Tom clamoured out of the basement in his underwear, tired and ill-looking. He scratched the bag of his head, tugged at his underwear to make sure everything was covered before passing Hal, who was still strapped to a chair in the front room.
"Oh, Jesus," The vampire moaned in the morning light. "Can't you have a shower or something? You smell atrocious!"
"Cheers for that mate," Tom said. "I know I smells to yous vampires but there's no need to be rude."
"I'm not being rude," Hal replied with a tug at his restraints. "I'm telling you that you smell."
"I think that comes under the very definition of rude," Alex said appearing beside the vampire. "Jesus, I love rentaghosting!"
"Don't do that," Hal grumbled.
Tom grinned slightly and went into the fridge pulling out a carton of unopened milk. He uncapped it and put the neck of the carton to his mouth.
"For fucks sake," Hal cried, watching the young werewolf. "Use a bloody glass!"
Tom stopped himself and looked over. "Fine, a'right," He reached for a clean glass and poured some out. "Right, ready to go through your rota?"
"Not until you have showered and put something on," Hal muttered.
"Let me," Alex said, grinning. She disappeared then reappeared with a dressing gown in her hands, handing it to Tom. "Hold on." She disappeared again then reappeared with a glass of water. "Come here!" She cried.
"OVER THE SINK!" Hal bellowed, tugging at his restraints ever more viciously.
Tom and Alex looked over at each other before shrugging. Tom dipped his head under the taps and Alex poured the water over his head. Tom ran his fingers through his hair, shaking himself dry before pulling on the dressing gown and sauntering back through to the front room.
"Hal," He warned, noticing that one of the restraints had become loose. He bent over and tightened it, the leather straps cutting into Hal's wrists.
"I'm sorry," The vampire muttered.
Tom sighed before getting up on a stool and pulling forward a notebook and a pencil "Right. What time do you wake up in the morning?"
"5 am." Hal grunted.
"Okay," Tom scribbled it down. "We'll get it all typed up and put it on the fridge. Dead classy. Now 5 am, what do you do?"
Hal didn't say a word.
"Okay," Tom cleared his throat. "Let's say you do… 200 press ups."
Hal grunted in agreement.
"How long would that take you?"
"About 45 minutes." Hal muttered.
"Ooh check out you Dwayne Johnson." Alex chuckled. Hal and Tom looked over at her and she raised her hands defensively. "Sorry!"
"5.45 am, shower. 5.55, get out and dressed." Tom said. "6, breakfast."
"Right." Hal nodded.
"Oh Jesus," Alex said. "I knew you'd be one of those blokes."
"One of what blokes?" Tom asked, confused.
"Rainman!" Alex said.
Hal smiled slightly, lost in the memories. Tom cleared his throat. "How long would it take you to do the dominos? An hour? An hour and a half?"
"If I want it done correctly an hour and forty-five minutes should suffice." Hal said.
"Okay," Tom scribbled it down and rubbed his nose. "Why don't we round it up to about an hour and 50 minutes?"
Hal nodded stiffly as Tom rubbed out the note he had made and made a new one. "So 8, you and I leave for work."
"You still expect me to be around people? When I am detoxing?" Hal snapped. "Are you insane?"
Tom cleared his throat. "I thought o' that as well." He said. "I'm keeping you through the back where you can organise to your heart's content."
Hal furrowed his brown.
"Taking out the trash and specifically preparing orders. I've talked to the boss man and he says we can move the kitchen about for a bit till you're back on your feet." Tom said proudly. "And I've made another rota for the restaurant. But we can go through that when you're back at work."
"When do you suppose that will be?" Hal asked.
"Not for a couple of months mate," Tom reassured him. "But between then we can get you do to little odd jobs around the house. I'll be putting up a schedule of the full moons for the following year, cause sometimes you're gonna need to look after him Alex," He looked over at the ghost who was spinning in the bar stool, clearly not paying attention.
"As long as you don't wind him up." Tom warned.
"Please, like I'd ever do that!" Alex scoffed.
Tom raised an eyebrow at her and said nothing more. She resumed spinning on her seat.
"Rights so between 8 and 11 you can clean the house top to bottom," Tom said, making a note. "We'll get all the disinfectant and marigolds and what have you."
"If you want, I can mess up the place good and bad for you to tidy each day!" Alex said, coming to a halt.
"What on earth are you doing?" Hal asked, frowning.
"I wanted to see if ghosts can get sick!" She said brightly. "Obviously not." She smiled. "Well, what do you think?"
"Thanks Alex," Tom said.
"Am I allowed to clean EVERY room?" Hal asked.
Tom looked uncomfortable at the thought of Hal going through his things. He nodded. "Yeah, a'right, mate."
Hal looked down at his feet.
"Now, 11 am, I think you deserve a nap or something," Tom said. "12, wake up listen to You and Yours or whatever it is and do your bloody sit ups."
Hal smiled slightly.
"What then?" Tom asked. "Origami? Needlework? The Lute?"
"The Lute?" Alex asked. "You know what, you are mental!"
"He's actually really a'right at it," Tom said. "Nowt that I would no. Not being a player myself."
Hal was still smiling. "1 pm, needlework," He said. "2, musical intervention. Piano and the lute alike."
Tom made a note. "Right, 3? You could watch that Antiques Roadshow."
"Sorry, how old are you?" Alex asked.
"About 500 years old," Hal replied.
"About? You don't know?"
"Well dates and years weren't marked as clearly as they are today." Hal said. "So yes, about 500 years."
"Jesus." Alex muttered. "Makes my gran seem young and hip. Do people say that? 'Hip'..." She stopped and pouted for a moment.
"4," Tom said. "Make supper. 5 pm, eat supper. 5.30 clean up… How long do you want to do that for?"
"An hour? To wash dishes?"
"Shut up Alex!" Tom said. "You ain't helping."
"Why should I?" Alex asked.
"Why don't you go do something…?" Tom asked.
"I like watching this." Alex said.
Tom rolled his eyes. "A'right, 6.30 pm?"
"Origami," Hal grunted.
Tom scribbled it down. "You want to watch the telly with me and Alex after that?"
"No, I'd rather read," Hal said.
"In 500 years I thought you would have read every book that there is."
Hal looked over at the ghost getting quite annoyed. Planning the rota had left him absolutely exhausted.
"So… 7.30, origami… An' after that reading for about an hour…" Tom straightened himself, looking at the rota. "I'd like some…" He cleared his throat. "Y'know, some time to talk later. Like… Just the three of us. All mundane and like…"
Hal looked over at Tom. He had forgotten how many the boy had lost. He was only 21 and in the space of about a year or so, he had lost nearly three families. He had lost McNair. He had lost Nina and George. And now, he had lost Annie and Eve. Hal nodded, knowing that as Tom supported him, he had no right to abandon the young werewolf.
Tom smiled slightly and sniffed again. "Whats about after 10?" He asked. "I'd be going to bed… Yous want to do more exercise?"
Hal sighed. "What if I get out?"
"Thought about that as well," Tom said. "We're putting bars on your windows and a lock on your door."
Hal looked over at him. "You are kidding? I'll just rip them away!"
Tom sighed. "Then, it'll have to be the chair or be manacled to your bed."
Hal sighed. "Probably the safer options."
Tom made a note. "And finally 11?"
"Bed." Hal said. "I should think."
Tom made one last note. "Right. I'm proud that we got that out the way. We ain't starting it until I know you have the blood out of your system."
"How long will that be?" Alex asked.
Hal shook his head. "When I stop having outbursts." He replied.
"Well you've managed to go a full half hour without one," Alex said.
"Just wait," Hal replied.
"I'd rather not." Alex sighed and got up. Tom leaned back and read over his list.
"I think we got it all down mate," He said.
"Thank you," Hal said.
Tom nodded, getting up and pushing the rota to the side. "I'm going for a quick shower. Then a nap." He pointed towards Alex. "Don't wind him up."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Alex replied.
Tom patted Hal's shoulder before running up the stairs. Hal was staring pointedly at his shoes. Alex sighed.
"You wanna watch TV or something?"
"No." He replied.
"Then what the hell am I meant to do with you?"
Hal looked up and his hazel eyes had gone replaced by black inferno. "Let me go?" He asked.
Alex stumbled back. "Your eyes are doing that vampire thing…" She said.
"Let me go." Hal said darkly.
"No," Alex said. "I don't think so."
"LET ME THE FUCK OUT YOU STUPID BITCH!" He bellowed.
"Hal, calm down!" Alex said.
Hal stopped himself from ripping his restraints away with his teeth. He looked over and began to shake.
"I apologise," He said finally. "I really do."
"It's okay, I know you don't mean it," Alex replied. She jumped on the bar stool and played absentmindedly with her boot laces. "Can I ask…" She stopped herself.
Hal raised his head. "Yes?"
"I was just about to ask…" Alex stopped again.
"Will you fucking just ask the question?" Hal asked.
"Not with that attitude," Alex said, her lips curling into a sad smile.
Hal fell silent, staring at his boots.
"Hal, I don't know how to react around you," Alex said. "I really don't. Not when you're like this. I'm sorry. I'm…" She cleared her throat. "I'm going to be in the…" She disappeared, leaving Hal to the broken remnants of his thoughts.