Friday, December 28, 2007

"Festive Fun"

They say you never forget your first love, but I haven't yet had the chance to. After a semi uneventful train ride home, a lot of texting took place to ensure my night out in Newcastle was sorted. And it was. Another birthday of another acquaintance and I'd secured a "night outon the town" as the locals say. Although I knew Jaime would be there, what I didn't count on was all of my old feelings flooding back for her. It made me feel like how I did two years ago, a year ago... three months ago. Now.

“You look like Lauren Conrad, you know that?”

“Who is she?” Jaime responded.

“Only one of the hottest girls in the world,” I thought to myself. After taxiing together into the city, with half catch up half flirting going on, we decided to head to Players, the sports bar. "In Players we kinda kept our distance. Her on the dancefloor, me stood at the bar. But I kept like glancing at her..." I told Aspen. "Ah, to make sure no other guys try their luck?" "Exactly Aspen, exactly." But it was after Players, in the club Mood, that we finally connected. After a trip to the bar half an hour previously I found my glass empty. "Bar run! Anyone coming?" I shouted at my party of people over "Gimme More". "I will," Jaime piped up. Being slightly more than half drunk I didn't think anything of it. Walking back to the party of people on the dance floor, she said something, and then quickly stopped.

“What?” I asked.

“Ah, nothing, nothing.” She replied.

“No, say it.” I guess I sort of new what she was about to say.

“No!”

“Yes Jaime, just say it.”

“Well, I didn’t think I felt this way anymore but as soon as I saw you tonight it was just Wow!” She confessed.

“I know! That’s how I felt! I’m not even kidding.”

“Let’s go talk in that booth over there.” She instructed.

Several days later I took Skye to the Stateside Diner I’d discovered with Madeline. “Now, I’ve always been the type of person to be against PDA’s, but, this is Jaime. Jaime Jaime. It was like necessary, you know?” I told her, tucking into my pancakes with Maple syrup, and slurping up some of that good ol’ Cola. “I’ve also never been dry wanked in a bar before. So that was different.” I saw a woman glance over at the mention of “wank” before quickly glancing back. “Foreplay in the club followed by nothing on the dance floor.”

“What?” Skye said, looking puzzled.

“Well, like, after my ‘happiness’ subsided, we went back to the dancefloor and decided that we should keep it a secret and just tell everyone we’d been talking.”

“Did they buy it?”

“If they did, it was an awfully long chat we had, and with everyone knowing our history, it’s not exactly believable.” I sipped more of my Cola.

That night Jaime and I both attended a meal at Est Est Est on the quayside in Newcastle to reunite friends who had supposedly lost touch. What followed was a night of lustful glances, longingful glazes, and several strong cocktails containing flavours of vodka I never even knew existed. (Orange, Vanilla and Spice Vodka anyone?)


“So whats the deal with you and Jaime?” Aspen asked me at the end of the table, where the guys were sat.

“What do you mean?” He looked like he already knew.

“Come on Noah, this is our group of friends...news spreads fast.”

“Well, what do you want me to say? It was only a bit of ‘festive fun’. Nothing serious.” I was saying, exactly what I thought Jaime wanted to hear.

“Are you sure you see it like that?”

He had a point. I pondered for a second. “Yes...” To be honest, I was unsure. And I knew I looked it. There it was, the frown that gave it all away. Aspen raised an eyebrow. "Well? What are you getting for desert?"

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"Slumber Party"

After my brush with depression, alcohol induced of course, and before my visit home for the Holidays, I decided it was time to get in touch with Faye. I had sent her some not so favourable text messages during my stint in Rehab (the club, not the clinic.)

“They were something along the lines of ‘I hate myself. Why am I a cunt?’ It was such a bad idea.” I told A.

She responded with: “Well, yeah, they do sort of make you out to be a manic depressive.”

“Not too attractive then, eh?”

That night, along with A, Alyson and others, including Faye, we decided on another late in Oceana.

“I’m surprised we’re not all sick of Oceana yet.” Faye told the group, charmingly, in her Northern Irish accent.

“Yeah, we should really all branch out after Christmas.” I replied, downing the rest of my pre-night-out home made cocktail I liked to call a ‘Leedtini’. “There’s got to be smoky, little, jazz clubs somewhere and I’d love to go to a comedy club too!”

“I’d be up for that,” Christian chipped in, buttoning his shirt on what would be his first night out in almost a month.

“Well then, it’s a plan. No backing out now, you’ve made a commitment...” I poured slightly more vodka into my plastic Halloween cocktail glass, “...a verbal contract of sorts.” I liked to think I knew what I was talking about.

After going straight from the taxi to skipping the line and straight into the club, all of us were feeling the effects of those ‘Leedtini’s. Later, I asked myself: had it been those very cocktails that had later come back to haunt me? As usual we headed straight to the bar, where Faye managed to charm an older guy into using his wristband offering free drinks all night. Score. Grinding, dancing, and many-a-kisses followed until too many free drinks later, we stumbled back to our flats, luckily, both adjacent of each other.

“Before I even knew what was going on,” I explained to Aspen over the phone the next day, “she was half-undressed, falling asleep under my covers. And as I lay next to her, I couldn’t help but feel the urge to throw up. I mean, it wasn’t her, obviously, or she wouldn’t be in my bed, but I’m still blaming those shitty homemade cocktails. I had a bucket next to my bed all night, just in case.”

“So you didn’t do the deed?” Aspen asked.

“No, because that would have been unethical Aspen.”

We woke up the next morning, spooning, and not in the least bit feeling slightly awkward.

“I need to go.” And with that she was gone. I turned over and went back to sleep. Waking up later that afternoon, I looked around and saw her possessions. I guess I had my own ‘walk of shame’ to do. I gathered her stuff, including clothes and shoes, and took them to her flat. Knocking on the door, her flatmate answered.

“Hey, I just have some of Fiona’s stuff.” I said, most probably blushing.

“Faye!!” She shouted. “Haha, what exactly did you come home in this morning Faye?”

I hung around for a while, making small talk, mostly about how long we’d both slept after she left. Normality: I liked it.

Later that night I got to thinking: could you ever really sleep with someone without actually ‘sleeping’ with them? Was it an act that brought people closer together, because, after all, it is one of the most vulnerable states you can be in around someone?

Several days later and I was homeward bound on the train for my family’s annual Christmas and New Year celebrations. I got a text from her telling me she’d had the best night’s sleep in a long time when she’d slept with me, without actually ‘sleeping’ with me. I still had it.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

"Three Times A Fool"

It’s been said that Rehab is a humbling place...I just found it depressing. Rehab, a club in Leeds, holds an 80’s night every Monday. 80p entrance fee, 80p Vodka and Coke’s, and 80’s music: who could theoretically ask for anything more?

One Monday night, I’d made plans with Elsey and a fellow Noah to check out Rehab, Noah2 knew people who worked the doors there, and of course, we jumped the line. Inside I noticed the over-obvious flirting between Elsey and Noah2. “Oh great, third wheeling tonight, again!” I thought to myself.

Over at the bar, where I had downed two, albeit small, Vodka and Cokes I looked over and Noah2 and Elsey were looking particularly close. I motioned them over and we hit the dance floor, where they flirted more and I bumped into some friends. I made small talk, and Noah2 and Elsey headed to a sofa. I followed with my drink, and turned to see them in a lip-lock. “Oh jeez.”

“Guys, I’m not feeling too good. I’m going to head home.”

“Are you sure? We’ll come.” Elsey offered.

“No, no! You stay, have a good time! Enjoy the madness of it all. I’ll see you later.” And with that I took off, out of the club, and towards the train station. Once I got to the train station, I debated a taxi. “No, I’ll walk.” It would clear my head I thought. But as I walked along Wellington Street, I couldn’t help but feel something was wrong with me.

“All of my life I’ve never been successful in relationships. I’ve always been the wingman...the third wheel. Why? What the fuck is wrong with me?” I thought to myself. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” The swearing wasn’t doing anything, but I felt it was needed.

“I must be ugly. Unattractive. Not just looks, but as a person too. That must be why no one likes me. I have a slight double chin. My face isn’t totally symmetrical. My eyes are more blue grey than piercing blue.” Maybe I’d hit depression. Or maybe it was the Vodka, as is usually the case. Or could it be that my ‘friends’ had taken advantage of my good willed nature and my proneness to partying (it was probably my only vice) one too many times?

So, about a month back, I introduced my flatmate A to Ben. They hit it off and I saw they had chemistry. I was pleased I had been successful in my unintentional match making. On several more nights out, A had invited me, knowing Ben would be there (they’d been texting). And of course I’d go, it’s good to get out and socialise. It would result in more of their flirting and I’d be by myself, looking on, or looking out for potential dates. Result? Not so much.

“I think I like Ben, does he like me?” A confided and asked, after their third ‘date’ to which I had again played wingman to both.

“Um, I think he might do. Should I enquire?” See, I could be a good friend.

Several nights later I was cooking with Alison and we began discussing the whole A and Ben situation. “I just feel like they’re using me to make it seem like we’re all still friends while they discover more about each other. Like I’m the excuse they keep meeting. Why don’t they just go on a date? Isn’t that what normal people do?” I told Alison, whilst preparing chicken breasts.

“I get it Noah. They want to make it seem like they don’t like each other and therefore want to be with you so it seems all friendly and shit.”

“Fucking exactly.” I paused. “My language is terrible!”

The final straw came when I had managed to persuade Alison to join A, Ben and I on what would be their fourth ‘date’. “OK, but only if you buy me a drink.”

“Deal! I think tonight is the night they actually kiss, and maybe more.”

And boy I wasn’t wrong. As Alison and I made a bar run, she received a text from A: “We’re going back to Ben’s.” Alison and I rolled our eyes at each other.

“Even we knew their intentions for tonight so why even bother making us come to this God forsaken place just to ditch us and leave us here?” I told her in the taxi on the way home.

“Well, that is true. But I kind of liked it there.”

“Oh, you would!” I said, laughing.

A couple of days later, after A and Ben had slept together, I told A that I was no longer responsible for chaperoning their dates. She told me she wasn’t even sure she liked him, and she that she was confused. “Ok. Well. I’m shitty with advice.” I didn’t want to get any more involved, Ben was already convinced I was trying to sabotage their non-relationship.

After all of this, I couldn’t help but ask: had I become vulnerable to being considered the foolish wingman? Why had I been relied on so heavily in these two situations? At the end of the day, it wasn’t going to be me who would be getting laid was it?

I could answer one of my questions though: Noah1 is nobody’s fool, and won’t be treated as such. Find a new chaperone guys and girls, Noah Austin is out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"Season of Love?"

There are several sure fire signs that Christmas-is-a-comin’. For one, the red Christmas cups are now available at Starbucks. As is the Christmas menu, which includes my addiction: the Eggnog Latte. Another sign is the Big Issue vendors who have now started wearing Santa hats in an attempt to get people to give that £1.50 for a magazine most won’t even read. “Merry Christmas, Sir!” Slightly early, I thought to myself, but it was from the heart.

Fast forward to that evening and I was in Oceana, partying, again. Faye was there, but had to leave early as she was on placement at a primary school the next morning. After a few sly, short kisses, she said she was leaving.

“Why do you always text me at five and six o’clock in the morning?” I asked her, in an attempt to make her stay longer.

“Because I want some!” She replied, with no hesitation and a raised eyebrow. She turned and walked out.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I said, as I watched her walk away. Maybe she expected me to follow her, opening an invitation for her bedroom and my Durex, or maybe she was just ‘throwing it out there’.

The next morning I woke with a steaming hangover, not remember much more of the events from the night before after Faye had left. I came out of my bedroom and made myself a cup of tea. Christian was in his room, playing PS2. I sat myself down on his bed.

“Hey dude, good night last night?” He asked.

“Um, yeah, from what I remember. I don’t even know when, or how, I got home.”

“It was about 4ish, you didn’t wake me, don’t worry. I was getting some work out of the way.” What was he, I thought to myself? A drug dealer? A pimp? Who works at 4am? “You and Faye then?”

“What about me and Faye?” I responded, in mock shock, thinking he was referring to the Trojans on my shelf.

He rolled his eyes. “You must know that she has her eyes on you to be her boyfriend.”

Oh shit. “You think? I thought she just wanted, you know, friends with benefits. I don’t even think I want a relationship. I can just about deal with my own life, never mind having to deal with anyone else’s. Nah, she can’t want a relationship. She doesn’t.” Then it dawned on me. “Oh shit, she does.” I was trailing on. I was possibly still drunk.

“Noah, dude, chillax.” Christian was forever coming out with stupid little phrases like that. “You’ll need to decide whether you want to be with her, because she definitely wants to be with you. It wouldn’t be fair to string her along.”

“Wow. Philosophical.”

The next night, and still slightly hung-over, I played host to our very own flat party. A very inebriated Faye was in attendance. I had decided to analyse her signals. I had to work out: Faye...friend or girlfriend?

“Why do you never talk to me except when you’re drunk?” She slurred, in her very sexy Northern Irish accent I might add. Girlfriend.

I chose my words wisely. “It’s you. I always talk. You only ever seem to text me when you’re drunk.” I grinned.

“That’s not true.” She replied, playfully punching my shoulder. Friend. She lay back on my bed, eyeing me up. Girlfriend. “Can I borrow your belt?” Friend.

“Sure.” I rolled my eyes, and she kissed me goodbye, in a non-friend, but definite girlfriend, type of way. Girlfriend.

A day later, with Faye still playing on my mind, and after an expensive lunch in a Tapas bar with a course mate, I was pre-Christmas Christmas shopping. You know, looking at potential gifts for others, in hope of finding something for yourself. Looking at the fragrances, I smelt something familiar. It was ‘The One’ by Dolce & Gabbana. I had bought it for Ella last Christmas. Sentimental, sexy and understated. It reminded me of everything I had ever liked about Ella. I picked it up and sprayed it onto a test card. I fingered the simple, golden logo that was printed on the bottom of the card. This time last year Aidan and I were shopping for our respective girlfriends. The only difference now was that Aidan and Skye had made another year, where as Ella and I only managed three more months. I slid the card into my back pocket, and left the store.

Several streets and too much money later, Ella was still on mind. I needed to shake this. I dumped my purchases back at the flat, changed into my joggers, grabbed my iPod and went jogging. Was I hoping that maybe I could run away from the memory of Ella? I went to wipe a bead of sweat from under my nose, and ‘The One’ lingered on my hand. I had a thought: maybe it was time to talk to her.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

"On The List"

It was a couple of nights later and several of my friends, including Hayley Carmienti, who is also in Leeds, and I went to the biggest club in Leeds, Oceana. Oceana boasts around six bars on four different themed floors, from Boudoir, the sexy bar with beds and drapes, to the Aspen Ski Lodge with real life log fire, and more impressively a New York disco, complete with a mirrored and fluorescently lit dance floors. Faye was there that night, but with a different set of friends. We had since been around each other, but only as friends. However, there was always flirting; from my part at least. I rarely misread ‘the signals’, but I still had to ask: was this feeling I felt mutual?

“I rarely venture to a club or bar without being ‘on the list’.” I told an old friend in Newcastle over the phone, while I contemplated new clothes in Harvey Nichols in Leeds. “It sounds pretentious, but it’s not, it just makes life a hell of a lot easier.” No que-ing, sometimes no entry fee, always at least a reduced entry fee, and a hell-of-a-lot of the time V.I.P. access. What could possibly be so wrong about that? Oceana was no different this couple of nights later. Except, after all, a night out wouldn’t be a night out if it didn’t involve a soap star...this is Leeds we’re talking about.

After que-jumping and fee-jumping, we were in. It always felt better to be taking the V.I.P. staircase. As we toasted our first drinks, I cheekily smirked and decided dedicate it “to our connections.” We laughed and downed our free champagne. Even though I’d only been in Leeds less than a month, I’d made so many connections of people who work the doors, behind the bars, and on the promotional sides of things.

Several hours, as well as several vodka mixers, later, all eyes turned to the Grand Venetian Ball Room, where an ex-Australian-soap-star-turned-pop-star was due to sing. Hayley and I were next to the stage regardless and decided to stay. Throughout her set, the Oz soap-star singled me out of the audience, pointing to me, singing to me and giving me ‘the eyes’. After a quick flirt in a meet-and-great session she held in Boudoir, I was left feeling back in the game and with a confidence boost.

Vodka, Vodka, and more Vodka later, I locked eyes with Faye. Before I knew it, it wasn’t only our eyes that were locked. Not only were we kissing, passionately and intensely, but our hands were locked together, almost as if we were holding onto each other for life.

“It was kind of kinky.” I told Ben, who had fast become the guy I’d talk to about anything, in the same manner as I had done with Danny. He raised his eyebrow, looking up from a newspaper he was half-heartedly reading. “You didn’t let me finish, it was kind of kinky...in a weird way. There was definite lip biting from her.” I looked around the train station. He had agreed to wait for my train with me as he needed to buy tickets from the station anyway.

“That is kind of weird. Personally I’ve never enjoyed the lip biters.” He replied, turning a page. “I’ve never seen Starbucks so empty.”

“Quiet period? I sort of enjoyed it though?”

“What? A quiet Starbucks or the lip biting by Faye?”

“Well...both. But more so the lip biting.”

On the train back to Newcastle I had a lot of time to think. Had I become some sort of masochist? Maybe that could explain why I had started talking to Ella, and thinking about her an awful lot, again.

Stepping out onto the platform at Central Station in Newcastle, it felt like everything had changed yet nothing had changed at all. Everything was different, but everything was the same. Maybe most of the changes had occurred within me.

Hayley Carmientti and I plotted to surprise Kayla on her birthday, and it worked like a charm. She was surprised, and even reduced to some small tears. After climbing into taxis, we arrived in Newcastle. “Ah Newcastle” I thought to myself, “So good to be back.”...but something was up. It didn’t feel the same...could it be that for once I wasn’t on the list? That night all of our friendships were tested, especially when Aidan got angry, which made us all feel awkward, because it was for no apparent reason. Although, we did leave them waiting outside Mushroom Bar for half an hour, just as they did to us earlier in the evening after going to The Other Rooms to meet Aidan’s friend from work, without even telling us. Could this be the reason? Then, in the line for Liquid, we turned around and Skye and Aidan were gone.

“I haven’t seen them since. Skye texts me telling me I have to come back and visit, but what she doesn’t get is I have a life down here now. To be honest, I’d rather spend money on a good night out in Leeds than on a train fare back to Newcastle just to see her leave us without saying goodbye again.” I was getting worked up. I always do when it comes to Skye. “What’s stopping her from visiting me?” I told an uninterested course mate over a presentation we were working on in a library.

Maybe I should have taken Danny’s warning about my visit, but I was just so hopeful that things would be different. I had a thought, and I knew exactly why things were so unsuccessful. I’d moved away and I was the one who had changed. Whereas my friends back home hadn’t moved on, they hadn’t changed. I had to ask the question: when did friendships get so complicated? This wasn’t on my list of things I’d come to expect.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"Taking The Leeds"

“I am in Leeds.” I thought to myself, after unpacking my belongings and setting out on a walk with my new flatmates Christian and Alison. We walked for five minutes until we were in the main shopping area of Leeds. “I can’t believe I’m here.” I was right. I had made it. It was a fresh start.

A week of hard partying later, including several make out sessions with random girls I don’t remember the names of, “yes, that’s how I roll” I later joked with my flatmate Christian, I decided to take it easy. It had all caught up with me, and I needed to save money. So, in an attempt to do so, I threw myself into my work. I caught up with reading I’d fallen behind with and I began reviewing albums in hope of getting some work. I’d been told NME would give you £2-per-word. I could deal with that.

“I’m sick of staying in.” I told Danny over the phone. “I just want to go and explore, meet new girls, keep on looking, you know? What’s going on in Newcastle?”

“To be honest mate, you’re not missing much at home. It’s pretty stale, like nothing’s changed.”

“Well, next weekend I’ll be home for Kayla’s birthday, so that could be exciting.”

“Yeah, it could be. Just don’t get your hopes up.”

“Um...ok.” That was strange. “Well, my kettle is boiling, yes my kettle. Jeez. I’m like an old person now.” I hung up. What did he mean by that? Maybe he was just looking out for me I thought to myself.

One night, a few days later, several of my flatmates and me went to Gatecrasher. Pre-Gatecrasher, in my money-saving mode, I’d bought a bottle of red wine for £3 and thought it would be a brilliant idea for me to drink it before leaving.

Picture this: a dark room, too many glasses of red wine, followed by too many shorts of vodka.

“There was lots of kissing, some body shots; add a little dirty talk, and wallah, that was my night.” I told Danny the following day, missing an appointment because I was too busy nursing a hangover. “I just remember me taking a drink from my glass and her whispering to me: ‘Stop it! It’s not fair! You’re making me so horny!’ I was just like ‘um...thanks!’”

“Then what did you do?”

“Took another sip, and she told me to ‘Stop it!’...again! Girls down here sure are a lot more forward than in Newcastle, which is completely not what I expected. I had to ask: could I use this to my advantage?

Across the city, a few nights later, my new friends and I were in Halo. It was a church that had been converted into a nightclub, which must have clearly caused strict Christian groups to cry out “blasphemy.” Anyway, it was in Halo that I was introduced to Faye. At first I noticed her confidence more than anything. She wasn’t a slut, but knew how to work it on the dance floor. She had that sexy thing going on. We flirted with each other, and I felt ‘the spark’. It can’t be described, but you know it when you feel it.

That night I got home and I thought. I wondered if the girls in Leeds were more forward because they knew what they want. They took the lead, and got what they wanted, when they wanted. But if women could do it, why couldn’t I? Maybe I should take the lead, then that way I won’t have situations that reflect what happened with Kaci, my best friend dating her before I did, and Jaime, having Miguel think he felt more for her than I did.

Friday, September 21, 2007

"...Goodbye To You: The End Of The Beginning."

With my move to Leeds getting ever closer, I decided now would be the time to make final memories with friends and say proper goodbyes. Saycon Pittsburgh was the first to go, moving to Germany for a year after landing a job looking after children there. After a hop, skip, leaving party and final supper meal later, she was gone.

“Going, going...gone. It’s like one by one we’re all leaving...and things will never be the same.” I told Madeline over another one of our famous lunches, which involved very little lunch and a lot of cocktails.

Our conversation led us to adulthood. “I was talking to Danny, Skye and Aidan the other week and I was just like, how old are we? We were talking about bills, rent, and insurance. We’re adults now. I have a bank, with a big, BIG, overdraught!”

“It’s scary isn’t it?” She replied, knowing exactly what I was talking about.

There comes a time of year in Newcastle when you can feel the seasons change, almost as if it were clockwork. It was several mornings later, on my way to meet Madeline for breakfast at the Stateside Diner, that I felt this change. It was 8.55am and the air was crisp, no longer soft. I walked from Central Station to the Stateside Diner and noticed that, although the leaves were not necessarily orange, they were no longer green. I couldn’t help but think that I was in the middle of change.

Over breakfast, Madeline and I discussed change, our friends and lives. After my stack of pancakes and her mushroom omelette, we went shopping. We wandered, without aim, around the city, in what I thought of as my farewell tour of the city I love and know: Newcastle. We stopped at the Monument, and I looked around. This was my home. But a crisp breeze reminded me of changes – the change in Seasons, and the change I’m making in my life.

Although I knew that I’d be back, saying goodbye to Madeline made things feel final. We wished each other luck, hugged goodbye, and I took my final metro journey home.

“I can’t believe this is goodbye,” I thought to myself, while crossing a bridge that overlooked the Quayside. But this was, essentially, the end.

The next morning I packed up my car and set off for Leeds. It had taken days of packing, deliberating what to take, and saying goodbye to my friends and family, but I had done it. My place looked bare and empty, but it was clear that new memories for new people would be made just as I would make new memories in Leeds. The next chapter...well that’s still unwritten.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"I Heart Newcastle: The Beginning Of The End..."

There comes a point in everyone’s life where moving on is the only thing you can do. For me, that time is now. It took several trips to Ikea, in which I bought essentials for my new apartment, and the correspondence between my new landlord and myself for it to finally set in – I was leaving. An unofficial farewell night out with my old friends was thrown in the city on Thursday. Combined, I couldn’t help but ask the question: was this the beginning of the end?

Brooke picked me up and took me to her house, where Haley was waiting, ready to go...apparently. Of course when we got there, both decided to get changed and I was sat for another thirty minutes as my beer buzz wore off. Brooke reapplied her hair extensions and in a moment of boredom, I tried one of them on, giving me a mullet that could rival that of a guest’s on ‘The Jerry Springer Show’.

After hair extensions in, hair extensions out, hair extensions back in, jewellery on, jewellery off, jewellery back on, high shoes on, flat shoes on, high shoes back on, we finally climbed into Brooke’s 07 Mini One and headed into the city.

It seemed that the more vodka I drunk, the more positive comments I received about my new found blondness. I wasn’t complaining. One girl even told me I suited being blond more than I did my natural brown colour. “Um, thanks.” I answered, as if it were a question.

Seeing the many old faces, and noticing the faces that weren’t there, made me realise that we had all moved on, and were all ready for new challenge. Although we were able to move onto bigger and better things, there was always the feeling that we’d regroup and be able to share our experiences.

In my drunken state of mind I began contemplating my move to Leeds. With this contemplation, I had a thought: why was living in Newcastle so extraordinary? It was a question I brought to Madeline’s attention when we met for “lunch and cocktails” several days later.

“I just love Newcastle. I know it so well, I know the places to go, the places not to go. It’s just home.” She replied.

“I mean, where else would we know where to go for lunch and cocktails at 1pm for a reasonable price?” I replied, half laughing, half honest. I began thinking, once I had moved there would be no more spontaneous “lunch and cocktails” in the city, and Newcastle would no longer be a short bus ride away. My meetings with Madeline, in which we should share the new goings-on in our lives, would have to be planned months in advance.

I have argued for so long that Newcastle is great. I have always said that it combines the values of the North, which is the friendly atmosphere and community spirit, with a nightlife that could rival Hollywood or New York. New bars opened practically every week, and it seemed that there was something somewhere to suit individual’s tastes.

“I’m going to miss it so much,” I confided in Madeline. “It’s such an amazing city with such character and history.”

“Noah,” Madeline replied, sipping on her Margarita, “Leeds is great too, you know. They have the Corn Exchange and places like that, plus, the nightlife is meant to be amazing. So when I come down to visit, you’re definitely taking me out!”

Looking to the future made me think: was this really the beginning of the end? Sure enough, it was the beginning of the end; the end of one chapter in my life. But was this a case of the glass being half-empty or the glass being half-full? With the glass being half-full, I simply decided that now, it was the end of the beginning.

Monday, September 03, 2007

"A Little Older, A Little Wiser?"

My return from Barcelona brought some unwelcome questions that I hadn’t prepared answers for: What’s happening with you and Lyndsey? What’s happening with you and Jaime? What’s happening for your birthday?

My birthday was here and although I was a year older, I felt none the wiser when it came to women. Whilst sitting with Danny at breakfast one morning, I had a thought: what had I really learned about girls? That maybe I should turn gay. Well, maybe guys wouldn’t treat me as bad. Then again, although they treat me bad, and are confusing, I just can’t help but love the women.

“What have I really learnt in the past year about women?” I asked him.

He looked up from his bacon, eggs and baked beans, took a sip from his O.J. and said, “That you go for the cunts who treat you bad.” A woman with a child on the next table looked at him. “Fucking children.” He scowled at me.

“Well, I could have told you that. I honest to God think I'm no wiser than I was a year ago.”

A serious relationship, and several failed attempts at starting two serious relationships later; I was still getting burned by the girls I tried so hard not to get burned by. I had to think: was there any joy?

I looked at several of my friends. Samantha and Mark. Brooke and Brady. They had all managed to get into relationships, and find joy, and even love from them. How had they got it so right?

“Looking back,” I told Skye as I drove home from dinner with her, “every girl I’ve ever been with has been quite a bad experience.” Then I thought: maybe I had conditioned myself to not put myself out there fully and embrace the love that could be. “Ella was just a whole negative experience in itself. She was everything I wasn’t, and that just didn’t work for me. Jaime, well, she played me, and now she fucking wants me to go to lunch with her, just as ‘friends…or whatever.’ And Lyndsey, well, she blanked me on holiday.”

“Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from. But you can’t just give up. There’s someone out there Noah.” Ah, good old faithful Kayla: The eternal optimist. She’d found love at an early age, well, fifteen, and has been with him for the next four years. Her optimist was contagious.

“I guess so. But Jesus Christ why the stress?” I arrived at her house and told her I’d see her tomorrow. I was planning to be her guest, using her gym membership in a bid to lose weight and get fit for my move to Leeds. Maybe a toned, muscular Noah would attract new girls.

9am the next morning. “Hey. Lying on the beach getting a tan. Mwahaha. What the weather like there? Raining? What you up to? X” – It was Jaime. Didn’t she get I didn’t really want to talk to her? Maybe she didn’t get it because I actually did want to talk to her. I still liked her, but the Miguel situation still played on my mind.

Logging onto Facebook, which is pretty much the new MySpace, I saw Lyndsey’s status. Her summer was apparently over and she wasn’t happy about it.

“It’s probably because she missed out on your Summer Lovin’ Noah.” Danny texted me.

“Shut up! That’s just corny!” I closed my phone. The sun shone in my garden as I stood out there drinking a mug of coffee. I had a thought: maybe that’s all Lyndsey was – a summer romance that never was. But I had wanted so much for it to be, and it wasn’t. I knew I hadn’t tried hard enough.

So, the only thing I could figure out was that, although a little older, I certainly wasn’t a little wiser. Unanswered questions don’t bode well for a ‘wise Noah’.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

"Escape to Barcelona"

After avoiding instant messages, phone calls and text messages from Jaime, I decided I needed to take ‘Operation Complete Ignorance Will Make The Situation Go Away’ up a step and I booked myself on a flight to Barcelona and stayed there for four days. Thank God for family living abroad, in particular my self-proclaimed “fabulous” gay brother.

So after a morning, and some of the afternoon, spent either in an airport, or airborne, I landed in the city of Barcelona. “I am ready to forget England and my drama there,” I told myself. After a bus ride from the airport, in which my brother had told me I’d gotten fat, I arrived at my brother’s apartment. We decided to drop my luggage off and then head down to a café come bar and meet up with his friend Diannah.

She was an African beauty, who was a one-time actress and had guest starred in many of Britain’s most famous dramas, such as ‘Casualty’ and ‘Eastenders’. Now, she teaches English to Spanish adults, while being hungover from the night before.

“Hi daahhrling! It’s great to meet you!” She greeted me in an accent that was so clearly exaggerated, but so clearly worked, as she kissed both of my cheeks. “Is it too early for wine?” She asked, ordering red wine with tonic.

My brother and I looked at each other, my brother almost telepathically telling me ‘I did warn you.’ She went onto talk about how she is playing two guys, French Marvin, and a guy called Dan. French Marvin is “lovely” but Dan has the “most perfect penis in the world.”

After spending the day in my brother’s boyfriend’s salon, I decided that I wanted to celebrate my new blondness, and wanted to test the theory that blonds have more fun, I decided to see what Barcelona’s night scene had to offer.

That night we had a Columbian meal, which included several hefty glasses of fine red wine. Half-buzzed, my brother and I headed to Diannah’s apartment, where more alcohol was consumed. Even more was consumed on our walk to the bar where we met more of their friends.

Several vodka and mixers in the first bar, with measures triple the size of what I'm used to, later, we merrily rolled along to ‘Club Mondo’. Along with Diannah, my brother and me, were about five Scottish friends of theirs. They’d all worked in Barcelona for the Summer, but were soon to return home. French Marvin and his friends were there, as was Albert, an American man who had managed to get us VIP Guest list in several bars.

‘Club Mondo’, a bar that overlooked Barcelona’s famous harbour, was beautiful, and it truly made you feel like a VIP. Of course, with this came VIP prices, so my brother and I shared several more Vodka and Mixers, along with a drink or two American Albert had scored for Diannah, who decided she wasn’t drinking that night.

We spent the night dancing, and I lost my self in what Barcelona had to offer. Jaime, Lyndsey and all the drama from England were gone. I was happy just to be in my brother’s company and having a great night. I had a thought: was a new hair colour, and escape to Barcelona, alcohol, and dancing all it took to let this drama go? Was it because I was in a new country that I decided I didn’t need old drama? Whatever it was, my night was drama free.

Several more Spanish cocktails followed in a new club ‘City Hall’ and the club closed. It was 4am.

“NO! I don’t want to go home. The night is young…C’est la vie! ...No...I mean Carpe Diem!” I swayed, whilst American Albert handed me a can of beer. “I love it here! I want to experience full Barcelona!”

“I know Noah, but I'm tired. We’re going to the Picasso museum in six hours time!” My brother pleaded. It was no use. I was a lost cause.

“Fuck Picasso! I want to party!” I began dancing under a marquee outside the ‘City Hall’ club.

“Listen, if you want you go home, I’ll look after Noah.” Diannah told my brother.

“No, I'm staying with him.”

We ended up at some house party where a pretentious young girl from London tried to make us think she knew what she was talking about…she didn’t.

“I'm tired. Let’s go.” I said to my brother. It was 7.30am. While we were leaving the grande apartment that seemed to have a million rooms, I ran into one of the kitchens, grabbed the Doritos, and ran. Diannah and my brother followed.

We stopped at a café that had just opened for the day: Diannah ordering a glass of wine, my brother a coffee, and me an iced coffee. We got home at 8.30am and I paid the price for the next two days.

“I’ve never vomited so much in my life. It was just constant. I couldn’t keep anything down.” I told Danny when I got home. “But hey, I lost four pounds. And that’s good considering I’ve put on twelve since May.”

“Well, what’s good is bad and what’s bad is good.” He told me.

“What the fuck is that? That’s not a saying!” I laughed. I knew what he meant, every cloud has a silver lining. And maybe my drama in England was my escape to Barcelona. And my escape to Barcelona was my great night out. After all, it had been an escape after my break-up with Ella that had helped me out. Was escaping the new dealing head on with your problems? It was an interesting thought.

“So what are you doing for your birthday next week?” Danny asked me.

“Good question…”

Monday, August 20, 2007

"Someday We'll Know - Part Two"

Someday we’ll know if love can move a mountain. Someday we’ll know why the sky is blue. Someday we’ll know why I wasn’t meant for you.

“Oh great, Kiri is by herself.” I told Skye, whilst in my head debating whether I should go back – not only wanting to save Kiri but to have things out with Jaime, to find out where I stood, truthfully. “Aidan, stop the car! I'm getting out!” It was all quite dramatic.

“No Noah, you’re staying. You can’t go back by yourself.” Skye insisted.

“Kiri’s by herself. I'm not going back to see Jaime. Why would I want to? She’ll probably just hurt me more.” I lied again. Well sort of. Part of me was going back to see Jaime, even though I knew that it would probably hurt me more.

Aidan pulled over and I jumped out. I ran back to StoneLove @ Digital where we had been and went back in. I look all over for Jaime and Kiri. I couldn’t see them anywhere. I looked for Madeline but also couldn’t see her.

“Great!” I thought to myself. “No good deed truly does go unpunished.”

I left StoneLove and went into The Other Rooms, which is next door. There Kiri was, sat with the Carmientti twins.

“I'm so sorry I told you that. I just didn’t want to see you be made a fool of.” Hayley gushed.

“It’s alright. I’d rather know now than when I got into a relationship with her.” Another lie. It wasn’t all right. It was almost as if she told me, not expecting it to effect me. I just couldn’t help but feel I might have been over-exaggerating, something confirmed by Brooke, who told me to “get over it. You two go on about stuff but you never do anything about it.” To which I told her to, quite bluntly, “shut the fuck up.”

I decided that I needed to speak to Jaime. I texted her, after seeing several missed calls from her, and said: “I got out of the car. Where are you? I think we need to speak.”

After what felt like an hour of waiting for a reply, I made my way to the taxi rank with Kiri. It was good just to forget about the situation and talk about our future, especially with Kiri since our views on stuff are quite similar. And as the taxi made its way over the Tyne Bridge, with the Quayside lit up the way it was, I couldn’t help but feel a little cathartic. Talk of the future, that nights events with Jaime, and just knowing I’d been anonymous in a new city – it made me feel like I was ready to move on.

Was it this that would make it easier for me to move on? What was it that made me know that I'm ready to start again? It was an interesting thought.

The next morning, or should I say afternoon, Madeline and I went into the city and had a late, late breakfast; and over my pancakes with syrup and waffles and syrup, I told her about the events of the night before. Surrounded by Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean memorabilia, Madeline nodded, and was supportive, which is what I felt I needed more than anything. It was then that I had a thought: I was really going to miss these random trips into the city. Everytime we saw each other was like a catch-up, but it felt as though we’d never been apart. Would things change after I leave?

As I settled down for an early night, I just couldn’t help but think that someday I’ll know why these things happen - if love can move a mountain, why the sky is blue, and why I wasn’t meant for you.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

"Someday We'll Know - Part One"

Another night, and it was another celebration. I’d found out that my planned move to Leeds for university was successful and I was leaving September 22nd. So, I gathered a group of my friends, who were also celebrating, and we headed into the city to toast the future.

I had met up with Skye and her boyfriend/might as well be fiancé Aidan. Aidan was driving so Skye and I slowly got drunker and drunker, opting for cocktails. After drinking several Cosmopolitans, followed by a Mango Margarita, I had successfully persuaded Skye to leave Aidan for the night and spend a night on the town with me.

“Noah I'm scared. This is my first time out ever without Aidan.” She confessed to me as we walked to the next bar.

“Don’t worry. You’re in safe hands. I'm a veteran.” I reassured her. To her credit, it must have been nerve wracking, especially since Aidan was almost like her security blanket. After arriving at the next bar and meeting and introducing more friends to Skye, I texted Madeline. “We have a breakthrough! Skye is out without Aidan!! See you later! XX”

As more drinks flowed, so did my emotions. It was then I saw Jaime. Since our night at her house where things got hot and heavy, we’d barely spoken, with the exception of a text here and there. We’d both been busy and we both have lives. Sometimes that just happens, I told myself. My friend Lauren had visited from London so Ashley and I had spent from Friday to Tuesday entertaining her and showing her the sights and sounds of the North East of England. We’d played football in the park, rented movies, been the beach. It was a good weekend. So when I saw her, it felt good. I asked her where she was heading after the current bar, Huxters.

“I'm not sure, probably just see where everyone else heads too.”

“Well, I’ll be at StoneLove at Digital, so yeah, look for me if you go there.”

We kissed goodbye and my friends and I moved onto StoneLove. There we met up Madeline, her boyfriend Adam, and their friends Curry and Lucy. Lucy was a fashion designer/photographer, whose style was reminiscent of the ‘bohemian chic’ Mary-Kate Olsen, and Curry was her roommate who worked with Adam. Both nice, warm and friendly…but that could have been the poppers.

It is said that the truth is sometimes only told when you’re under the influence, but what excuse do the sober people have? It was after the Jack Daniels, but before the Absolut, that Hayley Carmientti told me the truth about Jaime.

Standing at the bar, having just ordered an Absolut & Coke, Hayley walked over to me.

“Oh yeah, Jaime was going to sleep with Miguel on Tuesday. The only thing that stopped her was that they didn’t have any condoms.”

How was I meant to process this information? Was I thankful for Hayley telling me? She later said that she only told me because she didn’t want me to be made a fool of. But thanks to her telling me, I had all sorts of questions running through my head.

I later asked Ashley whether I was over-reacting, to which she replied: “No, fair enough you aren’t technically together, but you just don’t do that if you’re, you know, in the process.” Good answer.

“You know what Hayley, I don’t need this.” I grabbed my drink, Skye and Madeline and headed to the dance floor. I joined Madeline for a cigarette outside, choosing to passively smoke, knowing she wouldn’t encourage my social smoking.

“Noah, please cheer up. I know this has happened, but don’t let it ruin your night.” She told me. It was true, this summer had been one of the best of my lives – I was successful in everything I tried. I had been so lucky! And I know Madeline, probably more than anyone, was the most proud of me.

“It’s not that. I won’t,” I lied. “I'm just so fucking hungry.”

The clock struck one and I walked Skye to Aidan’s car. “Fuck this. I'm going home. I'm not going to enjoy myself.” I climbed into Aidan’s car, and while doing so, I finally got service on my phone, and a flood of text messages came in.

Jaime – “Where are you? I'm coming now. XX” She obviously hadn’t received my obligatory ‘thanks for ruining my night!’ text. I replied telling her I was in the car, going home after a shit night out.

Kiri – “Please don’t leave me. Samantha and her boyfriend have left me by myself. Where are you?”

I thought to myself ‘oh great, not only is Jaime on her way, but I’ve abandoned Kiri and she’s on her own’. What a great night this was shaping up to be…

Thursday, August 09, 2007

"The Ball Game"

Some have said that summer simply isn’t summer without a visit to the beach. Lucky for my friends and I, the beach was a ten-minute drive away. So, after a ten-minute drive, in which my air conditioning wasn’t sufficient, we arrived at the beach – we being me, the Carmientti twins, Brooke’s boyfriend Brady, and Saycon. We met Jaime in the fairground and our trip to the beach soon turned in a trip to the fairground followed by the beach.

“Well, looks like we’re in a cart together. I really don’t fancy driving.” I told Jaime, as the others conveniently paired with each other leaving Jaime and I alone. Several fairground rides later we found ourselves on the beach, the very place I’d come to when contemplating my relationships with Lyndsey and Jaime.

“Make. Your. Move.” Brooke whispered to me, as Brady, her and I wandered ahead.

“Tell her to butt out,” Brady added, before kissing her, apologetically.

I smiled. The truth was: I wanted to make a move. But it just felt so forced and awkward knowing that I had an audience. I didn’t want to declare my feelings for Jaime as if I were on stage, delivering lines from some Shakespeare play, whilst having my performance and stage technique being critiqued by the audience (Saycon, Hayley, Brooke and Brady). But before I knew it, the trip to the fairground followed by the beach had come and gone, as had mine and Jaime’s awkward goodbyes. I was in my car driving home

“It just didn’t feel right, you know, having everyone watching. It was like being under the microscope, and I didn’t like the feeling that maybe someone was judging me.” I told Saycon before taking her back to her house.

“Yeah, Noah. You just have to do what you think is right. Don’t let anyone else influence you.”

Although I’d always tried not to let people influence me, was this a prime example of what I had learned was social influence? Social influence: having an action or decision influenced by society. It was an interesting thought.

On my arrival at home, my SidekickII told me, “New Message.” It was Jaime.

“Hey there. Do you fancy coming to mine tonight for some food? Jaime xxx”

“Sure! I love the food! How is 7.30? Noah xxx”

“7.30’s good. See you then. Jaime xxx”

I immediately dialled Kayla. “Kayla. Guess where I'm going tonight?” I didn’t give her the chance to answer. “Jaime’s house. I'm kind of nervous.”

“You are? I'm so excited for you. So is it like a date?” She asked.

“Oh wow, I don’t know. I guess so, I mean, what else could it be?”

“So why are you going round? What are you gonna do round there?”

“She invited me for ‘food’ but since she has the house to herself I'm guessing it’s more of a ‘food and…’ situation.”

“Well, have fun. Let me know how it goes!”

So at 7.25pm I took the five minute drive from mine to hers and I arrived, baring no gifts. And there our ‘is-it-a-date’ date ensued. We said our hellos and small, but pleasant, talk followed.

“So what’s on the menu for tonight?” I asked.

“Well, I haven’t made anything yet but I'm thinking maybe just pasta and a sauce?”

“Oh yeah, sounds good. I’ll get to help too.”

More conversation followed, and as did a bottle of red wine, which I drank over half of, telling myself it would take the edge off…off of what I do not know. Jaime, however, stuck to the water, trying to detox herself after a wild week.

It was the morning after the night before that I had spent at Jaime’s and my good friend Ashley came by my house and I drove us to the park. There, amongst families and lovers, two good friends talked about the night before.

“So, come on, spill,” Ashley teased.

“Well, we kissed and,” Ashley cut me off.

“You kissed? What base did you get too?”

“What base did I get to?” What was I? A fourteen year old all-American boy? “I don’t even understand how that works.”

“Well, first base is kissing, second base is hands, third base is mouth, and forth base is all the way.”

“Ok, well second base. There was a lot of groping. Like, one second we were watching ‘What About Brian’ on TV, and the next we were kissing. We kissed sitting up. We kissed standing up. We kissed lying down, me on top of her, her on top of me. And we kissed spooning on her sofa, before nearly falling asleep. Let’s just say that it was hard to control myself.” I later told Aspen that my balls were practically blue by the time I got home. I was sure this was something that Ashley, or Kayla, or even Madeline would have appreciated.


Driving home though, I thought to myself why hadn’t things gone further? Why hadn’t I hit my blue balls out of the park and ran like my life depended on it to forth base? There was just a sexual chemistry I felt that night, but what I did know was that this ball game definitely wasn’t over.

Monday, August 06, 2007

"Confusion in Clarity"

Back in January Aspen, Jayden and I had booked a holiday to Magaluf on the Spanish island of Mallorca. It was sort of a celebration of finishing the academic year and an excuse to have no-strings sex with no repercussions. I’d been told to expect tacky beyond belief, with the usual violent riots at 5am…and that I expected. But once there, it was a lot less tacky and a lot less violent than my expectations had led me to believe. Magaluf consisted of foam parties, raves, popcorn parties, raves, foam parties, vodka, raves, stripclubs, and even more raves. Getting home, the inevitable question was asked by all of my friends.

“Look, the closest I came to having sex was a European kiss on each cheek from a Spanish lady I spoke to in Spanish for a couple of minutes.”

The truth was, Aspen began speaking to her in English, before I realised that she was Spanish and chipped in with what little Spanish I knew. Before bidding her farewell with “Adios Bonita!”

However, how I’d planned Magaluf was a lot different to how it actually turned out. Lyndsey was going to be there on our last night, so; clearly we were both thinking something would happen. But it didn’t.

“I only saw her for five minutes and I felt like she blanked me.” I told my good friend Charlotte. We’d known each other since birth, our mothers being childhood best friends.

“Really. That’s shit.”

“Yeah. Tell me about it. So, I’ve made a conscious decision. It’s time to get over Lyndsey…and get under Jaime.” It’s true, Jaime and I shared a history, and I do prefer the blondes.

A couple of nights after my return from Magaluf, a not-so-tanned Danny and a newly tanned me shared a few beers whilst watching a late night game of baseball. “Do you not think part of your appeal to Lyndsey was the gimmick of it being Danny and Sandy?”

“No…she was hot.” I replied, shrugging off Danny’s very interesting point. But I had a thought: could Danny actually be right? What did I actually know about Lyndsey? I knew that she owned a dildo. I knew that she couldn’t pass her driving test. But was this enough information for me to validate my attraction to her?

The next morning I got into my car and drove. I just drove…and carried on driving until I ended up at the beach. So, there I sat on a sand dune, watching this great, vast ocean, crashing onto the shore. It was there I thought. I thought about my whole relationship with Jaime. What we’d gone through. How I’d really never stopped thinking about her. How she was the most passionate kisser I’d ever kissed. And how she was honest and kind and genuine and open. And my mind was made up. It was time to stop messing around, trying to win both Lyndsey and Jaime, and I set my sights on the prize, Jaime.

I knew that it had been something that I’d been working towards for two years, even if it had been subconsciously. Even after she broke up with me, and I stopped talking to her, it didn’t mean that I had stopped thinking about her. All I wanted now was to kiss someone, be passionate with someone, walk hand-in-hand with someone…and just enjoy someone’s company. It was almost like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, a sort of moment of clarity, and in that moment my decision had been made.

As I drove home though, I was forced to ask the question: if we got into a relationship, how would it be shaped by the big changes about to take place in both of our lives? We were both moving away in September to different places, and I’d never been a fan of long-distance relationships. Plus, I’d heard rumblings she still had another guy in her life…Miguel. Since I’d chosen to get over Lyndsey, would I have to ask Jaime to choose too?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

"...I Can Do Better!"

The morning after the night before. “Wow. Am I still drunk?” I stumbled as I tried to get out of bed. “Take that as a yes.”

The next thing I know is I'm standing with Aspen while he questions me over my antics with Lyndsey the night before.

“So, you and Lyndsey eh? What’s going on there?”

“Um. Nothing? I'm so embarrassed. Seriously man, I just can’t believe I walked up to her and was like, ‘you fancy a date?’ It’s such dick head behaviour. I bet I see her today and it’s all awkward.”

“It’ll be alright. Just try and get her into bed and all awkwardness will be gone.”

“Yeah. If only it were that easy.”

Sure enough, who comes walking past but Lyndsey. “I can’t ignore her. But it’s gonna be awkward.” We locked eyes, each taking what seemed like that split second before we met to consider our plans of action on what to do.

“Just say ‘Hey’.” Aspen advised – he must have noticed the intensity in my eyes.

“Hey.” I said, with a slight smile, and all bleary-eyed.

“Hey.” She carried on walking, not that I expected her to stop. Her awkward smile said it all.

“It wasn’t that hard, was it?”

“Well…”

A few weeks later, after constant texting to her, we found ourselves on a double date, with my friend Simon, and her friend Ashleigh. The movies.

“The cliché first date or what?” I texted Danny…his reply? “LOL!” I had told him that I’d sworn off movie-dates, they were awkward, and didn’t allow conversation They also didn’t allow the ever so helpful SOS texts/phone calls, that can be made, say in a bar, or restaurant, or anywhere else where mobile telephone devices can actually be used. Not that it needed to be used. But there I was, in Row H, Seat 23, with Lyndsey, Simon and Ashleigh, watching Pirates of the Caribbean 3, regardless to the fact I hadn’t seen the first two.

There were the usual awkward glances at each other, occasional whisperings of “Erm…I really don’t understand what’s going on” to which she would reply “Yeah, me neither.” Followed by a giggle.

“All night I was thinking ‘should I reach for her hand? Should I use the ‘yawn-and-arm-stretch’ that worked oh-so-well in Grease?’ but yeah, it wasn’t that bad. It went alright. You could sense the awkwardness of it all though. I was just glad to get home. I'm sure Ashleigh and Simon were expecting me to land one on her or something, the way they kept leaving us alone, and then slyly watching us.” There was a pause as the waiter arrived. “Can I just get the Caesar salad with chicken please? Oh, and a coke? Thanks.”

“And I’ll have the same thanks. So, you think it’ll go much further?” Danny asked.

“Um, I don’t see why not. I mean, she’s still talking to me, so that’s a good sign. Plus we’re both going to be in Spain at the same time, so better opportunity than ever to see what happens.”

The next week was possibly the biggest date in the school’s social calendar – Prom. It would be the final time the Class of 2007 would all be together, with the exception of the miscreants who had decided Prom ‘wasn’t for them’, mainly because they’d been too lazy to meet the deadline, or, simply enough, they were happy enough to exclude themselves and had no real friends anyway.

So, after a drunken limo ride, reminiscent of Prom two years ago, I stumbled out of the limo drunk, to have several formal photos taken and personal photos with friends too. The champagne had hit me hard, as per usual. As the night went on, I seemed to get drunker, and rowdier. And as awards were presented, the more pissed-off I became, noticing I hadn’t won, or even been nominated.

“Didn’t they see my performance in Grease? And he, he who played Kenickie, a minor character, was nominated for the West End award? Do they know who I am?”

I don’t even think I knew who I was, let alone expecting anyone else to. But after my outburst, I began to sober with the onset of food. This is when the Carmientti twins began telling me about Jaime. She wanted to kiss me, apparently. So, Jaime and I danced, and danced, while she drunkenly told a newly sober me, “I really like you, Noah. I do. And you probably don’t like me. But I really like you. Like, really like you.”

“I know, I know,” I replied, grinning as I tried to support her. I had Hayley and Brooke in the background making actions to me, signing for me to kiss her. But the messages I got, it just didn’t feel right.

“She doesn’t want to kiss me!” I told Brooke after the dancing had finished. Haley and I returned to Prom, decided to get a photo with a dear friend of ours, who I affectionately call my ‘bro’, Lucas. After getting the photo, Haley and I left to catch a taxi into the city to carry on the celebrations. I opened the door and there was Jaime.

“I do want to kiss you Noah!” And she did. And I didn’t stop her.

“It was like something from the movies,” I explained to Kayla whilst dropping her off at home after dinner one night. “It was just, one of the moments you’ll never forget. I expected the background music, probably something by Mandy Moore, to start, and for the credits to start rolling.”

“Noah, that’s so romantic. But you know I'm ‘TEAM LYNDSEY’.” Kayla responded. She’d had a thing against Jaime ever since she broke up with me during that Christmas period two years ago. She saw how hurt I was, and I guess it’s to be expected that she’d protective of me, we have known each other for nearly fifteen years.

After dropping Kayla at her house, I sat for a second. I had a thought: were my feelings for Lyndsey and Jaime only spurred on because I was still conscience of Elle? Although I had been the one to end things with her, I still couldn’t help but think that she was playing a role in the future relationships in my life, and I couldn’t get her out of my mind. Was the fact she moved on so quickly spurring me to move on, and like I said before, show her that I, in fact, can do better than her. And hey, I guess two conquests after the end of our relationship trumps her one.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

"Anything She Can Do..."

Once upon a time, after a tough break-up, a young writer called Noah decided he needed a break. Lucky for him, he had family in Spain. So, he packed his cases and headed out there for three long weeks. And this was where the ‘fairytale’ getaway ended. It rained. It was cold. And his family just happened to live in the middle of nowhere – thank God for their broadband connection though, he thought to himself. So, after eighteen days, Noah packed his cases, headed home, ready to be start afresh with the ladies. And that he did.

A couple of nights after I got back from Spain, I was invited out into the city to celebrate my homecoming, by the Carmientti twins Hayley and Brooke. I gladly accepted, knowing that we’d be hitting the hottest clubs this city had to offer. Starting out in TigerTiger, I decided this was the perfect location to start my drunken night. So, whilst drinking cocktails and downing shots of Apple Schnapps in a private section of the club, we laughed, sung and danced on the chairs.

Jaime, a girl I had dated for about a month a year or so ago joined us about an hour later. Hayley had told me Jaime was interested in me again, and she wanted to “test drive” me to see if I was any good. Her words. Not mine. There was one complication - Ella and Jaime were friends. They weren’t as close as they once were, but still on speaking terms. This, as Jaime later said, embracing me, “complicated things”.

After TigerTiger, we stumbled to Lloyds Bar, 500 metres away. There, I was told I was “hideous” by a fat, old woman, to which I drunkenly replied, “Excuse me? Do you know who I am? I'm a model! I'm not hideous!” She apologised. After several drinks in Lloyds, we headed to Liquid. Jaime and I walked ahead, making small talk as she linked my arm.

“I mean, there clearly has always been chemistry there,” I told Kayla over lunch the next day. “Why should Ella even come into the equation?”

Knowing Hayley and Brooke Carmientti was definitely a plus in this city. They seemed to know everyone and had connections in all the hottest clubs. So, after getting into Liquid for free, we were awarded VIP status and headed up stairs to the VIP Lounge. It was dark, mysterious, smoky, exactly how you’d imagine a VIP Lounge to be. There was a glass wall that overlooked Liquid and there was Champagne on tap. After spending time in the VIP Lounge we headed back downstairs. There, we saw some friends and then hit the dancefloor. I saw this as my chance with Jaime. I grabbed her to dance and before I knew it, we were kissing.

“It got pretty passionate I’d say Kayla.” I told her.

“What do you mean?” She said, taking a sip from some fresh OJ.

“Well, there as hair pulling, lip play…it was like foreplay of the face.”

“Wow. Did she awake the beast?” She replied, giggling.

“I think she might have done. You know, for all we dated, that was our first kiss,” I paused, smiled, and carried on, “and it was good! It was like something from the movies.”

After kissing for what felt like forever, in a good way, we headed to the bar. More alcohol followed, as did more kissing.

“Promise me this won’t be awkward when we’re not drunk.” She pleaded with me.

“I promise. I honestly don’t think it will.” It was a lie. I just wanted to carry on kissing her. It worked. And we carried on kissing.

“Then Hayley and Brooke bundled us into a taxi, and that was that. It kind of was a bit awkward in the taxi I mean, we were meant to have left 15 minutes before we actually left but they were just waiting for us to be done kissing. That was awkward.” I said as we settled the cheque for our breakfast.

Hiding my hangover from the morning world I placed my Aviators I’d purchased in New York over my eyes and we walked out of the café.

A couple of days later I was invited to another party. This time, it was a party masquerading as a nineteenth birthday party, to make sure no one had a problem with ID. After being rejected from an opportunity in California I’d auditioned for, I was feeling pretty down, so, I dressed up and aimed to please. I got far too drunk far too soon. I danced, or grinded, with an array of women and even forgot one girl’s name. Not my finest moment.

After, in the taxi que, I spotted a girl called Lyndsey. She’d played Sandy to my Danny when I had been in Grease a while back. There’d always been that attraction and chemistry there, especially with our kissing in the ‘drive-in scene’, but we’d never let it develop since I was with Ella. Now, with no Ella in sight, I was making sure I’d made up for lost time. The girl who’d played Marty in the production pointed her out to me, and told me that we’d make a “cute couple”.

“You think?” I slurred.

“Yeah, definitely.” She grabbed my arm and pulled me over to her. “Lyndsey, Noah has something to ask you.”

“I do?…Yeah, I think that maybe we should, you know, go on a date.” I said, as if it were a question. It was the first thing that came into my head.

“Yeah, we should.” There was an awkward silence. “I was sorry to hear about you and Ella.”

“Yeah, something’s just don’t work. Fuck it.” And with Dutch courage, well, a lot of Dutch courage, I kissed her. She didn’t pull away. Wow. Look at me go. I thought to myself. She said she had to go, and with that she climbed into the taxi.

I had a thought: was I acting out, and, like Britney Spears did, take my newfound single status too far? Was it a psychological repercussion from breaking up with her, and then finding out she had a new boyfriend a week later? Maybe I was trying to keep up with her, and show her that no one messes with Noah J. Austin. Anything she can do, I can do better…right?

Friday, April 13, 2007

"Let The Rain Fall Down..."

Tuesday. 11pm. "Well what I'm saying is maybe I don't know how I feel anymore."

"Well what do you mean...you don't want to be with me?" Ella replied.

"Like I said, what I'm saying is that I don't know how I feel." There was a long pause. "Maybe it just isn't the right time for us..."

"So what are you saying, Noah?"

"Can you not hear me?"

"Yes, but you're confusing me, and scaring me...do you not want to be with me anymore?"

"That's the thing, I don't know..."

"So what do you want to do?" A sob could was audible over the line. And with that sob, my mind was changed. How could I be so heartless?

"Well lets just keep going and see how things go, because now you know how I feel." Click. I held my head in my hands. How could I lie to her? It was so easy...and I'd done it so many times before, but it seemed this time it was different...like this time it was more significant. At that time I could only ask myself: if something's not right, why carry on?

Friday. I'm in Birmingham. Ella is at home. I say at home, she'd gone out with friends. I'd been receiving text messages all Thursday and Friday telling me about her antics with other guys. Usually I'm not the jealous type, but this stuff always seems to happen when I'm away. I ring her.

"Ella, I think we need to talk."

"What about babe?"

"Us."

"Oh.

"Yeah."

"Well, what is it?"

"Just I've been hearing so much stuff from people and I don't know whether I trust you anymore."

"You don't trust me?" I could tell she was already slightly inebriated. "Well thats just great Noah. You've ruined my night out now."

"I'm sorry if I have, but I couldn't help BUT ruin your night out, I had to say it. I couldn't keep it in while people keep telling me all of these things about you."

"Who are these people?"

"My friends, who I trust. And I'm not going to bring them into it. All you need to know if that I don't trust you anymore."

I could hear crying. And it felt awful. But after the three glasses of red wine I'd had, I didn't care. I needed to be honest, not just to her, but to myself also. I couldn't carry on living with this facade of a relationship.

I told her we needed to talk, and agreed to meet for coffee the following day.

After parting ways over two grande Breakfast Tea's, it was over. The four month relationship was over. It felt as if a weight had been lifted from my mind. I felt a genuine happiness that I hadn't felt since the start of our relationship. It was over.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"The Toxic Relationships"

Toxic relationships: the relationships that aren’t good for you but you just can’t let go of. They’re the relationships that destroy friendships, relationships with families and relationships with your inner self.

Having fallen behind with my writing and with my work, I’d decided to spend this particular Friday night at home, with a cup of tea (how English of me) and crumpets (ok, I lied, I meant to write toast), but that was until I’d remembered that I’d promised Skye I’d spend the night out with her, Aidan and Madeline. “A Friday night, and I'm playing third wheel to two other couples.” I thought to myself as Aidan drove to Adam’s house as we picked up Madeline and Adam. “Great.”

After seeing the movie ‘Notes on a Scandal’, which was amazing, if a little creepy, and having my card declined by cinema staff claiming they don’t accept the brand which caused major embarrassment and a whole waste of time, we drove our way to one of our usual hangouts when we’re all together: Wetherspoons.

Adam and I headed to the ATM while Madeline and Skye set up shop in Wetherspoons and Aidan drove home, leaving his car there and returning to us from there. However, Madeline was ID-ed, and although being of legal age, was declined entry into the bar.

“Bastards!” Madeline repeated, over and over again. “Three weeks in a fucking row! Bastards! I’ve been coming here for four fucking years! I'm so angry.”

It was understandable. They’d ask her age when she was actually legal but when she was underage they’d happily serve her alcohol.

“It’s alright.” Skye and I tried to comfort her, while Adam used other words.

We decided to go to Skye’s house with some wine and a Chinese and watch some DVDs. Aidan drove back down and took us to the Chinese after alcohol shopping and while we were waiting for a Chicken Chow Mein, a discussion over schooling took place and Madeline stormed out from the car. Several minutes later Adam followed her. When Aidan arrived Skye and I explained the situation. We waited ten minutes in the car, hoping they’d return. And following numerous unanswered phone calls and un-replied text messages, we made the decision to head to Skye’s house. In the car towards Skye’s house, I had a thought: had our friendship become toxic? I got worried, Madeline was one of those true friends who you could go weeks without seeing, but when getting together again it was like there had been no time between your last meetings.

After watching ‘Dirty Sanchez: the Movie’ which may quite possibly the sickest film I’ve ever seen, Aidan decided to walk me home, which I suspected was a guise to get him out of Skye’s house, which had been filled with tension since we first got there.

On the walk home, we drank bottles of pre-mixed alcohol and he talked about his plans for a new car. It wasn’t long before our conversation turned to Skye.

“I want her to go out. Sometimes I just can’t be bothered, but I know she wants to, so I say to her that she should go out, but she just doesn’t want to without me.”

I already knew this, but I guess it was just hearing him say it, and it being repeated, that enforced the seriousness of the situation to me.

“Sometimes I just want to stay in play on the Xbox, watch a film, have a wank, whatever, I'm easily pleased you know. But she just won’t go out without me. And it’s because she think I'm going to go with other girls,” he paused. “I just don't want to be the reason she doesn't go out and have a good time.”

“I guess that’s what happens when you spend literally every waking moment with each other.”

“Yeah. Because like we work together, go to college together, and every other moment we’re with each other.”

It was at this point I became so grateful for what I had with Ella. We didn’t spend every waking moment with each other, yet somehow, I figured that our lives just fit.

He went on to tell me that at one point in the past they’d come close to splitting up because of this. I knew that if they had, it would have killed Skye, literally. He was her heart and soul, and I couldn’t help but feel torn between the two feelings: 1) being happy that Skye was so in love and 2) being slightly worried that she won’t let him out of her sight.

Had Skye and Aidan’s relationship become toxic? Or had it always been that way? I’d known for quite sometime that their relationship hadn’t been healthy. She never seemed to want to do anything alone anymore, and always seemed to need him by her side. Had she become dependant on him?

I left Aidan with a sense of guilt. I felt like I was leaving him to deal with his toxic relationship, but then I realised I really had nothing to do with it. I was just relieved to know that my relationship wasn’t like theirs. At that point I thought: would I really be able to deal with it if it were?

“I have enough trouble sharing my food never mind my personal space,” I told Danny over coffee the next day. “Maybe by keeping myself to myself a lot, and not letting Ella in as much as I should, I'm kind of, sort of, trying to protect myself, and my relationship, from becoming toxic.” Well, at least it made sense to me.

Monday, February 05, 2007

"I Belong To Me"

Some have claimed, from apparent experience, that relationships can only work if you’re willing to share everything in your life.

A couple of nights ago Ella and I celebrated being together for two whole months by going out for an Italian. In the two months we’ve been together, I think it’s fair to say there have been some ups and downs, mostly downs. But, as I always say “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.”

“Just think, two months ago today we were at Rachel’s party hooking up.” I said, looking at her across our table.

“Yeah, just think.” She replied, smirking and semi-giggling.

We ordered our food, me getting a Spaghetti Bolognese (original, I know!) and her a burger. It wasn’t long before conversation turned to the people around us.

“Do you they are?” She said to me, indicating to two men behind me.

“Do I think they’re what?”

“You know…”

“Um. I don’t know. Maybe?”

“I think they are. My mum and I do this all of the time when we’re out. Do you not?”

“Not really.”

I twirled more spaghetti onto my fork and carried on eating. I thought to myself, watching her eat her burger: is she like a small child seeing a wild animal for the first time? Was she mesmerised by the fact she rarely comes into contact with homosexuals? “I still don’t see the big deal she has with it,” I said to Kayla through a text message.

“When you see a black person, you don’t question whether their African or Caribbean do you?” I later told Danny. “Apart from that small thing, it was a surprisingly pleasant meal. It was calm, we talked, and I just felt like we reconnected – is that a little bit romantic of me to say?”

Several nights later, I met up with Kayla, Madeline, Ella, her friend Mary, Aspen and Josh and we hit up Studio, a club just outside of the city. It was a good night in which we all got drunk, Madeline and I smoked and drunk more. And after several hours of partying hard, Madeline, Kayla and I decided to hit it up somewhere else. Kayla wanted to meet a guy she had been seeing and I was getting sick of the whole Studio atmosphere.

“Ella I have to go now. I'm sharing a taxi with Madeline and Kayla and they want to go now, so I'm off too.”

“Noooooo! You can’t just leave me!”

“Why? You’re with Mary…”

“Yeah, but she’s at the toilet,” she interrupted me.

“And she’ll be coming back. Plus, Aspen and Josh are here, and I know for a fact they’ll look after you two.”

“Yeah, but, you can’t just leave me by myself.” She repeated to me.

“Like I said, Mary’s still here. Lets find her then.”

I waited outside the ladies’ toilets for what seemed like ten minutes when Ella and Mary came strolling out. Ella seemed angry but still kissed me goodbye and I ran out to meet Madeline and Kayla who’d been waiting for me in the cold, dark, wet, night. ‘Real, unselfish, friends’, I thought to myself.

“I'm sorry. I had to sort something.” I shouted to them, feeling slightly deaf from the overly loud music, as we ran towards the taxi rank.

As we climbed into the taxi, the discussion of my sex life with Ella arose.

“Tell me you haven’t done anything with her Noah,” Madeline demanded.

“No, we haven’t. I just don’t know where she stands.”

“Well, just wait. Because believe me, I know that when you do something, and it’s not right, it hurts you so much after.”

I looked at Kayla, hoping for her to tell me something different, “It’s true Noah.”

“Yeah, I know it’s true. But what if it does feel right?” I questioned.

“Still, wait.” Madeline said.

“But the thing is, she’ll get me so worked up and into it, and then just be like ‘Oh, I need a drink.’ And I buy her a drink.”

“It’s different for girls though.”

“How? It’s sex. Same for everyone.”

“No, it is different for girls. More intense and more meaningful.”

It was a valid point. I had a thought: was I meant to wait until she signalled that it would be ok for us to sleep together?
The next morning, I phoned Kayla.

“Good night last night wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, apart from when you guys were left outside in the cold while I was held captive by Ella,” I said, laughing.

“You know, I thought that’s why it took you so long. I just didn’t want to say anything,” Kayla confessed.

“I mean did she think I was a dog or something and if she lets me go I might not come back?”

“I know what you mean,” she said, slightly giggling.

It was an interesting thought, but did Ella really think I belonged to her, and she belonged to me? Was I ready to share my life entirely with someone in order to make this relationship work? I wasn’t sure, but for the minute, I knew one thing, that I belonged to me.

Friday, January 26, 2007

"Heads Up!"

In life, and in a city like mine, it can be argued that you never want to be the one to end up with shit on your face, or in Kayla’s case, cum.

Kayla had met a nice, charming guy who she instantly fell for. And while giving him a blowjob after several cosy cocktails at his family home, without warning he came on her face. In her drunken state, she felt something warm on her face, and touching it she came to realise what it was.

“You could have given me some warning!” She shouted, with him getting less charming by the minute.

“Oh, um, sorry,” was his reply.

“Oh, um, sorry?” she reiterated to me while standing at the bar on a recent night out into the city. “Is that all he could say, really? I mean come on, I was the one with cum on my face!”

“Did he not return the favour?” I asked her, stealing a sip from her cocktail, but not going unnoticed.

“What, as some sort of an apology?” Danny asked.

“No! Good common courtesy.” I replied.

“Either way, no,” and after a long, semi-awkward pause, “No pleasurable returns,” she said smirking.

“Are you kidding? You only give head to get head Kayla. Or even give head to get ahead, but if you’re not getting anything from it, what purpose does it derive?” I said this from personal experience.

I had been to a birthday party that wasn’t exactly a party, and, after consuming many a shots o’ vodka and many a shots o’ everything else, a private after party was held in Jason Matthew’s bedroom. Amie was someone who’d I’d met at a weeklong stay away conference and with whom I’d immediately clicked with. “Hey, if she says vagina humorously, it’s a sign.”

Jason and I had invited her and her friend to the party in hopes of livening the situation up, like she did with the conference, and that she certainly did, well the after party anyway. Jason, Amie, Amie’s friend and I had ended up back at Jason’s house. He and Amie’s friend lay on his bed ‘talking’ while behind a curtain that led to his window Amie say upon the window sill with me standing in between her legs. Things seemed to get hot and heavy quick and behind this curtain I’d gone down on her, expecting the favour to be returned. However, all I got was an extended make-out session whilst she stroked my back. “Erotic much? I’d have preferred the head,” I told Danny the next day over brunch.

The day after my night out with Danny and Kayla, Aspen and his good friend Jake invited me to the cinema in hopes of watching ‘Rocky Balboa’. We settled on a Chinese before the movie started and over ‘Chicken Chow Mien’ and ‘Sweet and Sour Pork’ the conversation turned to my relationship with Ella, and how ‘ahead’ I’d gotten with her.

“So have you done anything with Ella yet?” Both Aspen and Jake enquired.

“No, not yet.” I replied, modestly and honestly. “That’s not to say I haven’t thought about it though.”

“Seriously?” Jake said.

“Yeah, seriously. I just don’t know how to approach things with her.”

“Well, have you two not had ‘the talk’ yet?” Aspen asked. ‘The talk’ he referred to was ‘the talk’ that took place, quite early on in a young couple’s relationship that revolved around sex, past experiences, opinions etc. In this ‘talk’, the couple would establish in their minds the other partner’s opinions and at least get a guideline of when to start things sexually.

“No we haven’t. I just find it hard to approach her about it, because you know, she’s younger. And obviously not knowing how she feels about it in relation to her religion is also pretty hard. She might want to wait until marriage.” The use of the word hard wasn’t meant to be a pun, but I guess it was quite funny I chose that word to use.

“Oh, I take it she’s really big into her religion then?” Jake figured, while shovelling a piece of beef into his mouth.

“Yeah. Church on Sunday, the lot.” I confirmed.

“Well, just see how it goes, and maybe you’ll feel a lot more confident and comfortable in talking about it with her as your relationship grows.” Wow, look at Aspen going philosophical, I thought to myself.

I started eating my fried rice when conversation turned to one of Aspen’s exes. Jake said something about her tasting “nasty” to which Aspen through him a nasty look.

“What do you mean by that?” He said as I choked on my fried rice.

“Well…that you kissed her and all that” Jake said, jokingly.

“No you didn’t.” Aspen replied.

“What did you think I meant,” he said smirking.

“Well…you know…”

“What?” Jake said, wanting him to say it.

“That you licker her out…” I came out with.

“What?!” Aspen said, almost spitting out his coke.

“You know…ate her pussy.” I said in a nonchalant manner. The lady on the table behind looked at me, and if looks could kill, I'm pretty sure I would be dead. “What? It’s the 21st century?” trying to justify my language.

“Well, no I didn’t. Can we just change the subject?” He seemed pretty disturbed by it all. Jake and I glanced each other, grinning.

“So how’s Kayla anyway?” Aspen said, trying to change the subject.

“She’s good. She told me how you said I was going out with you too on Saturday.” I replied.

“Well, I had to get her out somehow.” He said, smiling.

Maybe he really did like her. “You sly dog you.” I said.

After Rocky Balboa’s untriumphant, but still somehow triumphant, return to the world of boxing, I spent the Metro journey home thinking about sex and my relationship with Ella. I realised that sex wasn’t the most important thing in a relationship, and it was basically just a factor, such as where to go to eat out on Valentine’s Day, or which movie to see on a date…to have sex or not to have sex. This may be true, but I then figured that it’s always good to get a head’s up on the situation, maybe even to get head before the situation.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"The Relapse"

It has been said that love is like a drug, and with drugs, it’s ever so easy to relapse, especially in an environment that encourages alcohol-fuelled behaviour.

It was another Saturday night, and there was another 18th party I had to show my face at. The invite had said “Noah + Guest” so it was inevitable that Ella would be coming (and I was hoping in more ways than one, much to my disappointment we got nowhere). Hayley and Brooke had invited Kayla as their guest so; 15 minutes before the party started we made our way to the Carmientti household, collecting Ella along the way.

After downing two mini sized bottles of Jack Daniels, and Kayla downing that of vodka, we climbed into the taxi and headed to the party.

Arriving at the party, we noticed a distinct lack of something…people. After my first vodka and coke the place seemed to get busier and I made the friendly hellos and the polite obligatory “I haven’t seen you since you dropped out of college last year, how are you?” I was also introduced to several new people, those people I’d never met, and after meeting them, I'm glad I hadn’t.

Hayley grabbed me, “Noah, this is Katie, Katie this is Noah.” It was the standard and civil introductions that could have been taken from the movies.

“Hi.” I said, smiling.

She looked at me and walked off.

“Because that’s not rude!” I shouted after her, downing the rest of my second, or third, alcoholic beverage. I think by that point at the party I’d switched to double vodka and cokes.

As my alcohol intake increased, so did my affection towards Ella. I had this new wave of feelings for her like from when our relationship first began. But this time it was different. Every other time I’d been drunk with her, she kind of irritated me, just like the way she sometimes does when we’re sober. So, we did the usual drunk person behaviour of making out in front of everyone, grinding against each other on the dance floor and, no matter how many times I said to her “I don’t want to be one of those couples who take pictures of themselves kissing,” that is exactly what we did.

The next morning Kayla and I heading into the city to walk, and talk, and walk, and talk some more, while mostly trying to avoid working.

“Did I tell you that last night Ella had started with the whole ‘Noah, you know my feelings on gays, well…’ thing? Well she said. To which I replied, ‘Ella, you know that two of my close friends are gay?’ She seemed stunned, and apologetic.”

“What else would she be? Like Hermione had told you, what she doesn’t realise she’s doing is, by sort of indirectly offending Ashley and Adam, she is offending you.”

“I suppose so.” I wasn’t so sure as I took a bite from my toasted chorizo and cheese sandwich. I had subconsciously decided to try, operative word being try, to forget about Ella’s differences and try to focuses on what positives there were, even if my previous decision was to ultimately end things with her.

After the party the night before, I realised that I had what a lot of other people wanted, but I just seemed so dissatisfied with what I had. It was a relationship where I was cared so much about that she didn’t want to let me go.

I had a thought: was I suffering from what was known as a relapse? Had the feelings I first had for Ella suddenly returned with the injection of alcohol, and even afterwards once the alcohol had warn off?

While I was contemplating my future with Ella, Kayla was telling me about the one night stand she’d had. She’d met him in a bar and his name was Kyle. He was a university student and after a hard night’s partying at several bars with him, she was invited back to his for a coffee, or two. Next thing she knew she was laying on his bed, wondering what the hell she’d just done.

“How was it?” I asked her.

“Well, a lot of alcohol had been consumed, so, not too amazing.” She replied, with a look in her eye.

“So you didn’t cum?”

“No.” She said, shaking her in while doing so.

“Oh Kayla.”

“What? What?”

“What’s sex without cumming? It’s like decaf coffee, coffee without the caffeine, the whole reason for coffee’s modern day existence!”

“I guess so.”

“So are you seeing him again?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Maybe. Oh check you out you non-cumming repeat offender.”

While I had definitely relapsed, I wondered whether Kayla would too with Kyle, even if her rewards weren’t fruitful, to say the least. Then I realised, maybe love wasn’t a drug after all because if it were, relapsing wouldn’t feel so good. So, I asked myself: what was so bad about relapsing with love anyway?