We sat in the kitchen for the next few hours sorting through all the stuff people had brought with them. No one had been sent a list of what we would be given in our kitchen so people had brought varying amounts of kitchen appliances. In total we had eight kettles, five toasters, two toasty makers and a microwave. At least it was certain we would never run out of places to make tea.
I had brought very little with me, knowing that other people would bring stuff for the kitchen with them so relying on that. Turned out people were glad I had decided to leave my kettle behind because we didn’t have enough plugs to use all of our kettles at once even if we’d wanted to.
James was clearly the one with the money has he had been the one to bring both a toasty maker and the microwave. His parents had still been in his room while we’d been chatting and they came in to say goodbye, his mother giving him a big sloppy kiss on the cheek and his father shaking his hand. His father looked like he was going to spend a day in the office, dressed in a smart suit and tie, and his mother was wearing what appeared to be her best dress with a string of pearls around her neck. They looked like such a stereotypical middle-class family I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from laughing.
I felt sorry for him. My mother might have got emotional but at least she’d done it where no one else saw. He looked incredibly embarrassed as he sat back down after his parents had left, wiping his cheek where his mother had kissed him.
Of course Olly couldn’t resist making fun of him and started calling him mummy’s boy, which earned him a kick under the table from Joanne.
I liked the way we were all getting on. We might all be very different people with different interests but we all seemed to be getting on just fine, laughing and teasing each other right from the word go. I think it helped that we had some big personalities like Joanne and Olly mixed in with people like Natalie and me. Having a confident and vocal person, like Joanne, sitting next to me made me feel confident enough to start talking to the group of complete strangers that were sitting around me.
I was naturally more drawn to Darren and Owen, who both seemed friendly and less in your face than Joanne and Olly who were constantly the centre of conversation. Owen seemed to like me as well, laughing at my shy jokes and listening to whatever I said. Darren seemed to read people very well, immediately knowing where the boundaries lay and how far he could push me with his teasing. When he squidged in between Olly and me I discovered that, despite being able to read people, he had very little awareness of personal space, his hand frequently touching my arm or shoulder as he chatted to me.
Not that I minded that much. Luke had been a very touchy feely sort of person when we were dating and Alex was very big on hugs so I was used to having physical contact with the people around me. I was just surprised at how quickly Darren felt that he could be so close with me.
I was easily the shortest there, having grown all of an inch in my last year of school making me a pitiful five foot three. I had thinned out in that time too, making me look almost sticklike. I guess some girls would have killed to be as skinny as I was, but the truth was that I had preferred it when I had been a bit chubbier, before I’d started dating Luke. No one had expected anything of me then, but now I had a thin figure, people expected me to be able to dress well too. I’d gotten better at it, with Alex and Pippa’s help, branching out into wearing skirts and dresses as well as tops that didn’t hang off me like a sack.
I was so involved with my conversation with Darren, and how he was telling me all about his life at home, that I didn’t notice the blonde girl enter the kitchen and make her way over to the sink where she poured herself a glass of water and silently exited. She said nothing to no one and I didn’t even look away from Darren as the door swung closed behind her.
It wasn’t until Eric caught my attention that I looked up at him. “Wasn’t that your room mate that just came in here?” He asked, nodding towards the door.
“I’ll go check,” I said, getting up from my seat and weaving my way through the chairs that were growing increasingly further away from the table, and towards the door. I could still hear their chatter as I walked towards my front door, which was now ajar.
I pushed it open softly, not wanting to startle whoever was in my room. A girl with blonde hair that was tied back from her face into a long plait was leaning over her bed to pin something to the wall. Her hair was so long that, even tied back, the plait was long enough to brush her hips as it swung off her slender back as she bent over.
“Umm, excuse me,” I mumbled, trying to be as polite as possible. “I don’t think we’ve met. My name is Nessie.”
The girl turned and looked straight at me with staring emerald eyes that made me start; their gaze was so intense. She smiled; a warm, glowing beam that reached out and embraced me from across the room.
“Hi Nessie, I’m Aislinn.”