Live while we're young

What would you do to live with the band of every girls' dreams? Well, for twenty-one year old Jemima Watson fantasy is about to become reality, and soon she will find herself falling for one of them.

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1. Chapter One

I sit in the front passengers seat of my mother’s Ford Focus, thinking about how my third and final at university was going to go as smoothly as possible. “Jemima.” My mother’s shrill voice drags me back to reality and kills the silence that has followed us since we set off. “Jemima, I still don’t understand why you couldn’t just live in Halls again this year.” I roll my eyes; it’s the fifth time that day that she has restarted the argument about my living arrangements.

“Because I don’t want to live in Halls mother.” I tell her for the thousandth time. “Hopefully, my housemates will actually be able to take a hint and leave my food alone.” I’m kidding. I spent the last two years hiding my food like a squirrel hides his nuts, because my flatmates used to steal it.

I don’t understand why she’s making such a fuss. I’ve already told her that the six bedroom house I found was close to the campus – well, ten minutes away if I cycle – and it’s well within walking distance of the local supermarket. The only thing we’re in agreement on is the fact that I have no idea who I will be living with. I mean, what if they’re untidy? Or what happens if they play their music really loud? I can handle them coming in at sunrise as long as they keep the noise down, but if I don’t get any sleep I turn pretty nasty.      

The car stops outside the house and I get out. I walk up to the front door ready to put the key in the lock, but the door opens before I get the chance. “You must be our new housemate.” I look up at a tall, brunette guy, with a Scottish accent. “Come in.” He says with a smile, as he moves out of the way to let me and Mum into the house. We walk from the hallway into the living room with difficulty, because the floor is littered with old Domino’s boxes, and I found a slice of pizza that I’m sure had become home to some kind of unidentified life form. Then there are the clothes – I don’t know if they’re clean or dirty – thrown over the furniture. Both of us know straight away, that before I arrived they were using the house as a bachelor pad. The guy that let us in clears a pile of clothes that had built up on the settee, and takes it through to the kitchen. “I’m Curtis, and this is Ashley.” He says, smacking his hand onto his friends shoulder.

“Jem.” I tell them.  

“Jemima.” my mother corrects me. “How many times must I tell you not to shorten your name?” I close my eyes, hoping that my mother hadn’t embarrassed me. But I can tell that Curtis and Ashley are paying no attention to her outburst.       

“You have the attic room.” Curtis says to ease us out of the silence that has fallen. “It’s not the best room, but it does have a window seat. Girls like that sort of thing don’t they?”      

“Not all girls.” I tell him, though deep down I am happy to have a window seat.       

“Sorry.” Curtis says. “Are your things in the car?” he asks getting up off the arm of the chair opposite us. I nod, and Mum hands me the keys. “Come on boys.” He shouts as he heads to the front door. Ashley and three other boys follow him out. Mum and I try to help, but Curtis insists that they are fine. So we head upstairs to unpack instead.       

We get the clothes put away and make the bed before Mum looks at her watch. “I have to go; I told your father that I would only stay to make sure you were settled in.”       

“Ok.” I say. “Bye Mum.” I hand her bag to her, as we walk out to the car.      

“Are you sure that you’ll be able to live with five boys?”      

“Mum, I grew up with seven brothers; living with five lads will be a walk in the park compared to that.” I assure her as she gets into the car. I stay on the path and wave as she drives off. When the car had reaches the end of the road, I make my way back inside.     

“You ok, Jemima?” Curtis asks as I walk through into the living room.      

“Don’t ever call me Jemima, unless my mother is visiting.” I tell him. “It’s too formal and I don’t like it.”      

“Ok,” Curtis breathes. “So the rest of the gang are Stevie, Hugh and Lucas.” He introduces me to the three other lads now sitting in the room, and all I can do is mutter a weak ‘Hi’.      

“So what do you do?” I ask. If I’m going to live with them for a year, I might as well know what they do.      

“We’re in a band.” Curtis tells me as he sits down next to me. “But Hugh is starting Uni, so we found this place and you?”     

“I’m in my final year at the University.” I answer. “Studying Journalism.”     

“Nice.” Curtis says. After a five minute silence, I start to tidy the living room, to make it look more presentable. “You don’t need to do that.” Curtis tells, but I just stand up straight and look at him.      

“The next time my mother comes here; she won’t be so polite about the mess.”     

“What’s she going to do? Ground us if we don’t tidy up?” Ashley scoffs, putting his games console down.     

“First thing you need to know about my mother, is that you never joke about what she’ll do if you don’t keep the house tidy.” I warn him, before I head to the kitchen with old pizza boxes, and begin tearing them up so that they will fit into the recycle bin without taking up too much space.      

Once the rubbish has been picked up and sorted out into recycling and ordinary rubbish bins, I go into the kitchen and find the cleaning stuff in a box under the sink, which tells me a little about my new flatmates. I go around the whole house hoovering and dusting, while Curtis does the washing. “Don’t go in there!” Ashley calls out as I put my hand on the handle of his bedroom door. “You can tidy anywhere but in my room.” I agree; I know from experience that lads are really territorial about their rooms so I don’t press the subject.      

As I get back to the kitchen, I put the cleaning stuff back in its home in the cupboard under the sink. I go to the fridge to try and find something to eat. Unfortunately, all I find is half a bottle of milk, cheese, margarine and a jar of pickles. The cupboards are no better; all I find there is a bag of pasta and flour. I take them out and put them on the side with the milk, marge, and cheese, and tie my hair up with the bobble I keep on my wrist.     

“What’s up?” Curtis asks coming into the room as I get the pans and grater out.     

“Do you lot ever do a food shop, or do you just live off take away?”     

“Ah.” He says looking around the room.     

“Don’t worry.” I tell him. “We have enough for Macaroni Cheese.”     

“I’ll go shopping tomorrow.” He tells me. “What’s that?” he asks nodding towards the necklace I am wearing.  Well, it isn’t technically a necklace. It’s a toy deer that I got my Dad to turn into a necklace.     

“Oh. It’s a toy that I got when I thirteen.” I say him. I’ve only just met him, so I’m not about to go into detail about it just yet.

 

After dinner we just kind of sat in front of the TV and I forced the boys to watch my box set of Downton Abbey; which Ashley and Hugh complained about. An hour in and I was sat in the living room on my own watching the part where Sybil dies so I’m crying buckets when Curtis comes back down. “If this bit upsets you, then why don’t you just skip it?” he asks a box of tissues in his hand.

I take a tissue and wipe my eyes. “I don’t know.”

“I don’t mind it, you know.” He says. I look up at him, curious to know what he’s talking about. “Downton Abbey. My sister makes me watch it with her, and I actually think it’s pretty good.” He looks over towards the stairs to make sure the others aren’t there listening in.

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell them.” As the credits roll up the screen, I hit the stop button on the remote and stand up. “I’m going to bed.” I tell him as I walk out of the room.

“Night.” He says. As I climb the stairs, I hear crowds roaring, as Curtis turns on the football.

Oh this is going to be just like being at home. I think as I walk to my room.

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