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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23. Update!!!

 

 

Morning. Something smells, bad.

I sit up, pulling the sheet over my nose and look around, “Hey Ben?”

He groans from the other side of the couch, “I did not sleep at all last night. My head is so fricken sore Clara and my back urg… luckily I had all night quiz shows to keep me entertained.”

“Do you smell anything?” 

He tries to sniff a little, “Nope?”

I get out of bed, still holding the sheet to my nose, when I walk around the front of his couch I catch sight of him, and my nose wrinkles even further. “Ben, you’re covered in blood!”

He waves at a couple of flies that buzz around him, “At my funeral can you tell everyone I was a dump truck driver or something?”

“You’re not dying stupid, you just need a bath.” He doesn’t move so I poke him with my foot, “Like real bad.”

He sits up stiff, “I’m on death’s door and this is how you treat me?”

I sigh and put on the kettle. Ben shuffles slowly to the bathroom, “Dead people don’t get coffee,” I call as he shuts the door.

“But it’s the only thing that will keep me alive.” He moans from the other side.

****

As I’m pouring water into mugs there’s a knock on the wall, “Clara can you come help me?” Ben calls out.

With a mug of joe in both hands I push open the bathroom door with my bum, try to subtly check if he’s naked or not. See that he’s wearing his jockeys and nearly drop the mugs when I realise the whole bath is red from his blood.

“Umm,” I say.

“It’s my hair,” he explains, “There’s all these knots of glass and the hair is stuck together.”

“Right,” I pull the plug and refill the bath until the water turns clean again, then with a pot  from the kitchen I gently drizzle water through Ben’s hair, he winces a little bit then relaxes as I begin to weave my hands through his soft black hair.

Very gently I rub shampoo through it, and using a sponge I keep soapy water from falling into his eyes which are now closed. Lying the way he is with his bruised face relaxing and losing almost all of it’s gratinate I can imagine anything. I pretend that he’s just an ordinary guy and we’re just on holiday. It’s a nice fantasy and as my fingers caress their way through the knots and small drops of water flick onto the blue tee-shirt I’m wearing I think about the two of us going to a park- any park, having a picnic and maybe getting a dog that we can laugh at.

“Hey Ben?” I ask, gently wiping his cheek with a towel, “Can we get a dog?”

He grins his eyes are still closed and he looks incredible, “I don’t know if a dog would suit our lifestyle.”

“Come on…” I’ve got rid of all the glass from his hair and piled it into my empty  coffee cup, “We could make it suit our lifestyle, teach it to escape from prisons and fight gangsters and stuff.”

He laughs softly, which I’ve learnt is his best laugh, “Maybe, but it’ll be a small one alright? No big wolf-hound that’ll give us away.”

“Yesssssss,” I say finally drying his hair off. “How do you feel?”

He takes a sip from his coffee, “The bones in my leg are bruised, I have freshly closed cuts running down the front of my body and my head was attacked by shards of glass.” He looks up at me with a goofy smile on his face, “Yet, weirdly I’ve never felt happier.”

****

We pack, as in Ben gets changed and I steal all the little soap packets that the hotel leaves for guests. In the lobby, I find a payphone where Ben slips three of our coins into the machine and dials a number with his back hiding the keypad from any security cameras. The phone on the other end rings five times before someone picks it up.

“Hello?” Ben says, cradling the headset to his ear. I can’t hear the other person speaking.

“Yup, it’s me.”

There’s a long pause, Ben shits on his feet slightly uncomfortably.

“And how many states they got watched?”

“North Carolina? That’s like six states away?”

“How much?”

“Shoot, lucky you’re a good guy Jim.”

“Okay, yep we should be there in about ten days, that’s if they catch us.”

Ben sighs, “Alright then, see-ya jim.”

He hangs up the phone and turns to me, running his cheek, just below a black eye. “The authorities have people watching the western union transactions of every state surrounding us. The safest place we can get another top up on our money is Northern Carolina.” He leans against the phone-booth and looks at the ground.

“So we’re going to North Carolina?” I feel something stirring in my stomach, this isn’t good.”

He nods, “Yep and we’ve only got two bucks to do it.”

“Ben, that’s the state I used to live in. You know before prison and everything." I gasp, "Ben My family live there.” I don’t know whether to be happy or afraid. I figure my face does an expression of both because a single tear rolls down my cheek as I explain it. With a shudder I remember Nigel, my stalker and how I’d mistaken Chris for him at the turning point of my life.

“It’s okay Clara,” Ben says as he pulls me in for a hug and places a kiss on the top of my head, “We just have to get the money, we don’t have to see anyone or speak to anyone if you don’t want to.” He smells like tea-tree shampoo and comfort. I nod into his chest.

The woman who gave us a room last night appears wearing a large handbag, seeing us she takes a step back and smiles, “Oops sorry, didn’t mean to intrude.”

“It’s fine,” Ben replies smiling and wrapping an arm around me.

She eyes the bruises on his face, “I was looking for you two actually, A really hulky dude appeared about twenty minutes after you were inside your room. He didn’t want to rent anything out, just wanted to know if two pink bikes had passed this way.”

We eye each other, stepping slightly apart like we’re about to run, “And what did you tell him?” I ask.

“I said I had no idea and he rode off,” as she talks the woman makes big gestures with her arms. “I thought it was strange behaviour until one of the guests complained about almost tripping over a pink bike someone had left around the back.” She eyes us both, “Are you in trouble?”

“A little bit.” I say, trusting my instincts and hoping that she actually is a kind hotel owner and not an O’vo dealer.

“Well be careful,” she says throwing me the bag. It lands heavy in my arms and as she opens the door she turns her head. “You’re the most decent-looking prison escapees I’ve ever met.”

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