Expanding alex

chapter 1

I’ve known Alex for what seems like forever, and now I’m finally living with him! I’m so excited at the prospect of spending more time with my boyfriend. Initially, he went off to London to study journalism, and I went to Manchester to do Business Studies. But it didn’t quite work very well. The distance thing put a strain on the relationship, and it turned out I wasn’t able to keep on top of my studies without his helping me with assignments. Heck, that was the only reason I’d managed to get a place there (that and a word or two from a friend of the family). So I decided to start over, and study Art, in London. It was a better choice of degree for me, and a better choice of location for us both to be together.
But he was a different Alex to the one I’d first grown to love in Birmingham. He’d changed his look from scruffy indie-skater boy in favour of a buttoned-down professional one, as if he was on permanent call for an interview. He’d ironed out his accent. I don’t suppose I can blame him – it’s not the most popular. He’d taken up smoking. And he’d lost a lot of weight.
I could live with the new look, and could even put up with the smoking, at a push, but was worried about the weight thing. It wasn’t as if he’d needed to lose any. He’d always been slim, and even coming round to have tea with my parents all the while hadn’t put much of a dent in that. Even though he ate like he wasn’t sure where his next meal was coming from (which perhaps he hadn’t been). I recall his being very impressed with our having fancy iced deserts. He’d only seen them advertised on telly, where they were branded as the sort of thing you would only get at a high end dinner party.
Alex didn’t seem to notice me enter our shared room, until I snuck up from behind to give him a cuddle. He had been taking a quick swig of diet cola whilst fervently working on his lap top. ‘Christ Cam! You startled me there! Nearly made me drop my drink. Which would have buggered up the laptop if I’d spilt it…’
‘Well, you didn’t, so relax, hon!’ He took a final puff of his ciggie, extinguished it, and gave me his full attention. Meaning we had a proper petting session on the bed. ‘ ‘Lex, babe, I wish you didn’t smoke. It’s like snogging an ash tray.’
Alex looked up at me, all doleful baby-blue eyes. ‘Sorry, bad habit, I know. It’s just I’m under a bit of pressure with some essays at the minute, and…’
‘They’re due in when, exactly?’
‘Oh, ten days time. But I hate being late for anything. I need to show I can meet a deadline if I’m going to be a journalist, don’t I?’
‘You put too much pressure on yourself, love. And always at something. If it’s not your course, you’re working on the student paper. And if not that, you’re working at that pub.’
‘Well, some of us have to support ourselves. You know my parents weren’t behind my coming to university’ (always the full word with Alex: thought the abbreviation of “uni” belittled his achievement of having got there. It was a big deal to him, being the first out of his working class clan to reach one). ‘And can’t pay to put me through it. As such, I’m up to my eyeballs in debt already. Can’t even afford to eat half the time…’
‘Is that why cuddling up to you feels like I’m hugging a load of coat-hangers?’ Alex coloured up, then rolled away from me, like he was embarrassed by my comment. I put it to him that if he could afford to smoke and buy new gear, then he ought to be able to find money for food.
‘OK, I get it: you don’t like my smoking. I’m gonna think about quitting anyway. I’m just, well – don’t laugh – but I’m worried I’ll put on weight if I do. It’s the classic outcome isn’t it? And I’ve spent good money on my new clothes…I want them to still fit don’t I?’
I laughed. ‘You? Gain weight? You’ve got one of those crazy no-gain metabolisms, mate!’ Like I wished I had. OK, I wasn’t exactly chubby, but I’d sure filled out since sixth form, after I’d stopped playing so much sport. I just took my first year in Manchester as an opportunity to party (slightly too hard – hence my grade fail) and gained about the average Freshers Fifteen pounds. I still looked OK – I must have done, otherwise a pretty little thing like Alex wouldn’t have hung around, would he? I mean, my Mom mentioned something about my “testing” my shirt over Christmas, but it was just after Christmas Dinner, and who doesn’t bloat out a little after that? (Especially given my Mom’s roast potatoes!).
We cuddled a little more, until Alex complained about having to get ready for work. Damn, he’s so focussed – but I wanted to distract his focus more towards me. I needed to do something that would ensnare his attention.
Alex returned back home shortly after midnight. ‘Good night?’ I asked.
‘It was “a” night.’ he responded, yawning.
‘Hey – wanna stop up a bit longer and have a go on my Play Station?’ I asked. As stated, Alex has changed in many ways, and makes out he’s twenty going on twice that age, but he still loves a go on that. The minute I mention any games, he reverts to type, and reminds me of his old self once more.
‘Go on then, why not? I’ve got a late start tomorrow, lecture-wise…’
As he agreed, I asked if he wanted one of the can’s I’d got in. ‘Best not to. All I’ve had is a bag of nuts on my break – it’ll go straight to my head, and then I’ll feel like shit tomorrow.’
‘God Alex, why didn’t you get something decent to eat?’
‘Didn’t have time, did I? With you getting, well “amorous” earlier…’
‘OK, my bad. Although I don’t recall you complaining… I know, I’ll order some pizza then, right? And don’t tell me pizza and Play Station don’t go together…’
He shrugged, but took a swig of the can I handed him. I, in the meanwhile, belled in an order.
When it arrived, Alex was stunned at the two eighteen inch boxes I brought in. One was “Meat Feast” and the other Hawaiian (and just don’t judge me about the pineapple! It tastes good, so go with it!) ‘Oh My God! We can’t possibly eat both of those!’
‘Well, maybe, maybe not, but I’ve bought extra, just in case. If we don’t do for them now, they’ll heat up excellently for breakfast…’
‘Breakfast? I’m probably never going to ever need to eat again after some of those bad boys!’ But we soon managed to do for the both of them. The lager had clearly given Alex’s appetite a kick. He even asked if I had any crisps knocking around afterwards. I’m not sure he was entirely joking, although Alex is a lot more funny with a drink inside him.
I knocked the Play Station off, and we clambered, clumsily, into bed.
11 chapters, created StoryListingCard.php 4 years , updated 4 years
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Camargue 4 years
Very nice story! Would love to read more from you.