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[ChaWriMo] Does Love Really Matter?

Discussion in 'Creative Archive' started by Yoshimitsu, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. Yoshimitsu

    Former Moderator

    Okay so I'm taking the opportunity to revamp an old fic of mine for ChaWriMo and apply my new writing style for it. I'll find the original at some point for people to compare, but the first chapter of my new version is twice the length of the original so yeah. Let's just go with it.

    Chapter 1: University, that annoying thing between naps

    As always, the refectory was crammed. It was that time of day, after all. That period where the lucky few didn't have lectures, seminars or workshops. Those that were lucky enough to have an hour free had managed to make their way to the refectory. It was loud and warm, people wandering around as they looked for a free table. Or, at least, a less busy one. All sorts of people came to the refectory around this time. Students, looking for a break or talking to their friends. Lecturers who who were probably either discussing notes over their respective subjects or complaining that no one paid them any attention. It wasn't exactly the most interesting of places. The food was sub-standard and overpriced. The chairs weren't even comfortable. It was convenience, more than anything else, that pulled people. Then again, a good chunk of the people found here looked like they hadn't tasted any better. It was just a jungle of people.

    Justin fucking hated the refectory.

    It wasn't even because it wasn't nice, aesthetically speaking. It had been built into a derelict church. All of the insides had been torn out and replaced. The stained glass had been removed then replaced with a more ornate design, the basic structure had been revamped into something more stable and all of the insides had been redecorated. It wasn't quite sterile white, but it was near enough. An off-white, almost cream but not quite reaching that level. Hordes of circular tables, each one easily capable of fitting eight people, complete with matching chairs that would made the ass numb after five minutes of sitting on them. There was one undebiable fact about the refectory, though. It was boring. Nothing ever happened. No fights, no arguments, no drama. Nothing. It was only some girls bitching about whatever some skank wore on friday night or the lads talking about whatever sport game happened over the weekend. And the societies propoganda was an entirely different thing. No thanks. Justin had no interest in that bullshit.

    "Queens tonight?"

    Luckily, he had his friend with him. Violet. They'd done their normal thing. Grab a table near the back, where very few people could be bothered walking to, and just take the entire thing. It wasn't even as if they were sat at opposite sides. They were next to each other, Justin relaxing into his seat and Violet looking in her bag. He'd given up trying to figure out why no one approached them a long time ago. It wasn't as if he was eager to make new friends. He was done with girls trying to convince him that their majors were so much more important and definitely going to get them careers, or guys telling him that because he didn't have any interest in sport he wasn't nearly manly enough. It was all bollocks, as far as he was concerned. No, he had Violet and he was happy with that.

    "It's Thursday, innit?"

    And as far as Justin was concerned, that was that. It was the same every Thursday. Like clockwork. He was always there. Always one too many shots, dancing for one hour too long. He would have called it luck that he usually ended up in someone else's bed, except that he wasn't oblivious to the world. Violet came along every time. Sometimes she came alone, sometimes she brought a couple of friends. As much as he tried, Justin just couldn't feel too bad that he usually left her for someone to go home with. It wasn't as if she was any better. Hell, half the time Justin had pulled someone, it was because Violet had already vanished with someone else. Worst came to the worst and neither of them pulled? They both liked the music, and it was a given that teenagers liked alcohol, so it was never a waste of a night.

    "I'll bring Lauren and Sarah, if they're up for it."

    Justin wracked his brains, trying to put faces to names. Lauren, he could remember. She was Violet's go-to girl in case of abandonment. Or, at least, abandonment when Justin let his sex drive take over. Lauren was always up for a night out, though. She was one of those rich-parent babies. Rent all paid for and then a student loan to spend on whatever she wanted. At least she had the foresight to buy food before blowing her entire loan on booze and pills, unlike so many girls Justin had met. Sarah, though... The name rang a bell, but not one loud enough. He'd probably met her, but it was probably while smashed off his tits and not even capable of forming sentences. Oh well. If Violet thought she was cool, that was good enough for him.

    "Sounds good. Predrinks?"

    "At mine. Call it nine?"

    And there was the golden ticket. Violet nearly always hosted pre-drinks. She was one of those rich-parents girls, except she didn't take it for granted. As soon as she hit university, she'd got herself a job. Just a normal shop job, hours anywhere between nine and five. Twenty hours a week, she usually had, which she balanced expertly as far as Justin was concerned. Half of her pay went straight back to her parents. They covered her rent, so she did what she was allowed to repay them. Half of her wages didn't cover what she thought she owed, but she wasn't in the habit of owing debts so she did what she could. She'd told Justin about it once. Apparently, it had been a good three hour long argument just to get them to agree to that much.

    "Cool. Got a lecture then?"

    "Yeah. I should get going for it, really."

    "A'right, I'll just head home. See you later, Violet."

    "Bye, Justin."

    Justin hugged her, gave her a kiss on the cheek, then watched her walk off. He had no desire to move just yet. Not with the rest of the day free. He noticed a couple of people glancing at him, some disappointed and some hopeful from what he could tell. Not exactly the first. He and Violet had a very special kind of relationship. So many people mistook them for a couple. Thing was, they were close. Hand-holding, cuddling, kissing, everything. And just hours and hours of sitting and chatting. Justin just let people think whatever they wanted. They were probably wrong. Violet was his best friend. The person he went to if he was upset or needed to unwind. The person he could be ludicrous and silly with. The person who could hug and support her if she needed it. If anything, Justin would call her his sister.

    Today was an exception. Normally he would have been talking her ear off about anything that came to mind. It was just one of those days when he wasn't interested in speaking much. All he really wanted to do was awkward small-talk because it was easy, it was simple. No sharing secrets or hidden agendas or anything. Just a brief, 'hello, how are you?' and then move on with life. Long conversation just weren't in him. And then, Violet understood as she always did. She could tell, just from the way he might be walking or holding himself as he stood in the queue for food, how he was feeling. He was just grateful she never pressed the issue and let him come to her if he needed to.

    A few girls interrupted his thoughts, asking if he minded that they sat there. He gave a winning smile, fake as hell but one he'd mastered easily, and replied that he was just leaving. He hadn't brought a bag, though, so he couldn't delay his departure. Shame. Instead, he stood up and strode away, looking like confidence incarnate. A quick glance back told him that the girls had been hoping he would stay. Too bad for them. He had better things to do. Well, sort of, anyway. If milling around and doing nothing around the student union was considered better things. Still, better than going home.

    He headed down the stairs towards the few shops that where there. Just some small ones, a supermarket that was overpriced, a couple of fast food places, a lackluster salon and a hairdressers. Despite the fact that money wasn't an issue for him, he wouldn't have bought anything from the union (aside from maybe a pasty) when he could just make the five minute trip into the city centre and buy whatever he wanted for a fraction the cost. Unless he was desperate, he considered. Even then, it would take a special level of desperation to convince him to buy even a bottle of water from the union.

    No matter how much procratinating he did down there would be enough, and he knew that. All he was doing was putting off going home. With a heavy sigh, he walked through the common area. A couple of heads turned his way, a couple of people nodding or waving. He returned the greetings with as much forced enthusiasm as he could muster but didn't delay on his way to the smoking area. It wasn't a bad day outside, a few clouds but otherwise fairly nice. Slight breeze to keep things from getting too warm. It was almost a surprise to see no one was outside having a quick cigarette, but then it was the prime lecture time. A quick check of his pockets told him that he only had one cigarette left. He'd have to buy more at some point, but it wasn't exactly high on his priorities.

    Since there wasn't exactly any reason to delay, even though he was trying to find anything that might cause him to, he figured it was time to head home. A loop around the back of the building got him back on the vague direction back to his house. He was one of the weird kids. One of those who hadn't travelled to go to university. His house was barely a mile away from the campus and he still lived with his parents. Some bullshit about them not wanting to 'pay for him to live away' and 'there's no need when you can just commute' or whatever rubbish the tried to reason it away with. Like they actually cared about the money. There was no way he believed that one.

    "Justin! Hey, Justin!"

    Justin snapped himself out of his thoughts to figure out who was shouting him. Some blonde across the road, running towards him with her beachball-sized breasts bouncing with every step. He finished crossing the road, having sense enough to realise that stopping in the middle of a very busy junction was basically suicide, and waited for the girl to get closer. She looked familiar. Probably met in a drunken haze. As far as he could remember, her name was either Sandra or Leah but he couldn't remember which. Not that it mattered.

    "A'right?" Justin greeted, shoving the forced smile back on to his face. He thrust his hands into his pockets, trying to ignore the way the girl's smile looked like it could glow in the dark.

    "Are you off to Queens tonight?" She asked, rummaging around in her handbag. Red with a very gaudy looking clasp on it. Justin just didn't have the heart to tell her it was a fake. He didn't need to know how much she'd spent on it. After another few seconds of searching, the girl pulled out a packet of cigarettes and looked inside. Clearly it was empty since she crumpled it immediately and threw it carelessly away. She looked hopeful as she waited for him to answer/..

    "'Course I am," he replied, keeping the smile on his face. "Always am, me. And nah, sorry, I don't have any spare."

    The girl looked a little disappointed, but perked up after a second. "Cool, I am too tonight. None of my friends believed it was a really good night out. Took me a month to convince them to go!"

    Justin laughed, but it was as forced as his smile. Not that Sandra-or-Leah noticed. He shook his head, then said, "I know, right? Listen, gotta jet, wanna grab a shower and something to eat 'fore I head out again. Nice to see you."

    "You too! We need to have a catch up some time!"

    "Yeah, 'course. See you later."

    Sandra-or-Leah hugged him briefly then carried on back up the road. Justin didn't watch her go. Since he couldn't even remember her actual name, there was no chance he'd make any effort to meet up again. If anything, she was probably some dumb bitch who'd latched on to the nearest man possible when so drunk she couldn't even remember her own name. He shook his head and just carried on walking. Too many girls like that as far as he was concerned. Still, he didn't ignore the perks of popularity. Even if it was entirely unwarranted. He was outright nasty towards some people but everyone just thought it was a joke. Oh well. Their own stupid fault for thinking he was being sarcastic.

    It wasn't any secret that his pace slowed as he got closer and closer to his house. Violet had noticed it, commented on it once before deciding that he was justified. Two roads to go, and he lingered at the edge of the pavement. Checking, double checking, triple checking that no cars were coming. Not that cars ever came down any of these roads except to park. All residential, no reason to try to navigate the maze of side- and back-roads. He mused briefly about maybe Sandra-or-Leah had introduced herself with both names before crossing. It'd explain a lot. Not that he really cared. As usual, no horns blaring and no cars suddenly slowing down to accomodate his movement.

    He fished his keys out of his pocket well before turning on to his street. Prepared was better. With his keys in hand, he could dash in and out in minimal amount of time if his parents were in. It was the same song and dance every time he went home, and one part of him was tired of it. The other part of him fully supported his wariness, though, and it kept him on his toes. Still, he considered it as he stalled at the corner of his street. Finally going home and not hating it. There wasn't really any point in dwelling over it, though. He was stuck where he was and he knew it.

    With a deep breath, he took the few steps forward on to his street. Automatically, his eyes darted up and down the ruined tarmac for his parents' cars. The only understated things in their lives. Both metallic black and not the top-of-the-range models they could both afford. Both with personalised plates bearing the other's name. Both with tacky-as-fuck balls on the antenna just waiting to be stolen. Not a hint of glitter, Justin realised as he glanced up and down. Both of the cars were gone. He let out a breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding and started walking again. A normal speed, this time. Not the slow walk that would have made snails look fast. He bounced up the front steps to his house.

    Once inside, he glanced at the table in the hallway. As he expected, his mother's credit card was waiting for him. There was a note next to it. He recognised the hurried scrawl of his mother eager to leave the house. A simple 'Have fun tonight' written in blue biro. With neither of them in, he just pulled his t-shirt off as he made his way up the stairs. A small act of rebellion, but it was gratifying to think that one of them would have to pick his clothing up from the stairs while he wasn't in. He shed his shoes at the top of the stairs, unbuckling his belt as he did. A quick shower before he had some food then it was off to Violet's.

    He made a conscious decision to not look in the mirror as he walked into the rather large bathroom. A bath, a shower, a toilet, a sink and still plenty of room left over. No expense was spared to make the house almost royal in how extravagent it was. He slid the shower door open and turned on the water before ridding himself of his jeans, boxers and socks. He threw them into the laundry basket at the end of the bath casually, not really caring that his boxers and one sock missed. As soon as the water started to steam, he stepped under the spray.

    It was soothing, hot water massaging his aching back and shoulders. He took a moment to enjoy it. Already, he could feel the sweat of the walk home being washed away and his muscles start to unknot. He reached for his shampoo, the most expensive he could buy. All of his cosmetics and such were. Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body spray, concealer, everything. As expensive as possible and all carefully used in the exact measure. He lathered up his head, then rinsed it out. After running the conditioner through his hair, he rubbed the shower gel into his body and let the hot water rinse it away. He winced, a little too forceful on his torso as he washed.

    Once clean, he stepped out of the shower again and grabbed the nearest towel. Dripping water everywhere wasn't exactly a big deal for him. Water dried, nothing for him to worry about. It was more that he didn't like the cold air. Nothing worse than waiting to be dry. Better to do it himself. As he toweled off the water lingering on his skin, he finally looked up into the mirror. His hair, as always, was its sandy brown and wild after a quick ruffle to dry it. His face was completely free of blemishes, clean-shaven and dark brown eyes staring. He didn't exactly grow a lot of hair on his face anyway, so shaving wasn't a hassle. Still, as he looked in the mirror, his eyes were automatically drawn downwards.

    It was just a mess. His chest and stomach were toned, as little fat as he could manage and enough muscle so he thought he looked sexy. Not one of those body-builders that made him want to throw up whatever he'd eaten. His arms were nicely built as well, strong but not blatant. Subtle muscle. Still, that didn't nearly make up for what he could see. Just a mess of purple and yellow. Completely covering his torso, roughly circular, harsh bruises. Each one showing the sheer force that had hit him. Some of his skin was yellowing as the marks from last time were fading, but the black and blue of more recent bruises was vivid. He turned around to check his back. It was nearly identical, except there were a few longer bruises. He just shook his head and patted himself dry before heading to his room.

    As he expected, his mother had been in and tidied everyone up again. Despite being lazy and not having to do it himself, it had its downsides. She had a tendency to put his belongings in new and exciting places for him to discover on his own. The only constant was that his underwear and pyjamas in the top drawer next to his wardrobe. After pulling out a random branded pair of boxers and throwing them on, he started looking for his other clothes. Where would she have thought was an appropriate place this time? It took a few minutes, and a few more of muttered swearing as he tried to drag a box out from under his bed, before he found his usual set of going-out clothes. Just something casual but tight for the night he figured, slipping a long sleeved black t-shirt and some spray-on skinny jeans. Apparently, under the bed was the most logical place for his clothes to be kept. Silly cow.

    Having decided on his outfit, he filled a bag up with his essentials. Just some simple stuff, hair gel, cologne, a spare pair of boxers. His pockets already held his keys, wallet, lighter and phone. A quick trip to the shop would get him some cigarettes. He bounced down the stairs to see what delights his parents had left for him to eat. Luckily, the evening's meal smelled more appetising than revolting. A quick check of the oven told him it was a chicken casserole. Starving, Justin pulled the metal dish from the oven and left it only a few seconds to cool before taking a fork to it. No point in putting it in a bowl since his parents wouldn't care either way. As he chewed the sauce-covered meat, he noted that it tasted a slight better than it usually did. Well, whatever. After wolfing down his fill, he shouldered his bag and headed for the front door. No point in leaving a note since it wasn't like he was even missed when he was out of the house. He grabbed the credit card on the table and slammed the door shut behind him.As always, the refectory was crammed. It was that time of day, after all. That period where the lucky few didn't have lectures, seminars or workshops. Those that were lucky enough to have an hour free had managed to make their way to the refectory. It was loud and warm, people wandering around as they looked for a free table. Or, at least, a less busy one. All sorts of people came to the refectory around this time. Students, looking for a break or talking to their friends. Lecturers who were probably either discussing notes over their respective subjects or complaining that no one paid them any attention. It wasn't exactly the most interesting of places. The food was sub-standard and overpriced. The chairs weren't even comfortable. It was convenience, more than anything else, that pulled people. Then again, a good chunk of the people found here looked like they hadn't tasted any better. It was just a jungle of people.

    Justin fucking hated the refectory.

    It wasn't even because it wasn't nice, aesthetically speaking. It had been built into a derelict church. All of the insides had been torn out and replaced. The stained glass had been removed then replaced with a more ornate design, the basic structure had been revamped into something more stable and all of the insides had been redecorated. It wasn't quite sterile white, but it was near enough. An off-white, almost cream but not quite reaching that level. Hordes of circular tables, each one easily capable of fitting eight people, complete with matching chairs that would made the ass numb after five minutes of sitting on them. There was one undeniable fact about the refectory, though. It was boring. Nothing ever happened. No fights, no arguments, no drama. Nothing. It was only some girls bitching about whatever some skank wore on Friday night or the lads talking about whatever sport game happened over the weekend. And the societies' propaganda was an entirely different thing. No thanks. Justin had no interest in that bullshit.

    "Queens tonight?"

    Luckily, he had his friend with him. Violet. They'd done their normal thing. Grab a table near the back, where very few people could be bothered walking to, and just take the entire thing. It wasn't even as if they were sat at opposite sides. They were next to each other, Justin relaxing into his seat and Violet looking in her bag. He'd given up trying to figure out why no one approached them a long time ago. It wasn't as if he was eager to make new friends. He was done with girls trying to convince him that their majors were so much more important and definitely going to get them careers, or guys telling him that because he didn't have any interest in sport he wasn't nearly manly enough. It was all bollocks, as far as he was concerned. No, he had Violet and he was happy with that.

    "It's Thursday, innit?"

    And as far as Justin was concerned, that was that. It was the same every Thursday. Like clockwork. He was always there. Always one too many shots, dancing for one hour too long. He would have called it luck that he usually ended up in someone else's bed, except that he wasn't oblivious to the world. Violet came along every time. Sometimes she came alone, sometimes she brought a couple of friends. As much as he tried, Justin just couldn't feel too bad that he usually left her for someone to go home with. It wasn't as if she was any better. Hell, half the time Justin had pulled someone, it was because Violet had already vanished with someone else. Worst came to the worst and neither of them pulled? They both liked the music, and it was a given that teenagers liked alcohol, so it was never a waste of a night.

    "I'll bring Lauren and Sarah, if they're up for it."

    Justin wracked his brains, trying to put faces to names. Lauren, he could remember. She was Violet's go-to girl in case of abandonment. Or, at least, abandonment when Justin let his sex drive take over. Lauren was always up for a night out, though. She was one of those rich-parent babies. Rent all paid for and then a student loan to spend on whatever she wanted. At least she had the foresight to buy food before blowing her entire loan on booze and pills, unlike so many girls Justin had met. Sarah, though... The name rang a bell, but not one loud enough. He'd probably met her, but it was probably while smashed off his tits and not even capable of forming sentences. Oh well. If Violet thought she was cool, that was good enough for him.

    "Sounds good. Predrinks?"

    "At mine. Call it nine?"

    And there was the golden ticket. Violet nearly always hosted pre-drinks. She was one of those rich-parents girls, except she didn't take it for granted. As soon as she hit university, she'd got herself a job. Just a normal shop job, hours anywhere between nine and five. Twenty hours a week, she usually had, which she balanced expertly as far as Justin was concerned. Half of her pay went straight back to her parents. They covered her rent, so she did what she was allowed to repay them. Half of her wages didn't cover what she thought she owed, but she wasn't in the habit of owing debts so she did what she could. She'd told Justin about it once. Apparently, it had been a good three hour long argument just to get them to agree to that much.

    "Cool. Got a lecture then?"

    "Yeah. I should get going for it, really."

    "A'right, I'll just head home. See you later, Violet."

    "Bye, Justin."

    Justin hugged her, gave her a kiss on the cheek, then watched her walk off. He had no desire to move just yet. Not with the rest of the day free. He noticed a couple of people glancing at him, some disappointed and some hopeful from what he could tell. Not exactly the first. He and Violet had a very special kind of relationship. So many people mistook them for a couple. Thing was, they were close. Hand-holding, cuddling, kissing, everything. And just hours and hours of sitting and chatting. Justin just let people think whatever they wanted. They were probably wrong. Violet was his best friend. The person he went to if he was upset or needed to unwind. The person he could be ludicrous and silly with. The person who could hug and support her if she needed it. If anything, Justin would call her his sister.

    Today was an exception. Normally he would have been talking her ear off about anything that came to mind. It was just one of those days when he wasn't interested in speaking much. All he really wanted to do was awkward small-talk because it was easy, it was simple. No sharing secrets or hidden agendas or anything. Just a brief, 'hello, how are you?' and then move on with life. Long conversation just weren't in him. And then, Violet understood as she always did. She could tell, just from the way he might be walking or holding himself as he stood in the queue for food, how he was feeling. He was just grateful she never pressed the issue and let him come to her if he needed to.

    A few girls interrupted his thoughts, asking if he minded that they sat there. He gave a winning smile, fake as hell but one he'd mastered easily, and replied that he was just leaving. He hadn't brought a bag, though, so he couldn't delay his departure. Shame. Instead, he stood up and strode away, looking like confidence incarnate. A quick glance back told him that the girls had been hoping he would stay. Too bad for them. He had better things to do. Well, sort of, anyway. If milling around and doing nothing around the student union was considered better things. Still, better than going home.

    He headed down the stairs towards the few shops that where there. Just some small ones, a supermarket that was overpriced, a couple of fast food places, a lacklustre salon and a hairdressers. Despite the fact that money wasn't an issue for him, he wouldn't have bought anything from the union (aside from maybe a pasty) when he could just make the five minute trip into the city centre and buy whatever he wanted for a fraction the cost. Unless he was desperate, he considered. Even then, it would take a special level of desperation to convince him to buy even a bottle of water from the union.

    No matter how much procrastinating he did down there would be enough, and he knew that. All he was doing was putting off going home. With a heavy sigh, he walked through the common area. A couple of heads turned his way, a couple of people nodding or waving. He returned the greetings with as much forced enthusiasm as he could muster but didn't delay on his way to the smoking area. It wasn't a bad day outside, a few clouds but otherwise fairly nice. Slight breeze to keep things from getting too warm. It was almost a surprise to see no one was outside having a quick cigarette, but then it was the prime lecture time. A quick check of his pockets told him that he only had one cigarette left. He'd have to buy more at some point, but it wasn't exactly high on his priorities.

    Since there wasn't exactly any reason to delay, even though he was trying to find anything that might cause him to, he figured it was time to head home. A loop around the back of the building got him back on the vague direction back to his house. He was one of the weird kids. One of those who hadn't travelled to go to university. His house was barely a mile away from the campus and he still lived with his parents. Some bullshit about them not wanting to 'pay for him to live away' and 'there's no need when you can just commute' or whatever rubbish the tried to reason it away with. Like they actually cared about the money. There was no way he believed that one.

    "Justin! Hey, Justin!"

    Justin snapped himself out of his thoughts to figure out who was shouting him. Some blonde across the road, running towards him with her beach ball-sized breasts bouncing with every step. He finished crossing the road, having sense enough to realise that stopping in the middle of a very busy junction was basically suicide, and waited for the girl to get closer. She looked familiar. Probably met in a drunken haze. As far as he could remember, her name was either Sandra or Leah but he couldn't remember which. Not that it mattered.

    "A'right?" Justin greeted, shoving the forced smile back on to his face. He thrust his hands into his pockets, trying to ignore the way the girl's smile looked like it could glow in the dark.

    "Are you off to Queens tonight?" She asked, rummaging around in her handbag. Red with a very gaudy looking clasp on it. Justin just didn't have the heart to tell her it was a fake. He didn't need to know how much she'd spent on it. After another few seconds of searching, the girl pulled out a packet of cigarettes and looked inside. Clearly it was empty since she crumpled it immediately and threw it carelessly away. She looked hopeful as she waited for him to answer/..

    "'Course I am," he replied, keeping the smile on his face. "Always am, me. And nah, sorry, I don't have any spare."

    The girl looked a little disappointed, but perked up after a second. "Cool, I am too tonight. None of my friends believed it was a really good night out. Took me a month to convince them to go!"

    Justin laughed, but it was as forced as his smile. Not that Sandra-or-Leah noticed. He shook his head, then said, "I know, right? Listen, gotta jet, wanna grab a shower and something to eat 'fore I head out again. Nice to see you."

    "You too! We need to have a catch up some time!"

    "Yeah, 'course. See you later."

    Sandra-or-Leah hugged him briefly then carried on back up the road. Justin didn't watch her go. Since he couldn't even remember her actual name, there was no chance he'd make any effort to meet up again. If anything, she was probably some dumb bitch who'd latched on to the nearest man possible when so drunk she couldn't even remember her own name. He shook his head and just carried on walking. Too many girls like that as far as he was concerned. Still, he didn't ignore the perks of popularity. Even if it was entirely unwarranted. He was outright nasty towards some people but everyone just thought it was a joke. Oh well. Their own stupid fault for thinking he was being sarcastic.

    It wasn't any secret that his pace slowed as he got closer and closer to his house. Violet had noticed it, commented on it once before deciding that he was justified. Two roads to go, and he lingered at the edge of the pavement. Checking, double checking, triple checking that no cars were coming. Not that cars ever came down any of these roads except to park. All residential, no reason to try to navigate the maze of side- and back-roads. He mused briefly about maybe Sandra-or-Leah had introduced herself with both names before crossing. It'd explain a lot. Not that he really cared. As usual, no horns blaring and no cars suddenly slowing down to accommodate his movement.

    He fished his keys out of his pocket well before turning on to his street. Prepared was better. With his keys in hand, he could dash in and out in minimal amount of time if his parents were in. It was the same song and dance every time he went home, and one part of him was tired of it. The other part of him fully supported his wariness, though, and it kept him on his toes. Still, he considered it as he stalled at the corner of his street. Finally going home and not hating it. There wasn't really any point in dwelling over it, though. He was stuck where he was and he knew it.

    With a deep breath, he took the few steps forward on to his street. Automatically, his eyes darted up and down the ruined tarmac for his parents' cars. The only understated things in their lives. Both metallic black and not the top-of-the-range models they could both afford. Both with personalised plates bearing the other's name. Both with tacky-as-fuck balls on the antenna just waiting to be stolen. Not a hint of glitter, Justin realised as he glanced up and down. Both of the cars were gone. He let out a breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding and started walking again. A normal speed, this time. Not the slow walk that would have made snails look fast. He bounced up the front steps to his house.

    Once inside, he glanced at the table in the hallway. As he expected, his mother's credit card was waiting for him. There was a note next to it. He recognised the hurried scrawl of his mother eager to leave the house. A simple 'Have fun tonight' written in blue biro. With neither of them in, he just pulled his t-shirt off as he made his way up the stairs. A small act of rebellion, but it was gratifying to think that one of them would have to pick his clothing up from the stairs while he wasn't in. He shed his shoes at the top of the stairs, unbuckling his belt as he did. A quick shower before he had some food then it was off to Violet's.

    He made a conscious decision to not look in the mirror as he walked into the rather large bathroom. A bath, a shower, a toilet, a sink and still plenty of room left over. No expense was spared to make the house almost royal in how extravagant it was. He slid the shower door open and turned on the water before ridding himself of his jeans, boxers and socks. He threw them into the laundry basket at the end of the bath casually, not really caring that his boxers and one sock missed. As soon as the water started to steam, he stepped under the spray.

    It was soothing, hot water massaging his aching back and shoulders. He took a moment to enjoy it. Already, he could feel the sweat of the walk home being washed away and his muscles start to unknot. He reached for his shampoo, the most expensive he could buy. All of his cosmetics and such were. Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body spray, concealer, everything. As expensive as possible and all carefully used in the exact measure. He lathered up his head, then rinsed it out. After running the conditioner through his hair, he rubbed the shower gel into his body and let the hot water rinse it away. He winced, a little too forceful on his torso as he washed.

    Once clean, he stepped out of the shower again and grabbed the nearest towel. Dripping water everywhere wasn't exactly a big deal for him. Water dried, nothing for him to worry about. It was more that he didn't like the cold air. Nothing worse than waiting to be dry. Better to do it himself. As he towelled off the water lingering on his skin, he finally looked up into the mirror. His hair, as always, was its sandy brown and wild after a quick ruffle to dry it. His face was completely free of blemishes, clean-shaven and dark brown eyes staring. He didn't exactly grow a lot of hair on his face anyway, so shaving wasn't a hassle. Still, as he looked in the mirror, his eyes were automatically drawn downwards.

    It was just a mess. His chest and stomach were toned, as little fat as he could manage and enough muscle so he thought he looked sexy. Not one of those body-builders that made him want to throw up whatever he'd eaten. His arms were nicely built as well, strong but not blatant. Subtle muscle. Still, that didn't nearly make up for what he could see. Just a mess of purple and yellow. Completely covering his torso, roughly circular, harsh bruises. Each one showing the sheer force that had hit him. Some of his skin was yellowing as the marks from last time were fading, but the black and blue of more recent bruises was vivid. He turned around to check his back. It was nearly identical, except there were a few longer bruises. He just shook his head and patted himself dry before heading to his room.

    As he expected, his mother had been in and tidied everyone up again. Despite being lazy and not having to do it himself, it had its downsides. She had a tendency to put his belongings in new and exciting places for him to discover on his own. The only constant was that his underwear and pyjamas in the top drawer next to his wardrobe. After pulling out a random branded pair of boxers and throwing them on, he started looking for his other clothes. Where would she have thought was an appropriate place this time? It took a few minutes, and a few more of muttered swearing as he tried to drag a box out from under his bed, before he found his usual set of going-out clothes. Just something casual but tight for the night he figured, slipping a long sleeved black t-shirt and some spray-on skinny jeans. Apparently, under the bed was the most logical place for his clothes to be kept. Silly cow.

    Having decided on his outfit, he filled a bag up with his essentials. Just some simple stuff, hair gel, cologne, a spare pair of boxers. His pockets already held his keys, wallet, lighter and phone. A quick trip to the shop would get him some cigarettes. He bounced down the stairs to see what delights his parents had left for him to eat. Luckily, the evening's meal smelled more appetising than revolting. A quick check of the oven told him it was a chicken casserole. Starving, Justin pulled the metal dish from the oven and left it only a few seconds to cool before taking a fork to it. No point in putting it in a bowl since his parents wouldn't care either way. As he chewed the sauce-covered meat, he noted that it tasted a slight better than it usually did. Well, whatever. After wolfing down his fill, he shouldered his bag and headed for the front door. No point in leaving a note since it wasn't like he was even missed when he was out of the house. He grabbed the credit card on the table and slammed the door shut behind him.
     
  2. I like what you've got so far, I think this has some quite interesting avenues to go down just one note you've posted the same story twice
     

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