The memory filter blinked off causing Josh to lift the goggles blinking in the dim light wondering why and it was only when he felt the soft touch of a hand on his cheek and the soft fragrance of heather he knew why.
"Didn't think you were going to come out of there this side of midnight" came a gentle giggle. Just replaced the headset on its charger setting the lights to come back on revealing a tall, perfectly proportioned girl standing in front of him.
"Stand there while I admire the view" he chuckled back causing her to feign disgust and stand up to which he pouted. Getting out of the chair he suddenly became aware that he'd become chair shaped and gave a loud growl as he stretched promptly jumping as hands tickled the bare flesh exposed by his shirt. The girl giggled mischieviously before running off and he thought about chasing her but decided not to. Looking out of the window to his right Josh sighed as he gazed out into the infinity that was space dotted with the thousands upon millions of pinpricks that were stars. Instructing the computer to shut the blind and power down the lights he left the room to find the girl waiting for him opposite the door next to a tall, stocky lad who was around the same age as him.
"Its amazing how you hold so much power over him Judy." the lad smirked, "especially when he was so adamant that he'd never let anyone do just that"
Josh growled, "You be quiet else I'll just tell Georgia few things"
The other youth laughed and clapped a large hand on Josh's back making him sway slightly. Judy moved to stand on Josh's left taking his hand as she did. Josh looked at her and smiled, he couldn't help it. Ever since she had first done it he'd never stopped, for him it was the one thing in his life that was just perfect. Suddenly he became aware of the other boy talking but not in english. Looking at him Josh saw that he'd come over all serious, enquiring as to what was up Josh had his answer and quickly released Judy's hand running hell for leather to where he and his family lived.
The doors hissed open barely seconds before he crashed through them and he was greeted by the sight of his mother standing in front of him arms folded and tapping her slippered foot on the blue cord carpet of the quarters,
"Did I or did I not tell you to be back before 9?" she greeted him visciously
"You did" Josh replied
"And where have you been all this time?" the question dripped with acid which riled Josh.
"What the hell do you care?" he retorted, "Ever since....then, all you've thought about is you, you, you"
"I beg your pardon young man, but I'll have you know that I work myself to the bone just to feed and clothe your sorry backside. And talking of that get yours into your room this instant"
Josh stood defiant for a few moments causing something in his mother to snap and she strode the distance between him and gave him a resounding slap across the cheek, "You're insolence disgusts me" she hissed as she whirled around and vanished into the kitchen. Josh bit his tongue clenching and unclenching his fists before he too turned on his heels and left the apartment.
The gardens aboard the Highgate were beautiful at night as well as in the day and many a couple in love would elope there for their midnight rendez-vous it was also, for Josh, an ideal place to come to be alone. Sitting on a stone bench that overlooked a pond teeming with fish he let the tears flood down his cheeks cooling the heat that radiated from where he'd been slapped. He knew that his mother was worried about him deep down but why was she such a bitch about it? Feeling someone sit down beside him he found the other boy from earlier sitting there lighting up a cigarette,
"bad eh?" he asked as he blew out the smoke and stared off into the distance
Robbing the fag Josh inhaled deeply and nodded before passing it back. The boy laughed, "You know if you wanted one all you have to do is ask"
"More fun pinching yours" Josh replied. The boy snorted and took another long drag on it.
"Judy's worried about you, you know. She saw you peg it to your quarters and wonders why"
"I'd have thought you'd say it was because my mom was being a bitch"
The lad moved his head from side to side, "Considering how close she is to hers, probably best not to."
Josh sighed and stood up as he raided a cigarette from the packet and lit it, "Sometimes I truly think that she's not forgiven me for what I said to Aaron"
"You can talk...I've no reason to beleive you have either"
"Marty you know that I have a reason...the last words I ever said to him were words of anger. But her?" he waved an arm, "its as if she thinks I gave him the fucking tumour myself and reveled as he died." He paused, "Its just...its just annoying"
Marty sat back and let his friend rant on before interupting, "Well if you are that sadistic you'd better not tell Judy. bit of a relationship killer I've heard" He grinned causing Josh to grin as well. Josh slumped his shoulders as he succumbed to his friends macabre humour, dropping his finished cigarette into the bin by the bench he waited for Marty to do the same before heading back towards their apartments. As they approached Josh's he stopped, looked at his friend and walked in. Five minutes later he came out with an overnight bag,
"I'm not sleeping there tonight. Not while she's in the mood to butcher me in my sleep." he whispered
"Ooh tempting fate" Marty laughed and the pair walked to Judy's apartments which was down the hall from Marty's before parting and saying goodnight. Josh rang the buzzer and Judy's mom answered,
"Come in dear, we thought we'd be seeing you soon" she smiled genuinely as she gently rubbed his cheek, "Go put your stuff in the bedroom while I warm up the dinner"
Josh sighed and headed for Judy's room only to find her standing in the doorway in her cute pink pajamas and blue dressing gown scowling at him but as he approached she reached out, grabbed the front of his t-shirt and dragged him into the room.