"This is rubbish."
Alisha looks over at Kelly and forces herself not to roll her eyes at having to hear the same remark from her for the third time in a row. It was starting to get old, even if she partially agrees with her.
"Why are we even up here?" she asks, tossing her fag on the ground and stubbing it out.
"Nathan asked us to meet him up here on the roof," Simon tells her. "He didn't say why."
At this, Alisha does roll her eyes. The prick is probably just messing with them. Why else would he text Simon of all people and ask him to tell the others to meet him at the community center- on the roof, no less- without some sort of ulterior motive. Her attention goes to the roof door, where she suspects he'll pop out from at any time and then proceed to lock them in. "This... is stupid," she mutters.
"He's probably not even coming," Curtis says with a groan. "Wouldn't doubt he forgot."
"He lives here," Simon reminds him.
"Well, he needs to hurry up. It's fucking freezing," Alisha whines. Unconsciously, she steps closer to Simon, and when he gives her a confused look, she's quick to move away again. Sometimes she still forgets that this boy standing so close to her is not her mystery man. Sometimes she questions if he ever will be, and the thought makes her heart ache with a longing that she's not sure is ever going to go away.
It's been almost a month since his break up with Jessica, and she hasn't quite plucked up the courage yet to make her move. It's funny that someone like Simon can make her nervous, but he does. Every time she's around him she feels shy and unsure of herself. She turns into a stuttering mess, unsure of what to say or do, and it's just fucking embarrassing. But she takes it because it's all she can get for now. God she acts so much like Lucy sometimes she's ashamed of herself.
She has tried, of course, to bridge the gap between she and Simon. They've talked more in the past couple weeks than they ever did before her mystery man came back for her. Now, she'll find herself initiating conversations with him, seeking him out. She just fucking misses him. Not him. Sometimes it's still so confusing, these feelings she has for someone who isn't a someone she loved, but someone she still waits to love... maybe really wants to but doesn't know how?
One night at the pub, she got so bladdered she cornered him heading to the loo, pressed real close to him and asked him if he liked her. She wanted to know, needed to know if it was worth it. There are times she feels like it isn't even now. But that night, his mouth had twitched into that lopsided grin he would wear that made her heart race and he told her of course he did, they were friends. She got so frustrated she yelled at him and then proceeded to puke on his shoes. She'd never seen him look so scared and confused. But like the gentleman he was, or maybe just a fool, he helped her clean up and said nothing about it ever again. He still hasn't. She's grateful for that much.
"W- would you like my jacket?"
Alisha looks up at him, blinks in surprise, and then shakes her head. "I'm all right, thanks."
"You just said you were cold," he replies, giving her a shy smile. "And I'm not. You can take it if you need to."
She stares at him for a long moment before sighing. "Okay, I guess."
His smile widens and he quickly slips it off, holding it out to her. He's always so eager to please, she notes. She still doesn't understand how he can be so nice to her after how cruel she's been to him. She also can't help the way her pulse quickens as her gaze settles on his hand and she remembers the way those very hands would feel pushed between her thighs.
Her skin prickles and heats, and she reaches out for the jacket, making sure to be careful so their skin doesn't touch. When she slips it on, she catches the scent of him and bites back a sigh. She glances back at him and smiles. "Thanks."
"That was proper sweet," she hears Kelly say to Curtis.
"Hey, asbo shitheads!"
Alisha suppresses a groan and turns around with the others just as Nathan steps through the roof door. He walks towards them, two large black trash bags in his hands. "What are you doing up here?"
"Uh, Simon said ya texted him to meet you up here," Kelly answers, giving him an annoyed look.
Nathan's brow furrows. "Simon... Simon... oh, you mean Barry. Yeah, that's right. Well, I didn't think you'd actually listen to him. I don't."
"Prick," Curtis mutters.
"So why are we here, then?" Alisha asks, crossing her arms and slightly glaring at him.
"It's a surprise," he tells them. "Feel free to come on down to my humble abode and I'll show ya."
"What was the point of inviting us up here to freeze our asses off if we were just going to go inside?" Curtis asks.
Nathan shrugs. "Don't know, you're the twat that went along with it."
"What's in the bags?" Kelly adds.
"You can find that out after we go inside. Some of us would prefer not freezing our cocks off. A problem not all of us face, I'm guessing," he says, giving Simon a pointed look.
Alisha catches the way Simon's jaw clenches at the insult. If only Nathan knew, she thinks, almost wants to say out loud. That's not an option, however, so she makes sure to tell him, "I'm sure it's not a problem for you, either, actually."
Nathan rolls his eyes. "All right, touchy! I'll stop making fun of your boyfriends cock."
Alisha's faces heats, but before she can toss out another quip, Nathan turns his attention back to Kelly. "Do you want to know what's in the bags or what?"
Kelly groans and looks at the rest of them as Nathan turns an walks away. "Lets just go see what the dickhead is up to."
For the briefest moment, Alisha considers just going home. There are better things she could be doing than this, like hanging out in her room, listening to her music and painting her nails. Anything other than sitting around dealing with Nathan's bullshit. Still, when Simon gives her a small and asks her if she's coming in, she decides it might not be so bad to stick around.
"Happy Halloween, fuckers!" Nathan cries, tipping the black bags over and dumping them out on the floor.
"What the fuck is that?" Kelly asks, pointing at the clothing that's fallen out.
Simon bend down and picks up on of the materials, something red. He unfolds it and looks back at Nathan. "A cape?"
"Costumes?" Curtis asks.
"Yes, costumes!" Nathan swoops down and picks up what appears to be a mask. He slips it on and proceeds to do a small dance. "Cool, huh?"
"Why do you have costumes?" Simon questions, continuing to finger the red cape looking more than a little confused.
"And why should we give a shit about them?" Alisha jumps in with a hint of annoyance. She hates how he's always coming up with these stupid ideas and expecting them to go along with it. She's sure this will be no different.
"Met a girl on the estate earlier. We went out for a drink... one thing lead to another," he wiggles his eyebrows. "So she's cleaning my spunk off her tits after and invites me to a Halloween party she's throwing."
They all groan and gag and roll their eyes at him. "Could have gone without that mental image," Alisha says, her upper lip curling in disgust.
"Anyway," he continues, oblivious to their reactions as always. "She said I could bring some friend. Figured I'd ask you lot if you wanted to go. My mum had all these costumes back at the flat, she said I could borrow them."
"You want us to come to a party with ya?" Kelly asks.
"I can think of better things to do," Curtis cuts in. "You remember what happened at the last dress up party we went to."
"That was different!" Nathan cries. "I mean, what are the chances of Kelly shagging a gorilla twice and Barry meeting another hot lady with daddy issues? I'm thinking the answer is slim to none. Come on, it'll be fun!"
"Or a disaster," Alisha replies, but deep down she knows Nathan's at least a little right. She won't admit that, of course. Still, she's glad that Simon isn't currently involved with anyone else. Going to this party could give her a chance to spend more time with him... maybe alone? All she really has to do is avoid being around Nathan. It could be all right.
"I'll go," Simon offers and, just like that, she's in, too.
"Got nothing better to do," she says. "Why not?"
Kelly sighs. "Fine, I'll go. Fuckin' costume parties. If any ya catch me drunk and chatting up someone in a gorilla costume, ya best not let me go with 'em or I'll have to batter ya after, yeah?"
Nathan lets out a triumphant whoop before turning his attention to Curtis. "What about you, mate. You in?"
Curtis looks around at the others, a displeased look on his face. Rolling his eyes, he looks back at Nathan. "Guess we're going to a fucking costume party."
Alisha shifts on her feet and curses herself again for agreeing to this mess. Sure she looks hot as fuck in her catwoman costume, but that doesn't make putting up with Nathan and his incessant chatter any easier. Or the way guys keep staring at her as they walk up to the flat. There was a time once when all she wanted was to be the center of anyone- especially guys- attention, but since the storm and her bullshit power, it isn't the same. Staring almost always leads to touching, and that only brings its own set of problems.
She'd made sure to cover up as much of her skin as possible just in case, but she still feels exposed. The only upside to it all was the way Simon's eyes had practically bugged out of his head when he saw her.
She looks over at him and suppresses a smile. While she may feel uncomfortable, Simon actually looks it. He pushes the fake glasses up his nose and adjusts the tie around his neck.
"What are you supposed to be again?" she finds herself asking him.
He glances over at her and his Adams apple bobs as he swallows hard. "Um, Clark Kent."
Her eyebrow come together. "Who's that?"
"He's superman," Simon says in a way that makes her almost feel silly for asking. Like she should already know these things. "It's superman's secret identity," he explains.
She smiles nervously and answers breathlessly, "Oh. Well, it's nice. You look proper fit."
His eyes widen a bit, but he smiles back and gives her a nod. "Thanks. I- I like yours, too."
"Are you two here to bang each other or party?" Nathan asks loudly, pushing between them.
"We... we're not-" Simon attempts to say, but Nathan's already gone, speeding ahead to catch up to Kelly.
"Fucking twat," Alisha mutters. She looks back at Simon. "You should say something more, you know? Don't let him push you around like that."
Simon shrugs. "I don't think he's trying to be cruel. He just lacks IQ points and a brain filter."
That makes her laugh. Simon can be very funny when he wants to be. "What's he supposed to be, anyway," she asks, staring at the skin- tight, white hat Nathan is wearing.
"I think he said he's a condom."
"Oh, god," she says, rolling her eyes. "Why am I not surprised." At least Kelly and Curtis' costumes are easy to guess, she thinks as she looks ahead at them. Kelly decided to go as a mermaid and Curtis... well, "Nice bum!" Alisha calls out to him. "Those heels really accentuate it."
Curtis turns around and she almost laughs at the scowl on his face. "It was the only costume left!" He tugs at the dress and his lips curl down further. He's definitely not pleased to be dressed as a woman. When she hears Simon chuckle beside her, it only becomes more amusing.
The bass of the music thumps around her and she closes her eyes, letting her head lull back and settle on the wall. They've only been here a few hours and she's already proper pissed, her body feeling all light and shit. It's one of her favorite feelings, which is no surprise if one recalls how she ended up in community service in the first place. At least they walked tonight so she won't have to worry about another offense.
She opens her eyes and turns her head to see Kelly holding out a joint. She smiles and takes it from her, setting it between her lips and pulling in a drag. She inhales deeply and looks to the other side of her, where Simon is sitting. She has to admit, she's not used to seeing him looking so relaxed, legs stretched out in front of him, leaned back on his hands. He doesn't seem so out of place for once. Maybe it's the alcohol he's had? He does look a bit tipsy himself. She likes him like this, she decides. He looks... cute. Happy.
They're sitting rather close together, and she wishes like she always does that she could reach out and touch him. Instead, she blows out a stream of smoke and holds it out to him. He quickly shakes his head. "Come on," she pushes. "Just this once." Maybe if they both get a bit more bladdered, it won't feel as strange.
He shakes his head again. "I don't do drugs."
"You mean to tell me you've never done it? Not even once?"
"No," he answers.
"How is that even possible? Do you not do anything fun?"
His upper lip twitches, a tiny grin. "I do things that are fun for me."
Passing the joint back to Kelly, she asks him, "Like what?"
He tilts his head to the side, his smile growing. "Maybe I could show you some time?"
Evidently she'd underestimated just how drunk he actually is. "Are you asking me out?" she asks, quiet enough that she hopes Kelly and Curtis don't hear.
For the briefest of moments, he seems as surprise by his comment as she surely feels. Still, a second later he retorts, "If I am?"
"Simon, you're pissed," she says with a laugh.
He chuckles, and she finds herself thinking that this night is turning out better than she expected it would. She's glad she came.
"Uh, has anyone seen Nathan?" Kelly asks, then.
"Who knows," Curtis says, taking a drink of his beer. He pulls his bottle away with a frown. "I'm still waiting for Nikki to get here."
"You don't think she teleported somewhere far away?" Simon asks.
Curtis shrugs. "Who knows. Haven't seen Nathan, either."
"He's probably off trying to take advantage of some poor drunk girl," Alisha replies. "Who cares?" It's better without him around, anyway. She doesn't care to have her night ruined by that annoying twat. He'd done his job getting them into a good party, and anything after this involving him, she'd rather do without. Things can't go wrong with him not around.
"Think I'm gonna go look for him," Kelly says, pushing up from the floor and getting to her feet with a slight stumble.
It's just as she gets ready to walk off that a high pitched scream rings out above the music. They watch as the crowd in front of them scatters and spot Nathan running at them as fast as his lanky limbs can carry him. Of course he's the one screaming. But he's not the only one. Alisha catches the panic on other peoples faces, and they way they're quick to run, too.
"What's going on?" she shouts, but her voice doesn't sound very loud above the music.
Simon and Curtis are quick to get to their feet, Simon wobbling a bit. She'd smile at this if she weren't suddenly so worried.
"What's he saying," Kelly cries.
It doesn't take them long to find out. Nathan comes barreling towards them, nearly slamming into Alisha. "Get out of the fucking way, she's gonna kill me!" He tries to cling onto Curtis but he shoves him off.
"What are you on about?" Curtis asks.
"Oh, just get out of the way!" he hollers, shoving past them and running down the hall.
When they look back, they find out why. There's a monster chasing him, a real life, claws and teeth and horns monster. And it's heading right towards them. "Fuck this," Alisha yells, turning herself and taking off. She can hear the others close behind her and hopes Simon can keep up. She runs until she's made it outside, and sees Nathan's floppy mess of hair bouncing not that far ahead. She doesn't dare to turn around, afraid that she might see whatever the fuck that was right on their heels.
"It's getting closer!" Simon calls.
She runs as fast as her legs will carry her down the street, panting hard and feeling sick. Drinking and smoking and running from scary as shit monsters don't go very well together she's realizing. Just as she rounds a corner street, something reaches out and snatches hold of her covered arm. She shrieks as she's dragged into an alley. Her first instinct is to start swinging, so that's what she does. She swings and her hand connects with something that yells at her to, "Stop hitting me!"
Oh, god, it's Nathan! This may be the only moment in her life she'll ever be this happy to see him. She pokes her head out the alley way just as the others come running up. "In here," she tells them. They slide in one by one, Simon closest to her. So close that they're bodies are pressed tight together and she can feel him trembling. "Are... are you okay?" she asks.
He licks his lips and nods before looking over her shoulder at Nathan. "What was that?" he asks, his voice shaking.
"I don't know!" Nathan shouts.
"What happened back there, dickhead?" Kelly whisper yells.
Nathan holds his finger up and leans into the wall of the alley, taking a couple deep breaths. "Okay, so I was going to shag this girl-" Curtis interrupts with an annoyed huff. "Shut up!" Nathan tells him. "Let me... let me talk. So I was going to shag this girl... real hot thing. She drags me into this room and we're going at it, she was real into it to! All moaning and shit and-"
"Can you get to the point," Alisha snaps.
"Fine! I got ready to stick my prick in her and this bloke walks in and starts screaming at us. Think he was her boyfriend or something, I don't know. So she gets up and they start arguing, and... man, she drew her little arm back and punched him right in the face. And this fucker just... hulked out! I mean, breathing all heavy and shit, and then his skin started falling off and he turned into... well, that thing you just saw. I'm lucky I even got my pants up and made it past him."
"A jealous beast," Simon mumbles.
"What?" Alisha asks.
"A jealous beast," he repeats. "It's a power. He has a power. It made him into that thing."
"So we've got a fuckin' monster chasing us because some prick got jealous?" Curtis bites out.
"More like because Nathan couldn't get his cock in his pants," Kelly replies. "Good one, mate. Fucking cheers."
"Hey, how was I supposed to know!" Nathan cries, throwing his hands up in the air.
"When are you not causing us shit loads of trouble?" Alisha blurts out. Why couldn't they ever just have a nice night out together without these bullshit powers causing them problems? "What are we going to do?" she asks, looking to Simon. He's the smart one of their group, he'll have answers. Though, right now he appears a little too panicked to be of any real help.
"I don't know," he answers, a first for him. "We don't know what he is, or how to stop him."
"We need some weapons," Kelly says.
"Yeah, or mister rewind time guy over here can," he whistles, "and fix this."
"You know it doesn't work like that," Curtis replies, his usual response in situations like these.
"So what are we supposed to do?" Alisha presses. "Just sit here and wait for that thing to come back and kill all of us?"
"That's a good idea," Simon tells her.
She turns to him with wide eyes. "You fucking serious right now?"
"N- not the killing us part," he says, reaching up and smoothing down his hair. "But... but waiting it out. We could sit here until we're sure it's gone and then come out."
"And if it finds us while we're sitting here?" Kelly fires back.
"Hope we don't get eaten?" Nathan pipes up.
"Oh, fuck off," she yells, and they all quickly shush her. She scowls at them and turns around, pushing her back against the wall and sliding to the ground. Curtis and Nathan do the same. Alisha stares at them in disbelief for a minute before bile rises at the back of her throat. She's quick to turn away from Simon so there isn't a repeat of last time just as she starts to vomit on the alley pavement. This night is absolute shit. She hates Nathan so much right now. She'd tell him so if she wasn't heaving up her guts.
A second later, she feels fingers curling into her hair and pulling it away from her face. Simon's shoes come into her peripheral vision. Great, the guy she's been trying so hard to make a good impression on is, once again, taking care of her while she throws up. It really is just the highlight of the shitty night. He must think the absolute worst of her.
"Sorry," she says a few minutes there, wiping the spit from her lower lip and sitting up.
"It's all right," Simon tells her. "I'm sure you'd do the same for me."
She swallows and her lip curls at the disgusting taste at the back of her throat. She forces a smile. "Thanks."
Pushing around the others, she finds an empty spot against the wall and slides down until she's sitting like the others. Simon quickly does the same, right next to her, as close as ever. She hopes she doesn't smell too awful. Not that Simon would say anything if she did. God, all she wanted was for them to have one normal night together. To maybe talk and figure things out. She's beginning to feel like that opportunity will never come. Maybe that's how it's meant to be? Maybe that's how her mystery man wanted it to be?
It's hard to think about these things right now, hard to concentrate on anything really, when her eyes are suddenly feeling so heavy. She slowly turns her head to the side. "Talk to me," she tells Simon, in the hopes that maybe it'll keep her awake.
"About what?" he asks.
Curtis and Nathan start arguing and she sighs. "Anything. Fucking BattleStar Gallactica, I don't care."
Simon smiles and, despite how awful she feels, it still makes her pulse quicken. "Okay," he says, but she only listens for a couple minutes before everything blanks out on her and she passes out.
Her head is pounding when she opens her eyes. She blinks a couple times, letting them adjust, and everything comes rushing back. She jerks up with a gasp and looks around wildly, not recognizing her surroundings.
"There's water and Tylenol on the beside."
She jumps at his voice and turns her attention to a spot across the room. Simon's sitting at a computer desk, hands clasped in his lap, watching her.
She rubs at her eyes and takes another look around, feeling slightly freaked out. "Where am I?"
"M- my flat," he answers, glancing at the floor. "You said you didn't want to go home. That your parents would get mad. And you wouldn't go with the others. Nathan offered to take you to his but..."
"Thanks for not letting that happen," she reaches out, bringing her hand up to rub at her temple. "How did I get here exactly?"
"I carried you."
"My power!" The way her heart slams in her chest makes her feel sick all over again.
"I was careful," he replies, peeking up at her.
"Jesus," she breaths, letting her face fall into her hands. There are no words for how strange this is. Between their disaster of a night out and now this... it's all so much to take in. How many times had she imagined being in his room, she wonders, pulling her hands away and staring down at his sheets. They're dark blue, and stretched thinly across the bed, not a wrinkle in sight. In fact, his whole room looks like this, tidy and unlived in. She doesn't know how he does it.
"You don't have to stay here, you know," comes his quiet voice. "You can go if you want."
She looks back at him and her stomach sinks. He thinks she doesn't want to be here. Judging by the way she's acted so far, she can see why he'd think that. "No," she says, slightly shaking her head. "That's not... I'm okay here." She musters a reassuring smile and he seems to relax. Then, "Do you think everyone got back okay? I mean, that thing is still out there."
"I already talked to the others, they made it back all right. Curtis said something about going to see the guy tomorrow, see if there's something we can do."
Alisha groans. "Fucking Nathan. This is all his fault."
Simon's lip quirks. "He doesn't mean it. Low IQ, remember?"
A small laugh escapes her. "We're all a fucking mess, us lot, aren't we?"
He shrugs. "It's not so bad."
"You're just being nice."
"I sort of like our adventures together," he tells her, the ghost of a smile still on his lips.
Of course he does. Simon's the kind of bloke willing to take any attention he can get, he was starved of it for so long. The thought saddens her once again as she thinks of all those times she was mean to him. It can be different now, she thinks. She can make sure it's different. "Sometimes I do, too, I think," she admits. "Ya know, when our lives aren't being threatened."
He nods. "Well, like I told you, there's medicine on the table. You can go when you want to."
"Can you..." She trails off and bites at her lip for a moment before plucking up the courage to just come out and fucking say it. "Do you think I could hang here for a bit? With you? I- I'm still feeling a bit faint."
His expression makes her want to laugh, confused but almost... eager as he tells her, "Sure." She wonders if she seems so nervous and unsure around him? Surely she's better at hiding it. "We could watch a movie... if you want," he suggests.
"Sure," she answers. Then, "Nothing scary, though, yeah? I've had enough monsters for one night."
He smiles. "Okay."
Twenty minutes later, after using the loo to clean up a bit, and taking the medicine Simon gave her so she's now feeling a bit better, she sits on the couch in Simon's living room, eating from the bowl of popcorn he'd made them. She watches as he puts in a movie- a comedy he let her pick- and he shuffles over to sit down. She's glad that he informed her his parents and sister were gone for at least a few hours longer, happy to have the time alone with him. They so rarely get it. She even feels herself swell with pride when he scoots a bit closer to her.
It's unlike the things she's used to, the quiet and conservativeness of it all... but it's nice, too in it's own way. She's never just watched a movie with a guy before. It almost feels like a real date.
"Are you still mad about how the night went," Simon asks after a long moment of quiet between them, not taking his eyes off the television screen.
She thinks about it for a minute and then finds herself smiling. "It could have been worse. I guess it's not so bad."
He nods and the corner of his lip turns up.
"But," she adds a second later, "no more going along with Nathan and his stupid ideas, yeah?"
"All right," he says with a nod and she passes him the popcorn. He eventually turns his head to look at her, and she catches it, the briefest flicker of her mystery man in his eyes. Finally. "Happy Halloween, Alisha," he says softly.
The weight she's been carrying around on her chest all this time slowly begins to fade. Not entirely, but enough. "Happy Halloween, Simon."