Imogene moved in on the 23rd of April. Max marked it down on his calender. Not for any particular reason, he just liked to keep track of things. To know what had happened and when. If he cared enough to figure out why, he perhaps would have noted that his mother had never taken him to any of his appointments as a child, and never shown up at parent teacher meetings. Or perhaps it was because his dad never remembered birthdays or anniversaries. Not even his own. But Max didn't care to dig any deeper. He didn't really believe in Psychology. He thought people were people and they were going to behave as such. And since people have a tendency to not make much sense, he accepted his habit without much question.
He didn't know her name when she moved in, of course. So he just marked it as: "Couple, blond woman and brown haired man move in, have two children. Baby boy (Blond, 1 or 2.) and teenage daughter (Brown hair, 15-19?)"
He'd listened at the wall for a while, the houses being joined, and discovered that the girls name was Imogene, and the boys was Liam. The mother's name he had yet to discover, as Imogene called her "Mum" and the husband hasn't used her name. She had snapped at the husband however, calling him "Will."
Max didn't really observe people, he just liked to know about those who surrounded him.
"Can't trust people." He'd once told a close friend, "So you've got to make sure you know what they're hiding. They won't tell you themselves." Max was only 11 when he'd made this statement, that the teacher had over heard. She'd called his mother, a little concerned for the boy, sounding so world-wise so young. She'd laughed it off. Now he was 18, she wouldn't even pick up the phone to school.
"You're an adult. Act like it. Sort out your own mess."
Not that he minded. When he went down for dinner, his father was hidden behind a newspaper, his mother was scrubbing the counter she'd just cooked on.
"New neighbors have moved in." Max said.
"That's nice, dear." His mother said, "Maybe you could go see if they have a son your age. I haven't seen many friends of yours around recently."
"No, they only have one son, and he's a baby. They have a teenage daughter, though."
"Now, don't need you getting distracted by girls when you're off to college so soon."
"I know, Mum."
"You've got to do well. Your cousin, Alexander, has just finished his exams. He did fantastically. He's going to Harvard, in America. Getting a law degree, of course-" she set a plate of bangers and mash down in front of Max then, and he tucked in with gusto that only a teenage boy can manage, barely hearing his mother's praise of his cousin.
He finished, and offered to help clear up, his mother said no, he didn't clean the forks properly. His father grunted a goodnight, and Max knew it was best to stay in his room for the evening. He locked the door behind him, and opened his window to the damp, drizzly evening. The street lamps had just come on. He grabbed himself a fresh pack of cigarettes, and his lighter, and climbed out onto his windowsill. Then grabbed the gutter over his window, and swung himself round, so he could clamber onto the least steep part of the roof. There he settled himself, overlooking the town, who's lights were just brightening, as day turned to night.
He'd been there 45 minutes perhaps, when Imogene poked her head out of her window, and scoped the scene. She saw it possible for herself to clamber onto the roof, and swung herself the way he had. She looked a little shocked to see him there, in fact, she lost her grip momentarily on the wet shingles. She slid down a few, and one came loose. It broke off, and fell, smashing on the patio two floors bellow. Max offered her his hand, and pulled her up beside him.
"Are you allowed to be up here?" He hissed, quickly,
"No, are you?"
"No. Shhh. Lie down and keep quiet."
They flattened themselves against the roof, knowing they couldn't be seen from the patio. But if someone went further down either of their gardens, they'd have to rely on the darkness to hide them. Max stubbed out his glowing cigarette.
A few moments later, they heard a door open, and someone swear at the broken shingle.
"That's my dad." Imogene mouthed.
"Bloody pigeons." Her father concluded, and they listened to him kick the broken tile into the unkempt flowerbeds. Then the door was shut, and they sat up.
"Your parents didn't come out, then." She said, the statement was almost a question.
"No, they've got the TV up too loud at this time." Said Max, lighting another.
"I'm Imogene." She said, giving him a once over.
"I Kn- I'm Max. Nice, to meet you." He'd almost slipped up there. He didn't think she'd noticed. She was looking at his cigarette. "Oh, do you want one?"
"No, I don't smoke."
"Well, try something new then."
She shook her head, and turned away from him, taking in the view of the town.
"It's beautiful out here."
"Yes, it is. My parents would flip if they knew I was up here, though."
"Mine too. But I've always loved sitting on roofs. Sorry, if you wanted to be alone."
"No problem. I haven't had the company for a while." He couldn't believe he'd just admitted that, and turned pink. Thanking the darkness from hiding that from her. She ignored his confession, a little embarrassed by his honesty herself.
"How old are you?"
"Fifteen. I'm going to start at that girl's school in town soon. Are you still at school?"
"Yes. This is my last year."
"Oh. Big exams coming up, then?"
"Yeah. I'm not looking forward to it. How come you moved here?"
"My mum just got a new job. My dad stays home with my baby brother, Liam, and she's working all the time. It makes her a bit high strung, and I think she's upset about not seeing Liam all day. She says that with this new job, she'll be home more, and even earn more. But I didn't want to leave. I had this great group of friends back in Blackpool, and they say they'll email and stuff, but I know they won't. They'll forget all about me. Dad says I'll make all new friends at the school here, but I don't want new friends, and when we went to visit all the girls looked really stuck up and glared at me like a was a rabbit and they were all hungry foxes."
Max blinked at her for a while, letting her pissed-off tone sink in. He'd enjoyed it.
"My rooftop is your rooftop." He said, finally, "It's a great place to get away."
Then she watched him climb back down, and into his window.