’s head, Thomas took his girlfriend’s arm and led them to their apartment, while you stood here, in silence, swallowing back your pride.
That’s how long you’ve been sitting on your couch, turning the volume of the TV up and up, but failing to cover the loud shouts of Thomas’ girlfriend, the foot steps, the broken things probably being thrown all over the place. You felt the guilt knot your stomach, preventing you from eating anything, even just sitting there doing nothing was driving you crazy. It was your fault if they were quarreling. You fought the urge to run upstairs and see if everything’s fine, but you knew it wasn’t and you might just make things worse if you showed up at their place – for all you knew, his girlfriend didn’t know that you lived right under their apartment.
You didn’t even know her name, but now you knew something else.
Thomas didn’t beat up his girlfriend. She did.
It made perfect sense! The way he never really spoke about her, not even mentioning her name, how he deliberately obliterate the subject when you talked about his wounds. It took you so long to realize what was happening just beneath your eyes that you felt bad for not noticing before today!
For two hours now, you’ve been trying to decide what to do now that you knew the truth. Obviously it would be pointless to try and reason her, she was insane. You had to talk to Thomas. You will, as soon as you get the chance.
You grabbed you pillow and laid down on your bed, curling up and putting the pillow over your head, hoping to muffle the screams coming from above.
Your eyes shot open as a loud thud sounding like a door being shut forcefully woke you up. You didn’t realize you’ve fallen asleep and quickly checked your phone to see what time is it. When you saw that only an hour had passed you sighed of relief and quickly stood up, opening your door to see what was happening. All you managed to see was a blond head disappear in the stars and then, a car being started.
No even thinking twice, your run the stairs two steps at a time and to the door to Thomas’ apartment, which was ajar. You opened it, not knocking.
When you burst into the small room, Thomas jumped in surprise, almost looking scared. His eyes were flickering from you to the space behind you, and a few seconds later he seemed to calm down. He thought it was his girlfriend coming back. He was slouched on the couch, the small table in front of him covered in empty bottles of beer and cigarette butts – plus the one he had tucked between his lips. It was an understatement to say that he looked like a mess. He had a growing bruise on his right eye, a cut on his cheekbone and a few other wounds, all visible thanks to the fact that he was once again shirtless. Struggling to find the right words to say, you eventually noticed he was shivering so you closed the door and turned on the light.
“Where’s the first aid kit?” You asked, breaking the silence and causing Thomas to look up at you, his eyes looking a bit glassy and red.
“Bathroom. Left door of the rack,” he told you, barely making a full sentence. Within the following ten minutes, none of you spoke, you simply stitched him up, taking care of all the visible wounds, though you guessed it was only the visible part of the iceberg. When you were done, Thomas still sucked on his cigarette and looked anywhere but at you.
“Enough,” you stated, grabbing his cigarette from his shaking hand and lighting it down on the ashtray. This seemed to make him react and he titled his head towards you, his lips parted as if he was about to say something. But not a word crossed his mouth.
“You never got into a fight right?” You asked carefully, trying to find the good way to formulate it. He looked down and then shook his head.
“No,” he muttered in a low voice. The way he looked at you in that moment made you realize how much he must have suffered. All this time, he was being tough and keeping it a secret, and now you were here, facing him about a truth he was trying to forget, while he was completely exposed to your judgment. But you weren’t here to judge.
“How long?” The two of you used short sentences, as if too many words would break the moment.
Fumbling with his hands, Thomas’ gaze lingered over you before finally speaking.
“I don’t know,” he answered. “I can’t remember.”
And suddenly, before you even realized it, you cupped his cheek with you hand, bringing the other one around his shoulders and you pulled him into your lap. It was the first display of affection you had towards him, but it seemed to calm him down. You stayed like this, Thomas’ face buried in the crook of your neck as you held him tight, while he hugged you back.
“Pack your stuff and follow me,” you said when you parted a couple of minutes later.
“I can’t leave, she’ll come back-” he tried to protest but you shot him a severe glare.
“Thomas, I’m not letting you stay here. I get that you don’t want to go to the police, but you don’t have to deal with this any longer either. Come with me, you’ll be safe,” you wanted to get him away from this place as soon as possible. Everything here reminded you of her.
“Of course you can. This is your life,” you insisted. “Don’t let her do that to you.”
For a while, he didn’t say anything, but then he gulped down and stood up straight before heading to his room and gathering a few things, only what’s necessary. You helped him pack and then led him to your flat. He never went there, you always met outside.
“I’ll sleep on the couch, I won’t be a bother, promise,” he quickly said when you put his bag on the floor. You laughed.
“Actually, this is my bed.”
You didn’t comment on his puzzled expression when you began to change your couch into a bed and grabbed the blankets, folded next to the small table.
“I know it’s not much, but it’ll do it for now,” you decided, putting your hands on your hips as you made sure everything was there.
“You don’t have to do this you know? We’ve only known each other for a month…”
Before he could say one more word, you shot him a bright smile and offered him your hand to take.
“Can’t wait to change that,” you chuckled, managing to put a shy smile on his face. It didn’t feel like Thomas to be that shy, he was usually confident, even slightly cocky depending on the conversation topic, and sometimes flirtatious.
Thank god, it only took an hour for him to understand that you wouldn’t change your behavior after finding him in such a misery earlier today. The two of you were slouched in weird positions on your bed, watching TV and talking like nothing happened. Thomas grabbed your legs and put them across his own and he was now running his fingers along them, having you at his mercy for you were unbelievably ticklish – which he quickly noticed.
“Why did you do that?” He asked out of the blue. You turned you head to him, focusing on what he was saying rather than the TV and he gave you a serious look.
“You came to make sure I was okay. You offered to let me stay here. You’re nice. You’re… you,” he shrugged, not sure how to phrase what he wanted to tell you. “You didn’t have to, and like I said… we barely know each other.”
“You can lie to yourself all you want but not to me. I know you. We’ve talked so much during the past month, I can hardly remember the last time I was that close to someone. And I have a soft spot for you, you’re an interesting person, and you’re passionate about what you like. You seemed to be a good person, and you most definitely didn’t deserve to be treated like-”
He cut you off by kissing you lightly, his lips barely touching yours. It was only a soft brush, to see if you were okay with this, and to be honest you didn’t mind at all. You kissed him back to his relief and you soon felt yourself getting lost his the embrace, as your hands made their way to his neck while his own were wrapped around your waist.
It’s only when he let go that you realized your need for air.
“Thank you Y/N,” he breathed out, his warm brown eyes still dived into yours.
“Not a problem,” you managed to say, blushing a bit.
“This is far from being over though.”
“What do you mean?” You frowned, understanding that he was not speaking about your kiss.
“She’ll be back in the morning and it won’t take long before she finds us. And if she doesn’t she’ll steam off on my motorbike – or yours.” Thomas groaned, running his fingers through his dirty blond hair. “I’m so sorry for dragging you into my problems.”
“C'mon!” You rolled your eyes. “You think I need you to get into trouble? I do that just fine on my own.”
It caused a smirk to appear on his face and his mood lightened.
“We can just leave,” you shrugged. A long silence followed as Thomas stared at you in shock.
“And go where?”
“Well, I don’t know. Any special place you’ve ever wanted to see?” You asked him.
“You’re not serious,” he smiled as if you had just tricked him.
“Deadly serious. I’ve been here for a month, I have no strings on me, leaving this place would be easy,” you tried to explain. After all, he was the only person you actually learned to know and care about in this city. If he came with you, nothing would prevent you from leaving.
“But where would we go?” He asked once again, obviously not familiar with this kind of spontaneity.
“We can just move to another part of the city if you want. Or travel north, maybe to Cambridge, or Leeds. Or we can jump in a boat and go to the States. I mean, why not?”
Somehow what you just said was completely logical and really simple, but he seemed to have difficulties to process it. As if the very idea of having a grasp on his life was unbelievable. You knew just well how scary it could be, and it took you a good twenty years to realize how silly it was to be born, to live and to die in the same place when the world was so vast.
“Okay.” Was all he said, his eyes suddenly shining with a fierce will to change things.
“Okay?” You repeated to make sure he wouldn’t change his mind.
“Let’s do it, let’s leave,” he smiled even wider, as though the very awareness of his freedom was intoxicating. “Let’s take our bikes and ride into the sunset or whatever.” You laughed at the image he choose.
“First, we have to sleep. You need rest, you look like death,” you teased him.
“Well thanks,” he groaned, already ticklish the living daylight out of you. Nothing better than a good laugh and a little hope to get rid of dark thoughts.
When you finally gave in and asked for mercy, Thomas ended your punishment and leaned down, stealing another light kiss from you, and smiling.