IMPORTANT NOTE: Take a Bite Cafe will continue here until 18th October when it will transfer to my new site.
Jimmy gets an invitation to Megan’s bedroom
Jimmy had never been in my room. I didn’t think he’d ever crossed the threshold of Nan’s bungalow. It didn’t seem right.
When I thought about it I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had any friends over.
Jimmy carried me up the stairs to my room like I was a bride, except sideways because the staircase didn’t conform to modern building standards. He was stronger than I’d realised, it must’ve been moving all the boxes in the stock room. When he lowered me onto the bed, I had an urge to pull him down into a kiss but resisted, if he fell on me my leg wouldn’t appreciate it.
He straightened and looked about at the mess, the only tidy things were my weights because they came in a rack. The books were jumbled in the bookcase, there were sketchpads stacked on the desk next to a laptop covered in shiny flower stickers and a taped on sketch I’d done for the café’s new logo, and photographs were tacked to the wall and round the mirror on my desk. He plucked one from the frame and smiled at it. In the photo I had my arms around his neck in a bear hug and he had his high around my waist as we grinned at the camera through laughter. The photograph was from the beginning of Dan’s last birthday party when everyone was still sober and we weren’t being the sober adults.
Nan came in with a tray of mugs and Jimmy dropped the photo, I wondered if his memory had got to the bit after the pub. He murmured apologies and got down to pick up the photograph but it had been lost to the depths of the darkness under my desk.
‘Me serving the tea,’ Nan said, ‘that makes a change.’ She frowned at the crammed surfaces and put the tray down on my laptop then thrust a mug at Jimmy. ‘One for you, young man.’
‘Thank you, Mrs D.’
‘Nonsense, man, you should be calling me Rachel.’
He smiled awkwardly, took the mug, raised it to his lips, and behind Nan’s back I shook my head. He cleared his throat and lowered it.
Nan was of the opinion that a teapot should never be washed and needed about five spoons of tealeaves so when she made tea it was like a punch to the face with solid tannin if you weren’t expecting it.
‘So, what are we going to do about you, young lady?’ She passed me a mug.
I cupped the mug in my hands, enjoying the warmth, I felt oddly cold. ‘Jimmy and I were thinking maybe I could go and stay at his for a bit.’
She picked up her tea. ‘And what’s wrong with letting your old Nan look after you?’
‘Stairs,’ Jimmy blurted out. ‘She has to get up and down stairs for everything.’
Nan nodded, narrowing her eyes at him. ‘She’ll have to get up and down stairs to get in and out of your place, she’ll be trapped like Rapunzel.’
‘I won’t be able to go out by myself anyway…’
She side-eyed me. ‘Knowing you, you’ll give it a bloody good go. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a plan for you to get back to work sooner.’
‘Busted,’ I said and sipped my tea, it was tin tangy and made my mouth feel furry.
‘Drink up,’ she said. ‘Do you good.’
I supposed if I died in mysterious circumstances my body would be well preserved but I wasn’t sure it was good otherwise.
Her gaze flicked between us, cogs in her brain turning. It was one of her romance novels in the making, two young people caught in a room suddenly discover their love for each other. By the time she spoke I suspected she was naming her future great-grandchildren. ‘Maybe you’re right, perhaps a little time somewhere different would do you good. Give us both a bit of space.’ She put her tea down on the tray. ‘Let me pack you some things. We don’t want the young man getting overexcited by your underwear drawer.’
Jimmy coughed and she patted his back. ‘There, there, men can’t help it, their brains are in their dicks.’
I gave her a look. ‘Seriously, Nan?’
‘He knows I’m teasing.’
He slid her a look that suggested he wasn’t always entirely sure but was too polite to say so. She either ignored it or didn’t noticed and fussed over getting a bag out my wardrobe and putting clothes in it. I cleared my throat and propped my elbow on my bedside cabinet. Jimmy shifted to perch on it and I gave him a thank you smile. I didn’t want her going through all my drawers. My clothes were an outward expression of self but in the cabinet was a self that was just for me and Jimmy.
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