Letters To Louisa (work in progress)

Alex is in love with Louisa, but there's a slight problem. Louisa is gay. Alex is learning to cope with wanting what he can never have, but what will happen when she is torn from his life in the most brutal way?

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3. Chapter 3

Chapter 3

 

Darcy

Darcy woke up at 6:57 am as per usual, her alarm was always set for 7 am and she always woke up three minutes before it went off. She got out of bed feeling alert, stretched, opened her curtains and enjoyed the sunlight that flooded into her room. Darcy's room was small, the walls were painted white, except for one wall which had some of her favourite lyrics and quotes painted on it in black. Her bed was in one corner of the room and a small desk was next to it with a pad, a Lamy fountain pen and a bottle of purple ink sat on it. Opposite the desk was her wardrobe, there was a chest of draws next to that with her MP3 player and her phone sat on it. Darcy stretched again and walked through to the bathroom.

Darcy was good at mornings, she was the only member of her house that was and she always had the house to herself before she left for sixth form. She looked at her reflection in the mirror above the basin, she was her usual, slightly nerdy looking self. Darcy liked how she looked, not pretty and not ugly, just Darcy. She liked being just Darcy. The ruling class at William Lynch (Sabrina and her cohorts) judged everyone on how they looked, Darcy was just average enough to slip under their radar. She showered, dried and wished as she did every morning that her family were awake so she could use her hair dryer guilt free.

Darcy's family consisted of Eric, her father and, John her big brother. She didn't remember her mother, she'd left when Darcy was two. Eric was between jobs and often didn't get out of bed until midday, and John was a night security guard at the art gallery and would only have got to sleep about an hour ago. So no hair dryer for Darcy. She went back into her room, and as she always did before college, wrote.

Some time ago Darcy had discovered a love of writing, and at John's suggestion she submitted one of her stories to a magazine. They had snapped it up. Since then Darcy regularly submitted stories to various magazines, and put what she was paid towards the bills. She didn't know if she wanted to be a professional writer, but it was the best way for her to help keep a roof over her head and food in the cupboard. The only problem was she was running out of ideas. Once this story was finished she had no idea what she'd work on.

As usual she got lost in her work and would have been late for school if her phone hadn't beeped to remind her to go. She got up, grabbed her bag and left.

 

William Lynch was a pretentious school full of pretentious students and Darcy fit in about as well as a square peg in a round hole. She got in by being clever enough to earn it, unlike most of the other students there. Her only real friend from William Lynch was a small mousy girl named Charlotte. Her and Charlotte met up every morning while they walked to school, and that morning was no exception.

“Hey, Charlotte.” Darcy said as she walked up to where the little brunette was stood.

“Hi,” Charlotte said, bounding over to Darcy and jumping on the spot once. Darcy shook her head wistfully, wishing for Charlotte's boundless reserves of energy. “What's that head shake for? You're not bailing on me tonight are you? I've wanted to see Hollyhead Massacre forever.” Charlotte said.

“By forever you mean the three weeks you've known about them.” Darcy said. “And no, I wasn't bailing on you. I've got double English sitting next to Christine today, I'll need some way to unwind.” To be honest Darcy didn't want to go, but Charlotte wouldn't on her own.

Charlotte whooped and headed towards William Lynch with a spring in her step, Darcy smiled and followed her.

When they got to William Lynch the usual crowd was stood outside smoking and exchanging unplesantries with each other. They sniggered as Darcy and Charlotte walked past, Darcy greeted them in as jovial manner as she could possibly fake. That always confused them. They expected either fear or aggression, being nice didn't fit into their idea of how Darcy should behave. Charlotte laughed quietly as Darcy strode on, her head held high.

The main building of William Lynch was the original one from when the school opened over a hundred years ago. It was big and built from stone, with stained glass windows like a church. There were smaller newer buildings around it that looked silly next to the monolithic main wing. There was a lot of land around the school, fields and a forest, and even a stable. Yes, William Lynch taught horse riding, because it was of course an important part of any young woman's education.

“Hey, Darcy.” Sabrina called, she'd left the group at the gate and was sauntering towards Darcy and Charlotte at a leisurely pace. She glared at Charlotte, clearly telling her to get lost without actually having to waste energy talking to someone of lower social standing than herself. Charlotte turned to leave and mumbled something about seeing Darcy later, Darcy grabbed her wrist and pulled her back.

“Yes, Sabrina?” Darcy said.

“Has that Alex guy called you yet?”

“Actually yes,” Darcy said.

“Jeff will be disappointed.”

Darcy managed to turn a laugh into a cough, Jeff would have been disappointed Alex or no Alex. Darcy wouldn't have gone anywhere near Jeff even if he was the last guy alive. He was rude and thought everyone was below him. It must run in the family, Darcy thought.

“Still, Alex is kinda cute isn't he.” Sabrina continued. “I thought about maybe having him for myself, but I'd be slumming it a bit too much.”

Darcy nodded, not trusting herself to speak just then. Sabrina really really pissed her off.

Christine, Mercy and Jessica evidently having finished their cigarettes walked up behind Sabrina, Jessica tapped her elbow. “I've got to get going.” Sabrina said and walked off with her underlings. “That's my charitable deed done for today.” She said just loud enough for Darcy to hear.

“Go to William Lynch dad said, it would be fun he said.” Charlotte whined. “I'd like to say she'll get her comeuppance, but she won't, people like her never do.”

“Karma applies just as much to her as it does to anyone else.” Darcy said, imagining all sorts of grisly fates that Sabrina might suffer.

 

School slid by at a torturous rate for Darcy, it was slow at the best of times, but it seemed worse than usual just then. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Darcy had been sitting next to Christine for almost three hours working by herself on what was ostensibly a group project. Christine had been alternately texting her boyfriend and talking to Cecelia and Alyson, and the teacher had been pointedly ignoring that because Christine's parents donated to the school. In fact Darcy was pretty sure she was the only one in the class doing what she was supposed to be doing, which was poetry analysis, which was the most boring thing she could possibly imagine. Except she wasn't imagining it, she was doing it. She wondered if she'd actually died in her sleep and was stuck in hell atoning for her sins, though if that was the case there would probably be more fire and pitch forks and less poetry, and it would be more interesting.

“Hey, brains,” Christine said.

“That's not my name, Christine.” Darcy said, paying as little attention to Christine as she could.

“Jeez, no need to get your panties in a bunch.”

“I'm trying to do our work, Christine.” Darcy said quickly losing patience with Christine.

“Yeah, that's what I'm trying to talk about if you let me get a word in edgeways. So how's it going?”

For a second Darcy seriously considered throwing Christine out of the window, but there were a number of flaws with that plan. Firstly the windows were stained glass, and would be expensive to replace, there's no way Darcy's family would be able to afford the bill. Secondly, she doubted she could actually lift Christine, never mind throw her, Christine was taller than Darcy and had ugly hoopy dangly ear rings on that must have been a considerable weight on their own. And lastly with the police investigation for attempted murder she definitely wouldn't be able to go to see Hollyhead Massacre with Charlotte.

“It would go quicker if you'd actually do some of the work.” Darcy said. She tried to sound angry, but she could never quite pull off angry. She always sounded petulant.

Christine just laughed and went back to texting Karl or Kristopher or Kevin or whatever he was called.

Darcy checked her watch, it was twenty past three, only ten minutes to go until she could escape William Lynch once more. Ten minutes isn't long, but in those ten minutes Darcy aged years, stars grew old and died, and Tracy broke up with her girlfriend and got a new one. The last of those isn't even hyperbole. Darcy was sure the second hand on her watch actually went backwards once or twice during that last minute.

When the bell finally went Darcy was up and out of her chair before anyone else, she thought someone might have said something to her as she left but she didn't turn back to check. She didn't bother to drop her books off in her locker, a decision which her back was sure to regret tomorrow as the combined weight of her books was shoulder dislocatingly heavy.

She barely even slowed down when she met Charlotte, who was waiting for her at the back gate. “So I'm guessing English was fun.” Charlotte said.

“Mmhmm, like wisdom tooth removal.” Darcy said. “Not that I know what that's like.”

“My dad does. You two will have to compare notes one day.”

Darcy stopped, took a deep breath, and said, “how was your day?”

Charlotte rolled her eyes. “Jeez, Darcy, let yourself be angry. I won't cry just because you didn't show an interest in my day within ten seconds of meeting me.” There was a brief silence before Charlotte said, “so I take it Christine was an ass?”

“Like you wouldn't believe.” Darcy said. “I'm doing this stupid project all by myself, she's getting an A off the back of my work.”

“An A, huh. Someone thinks a lot of themselves.”

“Shush, you.”

 

Charlotte had a pretty normal life, and sometimes Darcy envied her for it. She had both of her parents, they both worked and they weren't in financial strife. Charlotte didn't have to worry about earning money, in fact the biggest worry in Charlotte's life was what top to wear to the Hollyhead Massacre show.

Charlotte's room was pretty big, maybe it was normal room size, but compared to Darcy's room it was big. There was a double bed against one wall with purple sheets on it, and a wardrobe opposite it which was open with a pile of t-shirts in front of it. The walls and curtains were also purple, Charlotte liked purple, in fact Darcy would have put money on Charlotte eventually deciding to wear her purple blouse.

“So who's this Alex guy Sabrina mentioned this morning?” Charlotte asked.

Darcy felt slightly guilty for not telling her already, but it just never came up. “He works at this coffee shop Sabrina dragged me to when she invited me out with her.” Darcy said.

Charlotte made a face, “I still can't believe you went out with her.”

“Me neither,” Darcy said.

“You're the next victim of her poor person outreach programme.” Charlotte said. “Still, rather you than me,” she added quietly.

“Thanks.” Darcy said, sarcastically.

“No problem.” Charlotte said as she picked up her purple blouse for the third time and held it against her chest. She studied her reflection in the mirror, shook her head and threw the blouse to the other side of the room. “So, Alex.” She said.

“That's all there is to say, I don't know him yet.”

“Is he cute?” Charlotte asked as she dug through the t-shirt mountain.

Darcy shrugged. “Yeah, kinda.”

“Only kinda? You can do better than kinda.” Charlotte said, abandoning her search of the t-shirt mountain and retrieving her blouse from where it had landed.

“No, that's not what I mean.” Darcy said. she groped for the right words and eventually said, “he is cute, but that's not salient, you know? I want to know if there's more to him than that.”

“Why do you always do that?” Charlotte asked as she was buttoning her blouse. Darcy could see why Charlotte liked it so much, it made her look pretty.

“Do what?” Darcy asked.

“Be mature all the time. Is it not boring?”

“It can be,” Darcy said, smiling.

“Come on, we need to get you ready.” Charlotte said as she grabbed Darcy's hand and pulled her towards her bedroom door.

* * *

Darcy hadn't taken long to decide what to wear and get dressed. She didn't like having Charlotte in her house, it was nothing against Charlotte, she didn't like having anyone in her house, it was small and it was often a mess. She'd decided she was going to wear the first things she grabbed, partly to get Charlotte out of her house quickly, and partly because the first things she grabbed were a pink shirt with an arty design on the chest that she liked and the only pair of jeans she had that made her legs look anything close to good.

There were only two things in life that Darcy really hated, spiders were one of them, and the other was small dark rooms full of people she didn't know, who all apparently lacked a sense of personal space. Sadly the second of those described the club Hollyhead Massacre were playing at perfectly. Darcy was stood on the stairs which lead down into the club, she looked over the room. The bar was at the back of the room opposite the stage, which was small and full of music equipment. Between the stage and the bar was a dance floor, which was full of people who were gyrating and flailing in all directions, Darcy supposed the technical term was dancing, though it didn't look like any kind of dancing she recognised.

She was considering running to the nearest exit and apologising to Charlotte tomorrow, or perhaps curling up into a ball and hyperventilating, when Charlotte grabbed her elbow.

“Darcy, you okay?” Charlotte asked, shouting over the music. The concern was painted in her eyes.

“Yeah, fine.” Darcy said.

“No you're not.” Charlotte said, “What's wrong?”

Darcy fought to control her breathing, which was shallow and rapid. “It's fine, I'm just not a big fan of crowds.” She said.

“Wanna go?”

Darcy could see that charlotte really wasn't okay with the idea of not seeing Hollyhead Massacre, she wouldn't hold a grudge for Darcy bailing, that wasn't Charlotte, but she would be upset.

“No, it's fine.” Darcy said. “I'm fine.”

Darcy's breathing was little better when they reached the bar. By some miracle there was a chair free by the bar which Darcy practically pounced on; it was kind of like a flattened bucket made of bright green plastic and it was not at all comfortable, but it was preferable to standing, which was something Darcy tried to avoid as often as she could.

“A pint of Strongbow, please.” Charlotte said when the lone member of the bar staff finally got around to her. He was tall and had a shaved head, Darcy thought he gave off an aura of do not mess with me, which was probably pretty handy in a bar. He smirked and raised one eyebrow at Charlotte. “In a year or two, maybe.” He said.

She sighed. “Can't blame a girl for trying, right? Two Cokes, please.”

He nodded and started fixing the drinks.

When Darcy heard a guitar chord ring out from the direction of the stage she turned to watch the band, and when she did her mouth fell open.

“Bloody hell.” She said.

“What?” Charlotte asked.

“That's Alex,” Darcy said. “The bassist is Alex.”

“No. Way.” Charlotte said. “No way. You're shitting me.”

Darcy didn't have time to reply before the redheaded girl, Louisa, Darcy thought Alex had called her over the phone, said, “we are Hollyhead Massacre and this is Dance Is Just A Vertical Expression Of Horizontal Desires.”

Alex started playing a bass riff which would have had Darcy dancing if it wasn't for the fact that the dance floor was even more crowded now than when they had walked in. By the time the drums and guitar had joined in Charlotte was jumping and screaming and generally having a good time.

Darcy knew that musicians were supposed to be attractive, a guitar was supposed to increase someone's sex appeal by roughly seven hundred percent. But Alex was no more attractive to Darcy now that he was flinging himself around a very cramped stage playing his bass than he was in the café, though she did have to admit he was playing it well. 

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