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Although, every time someone mentions the Titanic, I can hear Inner Trevor saying "Too soon"... - Diary of a Necromancer
Excuse me, I'm making perfect sense, you're just not keeping up
Although, every time someone mentions the Titanic, I can hear Inner Trevor saying "Too soon"...
It's a gorgeous day out, so naturally Muse decided to show up for work. {harrumph}


David has advised I allow myself a 'doona day' regardless of how improved I may feel this next morning. Jason goes off to school, leaving me with a vat of chicken soup and orders to lie about in my pyjamas until at least one. I'm not sure that either applies in this situation, but I dutifully retire to the settee with a book that suggests, as usual, that I should be skulking about in long black dusters for a living.

Truthfully, I'm bored.

Jill rings -- she's downstairs, surprising the patient with a visit. I go to the window and toss down our spare building-key, wishing our landlady could be arsed to replace the bells. Soon she's at our door, folding up the key's little parachute with a bemused look. "Jason may kind of have mentioned on Facebook that his roommate was working on his Ferris Bueller impression today," she admits.

"Bloody hell, who would need to read minds these days? -- Come in, it's, erm... a place, we -- We did not do that," I gesture to the orange wall as Jill steps into the front-room.

But it's not that aspect of the decor that she's seized upon at all, but the shelves to either side of the long-extinct hearth. "Using bookcases for books, how quaint."

"Anything in Swedish is obviously his," I say, nudging a stray Wallander back under the coffee-table, and direct her the other way, deeper into the flat: "We spend most of our time in... the..."

She's kind about the infestation of electronic gadgetry that's colonised the dining-room's elegant built-in sideboard: "Nerve-center of the bachelor-pad?" (Not really helping impressions that once I had explained to him the intended function of the moulding running round below the ceiling Jason had with a fine sense of irony installed several cheap willow-pattern plates from a supermarket promotion and a leering melamine Ronald McDonald. Considering how they're bracketed by the speakers for the telly, I couldn't really complain that there had been any effect to spoil.)

There's no stopping Jill wandering into the next room, to eye Jason's core work-library standing to smart attention between some heavy glass jars atop the piano. She lifts the lid and taps at a key; Exactly how I'd have pictured Jason's kitchen, she says, raising an eyebrow at the art-prints. (I'd drawn the line at the Bacon. He's hung that in his bedroom.) But the table looks good, you got it to fit after all.

We come to her excuses for being here in the middle of her working-hours. "I decided I could use a mental-health day of my own right about now. You look sick, though," Jill says, brushing her thumb beneath my eye. "You're all puffy."

I'd eventually lost the toast and the better part of the rat's blood. I still feel a bit shivery. "Jason said I look better than I did yesterday, actually. I obviously wouldn't know."

"It's very heroin-chic," Jill assures me, with a fond little smile. "-- I've got a sketchpad in my bag, I could try to give you some idea."

She directs me to make myself comfortable on the settee. I glimpse rough outlines of laundry-soap jugs as she flips to a fresh page. "-- Too late, I already saw your trashy novel," she says when I make to stuff it down the cushions. "Tell me you're only reading that for research, huh?"

"I have considered writing a scholarly monograph on the subject, yeah."

"Hey, at least they make things up about you. Try finding chick-lit where the heroine eats the handsome prince at the end." Jill focuses on the page, pencil scratching in the silence for a few minutes, and then remarks, "You're good at staying still, anyway. I tried doing Jason once: five minutes in he bursts into 'My Heart Will Go On' and falls off the couch laughing. Kind of killed the mood."

It's distressingly easy to conjure that image of my flatmate the nudist. "He said that you and he... got together, as he put it."

Jill looks up from the paper in not-quite-surprise. Well, not-at-all-surprise, really. "It was so sweet. He kept apologizing for finding me attractive and saying how most of the time that's completely not him. But, you know... It was fun, but not really anything that was going to turn into a relationship, even without the... Uh, have I used the R-word too soon?" she asks solicitously as I blink at her.

"Well, I wouldn't want to ask anything of you that neither of us could live up to," I say.

I see the tiniest twitch of her lips, as if she's considered for that instant whether I'm just being a bloke about the subject, and then a creeping realisation dawning that those such as us may have other reasons to be cagey, indeed. "Remarkably progressive of you." Jill goes back to smudging shadows under the eyes of the portrait. "You're hard to draw," she complains, looking from page to face too often. "I don't think I'd pass you by on the street if we hadn't seen each other in a while, but... You slip."

Another defence, I suppose. She's not been hanging about with so many of our sort in her brief life, to know how all the various quirks of this existence can surprise.

At length Jill carefully tears her sheet of paper off the pad and presents it to me. "I think I've got you, but it's almost hard to say."

It's a fine likeness, of someone. (When I try to recall my face I suspect I'm thinking more of my father's, always heavy-lidded with worry. But I'll never show so many years, on mine.) I set the portrait aside to ask Jason's opinion of it later. You're wasted at your job.

Tell me about it.


2 responses | moved to respond?
ashnistrike From: ashnistrike Date: March 25th, 2012 03:02 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I'm starting to really like Jill. (And Trevor reading Twilight is pretty hysterical.)

robling_t From: robling_t Date: March 26th, 2012 04:51 pm (UTC) (permalink this entry)
I picture him quietly swearing to himself throughout at the notion that Edward is 6' tall... :)
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