“Help me with this box,” I called down the stairs as I struggled to lift the cardboard box full of stuff up the last flight of stairs to my new apartment.
“I’ll be with you in a minute,” my father called back. “Your mother is giving me orders about what is to go where.”
“I am doing no such thing,” my mother shouted back. “Everything just needs to have some sort of order.”
“Let me take that,” Andy said, appearing from the flight above me and holding out his hands to take the box from me. “You’ll be waiting forever if you wait for your dad to arrive. When I was last down there she was on the verge of drawing a layout for where all your things are meant to go.”
“I’m sorry about them,” I apologized as I handed him the box. “They’re not always like this, I promise.”
“Don’t worry. Mine are exactly the same. Don’t pick something so heavy next time,” he joked, pretending to stagger under the weight of the box.
“It’s all got to get up to the apartment in the end,” I pointed out, giving him a quick kiss before running back down the stairs for another box, my baggy t-shirt bouncing up and down.
“What happened to the last box?” My father asked as I appeared at the bottom of the stairs to collect something else to carry up the stairs.
“Andy gave me a hand,” I said, picking up a plastic bag full of bedding to carry.
“He’s a nice boy,” Mum commented. “I don’t know where you found that one but I’d keep hold of him. You won’t find another like that easily.”
“Thanks, Mum,” I replied, “it’s nice to know you prefer my boyfriend to me.”
“I didn’t mean it like that, darling. I just mean that he’s nicer than some of the other guys you’ve dated.”
“What was wrong with my other boyfriends?” I asked, putting one hand on my hip and looking at my mother over an invisible pair of glasses.
“Well…they were just a bit…”
“What your mother is trying to say,” my father interrupted, “is that you can do a lot better than some of the men you’ve chosen before. Andy is a good guy, better than the others. He has a proper job-“
“Liam had a proper job,” I protested.
“Being in a band doesn’t count as a proper job,” my mother said sharply. I rolled my eyes and walked away. I knew my parents disapproved of my choice in men. Before Andy I had a habit of picking bad boys, ones who would mess me around and then drop me like I’d never meant anything to them. The first few times my mum had been sympathetic but when it continued to happen she began to lose her patience. But the fact that she liked Andy meant that he was definitely better for me than any of the wasters I had seen before.
“You alright?” Andy asked, bouncing down the stairs as I made my way up them.
“Decided to try something lighter,” I said, holding up the bag of bedding.
“Don’t strain yourself too hard,” he joked, brushing past me and continuing on his way down the stairs.
“I’ll have you know this is very hard work,” I shouted after him. Andy’s laughter reverberated around the stairwell, making me chuckle along with him. I made it up to the fourth floor and walked through the door to my new apartment, taking the bedding straight through to my new bedroom and dumping it on the bed, along with all the other stuff that I wanted to keep in my room.
Before I’d had to box everything up I hadn’t realised quite how much stuff I’d managed to collect over the years and my brain began to ache when I wondered how I’d managed to fit it in my room at my parent’s house in the first place. Almost none of it held any particular use or significance, I just couldn’t bear to part with anything.
I practically skipped out of the apartment, expecting to meet Andy coming the other way. The further I progressed down the staircase without hearing his footsteps approaching I began to wonder what had happened; if my mother had cornered him began to talk at him against his will. But when I reached the bottom of the stairs where my parents were still standing, Andy was nowhere to be seen.
“What have you done with Andy?” I asked jokingly. “You haven’t frightened him off have you?”
“No,” my mother said quietly. “He was called away, something to do with work. He says that he’s really sorry but it was an emergence. There was nothing he could do.”
“That’s alright,” I said, my voice straining to keep the disappointment from seeping through. “He’ll probably pop round later when he’s done. It’s fine.” My parents didn’t look convinced by my performance so I simply collected another box and walked back up the stairs.
I knew it wasn’t Andy’s fault that he had to work but somehow it still hurt that he had left without saying goodbye to me. Surely it wasn’t so important that it couldn’t have waited a few moments for a hasty explanation, rather than leaving my parents to tell me the news. I swallowed my sadness as I reached the door to my apartment. I wasn’t going to let anything ruin this day. I was moving into my new home and nothing could possibly spoil that.