'What's your name?'
I turned to look at the person who had spoken. I had been painting my toe-nails pink and had them up resting on the back of my couch. On my right was my big black TV blaring out music videos. I'd been singing along, lying on my back and wafting my feet around. And all I was wearing was a pink vest-top, black pants and a towel in the shape of a turban trying to keep wet hair out of my face. Was I embarrassed a complete stranger had walked in on my like this? Nope.
'Chelsea!' I yelled happily. Perhaps I should have been slightly more perturbed about the strange guy, but my favourite song had just popped up (really loud might I add) and I was warm. What more could I want? 'What's yours?'
'Mike. Nice toe-nails.'
I barely heard him, I was too busy screaming out the lyrics to the song on TV. When I did I grinned at him. 'Thanks! Nice hat!' It really was a nice hat. It was like a bowler hat I suppose.
'Kat!' A new voice screeched.
'Timmy!' I grinned as my friend, Darren came in. My second name was Katrina and his was Timothy. We generally called each other by second names. Cool, no?
He grinned and sat down, pulling my legs onto his lap. 'Hey, Kat! Whatcha doing?'
'Watching videos,' I told him, nodding wisely. Then giggled.
My friend laughed and looked back up at Mike who still stood in the doorway. 'Want to sit down, mate? This is my friend, Kat. She's adorable!'
Mike sat down on my other side and frowned. 'She said her name was Chelsea.'
'Oh, it is. But her name's Kat too. But only I call her that.' My friend cheerfully supplied a bowel of popcorn and set it on my stomach. 'Popcorn for all!'
Mike was sitting pretty much right next to my head, and it made it seem as though there was a wall there. I didn't like it, so I tugged Mike's jeans impatiently until he was near enough for my head to rest on him. Soon I was stuffing my face, and screaming out lyrics with my friend. Mike didn't sing along. Maybe he didn't know the lyrics. He just sat there, munching and plaiting my hair, undoing it and starting again. What a loveable guy. I tipped my head back and grinned at him.
'Are you and my friend going out?' I asked happily.
Mike raised his eyebrows. 'No. I'm straight.'
'Well, that makes one of us!' I cried happily, turning back to the TV.
Mike turned in confusion to my friend. 'She's gay?'
'No, not really. But she's sure not straight either. She's bisexual.'
'Oh.' Mike continued playing with my hair, seemingly unfazed by my sexuality.
My friend was pretending my feet were prey, and kept pouncing on them when they twitched in time with the music. I giggled, because it tickled. Then I turned back to Mike.
'Who are you?'
'Oh. I've never had a bodyguard before!' I beamed up at him.
'I'm your new flatmate.'
'Do you like me?'
'Do you like Tim?'
'Tim?' Confusion clouded his features making him look ridiculously cute. I pinched his cheek.
'Tim,' I sang.
'Yes?' My friend answered.
'See? That's Tim.'
Mike just looked more confused. 'You said your name was Darren.'
'It is. But I'm Tim too.'
'But only I call him that!' I sang.
'Yes, I like Tim.'
'Me too! Where are you going to sleep? Who's going in the middle?'
'You,' Mike said.
'Me! I get the middle! Yay! Now I'll be doubly warm, with people on both sides of me.' All that matters is being warm. My friend knows me well enough to know that I get extremely grumpy when I'm not warm. Our flat has central heating so I don't mind going around almost clotheless. Anywhere else and I have to dress up really warmly. London is cold. So only people who come into our flat see me without a thousand layers on.
The doorbell rang and my friend went to get it. He came back with three pizzas. We took them to the bed, and snuggled up under the sheets, eating pizza and watching music videos. I was in heaven. What else could I want? Delicious hot pizza, lovely music videos, and two warm bodies on either side of me. When we were finished, about half an hour later, we turned off the TV and lights and snuggled deeper into the bed.
That was the first ever night I hadn't woken up in the night, cold. Usually, I have to snuggle up to my friend as much as possible. But tonight, with two people hugging and snuggling into me all night, I felt as warm as a pancake.
When I woke up, the other two were still asleep. I crowed happily, immediately waking them. Mike groaned, and pulled back into the covers, but my friend just smiled and put a hand over my mouth. We got up, one at a time, and had a shower and got dressed in the bathroom. That was the only privacy. The rest of the flat was all one room. We didn't have a dining table so we always ate on the bed or couch. The couch was at the foot of the bed, and the TV was facing both, so we could watch from either piece of furniture. Our kitchen was simply a microwave a sink, a fridge and a pantry-cupboard.
I didn't like the fridge. I kept my distance from the fridge.
We had pancakes for breakfast, and ate on the bed while playing cards. Apparently Mike was quite good. Today I was wearing a green tank top and pants. I don't like to wear much when I don't have to and it's warm. And I like to be comfortable. I don't often wear much else apart from vest tops and pants in the flat.
After breakfast I dug into my wardrobe and put on leggings, trousers and jumpers. As soon as I felt sufficiently warm I put on my sunglasses and followed Mike and my friend outside.
I was silent during the entire walk. I don't like winter. I don't like snow. It's cold. Everything's so cold. I was squished in-between my two companions so I was fairly sheltered. Every week we took this walk, my friend and I.
As I was somewhat allergic to cold, beauticians made it their business to make sure I was taking the proper care of my body. They pretty me up every week all for free. I must have almost as well cared for skin as a model.
You see, I am a normal girl even though I only go out of my flat once a week. Today, after seeing the beauticians I am looking my most beautiful, so today, my friend decided, was the ideal day for my party. I spent most of the day at the beauticians, having my body treated even more splendidly than usual. I was wearing a purple dress and high-heels. My hair and make-up were no doubt looking fabulous, I knew for a fact that I smelt lovely. Mike and my friend had abandoned me and were getting our flat ready for the party. I knew my friend was inviting a lot of girls so I made him promise to invited just as many boys so the girls wouldn't have to dance with each other all night.
It wasn't going to be a crazy party. Just a party. The bathroom was strictly sectioned off. Only Mike, my friend and I had the keys. That was our haven. Our sanctuary. I know what you're thinking. Bathroom? Come on, man, it's just a bathroom!
Well I tell you, this bathroom was damn expensive. It's an absolutely beautiful room. The tiles on the walls form mosaics. It's absolutely huge too, you could have about thirty people dancing in there. Sure, it would be slightly cramped, but they would've fit. The mirror was huge and could easily get cracked. Nope. They were going no where near that. The bath would fit two of us inside comfortably. One of us could spend the night on the floor if we needed to. We had plenty of thick bathmats. The bathroom was designed specially to keep me warm. And of course, apart from that it's just absolutely amazing. That was precisely why there were five locks on the door. Normally we only use one, but for parties we definitely use all of them.
We moved the TV and other breakables into the bathroom in a corner, just to get them out of harms way. Of course, I wasn't actually allowed to do much when I finally got home, because I was all beautified up and all, so I spent most of my time sitting in the bath, reading a book and listening to the radio.
The party started at 10:00. I came out of the bathroom when everyone was there, and they all cheered and sang.
'Happy Birthday, Chelsea!' I was sick of hearing that by 02:00. I was sick of the party too. Well, so much for having a full swing party all night. Drunken people were staggering around my flat. I shrugged and vanished into the bathroom. Mike was already there, and I joined him in the bathtub. We sat there talking, our legs hanging out the side.
'I'm glad you're not usually like that.'
'Well, I like how you were last night and this morning. Not, the partying type.'
'I don't really have much choice about that, unless I'm either hosting the party, or go out looking like an overly dressed sheep.'
He laughed. 'Yeah, well. I've never met anyone who's allergic to cold before.'
'It's more like my skin doesn't take kindly to it. It kind of fizzles up and stuff. I don't know. And I don't like the cold.'
'I think it completes you.'
My friend joined us then, and grinned when he saw my head on Mike's shoulder.
'Mike, you already worked your charm on Kat? Not that it takes much to have Kat at your feet.'
'Are you calling me a slut?'
'No, I'm calling you a cat.'
'See, I knew you found me funny.'My friend came and sat on my right. Lovely. I found myself snuggled up between my two flatmates once more. I sighed.
'I could live like this.'
'You do live like this.'
'I know. I live in heaven.'
'And you're lucky.'
'To have two such splendid bodyguards as yourselves.'
'That's me, babe.'
I sighed and settled myself deeper onto Mike's shoulder.
'You're very comfortable you know, Mikey. You should become a personal pillow.'
'I already have that occupation.'
'I'm not going to pay for the privilege I hope you know.'
We talked for a while, then my friend got bored and set the TV up and we watched chick flicks and other such things. None of us would touch a horror.
My friend fell asleep sometime during the third film. Mike switched the TV off so it wouldn't disturb my friend.
'So,' he said. We got up off the floor and went back into the bath. We sat, facing each other, at opposite ends. 'My name's Michael Robin Post.'
'My name's Chelsea Katrina Quince.'
'I have a father who lives in Australia. He's an alcoholic.'
'My father was killed along with thirty other people by a suicide bomber.'
'My mother died three years ago from cancer, but I haven't seen her since I was ten.'
'My mother's gone crazy and lives in an asylum.'
'I have a sister who's fifteen, and she lives with our grandmother.'
'I'm an only child. My closest family is Tim.'
'I ran away from home as soon as I was sixteen.'
'Tim took me to live here as soon as my mother was sent to the asylum. I was sixteen.'
'I've had three girlfriends and no boyfriends.'
'I've had four girlfriends and two boyfriends.'
'I had my heart broken when I was fourteen.'
'I've been hurt four times in relationships. The other two times I was the one to break them off.'
'I lost my virginity at seventeen at a party.'
'I lost mine at fifteen with my first girlfriend.'
'I've always been straight and often wonder how it must be to be gay.'
'I'm bi but I'm far more gay than straight.'
'The thing I love about girls most, is that they always seem so vulnerable and I just want to protect them and keep them warm and safe.'
'I love having a girlfriend because she'll always notice what I'm wearing and whether I've dyed or cut my hair.'
'They have such long soft hair.'
'They always smell lovely.'
'They can cook really well.'
'I love their small waists. Would you like to try having a boyfriend?'
'Yes, I think I would.'
'Would you like me to find you a date? We could all have a triple date!'
'Do you have a girlfriend?'
'Not at the moment. Are you single?'
'Good then, I'll find us all a date.'
'Is Tim gay or straight?'
'He generally has no preference.'
'I'm intrigued to find out the genders of our dates.'
'Well, you know yours will obviously be male, as that is the entire point. And I generally prefer female, so it's really only Tim's who remains unknown. I'm going to call you Rob from now on.'
Because of my health, we were going to have the date here. It didn't take too long to kick the few remaining people out, and clean the flat up. I left my friend to deal with what we were going to eat, and Mike to figure out what we else we could do after dinner. I was busy on my laptop, typing away to Iola, a friend. It wasn't too long until Iola had told three of her friends about the date. I trusted her to find good people for us. Then I made it my business to decide what we were all going to wear.
The other two weren't too difficult to find suitable clothes for. For myself, I chose a lovely halter-neck dress. Iola had told me quite a bit about my date and I was looking forward to it.
I opened the door, and was greeted by two girls and a boy. I led them in and took their coats, my eyes all the while watching the blonde girl. She was gorgeous. There was no other way to put it. Mike and my friend were standing there awkwardly, apparently wondering what to do. I took the guy and Mike aside.
'Rob, this is your date.'
'Hi, I'm Mike.'
The two grinned awkwardly at each other for a moment.
I turned back to the other two. My friend was looking between the two of them as if he wasn't quite sure which was his date. I pointed him towards the brunette.
I turned back towards the other girl, my date.
'Hello, I'm Chelsea.'
I smiled at her and led them all to our bed which had dishes and plates and food all over it. To be honest it looked quite appetising. Yum.
'It must be so nice to live here with your two friends.' Sapphire said, when we were all sat and eating.
'Isn't it strange for Darren to sleep with a girl?'
'Oh, no. We've known each other forever. And it's just as strange with Rob really, because Tim's bi.'
'And you? Are you bi or gay?'
'I'm bi but more gay than straight.'
'I'm gay. Iola's told me so much about you. I couldn't wait to meet you tonight.'
I turned slightly pink, and said, 'Me too. I saw a couple of pictures of you and thought you looked really pretty. Then I saw you in real life and couldn't believe how gorgeous you were.'
It was her turn to blush. She bit her lip and ate a sprout. She was slender and beautiful. Her long hair was hanging down and the front bits of each side were plaited together behind her head. She was wearing a black corset and a red skirt. We'd all taken off our shoes before climbing onto the bed, and her feet looked lovely and soft.
I stared at the girl in front of me, unable to believe it. This was the girl I'd had a crush on for the past two months. She worked in a posh restaurant, and I'd passed by that way as often as possible just to catch a glimpse of her. I was too shy to go inside, but I loved to watch her.
'You're that guy, aren't you? The one who's always looking in at the window of our restaurant. We all try and work out why you come, and who you're staring at. The other waitresses can't wait for your visit and always make sure they look exquisite. I've always wanted to ask you. Who do you look at?'
I blushed. 'You.'
Angelina flushed. 'Really? You aren't just saying that?'
'All right then. If you really do pay so much attention to me, what earrings was I wearing last Wednesday?'
'You had a butterfly in one ear, and in your other you had a cross. You were told to take it off half-way through the session by that red-haired woman.'
Angelina went bright pink, and followed me to the bed. I watched her sit down. She had black lace stockings on and a blue dress. Her legs curled up under her and she ate a carrot.
'So, you live here with... these two.'
'Yes. Kat and I have lived here for two years, but Rob just moved in four days ago.'
'Have you ever been out with Chelsea?'
'No, we grew up next door to each other and pretty much think of each other as siblings now. There's not a chance either of us would want to go out.'
'Are you bi or something? It's just you seemed confused between all three of us when we came in.'
'Yes, I'm bi. You don't care do you?'
'No, just as long as you don't cheat with Mike if we ever go out.' She went a little pink. 'Sorry. I've been told I can be far too forward on dates. But only ever if I like the guy.'
'That's fine. So, you like me?'
'Then perhaps you'll forgive me for being forward... will you be my girlfriend?'
She flushed again. 'Yes, I would like to be your girlfriend. But only because I've kind of liked you ever since you started peeking in at the restaurant. I'm not usually like this.'
'Good. I would hate for my girlfriend to run off with the first guy who asked her. You wouldn't last half an hour, then.'
'I'm not that pretty.'
'Oh, but you are. Why else would I watch you all the time?'
'Oh, so you only go for pretty girls? If I wasn't pretty you wouldn't have given me a second glance?'
'No, but I would probably have ended up seeing you every day.'
'What do you mean?'
'If I hadn't fallen for you then I would've fallen for your brother. He's pretty good-looking.'
'Sorry to disappoint you, but he's straight.'
'I don't mind. I have you, after all.'
The guy sitting next to me was beautiful. I couldn't stop staring at him. I found it disconcerting, in a way. I mean, I've been straight all my life. He noticed my gaze and held back a smile.
'I'm your first male date, right?'
I nodded, startled. 'Yeah. I guess I always used to notice how attractive guys are, but never did anything because I was scared. I guess my father taught me that girls are what men are attracted to, and gays are just wrong.'
He cocked his head on one side and smiled. 'So, do you find me attractive?'
I blushed. 'Yeah. You're beautiful.'
'So my mirror tells me every morning,' he grinned.
'Are you gay?'
'Yes. To me, girls bodies are just vulgar. I mean, they're okay as friends, but... kissing a girl would be rather disgusting I think. I've never had a girlfriend though, so I wouldn't actually know. How many girlfriends have you had?'
'Three. I liked all of them and loved one of them, but I guess, I never really felt satisfied, you know? So maybe I'm completely gay, not even bi.'
Sam laughed. 'Yeah, I can imagine a girl wouldn't be that satisfying.'
Sapphire and Chelsea turned and glared at us. Sapphire snorted. 'I'll have you know that a girl is far more satisfying than a,' she sniffed, 'male.'
Sam laughed and turned his back on her. 'Mike, how many times have you eaten mangos?'
'Don't you think they're ambrosia?'
'Food of the gods.'
'I have this thing about mangos.' Sam smiled and ruffled his hair, making it stand on end.
Mike just smiled and watched him, feeling a certain fondness wash over him.
Our dates went exceedingly well. I hadn't really been expecting that any of us would actually end up going out with our dates, but in the end we all did. I could see Mike was taking it slow with Sam, not being particularly experienced in that area.
We spent all our time together. I never went to Sapphire's house because she mentioned that it was cold there, so we always hung about my flat. We became an inseparable group of friends, and eventually Sam, Sapphire and Angelina moved in too.
Before I had been quite lonely, often with just Darren for company, and most of my social life was over the phone or internet. But now, there were five other people sharing my home, and I loved every single one of them.
And now, staring into Sapphire's beautiful eyes, on the night of our first anniversary, I think I'm probably the luckiest girl in the world.