the morning

The day Josie meets Alfie she knows she probably shouldn't kiss him. But life is full of terrible mistakes and words that shouldn't be said, and maybe the relationship that follows is terrible too.

Or maybe it isn't.

(a short story set to the album 'the morning' by lewis watson--sometimes the end isn't always the end. sometimes maybe the end is just another beginning.)

*lyrics at beginning belong to lewis watson


1. stones around the sun


when you pull back, pull back far enough


The first time I sleep with you it’s more an inevitability than anything else. The room is dark and the smell of beer seems to emanate from the walls, the music pulsing through me like a second heartbeat. Its fresher’s week. Everyone around me is a stranger, but you, somehow, are less strange than the others—maybe it’s because you were here first, and I saw you in the kitchen in your underpants at 6am this morning while my dad dragged my suitcase upstairs.

(I didn’t think, you had said, blinking blankly with your ridiculously big blue eyes, I didn’t think anyone was going to be here until later. You don’t wait for me to reply. You just quickly pad past me, cereal bowl in your grip, like the whole thing is just a dream you’ll wake up from after going back to bed again.)

You approach me first, bottle in your hand, spindly limbs near uncontrollable thanks to the tray of vodka shots you neck back before the guests arrive. “I don’t get embarrassed about people seeing me in my underwear, you know.”

The way you speak is sharp and articulate, much posher than what I’m used to. Then again—I’m from Newcastle, where being southern is just as horrific as supporting the Sunderland football team. But it’s fresher’s week, and I know no-one, so I’m willing to give you a chance. “Is that right?”

You nod emphatically. A Kings of Leon song comes on and I’m drunker than I think I am and I instantly think about having sex with you, even though that’s not me at all. But it’s fresher’s week. This is what fresher’s week is for: it’s for making terrible mistakes, kissing unsuitable boys, destroying your body with hard spirits and soft drugs. That’s what I’ve been told, anyway. And right now, you’re a terrible mistake I’m willing to make.

A near incomprehensible voice murmurs something about not shitting where you eat. But really—there are bigger problems in the world than shagging your housemate because in the end, we’re all just stones around the sun, aren’t we?

“Why would I be embarrassed about anyone seeing this?”

You flex your muscles—non-existent—and I laugh, not because it’s funny but because I’ve almost finished a bottle of wine, the taste of raspberries and mahogany on my tongue. But what I really want is the taste of you, all arrogant public schoolboy and privilege, the kind of attitude that should repulse me, but you’re you…

You lean in to kiss me and I gasp involuntarily before you steal all the air from my lungs, dark stubble grazing my cheeks and your arms curving round my back. The dress I’m wearing is backless so your palm is splayed across my skin, I can feel it, fingertips pressed into my spine like they belong there. Your tongue tastes of cigarette smoke and alcohol—I decide I don’t mind the taste of nicotine when it’s in your mouth, but the smoking thing is something I’ll address later, because that sort of thing really isn’t good for you.

(And I’ll say that I don’t care if you die, smoke yourself to death for all I mind, but that’s only because at that point I want you to live forever and the thought of a world without you in it is not something I ever want to be a part of.)

That first night ends in your bed, on a mattress with a spring that pushes into my thigh and unfamiliar sheets on my legs. And in the morning, when the early Manchester sunlight breaks through your cheap nylon curtains, I think I should probably regret this. Maybe I will regret this. But right now, I’m happy staring at the constellation of birthmarks on your back and the steady, reliable tick of the alarm clock on the bedside table. 

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