A Night in the Life of Henry Hamilton

By Miss Moo.

Henry Hamilton was not an extraordinary man by any means of the word.

He worked in the human resources department of an electronic marketing company and spent his days dealing with overworked, underpaid and non-english speaking telephone operators. He wasn't an attractive man either. He had just passed thirty, and with it his hair had dulled in colour and started to thin. He found that his waist line was slowly expanding, and that he could never quite get his neck ties to sit straight.

It didn't come as much of a surprise to anyone that Henry Hamilton would attend his younger brother's engagement party before Henry had even found himself a long term girlfriend.

Henry's little brother, Andrew Hamilton, was twenty-six years old and undeniably the more athletic of the pair. Still, despite their differing appearance and social networks, the brothers shared a mutual respect for each other.

The evening was set to be a casual affair. A celebration for Andrew and his fiancé's friends. Plus Henry. The invitation told him to arrive at eight for drinks and nibbles, but traffic had been bad on the way over and Henry found himself standing outside his brother's apartment at quarter to nine.

Henry rang the doorbell nervously, a clumsily wrapped present in his other hand. He could hear muffled music and laughter seeping through the walls. He was wearing brown slacks and a white collared shirt having just come from the office, but had discarded his stubbornly crooked tie earlier.

A minute passed before Henry rang the doorbell again, to no avail. He chuckled nervously to himself before he turned the handle of the door and found it pleasantly unlocked.

The music became louder as he shuffled down the thin hallway of his brothers apartment. He emerged to the scene of his brother's crowded living room. The grey sofas were littered with Andrew Harrison's and Kylie soon-to be Harrison's twenty-something year old friends. Young girls with short skirts sipped giddily at alcoholic beverages while their male companions sat comfortably by their sides. Henry felt his palms begin to sweat.

Seated in the center of it all were Kylie and Andrew themselves. Andrew spotted his brother and waved Henry over eagerly.

"Evvvybody," he announced in a slightly drunken slur, "This 's my brother Henry!"

Henry sent the skeptical looking crowd a meek wave before they all appeared to share a mental shrug with each other and accepted him into their well-dressed group.

Henry took a seat next to Andrew, and became a voyeur to the group's intimate discussions.

His eyes swept across the other guesses, seeing a mingle of gelled hair and push up bras before his eyes rested upon the single most beautiful girl he could ever have dreamt of. He had not seen a woman so spectacular before in all his life - not even within the pages of a dirty magazine!

His eyes feasted upon her dark caramel coloured curls, her lips were the colour of ripe peaches, her skin was perfectly smooth with a golden shimmer to it; like honey. He watched the way her elegantly poised fingers daintily gripped her glass on champagne, her nails painted a soft pink colour to match her pout. The hem of her dress cut just above her knees. He worshipped the way the floaty beige fabric revealed her perfectly sculpted calves. The dress clung to her thin waist as she leaned forward attentively in her seat and complemented her hourglass figure. Her breasts were covered by a tasteful sweetheart neckline, while a single golden love heart floated between them on a thin, gold chain. He noticed the way her easy breaths moved the swell of her breasts, highlighting her delicate collar bone, and felt his mouth go dry.

He shook himself out of his daydream and looked away, a flush spilling into his cheeks.

Carefully, he allowed his eyes to dart back to the goddess before him and noted the man beside her. The man was leaning back in his seat, a contrast to her sociable stance, and was dressed in dark colours with an equally dark look upon his face. Henry realized that the man's threateningly dark eyes were trained upon him, and Henry found that he could not meet the gaze. He looked away and hoped that the intimidating man would pay him no more heed.

"... And so naturally I decided to go with her. I can still remember how dolled up we got just to meet some random guy Kylie had a crush on. I had no idea she'd end up engaged to him!"

It was the voice of an angel! It carried such good humor and affection. Henry found himself mesmerized by the soft movements of her lips and the intelligent smile in her eyes.

Kylie was blushing. She was a little stick of a girl, all angles and blonde hair, but quite pretty too.

"I thought he was cute." Kylie giggled, and Henry could tell that she was a little more drunk than sober from the hiccup that followed.

The angel laughed, "I thought he was cute too."

Then the man beside her spoke up too. He had a rich earthy voice that contained too much innuendo for Henry's liking. "Every guy is 'cute' in your opinion."

The angel's jaw locked and her eyes adopted a slightly malicious glint.

"Charming conversation, darling, really." She said, her voice had a rough sarcastic edge to it now, "How about you go and have another drink, hmm?"

The man sneered, "Don't be such a bitch."

The room's atmosphere became cold as the guests attempted to avoid the conflict before them. Then the angle let out a laugh, and it possessed all the carefree qualities of childhood.

"Don't be such a bastard then." Her voice held no spite and the room regained some of its prior ease.

Henry leaned closer to his brother and whispered in his ear, "Who are they?"

His brother shifted a fraction to answer, but it appeared that the said couple had overheard.

The angle took hold of the dark haired man's hand and wound their fingers together in an overly natural manner.

"Why isn't it obvious Henry," she purred, "We're in love."

The dark man turned his head away, but did not remove his hand. It was rather as though a smirk had crawled it's way onto the corner of his lips, and he had turned to hide it.

Henry was slightly flustered by the recent development and only uttered an uneasy "Oh," in reply.

Andrew laughed a little, "That's Lana and Josh for you."

The night passed on the pretty much the same manner. Henry watched with vague interest as Andrew and Kylie's friends shared tales of the couple's courtship, while Lana and Josh shared thinly, and not so thinly, veiled barbs with each other.

"So Henry," Lana said. It was passed midnight now and conversation had turned from the impending marital to more fickle subjects. "What do you do for a living?"

Henry had consumed a glass of wine by this point in the evening, and was feeling quite warm and loving because of it, still he blushed scarlet at her direct question, "I'm, ah, I'm in human resources."

She leaned forward in her seat as though to hear him better, "Sorry, I missed that."

She smiled at him warmly and he could smell her perfume, it was light and breezy with a spicy undertone of cinnamon.

"H-human resources," he stuttered, feeling the blush seep across his entire body.

Lana smiled, "I love men who know how to deal with people."

Henry ignored the way she had trailed her hands down to trace circles on Josh's knee and chose to take her words as a compliment.

"Th-thank you," he paused, looking for a way to continue their tete-a-tete, "Um, what do you do?"

She laughed, and he hoped it wasn't at the way his voice had broken like a pre-pubescent boy's when he spoke.

"I own a small cafe-bakery on Degraves Lane, and I do some freelance work on the side."

He found himself a little breathless as he imagined her smiling and laughing and baking little petite-fours as little birdies tied the bow at the back of her apron. She was like a fairytale to him.

"Wh-what sort of freelance work?"

She shrugged, "Wherever the wind takes me. I write some features for a local zine, design prints for some friends in fashion, whatever I feel like really."

How he longed to share in her life of freedom and novelty. How he wished to switch between pen and paintbrush and oven-mit at the breeziest desire.

She leaned forward to place her now empty champagne glass on the wooden coffee table between them and his eyes were drawn to the subtle curve of her breasts. He imagined what it would be like to live with her. They would share a small country villa in the south of France. They'd eat croissants, drink wine at breakfast and laugh at the trivialities of the outside world. Then they would make love everywhere; the bedroom; the kitchen; the rug in front of the fireplace. He wouldn't have to die to go to heaven.

Then she leant back all too soon for his liking. He swallowed thickly and felt beads of sweat lining his collar.

"Josh, darling," she purred, "Will you come with me to the kitchen to fetch another drink?"

He looked grim, but took her hand and followed her to the kitchen.

"Excuse us," she had murmured politely before leaving.

Henry remained still for a moment and collected his breath. Not twenty seconds had passed before he turned to his brother and asked; "Which way is the bathroom?" only to ignore his brothers absent minded directions and stumble off in the vague direction of the kitchen.

"... such a manipulative bitch," Henry heard Josh snarl through the thin wood of the kitchen door, and he found his muscles curling in defense of his princess.

Lana scoffed, "Please, don't pretend you weren't enjoying every minute of it."

"You think I enjoy watching you do that?" Josh laughed cruelly, "You think I enjoy watching you seduce some poor middle aged guy with your eyes? You think I enjoy watching what you do to him? God Lana, he's a person too."

Lana's voice then became breathy, and Henry wished he could see the expression on her face, "He started it," she whispered.

Josh's voice was softer now, but still biting, "Why do I even bother?"

"I don't know," Lana sneered, but there was something raw and wanton behind her tone, "Maybe I want to be with poor Harry. I'm sure he'd worship me properly."

"Henry," Josh corrected, sounding a little bit strangled, "His name's Henry."

Lana let out a tinkle of laughter, "Oops?"

"Manipulative bitch."

"Stuck-up asshole."

Were they going to break-up? Henry found himself wondering with some hope. Then the angry snarls turned to gentle moans and the colliding of bodies.

"I love it when you're a bitch," came a heavily breathing male voice, followed by a soft chuckle.

"It makes me so hot when you're an asshole," Lana said teasingly through thick breaths.

Henry found his eyes going wide as the groaning and panting and delicious moans grew to something so tangled and consuming that they could be nothing less than heavenly.

He must have stood there, rooted to the spot, for nearly ten minutes, yet it felt like only seconds. The animalistic noises from the kitchen had calmed down to be replaced by breathy murmurings of "So amazing," and "Love you."

Then the door was opening and Henry had no time to move away from the two lean figures that towered over his squatly height.

Lana's lips turned, uncontrollably, into an amused smile and Josh turned his head away to hide his own amusement, their hands remained entwined. It reminded Henry of earlier when Lana had confessed to the couples love. Henry felt insecure underneath Lana's amused glare and Josh's hidden smirk.

"I-I... I was..."

Josh turned back to face him, "It's okay, man. You just came to get a drink, right?"

Josh's gaze was firm and left no room for discussion.

"Rr-right. A drink," Henry confirmed with a jolting nod of his head.

Lana smiled elegantly, "Good. I'd hate to think I had a stalker or something."

The tone in which she had said it was light, but Henry felt a swift stab of pain settle in his abdomen. Josh whispered something in Lana's ear. Manipulative bitch. Lana laughed childishly.

"Like you care," she purred, turning to face her boyfriend.

Henry wondered if they remembered he was standing there as they gazed into each other's eyes with amusement. Josh was rubbing his thumbs across her wrists in a tender manner as Lana's lips skimmed fleetingly across his neck.

"I'm, uh, going to go." Henry stuttered, though they paid him no heed.

He rejoined the larger party in the living room and, with a red face, shared his departing congratulations with his brother.

"You're leaving already?" Andrew had asked.

"Yeah, I've, um, got work tomorrow."

Andrew nodded, "Okay then. See you 'round, bro."

"Yeah, see you..." But Andrew had already turned back to one of his friends who was making a spectacle of himself by attempting to catch airborne chips with only his mouth. Andrew cheered as the friend landed one successfully.

So Henry let him self out in much the same manner as in which he had arrived.

Henry was not depressed by the turn of the evening as he was quite aware of his unexceptional nature. Instead he focused on the good things in life; like listening to Frank Sinatra on the drive home, or the warmth of his down duvet later that night.

He did not mourn over the loss of his angel either, for it had become quite clear to Henry that he had not the demeanor with with to handle a woman like Lana.

- - -

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(AN: I think this needs a descriptive authors note, just in case my intentions were lost - which would be no fault but that of my own poor writing, unfortunately.

Anyway, Lana and Josh are my ideal couple. They are cruel, confident and self absorbed, but absolutely adore those traits in each other. The story is meant to provoke sympathy for Henry, but he is quite obviously not the idealized love Lana shares with Josh. This story is really and expression of a relationship that works through fighting (à la Chuck - Blair and Kate Nash). The point is that they work, but I wanted to be able to express that from an unusual perspective, so as to keep their mystery intact. I didn't to destroy these characters in my own mind just yet. Perhaps I will follow this one-shot with a more Lana-Josh central sequel, but that's still playing around in my head.

I have no illusions in thinking that you'll like any of these characters, but if you can tell me what you (honestly) think of the style of writing I used here I'd be very appreciative.

Thank you muchly!)