"Your mother not going to be worried about you?" I asked, feeling the need to make conversation, but immediately regretted it. That sounded awfully condescending. I cringed, but he just shrugged.
"I told her I planned to stick around for a while."
"She cares, I guess" I pointed out, noticing the ugly hint of jealously in my voice.
"Pfft" he spat. "Overprotective, typical Irish mammy!"
"Still.." I said softly. "You obviously mean a lot to her. Appreciate it."
He looked at my questioningly, before his face melted into understanding.
"Mum not around?"
"Dead" I said. His eyes seemed to dim, become smaller. "Knocked over when I was still pretty young. We were never that close anyway."
His lips dryly parted, but he stalled.
"I lived with my dad for a long time, but he's an asshole. I got out of there as soon as possible" I informed him. "My sister's a bitch. I live with my aunt."
"You read my mind."
He seemed unsure of himself, so I smiled, letting him know that it was ok.
"I don't like asking many questions" he said. "I don't want to offend people, y'know?"
"Well, my dad fucked off the Australia when I was ten. My brother lives in Belfast and is married now. We're not family now" he said resentfully, with a tinge of sadness in his voice.
"No worry your mum cares for you so much."
My stomach churned in sympathy for his mother.
"Yeah.. Isabels death was the perfect excuse for her to cling onto me and look after me."
Isabel. His best friend.
"Sorry about her.. I mean, Isabel" I stuttered awkwardly. After getting years of condolences off other people, you'd think I'd know how to do this by now.
He clenched his jaw. His eyes filled with sorrow, rage and.. Regret.
There's something he wasn't telling me about this story, but there was no way in hell that I was going to ask.