For Elliot Williams, living in a pokey flat in Wanstead with the unrequited love of his life, Adrian Carter (who barely registered Elliot's existence) with a good-for-nothing degree and student debt, things weren't looking too bright. Especially since all the wine's now gone from the fridge.
Could things get any worse?
Could they ever get any better?
There were quite a few things wrong about me being in love with Adrian Carter. Or Adrian Henry-Oscar Carter, as was his full name. Firstly, I was me. And by that, I mean I was me – a twenty-four year-old guy who's just out of university into the grand post-graduate life which is unemployment and who can barely find his way to the post shop two hundred yards down the road, let alone navigate London. The only constant, steady relationship I've ever been in is with chocolate, occasionally having flings with wine and cigarettes, but they always turned out to be nothing more than short stints – my true partner was chocolate and I'd never cease to love it.
Secondly, Adrian Carter was one of those annoying people – and we all know one – who is just good at everything. First Class degree in English Literature? Adrian Carter. Famed person who, as it's been said, pushed the Cambridge rowing team to victory last year in the annual race against Oxford? Adrian Carter. Person who, according to local reviewers, had a 'promising future in theatre' after his 'spectacular performance' as Macbeth in the Amateur Dramatic Club's showing of the play last year? Adrian bloody Carter. Person who probably had a cock made of solid gold…or even platinum? Adrian fucking Carter.
You get the picture.
There he is, with all his achievements and popularity and here I am with a 2:1 degree in Fine Art, arms which couldn't propel a polystyrene cup through water, let alone a boat containing four other people, and not a single acting bone in my body. In fact, the last time I was on the stage was in the year four production of David and Goliath, where I played a Palestine soldier. I successfully managed to screw the whole thing up on the first night by sneaking the sunflower oil in from our kitchen at home and putting it on the bottom of the stilts the boy who was playing Goliath used. It was a dare, but I didn't think of the repercussions it would have – Goliath was slipping, sliding and falling over the place within the first few minutes and he finally stomped off-stage, refusing to go back on. The show then had to be cancelled for that night since we didn't have a replacement Goliath and thankfully for me, the culprit was never found out.
It'd been the first and last time I applied for a job in any acting part and my taste for acting had somewhat been dampened after the incident.
So those were the two main reasons why it was wrong for me to be in love with Adrian Carter.
Well, I say main reasons, but I really mean minor reasons. Minor in comparison to The Reason, anyway.
The Reason was the one thing – the one fact – which was making my life a living hell and That Reason, was that Adrian Carter was sharing digs with me. He was sharing the two-bedroom flat in Wanstead, the place in north-east London which no one's ever heard of, with me. And he was sharing it with me, because all his 'other friends' had 'buggered off' to other areas of London, getting jobs such as burger flippers or waiters or coffee barristers etc. etc. and Adrian claimed he liked Wanstead.
If ever there was a crap place name, it was Wanstead. As soon as you read or hear it, it conjures the image of dirt-cheap chippies lining the streets, where burgers taste suspiciously of alcohol and cardboard and where an order of chips looks like a heap of dead baby's fingers in newspaper. It also conjures the image of tween chavs sauntering down the street in their conspicuous, wannabe-terrifying groups, smoking cigarettes and sporting Nike's latest trackies and Wanstead's latest 'I'm A Shoplifter' badges.
All in all, Wanstead wasn't the place I'd imagined I'd end up in after going to a respectable university and earning a degree, even if it was a 2:1. I wanted to be somewhere where things were happening, like in Central London – places like Kensington or Hampstead – nice places where famous people live and which have parks and 'commons' where cigarette butts and vodka bottles don't litter the ground. I wanted to be somewhere cool, if the word was still being used nowadays.
But here I was, stuck in Wanstead in a not-too-bad-for-wear flat with the hottest guy in southern England with a good-for-nothing degree and a student debt.
Isn't life wonderful?
Currently, I was sat in the kitchen (if it could be called that) sipping a cup of tea from a chipped mug, being careful not to cup my lip open and listening to the second hand on the clock tick.
I swear it was like some kind of Chinese torture, like having water droplets dropped onto your forehead until you go mad.
It was seven in the morning and naturally, Adrian was still fast asleep in bed, probably sleeping on his stomach with his mouth open and foot hanging out the side of the bed. That was the usual way in which he slept anyway, whereas I was the sort of person who went to sleep curled in a ball and didn't move from that position until waking up. We were two very different creatures really. But then again, you know what they say – opposites attract.
Of course, Adrian didn't know I was gay – he thought I was just some ordinary guy he knew roughly from university who'd been extremely generous in letting him live with me. So far, all we knew about each other was names, rough month of birthday, drinking habits and smoking habits. I of course knew the exact date of his birthday (5th January, which was only two weeks away) and I knew his exact drinking and smoking habits. He liked a strong coffee (one sugar) first thing in the morning, tea throughout the day (weak, with one sugar) and then any number of alcoholic drinks in the evening, which could range from a single bottle of beer from the fridge, to a wild night out, coming back having drunk practically the whole bar. He also smoked infrequently – maybe one or two a day and our flat always seemed to have the vaguely sickly aroma of cigarette smoke mixed with beer and post-graduate male odour. Altogether not the best combo really.
Anyway, last night had been one of Adrian's quieter ones when he didn't venture out into the buzzing night-life of Wanstead and had stayed at the flat watching Brief Encounter – the well-known romance classic, dubbed 'Most Romantic Film Ever' by the Telegraph. I'd almost cried with joy when I found he was a fan of the classics and I'd sat with him last night (on a different sofa, of course) watching it and wishing I was in his arms during the soppy scenes.
Now though, it was ten past seven and I heard him stir from his sleep, and then pad through the flat to the kitchen to retrieve his early morning coffee.
Here we go then. Another day.
Thank you for reading! I hoped you liked this first chapter and if you did, please review!