Day 3! You may have noticed that there's a little link between each of the stories. Somehow, everyone knows everyone else. This means, in my universe, somehow, we're all connected to Idris Elba. He's probably an uncle, if I look hard enough into it...
Good Girl Trying Out Bad © Billy London
The text from Patricia’s best friend stirred an age of jealousy inside her:
Tom bought me flowers and we’re at Nandos having a full chicken!
Good for her and Tom. Patricia thought, seething. Maybe Tom could take Laura’s exams and she’d get into Cambridge as well.
Sighing, she leaned back on the sofa in her uncle’s house. Patricia wondered if it was the divorce from his first wife, the rather sexy Aunt Ishla that caused him to be as generous as possible. That way no one would think of him as the lying cheat who knocked up his girlfriend. His older girlfriend. Patricia, despite advanced sciences at AS Level, was surprised that a woman almost fifty could get pregnant naturally. Patricia’s mum had sneered, “Your uncle worked really hard at it.” Eww.
In any case, her uncle promised her a quiet home and a hundred quid if she babysat on Valentine’s Day. Without a boyfriend and an interview coming to bite her in her veritable UCAS, Patricia took the offer and took her books to keep an eye on eight month old Brian. He was a cute baby. Screamed to fuck if someone other than Patricia picked him up.
The baby monitor was up full volume, and crappy Saturday night TV blared on the background. She briefly caught a glimpse of who used to be Aunt Salina posing with the love God that was Cael Murphy, in an Entertainment News bulletin, gearing everyone up for the awards ceremony on Sunday. Salina had invited Patricia to the premiere of her film. But as it was a school night and according to Patricia’s mother, she needed to “back your uncle up.” So instead, Patricia stayed at home and watched online.
To think she’d been so close to stardom and fame and because of her uncle and his wayward cock, she was out in the cold. In so many ways.
A glass smashed in the direction of the kitchen. Patricia leapt to her feet and grabbed the nearest weapon. A hefty book on physics. Tiptoeing into the kitchen, she let fly at the intruder’s head.
“Jesus Christ, Pat!” Art yelped.
Oh crap. The usurper’s eldest child. “Don’t call me Pat,” she heaved. “What are you doing sneaking in?”
“I live here,” he retorted. “I can sneak wherever I want.”
Patricia barely lowered the book. “I thought you lived with your dad?”
He eyed her distastefully. “My dad didn’t get bottles of Dom Perignon as part of the settlement.”
“Why do you need those?”
“Why do you ask so many questions?” He retorted. “Just don’t say anything and we’ll be fine. One nice big blended family.”
“Don’t know why you’re so bitter,” Patricia said with a sniff. “You’re going to the best uni in London and you’re living in halls. You know how many people have to work for that?”
He popped the bottle of champagne right over her head. “Are you talking about yourself? Let me give you a heads up. Uni isn’t just about your grades. You should have a personality as well. A sense of humour would help.”
Patricia’s mouth tightened. “Because you’ve got that in spades, haven’t you?”
He poured out a glass and held out to her. “More than you, misery guts. Look at your face! You’re so much prettier when you haven’t got a face on like a smacked arse.”
A wail sounded from up the stairs. “You, put that bottle back, clean up the glass and sod off.”
Taking the stairs two at a time, Patricia quickly settled her nephew back to sleep. When she turned, Art leaned on the doorway. “You suit the nanny role. You should get my mum to pay you more.”
“Why aren’t you out?” She whispered shooing him from the door and closing it behind her.
“Why aren’t you?”
“I’ve got a thousand things to learn for school, this interview, my parents keep telling me how much it’s all going to cost, everyone’s out having an amazing time and I’m on my own...” The pressure of it all hit her with the force of an earthquake. Saying it all out loud reminded her how much of her future relied on one day. Half an hour. To show the last seven years of hard work. “Fuck’s sake,” she snapped at herself, furious at the show of tears.
Art leaned over and wiped one from her cheek. “I’ll help you.”
She glared at him. “I’m not paying you. And I’m not keeping shut about you drinking vintage bottles of champagne.”
He smiled at her. A whole world of trouble beamed at her in all thirty two gleaming teeth. “Even if I’m offering the inside track to your chosen place?”
“Devil, you, deal, no.”
She’d heard a lot about the golden child, who now did what he wanted to wind up both his parents. Despite being in the midst of a quite vicious divorce, he aced all of his exams and had the pick of his universities. What he had to gain in bullying his parents, seemed to just be some sort of self serving plot.
Art followed her downstairs. “You must do something other than just studying.”
“None of your business.”
“I’m not even talking about men.”
“Men. I mean sports, teams, Duke of Edinburgh.”
“I did all three awards, with the flu and a three day migraine.” She threw back. Her personal statement was impeccable. Everyone said. “There’s nothing wrong with my extras.”
“Then what are you worried about? Just talk to your interviewer as if you want to have a conversation. That’s it. What are you studying now?”
“Arthur,” she said, trying to inject sternness into her voice. “I need to know all of this by Monday. So would you please shut up and go away.”
He leaned back and picked up one of her past papers. “I would... but this is far more entertaining.”
“More than the girls at uni?”
“Shrieking banshees, the lot of them,” he dismissed. He read a few of the questions out loud and answered each one with such ease, she realised he was correct on them all. Utter bastard.
“All right, fine,” she said, exasperated with his presence. “What do you want?”
He put down the exam paper and sent her a measured glance. “You let me take you out.”
She made a face of disgust. “What for? To get back at your mum?”
He curled his top lip. “Look, if I wanted to get back at her, I’d fail my exams and fuck up my room at halls. Going out with you would make her happy.” Art rolled his hands. “One big, blended family...?”
That made no sense whatsoever. “I don’t get you.”
“I’m a diamond. No one knows why they need me. But they do.” He tilted the book towards her. “What do you say?”
He rolled his eyes. “Of course today.”
“But it’s so late.”
“It’s barely eight o’clock. Don’t be so anti-social. You’re eighteen, not eighty.”
“Fine,” she agreed with a tut, snatching the book from him. “Just not Nandos.”
Gently, he caught her face on the edge of his hand and brushed his mouth over hers.
“Nandos is for cheap dates.” He waggled his eyebrows. “I’ve got a credit card.”
Patricia had been so good for so long, she didn’t quite understand the twist in her tummy until Art kissed her again. Mild rebellion did have a nice flavour to it. Almost like champagne...