This is the first instalment in a series featuring these characters. They will mostly be silly snapshots, and there will be other short stories posted here in between, but keep your eye out for more silliness featuring Christen and her … not friend…?
“Don’t bring my mother into this!”
“Why not? At least she appreciates my superior wit.”
“It’s true, hun, she is pretty funny. For a soulless killer.”
I will never wish for an interesting life ever again.
It all started about six months ago. (That’s how everyone starts these things, isn’t it? Never waste a good cliché, I always say.) It was one of those grey in-between days, where you’re too cold for a T-shirt and too hot for a jacket and you’re guaranteed to be rained on while you’re running for the bus you’re definitely going to miss. So pretty much like every other day in autumn. Despite my best efforts, I arrived at the bus stop in time to see the bus disappear down the street, which left me with two choices: stump up for the ridiculous parking fees and drive to uni, or invent an excuse for missing my tutorial that wouldn’t involve getting a doctor’s certificate. I wasn’t feeling particularly inventive, so that left me with driving.
I was still cursing my need for a second cup of tea with breakfast when I turned into the narrow street that would take me to the main road, which was perhaps why I wasn’t paying as much attention as usual. It probably wouldn’t have helped if I had been paying attention, to be honest, because what can you do when a black-clad stranger steps into the middle of the road and points a gun at you?
This was how I met Christen. How we came to be discussing the merits of her moving in with me six months later is still something of a mystery.
“Are you seriously telling me you think this is a good idea?” I asked Mum. I will never understand why my staid, normal-as-normal mother took to Christen so easily, but she did. Even when she heard the story of how we first met, she still took it upon herself to make sure Christen had a home cooked meal at least once a week and someone to iron her shirts. It’s a little hard not to resent that, all things considered.
“Maybe you could be a good influence on her,” Mum said. I snorted loudly.
“Yeah, because I’ve had so much success so far,” I replied. Christen was rearranging my alphabetised DVD collection according to some system of her own, while I ground my teeth and tried to pretend it wasn’t happening.
“What are you talking about?” she said, looking up from where she sat cross-legged on the floor. “I haven’t got into a single fight this month. That’s all down to you, you know. Imagine if we hadn’t met.”
“Oh, I do, every day.”
“That was such a good day,” Christen mused happily, sliding The Matrix in next to The Emperor’s New Groove. I felt my eye start to twitch.
“You kidnapped me,” I said flatly. “At gunpoint.”
“No I didn’t!” She looked up and caught my expression. “Well, okay, maybe I did kidnap you a little bit, but I said I was sorry. How else was I supposed to get your attention?”
“I guess ‘hi’ was too much trouble for you,” I muttered.
“You were in a car.”
“You could have called a taxi.”
“You know that leaves a paper trail. It’s like I haven’t taught you anything.”
Mum interrupted with cookies at this point, because she didn’t fancy the idea of her offspring committing murder. At least in front of witnesses in their own living room.
“If you two would stop bickering for five seconds,” she said.
“I’m not bickering!” Christen protested.
“I am, and I’m not going to stop,” I retorted. “Imagine what it will be like living with that all the time.”
“Nobody’s perfect,” replied Christen serenely. I took a deep breath and counted to ten. It didn’t help.
Nothing ever did with Christen. It wasn’t that she was an assassin – god knows the world needs a few professional killers. And it wasn’t that she insisted on ‘dressing the part’ – all black and leather jackets isn’t exactly subtle. It wasn’t even that she had all the self-awareness of a pine cone. It was that she just assumed, after everything, that we were friends, rather than… whatever it was we were, which was definitely not friends. I’m told friendship requires mutual respect and shared values, but honestly, after Christen, I would have settled for someone who didn’t make me want to stick a fork in my eye.
I bit into my cookie and chewed resentfully in my mother’s direction. She ignored me and continued ironing Christen’s favourite black shirt.
“You know, I think you’re being a bit unreasonable about all this,” said Christen, putting Return of the King onto one shelf and The Two Towers on the stack next to her. I could feel the muscles in my jaw tensing. If I didn’t watch out, I’d have a tension headache to deal with as well.
“Oh, sure,” I said. “It’s totally unreasonable for me to be upset about a soulless killer moving into my spare room, what could go wrong? I should just chill out, obviously.” Christen rolled her eyes.
“I wish you’d let the soulless thing go, it’s hardly my fault. I didn’t ask to be born without one.”
She gave me the Look, the same way she always did when this point came up. I really should have known better by now, but there was something about the big, pathetic eyes and pouty lip that got me every damn time. I sighed. I knew I’d lost.
“Fine,” I said. “But I’m not helping you move in.”
All Rights Reserved to Cambrey Payne 2017. Acknowledge sources when sharing and do not repost without original source.
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