Time passed in the Nabootique, as time often does. Vince's semi-famous status kept a steady flow of customers coming through the door, Camden trendies who were all too keen on learning the ins and outs of Vince's life. Noir had being going out a lot more, possibly every two or three days now, and the crowds he circled with just seemed to get more and more famous. He'd managed to work himself up a vicious ladder, from producers and mixers to the very heart and soul of the Camden night life; musicians.
His group had gone from bands like Robots In Disguise and IAMX, to Kasabian, Courtney Love and Russell Brand. These newcomers to Vince's life frequently passed in and out of the Nabootique, and Howard couldn't stand a single one of them. Especially now that he…..knew.
The jazz maverick hadn't known most of these superficial titboxes, so he'd used good ol' wikipedia to find out facts about them.
What he'd found hadn't exactly pleased him. In fact, it'd left him with an awful feeling in his stomach, like he was going to vomit.
Kasabian: All members frequent weed users, plus other drugs Howard wasn't sure about.
Courtney Love: Heroin addict and alcoholic.
Russell Brand: Suicidal, alcoholic, sex addicted, mentally ill heroin junkie.
And that was just three of the vagabonds he associated with. What were the others going to be like? What sort of sordid affairs would they continue to drag Vince into again and again?
Speaking of Vince….
Howard and he had never really made up since their little argument. Their speech was reduced to polite gestures and murmurs, though besides from that they spent as much time apart as possible. Which was surprisingly painful for Howard, considering he always told himself that he didn't need anyone and anything but jazz to make him happy. Due to all of these factors, and some deep rooted panic Howard wasn't sure about, the maverick was constantly on edge.
It was also why he was sat up watching the door at 4AM with bleary eyes, occasionally flickering to the clock to notice with dissatisfaction that only another minute had passed since his last glance.
Across town, Vince was falling apart.
As the final members of the party staggered out of the club, and after much deliberating, they decided to go and find some food. The sinners left the comfort of the bright main streets, and the group (11 strong if Vince could count correctly in this state) trudged on in an awkward crowd forwards. It was slightly shambolic. No one wanted to walk up front, but no one wanted to be left behind, so the group formed some sort of squashed egg shape with everyone trying not to trip over another member's feet.
Leroy said it to Vince in a quiet, anxious voice, walking ahead of the rest of the meet up to join Vince's side. The others new not of the electro boy's misdemeanours, And he really doubted Leroy knew the severity of what he had done. Even Vince himself, at that point. It touched Vince that someone he'd only met up with a few times before; practically a stranger, in fact, actually cared. Vince didn't even care, and it was about him.
"So are you… okay?"
Vince knew Leroy wasn't talking about today. He was talking about the downwards spiral in which Vince's pathetic little life had taken, and they both knew it. Did he really think Vince was going to start discussing it in front of a group of what were practically strangers? And his closest thing to a friend at the back, who was staring at the two of them curiously from the back of the pack? Given what they'd discussed just earlier that week via text, it was pretty clear that Vince was not okay.
Vince pretended that his question shocked him, though it didn't. Leroy had been staring at him in an off hand, worried sort of way ever since he'd arrived. As Vince has joked about the man who had 'roughed him up' (no one but Leroy knew about the rape) being locked in every single police van Vince had seen, Leroy's face had pulled into some sort of odd grimace, somewhere between disgust and pity as he knew that the person Vince was referring to was actually the person who had started it all. It was funny, after they'd swapped life stories, seeing him. Because of the thing's he'd told Vince, Vince found myself judging his mannerisms, watching his every step to see if he could find some sort of evidence to what Leroy had said. And Vince did. But he was too much of a coward to mention it. Maybe a good person would have said something. Vince was not a good person.
It amazed Vince just how many people were still convinced he was this nice little kid. They don't seem to realise that something…snapped inside his head a few years ago, and now everything Vince sees is drowned in his loathing for…. himself. Everything, nothing, He didn't know! That wasn't the point. He liked to think of his insides as some sort of pitch black hell. You couldn't see the creatures inside the black fog of his heart, but you could hear their screams. You could feel the way the monsters in his head scratched at Vince's insides, desperate for escape. But you never saw their true faces. Maybe a glimpse of murderous intent behind Vince's eyes, he didn't know. Vince had gotten pretty good at controlling them. That's why his friends thought he'd stopped 'forgetting' to take his medication.
Though sometimes, it all became too much.
And sometimes, he released them.
Then everything's just so…..Alive. Vince was alive, they're alive. He can see them, actually see them. They looked like the bottom of another bottle of vodka. They smelt like the sick inside another toilet in another house where he'd never met the inhabitants. They sound like the almost childlike taunts of, "Come on Vince. Just another line. I thought I made you better than this."
Some nights, like this night, Vince just couldn't take it. No matter how far away the monsters were, no matter how much he'd taken or how much Vince had been prompted, he couldn't do anymore. And like every night in this week, when Vince was already on his knees, He'd crash out onto the fucking ugly green carpet of his room, chocking on vomit and his own tears because he knows he can't live with this, or without it. Then, just before he passes out for yet another night that week, Vince hears…..
I thought you could take more than this before you burnt out. How disappointing."
Vince looked at Leroy blankly. He realised Leroy had asked him a question before his thought had trailed off.
He looked back at the rest of the nameless faces he'd surrounded himself with and sighed. What was the point? He broke away from the main group, stumbling a little in his heeled boots.
He turned back. Leroy looked unsettled.
"Vince….where are you going man?"
Vince stared, eyes watering.
"I don't know."
And then he was gone.