A/N: So, chapter sixteen. I can't get Return Of The Boosh up tonight, and I might not get it up tomorrow either, because I'm going out for the first time in two months. I'll try for Saturday morning. Sorry about that. Anyway, hopefully this chapter sorts a couple of things out, and solves a couple of problems. I've proof-read it over and over, but I keep finding more mistakes, so sorry if they're still there. I hope you enjoy it :)
Disclaimer: NO. NO. NO. Didn't you see the last fifteen chapters' disclaimers?
We spent another two days living in the van, cramped up and uncomfortable, while we searched for a flat. Howard would go out to an estate agent and look for a place, leaving me and Alena alone. Often he was gone before I was awake. On the second day, I woke up to see Alena leaning over me, her long hair tickling my face.
"Are you alright?" She asked.
"What?" I replied sleepily.
"You were shouting out for Howard in your sleep."
"Yeah. You're okay, aren't you?" I sat up and yawned.
"No worse than usual, if that's what you mean."
"Right." She backed off. I rubbed my eyes and tried to remember what I'd been dreaming about. Obviously Howard, in some way. I wasn't sure what way, but if I felt the need to shout, I probably didn't want to know. I tried to stop thinking about it, and spoke to Alena instead.
"Did you sleep alright?" I asked.
"Not bad. This isn't the most comfortable place to sleep."
"What about you?"
"I dunno. Keep having weird dreams. Something's still goin' on in my head that I don't like."
"Yeah, I know what you mean. I feel like that as well. It's because you've not had the drugs for a few days."
"Is that what it is?"
"Yeah. I tried to give up once. I went two weeks before I snapped. It gets worse than this."
"It's alright, Vince. We'll get through it. We've got each other, and Howard."
"And we'll have Naboo soon."
"Yeah. I'm looking forward to meeting him."
"He's nice. I think you'll like him. He'll probably help us, too. He's good like that."
"Mmm." She sighed. "Just out of curiosity, have you started taking your anti-depressants yet?"
"Yeah, started yesterday. I have to take one every morning."
"Are they helping?"
"Not yet. I feel the same as ever, but I've only had one. I need to take one soon, actually."
"What about your painkillers?"
"That's a good point, actually. I need to take both." I got the pills out of the glove box and Alena handed me a bottle of water. I took one of each, grimacing, and put them back. My eyes alighted on the small white card abandoned nearby. I pulled it out and looked at it.
"What's that?" Alena asked. I showed her.
"It's my appointment card for the psychiatrist. I've got to go and tell a complete stranger about my problems." Now that I thought about it, it didn't seem like such a good idea after all. Alena seemed to agree; she pulled a face.
"I wouldn't want to do that."
"I don't want to do that. But I suppose if it helps, I've got to."
"Well, I think you should do what feels right for you, not what the doctors think you should do."
"Maybe. I think I should try it. Doesn't mean I have to go back, does it?"
"No, that's true. Do what you want, Vince. It's your choice."
"Yeah." I gave her a little smile, and she tried to return it. She looked as lost as I felt. I realised that she was probably suffering just as much as me. Maybe she was better at keeping it bottled up. I felt like I should comfort her, so I went over and hugged her. She didn't say anything, just hugged me back. It wasn't a long hug, but she looked better for it.
"Thanks, Vince." She said quietly.
"No problem." I replied.
Howard arrived back at the van after a few hours. He got in and waved a piece of paper at us.
"Guess what I've got?" He said excitedly.
"A new flat?" I hazarded.
"Yep. These are the directions. I've paid them up front; they said the landlord'll deal with the rest."
"That's not normally how it works, is it?" Alena asked.
"No; they made a special exception for us. I explained our... Situation."
"Come on, let's put the seats back up, and we can get going." We unfolded the seats and I got back into the front passenger seat. Howard got into the driver's seat and started the engine, before driving away. He seemed to have some idea of where he was going, so I left him to it.
"How far is it?" Alena asked.
"Not very far. Only about ten minutes." Howard replied. He seemed optimistic about it. I wasn't sure what I felt about it. Obviously, it was good to be away from Finley and the drugs. But it still wasn't home. It wasn't the flat I knew and loved. It wasn't going to be ours. But Howard was right, and ten minutes later, we pulled up in a car park behind a three-storey stone building on the corner of two streets. I got out of the van first, with Howard close behind me.
"Is this it, then?" I asked.
"Yeah. We're on the top floor."
"Okay." Alena got out and stood looking at the building with us.
"It looks a bit imposing, doesn't it?" She said. It was true that the blackened stone and strange curly decorations around the windows made it look like some kind of Halloween house. But Howard said:
"Don't worry about it, you two. I've seen some pictures of the inside, you'll like it."
"Are you sure?" I asked, worried.
"Yeah. Come on, let's get our bags out of the back." I nodded and we retrieved our heavy cases. I tried to carry mine, but it made my arms hurt. In the end, I had to ask Howard to carry it again. I felt stupid for having to do that; like I was a failure. We went inside. There wasn't a lift, so we walked up the two long flights of stairs. Surprisingly, they were clean and carpeted. I immediately felt a bit more comfortable. When we reached the top, Howard said:
"The keys are in my shirt pocket. Can you get them out?" I did, and he pointed out which one I should use. I unlocked the door and pushed it open. None of us went in.
"Well? Come on." Howard said.
"I don't want to." I replied.
"Me neither." Alena looked nervous. "You go, Howard."
"Alright then." he sighed. He manoeuvred through the door with our cases. Alena and I followed cautiously, like scared little mice. But when we were inside, I didn't regret it. The interior was modern and pretty. The floors were made of pale wood, the walls were painted white, and there was minimalist furniture dotted around. In the corner of the main room we had walked into, there were two comfy chairs. Behind them, a large piece of flowing pale blue fabric was pinned to the wall, making it look like a waterfall. We had a look in at the kitchen, which was bigger than the one back at Nabootique. The three bedrooms were large and airy. However, we did find that one of the two double bedrooms, the master, had only a double bed in it. We couldn't really afford to go and buy two single beds, so we decided we would leave that one for Naboo and Bollo, since they weren't here yet. Naboo would be able to sort it out. Alena took the single room, and we took our things into the other double.
"Well, what do you think?" Howard asked.
"I like it." I said. "But it's not home yet."
"No, I know. Give it time. And when Naboo's here, it'll be better."
"We haven't rung him yet, have we?"
"No, we've not. Well, decide now. Unpacking first, or calling Naboo?"
"Calling Naboo." I decided. He pointed me towards the phone and I rang the mobile number I'd learnt by heart years ago. It rang for a long time. I was about to give up, when it stopped. A familiar voice said:
"'Ello? Who's this?"
"Naboolio!" I almost shouted. I was excited to hear from him again. "It's me, it's Vince!"
"Vince? You're alright!"
"Yeah. Well, sort of. I'll explain later. We've got a new flat, you've gotta come to us."
"Where are you?" I picked up the piece of paper with the address on, and read it to him.
"Did you get that?" I asked.
"Yeah, I think so. Flat C?"
"Yeah, top floor."
"Right. We'll be there in a couple hours. Just got somethin' to finish first."
"What is it?"
"It's a potion for ya. To help you with the drugs."
"Oh. How did you know about that?"
"I'm a shaman, I'm magic, remember?"
"Oh, yeah. Can you bring some for Alena too? She's stayin' with us for a bit."
"If we've got enough."
"S'alright. See you later."
"Yeah, see you." I put the phone down, smiling despite myself. I was going to see Naboo again. And soon.
Naboo's coming back! YAY! Reviews would be wonderful :)
Much love x