Locked up with the Badboy.

I take a seat on the floor in front of him, "What?"

He combs a hand through his dark hair and sighs, "This is a maximum security prison, the people here have killed babies, shot up schools , killed multiple partners and run crime rings and you, are saying that I'm mean? "

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6. Hurt.

Two days is a long time to not spend talking to a person you live in constant confinement with, but we manage it. My reason for not beginning a conversation is mostly embarrassment, when I was about to kiss Ben I felt it was the right thing to do, like nothing else mattered. Now however with the benefit of hindsight and the OCD way I obsess over details I’m glad I acted the way I did. If we begin something and it goes badly we have no way to get away from each other. That sort of chemistry would be unpredictable.

Still, I think as I gaze at him wistfully, there was definitely something there, electricity in my blood. Getting down on the floor I begin to do push-ups which have become my go to when trying to forget about his touch.

Because there’s nothing much else to do I’ve been exercising my body harder and longer then I ever have before. My sole reasons are to feel something beyond the monotone and to have a distraction from my own head.

Ben (I’ve given up on Benny) completely shutting me out takes away a distraction so if I don’t work myself until my mind literally can’t think beyond taking a breath my brain turns back time to the night of my brother’s death and the weeks leading up to it. The OCD part analyses my every move and sound, each time reaching the conclusion that everything was my fault.

It started with a speed dating session that my group of friends decided we’d gate-crash. Most of the guys there were older then us but we didn’t care. We weren’t out for a partner just a bit of flirting and fun. “You’ll need the experience for when you’re older.” I told my flatmate Millie.

“At least I won’t own fifty cats,” she said sticking her tongue out.

We did the circuit, trading five minutes with each of these guys. And at half time we had a girls meeting, “There’s a really creepy one in round wire glasses.” Millie told me, “Don’t interact at all.”

Nodding the way we girls do. I went into the second round determined to avoid men with wire glasses. Second up was a dorky but cute guy named Nigel, and the best thing about him; no round wire glasses.

The evening ended,  didn’t see wire glasses and got a date with Nigel. Things were perfect, until our third date- at a bookshop/café he excused himself and came back wearing- round wire glasses.

I left, like any girl that respects her friend’s opinions would but he didn’t, he kept clinging on and trying for another date. Despite a complete social network block and an ear thrashing from Millie he persisted; earning himself a trespass ban.

It was kind of like the more I blocked him out the more persistent he got. Big hearts with our initials appeared throughout our neighbourhood. A certain blue car kept parking on the street opposite our flat. Things would disappear from our flat and coming home one night there was an ejaculation stains on my bed.

It freaked me out and that’s why I try to tell myself I did what I did.

The night of my birthday was a dark one, rain beat at our windows and to my disappointment Millie was staying at her parents. Chris, my brother wasn’t able to come over. Not only did I feel sorry for myself but there was nothing good on T.V to distract me. The time was five o’clock but overcast weather made it seem night.

And then I heard three sounds, the click of my front door, a bang as it hit the wall and the slick clink as metal scraped metal. My imagination heard knives.

The power went out and I absolutely lost it. I’d bought a gun from a dodgy out of town shop and stashed it in my wardrobe, getting up from the couch, I lept into my bedroom and grabbed it. “Nigel,” I yelled, “turn the lights back on or I’m calling the cops.

The movement didn’t cease, instead the footsteps creaked toward me. The gun was already loaded, and all I had to do was pull the trigger. The man (I could see his shape) entered the lounge and paused, My room had it’s blinds closed so he couldn’t see me as I held the gun up, surprisingly my hand wasn’t shaking. “One More Step,” I said, each word a death sentence.

My intruder lifted up their foot and stepped, then took another toward me.

I shot the gun, he lurched forward and I pulled the trigger hard back. Bullets spat out of the gun and my hand never shook once, every single one of them found the man’s chest.

“Surprise!” he managed to choke in a voice that definitely wasn’t Nigel’s.

The lights came on. Chris was bleeding on my floor.

The front door opened and Millie burst into the room with a big smile stretched across her face, “Happy Birthday!! Did you think we’d for-“ she saw the gun in my hand and closed her mouth. There was an almost deathly silence as she strode into the lounge. She saw Chris choking on his own blood, she looked up at me.

I don’t realise it but I’m crying with my arms still pushing me up and down. They’re in pain that I don’t feel. Beneath me the ground is wet with tears and sitting on the bunk in front of me is Ben, wrapped around the corner of our bunk is  his mattress.

“What you do,” he explains holding out a hand then pulling me to my feet, “Is hit it.”

I wipe away the tears and look suspiciously at the mattress, what is he trying to do? Almost annoyed at my hesitation Ben steps back and cracks the mattress a blow. The bunk rings.

“Now go, get angry.” Stepping out of the picture he leaves me to it. At first I try to imagine the makeshift punching-bag as all my bad feelings, but each hit I swing is weak. I can’t visualise it so instead I use a face.

“Stuff you Nigel,” I shout as I drive a knee and then a fist into his stupid guts. The mattress absorbs most of my energy and I  can’t make the bunk ring but I feel my crazy leaving me. In a good way I begin to feel tired.

When I can’t lift my arms any longer I lean into Ben and slow my breathing as he wraps his arms around me. In his eyes I no longer see any hot desire or maliciousness, only an urge to help the hurt; hurt less.

 “Thanks.” I whisper into his ear.

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