The city was as still as it possibly could be at 2 in the morning. The buildings around him still had lights on in many of the rooms, cars still sped by, and Jordan could hear the bass from various clubs nearby. But the air was still and cool as he walked through the city. He'd finished his shift about an hour ago and he could have been back at his flat in bed by now if he'd wanted to be. But he'd headed in the opposite direction when he'd stepped out of the club. He didn't want to go back to the flat. Not yet. He was desperate for some peace and quiet, a break from his roommates and the music that was constantly played in the flat beneath theirs. He just wanted a break.

It wasn't too cold considering it was the middle of March in the dead of night. Jordan was wearing an old black parka jacket that he'd found dirt cheap in a charity shop, his black jeans and a t-shirt. He never tried hard when he was going into work; he had to change into his uniform when he got there anyway. The heels of his too big trainers scuffed the floor as he walked. He knew he ought to tie them properly so they'd stay on as he walked, but he couldn't bothered. It was easier to kick them off and slide them on if they just stayed unlaced.

His hair had deflated from when he'd styled it earlier before his shift. Well, Luke had styled it. Luke always made sure Jordan looked as good as he possibly could. He got more tips that way. Luke's boyfriend was a hairdresser and Luke had obviously picked up more than a few tips because he always made Jordan's hair look awesome. Jordan smiles softly as he thought about Luke. They'd become best friends almost immediately when Jordan walked into the club. Luke was like the big brother Jordan so desperately needed. That had been over a year ago. Jordan had only been 17 when he started stripping; technically illegal but they paid him under the counter to avoid going through the official paperwork. He hadn't told the club he was only 17 – if they assumed he was 18, it's their own fault for not asking. Jordan was terrified for the first few months that they'd find out he was underage and fire him. But then he turned 18 and it was fine. By then, he was good and he had a group of 'fans'. Luke called them fans, anyway. Jordan just generally tried not to think of them.

He didn't enjoy what he did for a living. Luke was a stripper because he loved to dance and there weren't all that many legitimate places to dance in the city. Jordan was a stripper because he was desperate and he wasn't trained for anything else. He hadn't finished school and he'd been homeless for almost a year. Doesn't look great on a resume, unless you apply to a dodgy club where they don't give a damn about your background as long as you turn up on time and take your clothes off. Sometimes Luke told Jordan to look for another job, because he could see how much he hated it, but Jordan knew what the results would be before he even tried. He didn't even have his GCSEs which were the lowest qualification possible. Even the crappiest retail job would expect a GCSE in maths and English just to prove he could count and read. So no, he knew he was stuck like this. Stripping every other night from 9 until 1 for a crappy £60 a shift that just about covered his rent. Luke earned slightly more than Jordan because he was more experienced and a better dancer but even he wouldn't have been able to get by if he wasn't living with his boyfriend.

Jordan resented Luke that one thing; he was so desperately lonely. He had Luke, sure, but that was about it. He wanted more but he knew no guy in their right mind would want to go out with him, a 19 year old stripper who could hardly make rent let alone pay for food. His roommates tolerated him at best, and he them. He tried to only be in the flat to sleep and that was it. He shared a room with Tom, who was a year younger than him. He worked at a big department store in the city. He made a hell of a lot more money than Jordan did. He had another four roommates; Sasha, Sadie, Ben and Lexi. The latter two were in a relationship so they had a room to themselves, but everyone had to share. We were living in a 2 bedroom flat and the living room had been converted into a third bedroom. Sasha, who'd been living there the longest, said that the landlord didn't know it had been changed to a 3 bedroom flat and Jordan just stayed out of it. He gave his rent to Sasha each week and she gave it to the landlord.

Sometimes Jordan considered trying to contact his parents. He wondered whether they'd care about how he was living. Probably not. But he thought that maybe he could at least ask for a little money just to help him get by. One of the guys at the club, Kyle, had been kicked out by his parents the minute he'd turned 18 because he was gay. Jordan had felt a connection to him but then Kyle told him that his parents paid his rent as a compromise for never seeing him again. And Jordan felt the fleeting connection disappear. Kyle was lucky. At least his parents obviously felt a little guilt over throwing their child out on his own. Jordan's parents were not like that. They hadn't even waited until Jordan had been 18. No, the minute they'd found out that their son liked other boys, he was out in the big wide world on his own. He'd had enough money to make it to the city, knowing the chances of finding a job – or at least a decent homeless shelter – would be better in the city. And that's how he'd lived for the first 8 months or so, moving from shelter to shelter, homeless for all intents and purposes. The moments when Jordan considered contacting his parents were few and far between.

The wind changed and suddenly felt colder. Jordan put his hands in his pockets and tried to pull his jacket around him more tightly. He walked out onto Tower Bridge over the Thames. He was only getting further and further away from the flat but he didn't really care. The wind picked up over the river which apparently acted as a channel for the wind. Jordan stopped walking and looked out over the dark water. Every now and then, if the water moved in a certain way, a light from a building was reflected on the surface, but otherwise it was just darkness. He'd heard stories of how dirty the water in the Thames was. In the daylight, sure, it looked pretty dirty, but he couldn't see that at that moment. He leant against the blue and white barrier that prevented people from falling into the river. Jordan pulled himself up so he was sitting on it. The sounds had died down now that he was in the middle of the river. A car passed every now and then but Jordan hardly even noticed it. He just wanted a break. A break from the people he lived with, the people at work who leered at him and groped him despite the no-touching policy. He just wanted something to get better. But he knew it never would. He had nothing going for him. No way to improve his lot. He was what he was.

A horn of a car beeped behind him and Jordan sucks in a breath of cold air, losing his grip on the railing. And then he's falling, his coat flapping around him. Jordan closes his eyes as the cold air zooms passed, almost relieved.


This is my new multi-chapter story. I won't be able to update as frequently as I did with 'God Doesn't Make Mistakes', but hopefully there won't be a long wait between chapters.

Thanks for reading!

-Nicola x