Chapter 4

What the fuck?

Okay, maybe sitting in my quiet flat, holding my phone to my ear and silently gaping at nothing in particular was not the most productive use of my time, but seriously, what the fuck?

Lance had replied with an answerphone message of his own? Within a day, no less!

I had just walked in from work and found a message waiting for me from him. I thought he would listen to my overly awkward voicemail message and immediately run in the opposite direction from the babbling, socially-retarded idiot. Apparently I was wrong about that.

I quickly pressed the button on my phone to repeat the message. I had been so disbelieving the first time that I had hardly paid attention to what he said.

"Hi Adi! It's Lance. Yeah, of course I remember you. That cute waiter from the other day, right? How could I forget? I was hoping you'd call. I'm still searching for a place to stay, so I'd love to have a look around your flat. When would be most convenient for you? Give me a call when you get this. I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Speak soon, bye."

I hung up from my voicemail and blinked in confusion. He was actually interested in having a look around? That phone call to Lance had been such a longshot. It was a spur of the moment thing that really shouldn't work out.

And also, did he really refer to me as 'that cute waiter'? I frowned. I'm not even going to begin to analyse what he meant by that.

Shaking my head, I rid myself of these thoughts. Lance was probably a good guy, right? Just a good guy in search of a place to stay. And I have a room to offer. I should give him a call back.

I rummaged around the sitting room hastily, and finally found Lance's namecard left discarded on the sofa. Typing in the digits printed on the card, I took a deep breath in an attempt to prepare myself for the inevitable awkwardness of this conversation. Apparently it seems that I'm extremely awkward on the phone if the last message to him is anything to go by.

Ringing reached my ear, but was cut off quickly as Lance answered the phone with a deep "hello?"

Ok, I wasn't expecting him to answer after the first ring. In fact, I was half expecting to have to leave another answerphone message.

"Oh, um, hi! It's Adi? I'm just calling you back about arranging a time for you to take a quick look round the flat." I recited. Ok, that wasn't too bad. I don't want to jinx myself though.

"Oh Adi. Hey there. How are you?" He asked casually. Ok, so I guess he was into small talk then. That's cool. I can small talk like a boss.

"Yeah, I'm good thanks. Bit tired from work though. The restaurant is getting pretty busy recently. How about you?" I replied, leaning back and collapsing onto the sofa behind me.

"Yeah, I'm the same really. Flat hunting is not easy work." He chuckled.

"Tell me about it. Speaking of which, do you have any questions or anything about the flat?" I asked, sort of hoping that he doesn't. I don't really like to be put on the spot with questions.

"Yeah actually, I do." He immediately responded. My heart sank. Great. Now I'm going to have to big up the place and make it sound at least ten times better than it actually is.

Luckily all of Lance's questions were ones that I could easily answer, about rent prices, the location, and a few other standard questions.

"So listen, Adi. I actually have a bit of spare time now, and I'm quite close to the neighbourhood. I could come and have a look round now if you're free? Lance said, his voice cool and professional sounding.

My eyes rose involuntarily, and I glanced at the clock on my wall. 10.25pm. It was a little late for looking around the flat, wasn't it?

I fiddled with the hem of my shirt, thinking. It's not like I was doing anything particularly important though, I guess.

"Um, yeah. That's fine." I said slowly, my voice sounding surprised to even my own ears.

"Ok, I'm about ten minutes away. See you in a bit." He told me and hung up before I had chance to reply. Ok, so Lance is a little abrupt. Not like it's a huge character flaw or anything.

Suddenly realising that I had a potential flatmate coming in ten minutes time, I jumped hurriedly off the sofa and begin to frantically tidy the flat.

I'm proud to say I was done in just over eight minutes. I am nothing if not time efficient. I sat back down heavily, and allowed my eyes to slide shut, a sigh escaping from my lips. Work had been particularly brutal today. It's just crazy busy and with the amount of staff we have left, it's pretty impossible to keep up with it.

A sharp knocking on the door caused my eyes to snap open quickly. Lance was here.

Nervously looking around for any discarded items I may have missed in my speed-tidying session, I stood up, wiped my hands on my jeans and strode to answer the door.

Swinging the door open, I found myself face to face with the man from the restaurant. I couldn't quite recall his face earlier, but now that he was standing right in front of me, his features looked vaguely familiar. I don't remember him being so impossibly neat though. He has well-trimmed brown hair, a pair of sharp, square framed glasses perched on his nose, and an immaculate dress sense. Not a hair out of place. Everything about him screams neat. Maybe I shouldn't reveal my slobbish nature yet.

"Hi!" I greeted, sounding a bit over-eager in an attempt to cover up my nervousness.

"Hello. Adi, right?" He asked, giving me a look up and down before smiling kindly.

"Yeah, and you're Lance, right?" I replied, feeling stupid because of course it's Lance. Better move the conversation on, before I make a massive fool of myself. "Come on in, come on in." I hustled him inside and shut the door behind him.

Ok, so what now? Am I supposed to give him a tour or does he just want to have a wander around? Lance didn't seem to notice my uncertainty, as he looked around the room with a critical eye.

"So, um, this is the front room." I finally stated lamely. It feels like all I've done since meeting him is point out the obvious.

Lance lets out an ambiguous "hmm" that really could mean anything, and I fiddled with the hem of my shirt anxiously, watching him begin to pace around the room, staring fixedly at even the tiniest of details.

"Is it always this messy?" He asked at last, turning to look at me, eyebrows raised.

I blanch. Messy? I glanced wildly around the room. The flat is the tidiest it's been in a while after my quick tidy earlier. Nothing is discarded on the floor, there are no dirty plates lying about and all of the papers that would normally be strewn across the table are neatly stacked in a pile. Does he seriously think it's messy?

Suddenly it hits me that he's probably joking, and I'm about to laugh it off, but something about the way he's staring at me, expectantly waiting for an answer stops me and I blanch yet again.

"Um. No. No, not at all. I make sure it's usually quite tidy." I said at last, feeling my face flush from this blatant lie. I tell myself that it's a white lie, and feel a little better.

"Ok." He nodded acceptingly at my answer. "I suppose I didn't give you much time to prepare for my visit." He added, and then turned and started heading towards the nearest door. The door to my room. Fuck.

"Um! That's my room." I said quickly, effectively halting him on his way to the door. I can't have him going in there. I literally just told him that I'm a tidy person, and if he takes even one step into that room, it will be obvious that I am a blatant liar.

"Your room would be this one over here." I said smoothly, guiding him to Matt's room. It's not Matt's room anymore. I need to stop calling it that.

Lance immediately begins the exact same routine in Matt's room that he performed in the living room. He paced around a few times, stopping to stare fixedly at minute details, like the doorknobs on the wardrobe and the wooden pattern of the bed. It kind of made me want to laugh a little, but that would be a little inappropriate for the situation, right?

"Hm, well this is acceptable. I could tidy this room up in no time." He said at last. I paused slightly. Is he making out that it's not tidy in this room at the moment either? Good lord! On what planet does this man live on? It's empty. There is absolutely nothing in here, apart from a bed, empty wardrobe and desk. No useless clutter or anything. There is nothing there for him to tidy.

"Mhm." I said, nodding acceptingly, if only just to humour him.

I showed him around for a while longer, before he was satisfied that he had seen each room in sufficient detail. He hadn't looked particularly impressed with anything, but I get the feeling that Lance is a difficult guy to impress. Besides, he hadn't looked disappointed at anything either. That was probably a good sign, right?

"Okay, I think I've seen enough. I'm not going to lie and say it's ideal, but I'm kind of in a sticky situation and need to find a new place as soon as possible. Besides I'm sure with a bit of care this place could be completely different. What I'm saying is I'd be happy to move in here." Lance said at last, still glancing around the front room that we were now returned to.

I wasn't quite sure what to feel about what he had said. I'm sure it was meant to be positive because he said it with a smile but he managed to make it sounded a little insulting to be honest.

There is nothing wrong with the small flat. It's a perfectly nice place. It's really not as overly messy as he seems to believe.

I frowned slightly, before deciding to just ignore what he had said. I mean he said he'd move in, right? That's great! That means I'll be able to make rent this month. I shouldn't be so sensitive. I mean, I'm sure he didn't mean anything by it. He's a good guy, so he obviously didn't mean to be insulting.

"That's great! What kind of sticky situation though?" I ask, suddenly a bit apprehensive as to what he meant. I hope he's not into some shit that could get him into trouble.

"Nothing big. I had a bit of a disagreement with my last flatmate, so I have to move out as quickly as possible really. I don't want to see him if I can help it." He replied, casually.

Ok, that's not as bad as I was thinking. People fall out with flatmates all the time. I suppose being with someone 24/7 can do that to you. I mean, look at me and Matt! Although in our case, I wasn't even aware we were in a disagreement until he moved out.

"Ahh, fair enough. So when do you want to move in?" I asked, getting down to the more important questions now.

It was quickly agreed that Lance would start to move his stuff in quickly over the next few days. I suppose he was in quite a rush to get away from his previous flatmate. It must've been a pretty bad argument.

After discussing some of the technicalities of what moving in would entail, in terms of finance and other fairly important details, Lance stood to leave.

"Ok, well it was lovely to meet you, Adi and I guess I'll see you when I start moving in." He said, making his way to the door.

"Yeah, you too. Bye." I replied, waving him off. As soon as the door shut behind him, I dramatically collapsed backwards onto the sofa.

Dear God, I am tired!

A buzzing from my pocket interrupted my self pity and I pulled out my phone to see a new text message.

It was from Matt.

Eyes widening, I scrambled to open it.

Hey Adi, I'm just texting to say I'm sorry about the argument last night. I know I haven't gone about any of this in the right way. I just think that we need a little break from seeing each other every day, and spending all our spare time together. I honestly didn't think you'd be so upset about it, which I realise now was stupid of me. I'm really sorry about everything. Matt x

I felt irrationally angry after reading the message. He wants to say sorry? Fuck that. It sounds more like he's breaking up with me or something what with this all this shit about him wanting a 'break from being around each other all the time.' What he's really saying is he doesn't want to be friends anymore? Well, fuck that. I'm not going to let him do whatever the hell he wants without any input from me. This decision was not mutual, damnit!

Why should I just go along with whatever he wants? What about what I want? He can't just decide we aren't friends anymore and just expect me to be totally cool with it.

Anger rising within me, I made an impulsive decision. I wasn't going to let him throw me away like an old crisp packet. I was going to show him that you can't one-sidedly end a friendship.

I resolved that I would go round to the flat he's staying in with Sam everyday if I had to, and just act totally casual, as though nothing had happened. It'll piss him off so much, knowing that I completely disregarded everything he said about wanting a break. Somehow the thought of him being pissed off made me feel a lot better.

This could actually be kind of fun. Smirking I opened a new text message and hastily tapped out a reply.

Cool story, bro. Anyway, did you see the newest House episode? Pretty epic, right? Wanna come over to watch when the next one comes on? If you're busy, I'll just come round yours. :) See you soon, mate. Adi x

I grinned and pressed 'send'. Ha! Ok, so it was completely stupid and immature, but it made me feel better that I wasn't just taking his shit, but was rebelling against this 'break' he seemed so desperate to take from me.

Boom! How do you like me now, Matt Foster?

I know this isn't a game, but if it were, I'd totally be winning.

Ok, so that's the end of the fourth chapter. I'm on Easter holidays from uni at the moment, so I should be able to update fairly regularly. I'm using this story as a method of procrastinating from revision at the moment. Maybe not my best idea to be fair...

Anyway, please review to let me know what you liked, what you didn't like, anything that should be changed, or any suggestions you have. I love to hear what you have to say! Thanks!