Bad Boy

Lucas was a bad boy. Everyone knew it, especially me. I was determined to stay away from him and concentrate on college. But he certainly didn't want to stay away from me.

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6. Talking it over

I unlocked the door, letting myself into the house silently. The aroma of chicken filled the air and I breathed it in, regretting the baguette I had just eaten. 

"Hello, Evie!" Mrs James appeared from the kitchen, her hair frizzy and a splash-covered apron tied around her waist. She smiled at me, gesturing for me to come into the kitchen. I followed her in, looking in the rooms we passed, wondering where Barnaby and Rory were. "I didn't hear you come in last night, did you stay at someone else's?"

Let me explain. I was a lodger with a family- The James's. I lived in their attic, though it had been converted into a bedroom, a bathroom and a mini kitchen. It was incredibly cheap rent, on the condition that I occasionally looked after the kids. I'd expected to spend most of my time up there, staying out the way of the family, but they adored me. I ate with them most days, watched TV with them and hung around with the kids a lot, even if the parents were in. I was almost part of the family, which was nice, when I was so far away from my own.

I sank into a chair at the table, while she bustled around the kitchen, stirring various pans of vegetables. "Yeah, I guess."

Mrs James put a spoon down and held her hands up like she was surrendering, smiling at me. "A boy's? I won't ask any more." I grinned at her. "Oh, and Eric's taken the kids to the park, so I can get on with the cooking, in case you were wondering."

I stood up, not wanting to intrude. "Sorry, I'll get out of your way."

"No, don't worry dear! I could use a chat while I work. So, tell me more about this boy. If you want to of course." She laughed and I did too. She was always so happy, it was infectious.

I sighed, playing with the corner of the tablecloth. "Yeah, I stayed at a guy's. I didn't exactly have a choice though."

Mrs James turned to face me, her brow scrunched in worry. "Dear, if someone's making you do things you don't want to, you shouldn't stay with him." I smiled as I realised what she was talking about, but was happy that wasn't my exact situation. Though I almost had a stalker, so it couldn't be much worse.

"No, it was nothing like that." What the hell, I'd tell her. I needed some advice on what to do, and considering Mum wasn't around, Mrs James was the closest I'd get. "So I, um, sort of ended up at his apartment, through no fault of my own." I didn't really want to say about the kidnapping on a motorbike thing, even that sounded a little dodgy.

"And it was raining and I had a panic attack, so I fainted. He brought me into his flat, then refused to take me home. It was dark by then, plus it was a really long way away, so I didn't really want to go back alone. He had a motorbike as well, but said he wouldn't take me back. So I had to sleep at his place. I left this morning."

Mrs James still looked concerned, though she had turned back to some carrots and was frantically flapping the steam away. "Do you know this man?"

I laughed nervously. Well, I sort of knew him. He wasn't a 50 year old man who I'd met once. "Yeah, he goes to my university." A thought occurred to me. "But I have no idea what course he's doing. He's my age. I don't know, but he seems to be kind of...obsessed with me. Like, he really wants to go out with me. He even stalked me to H&M. But then I threw coffee at him." I grinned at the memory.

"Did he make you...do anything at his house?"

I was surprised by the question, but then surprised by the answer. "Actually, no. He gave me some clothes because my old ones were wet, then let me share his bed." I saw the look on her face, then hurriedly explained myself. "But nothing happened. He didn't have a spare room. Oh, I twisted my ankle or something, but that wasn't his fault."

Ish.

"So how do you feel about this boy?"

"I'm not really sure. I mean, he's like super hot." I stopped, realising I was talking to a 40 year old woman. But she smiled knowingly at me, gesturing for me to continue. "Sometimes he's really creepy. Like, he makes all these sex-related jokes and stuff, which is really gross. Then at other times, he's like the perfect gentleman. He didn't try anything in the bed, he gave me some clothes, he helped me with my ankle. Then occasionally, he goes scary. Like, I know I really don't want to cross him. He's one of the motorbike, leather jacket guys, so he's one of those types. And yeah, it's just really confusing." My voice slowly faded, as I realised how weird I must sound.

Mrs James kept probing. "But do you like him?"

"I'm not sure. I want to punch him sometimes, then run away screaming occasionally. But then I feel like there's this electricity coming off him sometimes. I don't even know how to explain it. I've only known him for 5 days, or something."

She frowned. "But he hasn't actually done anything to you?"

"No, I guess not. Except not take me home. But that was it."

"If you want advice, then I'll give my opinion."

Yes, advice was definitely what I wanted. "Yes please."

"This guy sounds a little weird, sure, but he hasn't actually done anything to you. So there's no need to hate him. Or throw coffee at him." I looked at the floor, shuffling my foot, trying to avoid the awkwardness. "But if he was being annoying, then sure, do it. I'd just try and ignore him, sweetheart. If he isn't your type, then fine. But if you leave him alone, I'm sure he'll give up."

Yeah right. It wasn't like I was running after him, begging him to kidnap me.

"But-"

Rory ran in, football boots clattering on the hard floor and dragging mud across it. "Hey Mum! I scored a goal! We beat dad too, 4 nil!" He saw me at the table and grinned, showing the gap in his teeth. "Evie, we won!"

I made the appropriate expression, clapping enthusiastically along with Mrs Jones. Mr Jones came in and I stood up, not wanting to intrude on a family moment. "I'd better go, um, look over my notes. Thanks for the help, by the way."

Mrs Jones smiled at me, while Barnaby wrapped his hands around her legs. "Any-time, dear."

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