Tickets - Novella - Chapter 3b

    "Couldn't you just ask your parents to pay it off?"  Guys don't talk about money.  Unless there's a woman there to bring it up.  They just don't understand it's not the done thing.
    "Well, actually, it's all sorted.  Janice paid it off and I'm paying her back with my rent."  A shock that doesn't make sense and makes Angie's eyes widen, so much it would be hilarious, if there wasn't something a little tricky to deal with.
    "You serious, mate?  She paid it off?"  There's a reason why guys don't talk about money.  Relationships are easy and simple, until money is brought into it.  Nobody can agree on money and it's nobody else's business how you deal with your own money, good or bad.  It's a real pity that this might be the last topic discussed between the guys in this house.  A real pity because Henry is not impressed with the reaction.
    "Yeah, but I'm paying her back."  It's not usual to see Henry squirm.  He knows the situation is weird and he clearly doesn't like it himself, but there's not much he can do about it.
    "And living rent free.  That's a pretty good deal."  He doesn't need it rubbed in by the woman shoving him out of his home.
    "Anyway, man, I'm sure it'll be good living with Janice.  You and Janice and your beloved cats."
    "Alright, alright.  No need to rub it in.  God, I should have said I couldn't have one because I was allergic, not that I couldn't afford it.  You really set me up in that interview."  And it's still hilarious that Henry's dating such a monster from work.
    "What are you boys talking about?"  Angie likes to be involved, it's the one thing she has in common with Henry.
    "Your boy told me to mention cats in my interview with Janice, when I first met her.  He told me I'd be  sure to get the job because she loves them."
    "Yeah, but I didn't tell you to make the whole interview a gushing conversation about your joint love of the furry animals."
    "So I casually mention during my interview how I can't wait to get a job because then I can fulfil my dream of owning a cat.  I thought she'd take sympathy and make my wish come true."
    "And she did.  And then some."
    "Yeah, well I can't complain about getting a date out of it.  And the little fella's pretty cool.  But I have to admit I did not expect all this from an interview."
    "How did you end up dating?  Did she ask you out during the interview?"
    "I told you about this, didn't I?"
    "No.  You did not.  Honey."  Sharp again, but bouncing off the second mark with a slight dent this time.
    "Jacob told me they hired someone else and then I got a rejection email.  But later that day Janice called me and just asked me out.  Didn't say anything about the job, and we haven't talked about it since.  I don't think she likes to mix work with pleasure."
    "And you went on the date even though all you had talked about was cats?  I thought you hated cats.  You used to take the piss out of me for my cat cup."
    "Yeah, because it's hilarious.  And cats are stupid.  But, now that's why I like them.  Well, him anyway."  Tibbet has cream cheese on his nose to prove Henry's point.  Again, like owner like cat.  "Besides, I thought she was fit and I could handle a little more cat talk for a date."
    "You've handles a lot of cat talk for a fit girl."  Many men wouldn't, certainly not the one opposite.
    "That's the thing.  It's like the job; she hasn't mentioned cats since.  It's like they're just there in the background, not a big deal or anything.  She loves the things, that's for sure, but she's not a crazy cat lady like I first thought in that interview.  She's really cool.  Really relaxed.  Nothing's a big deal."
    "Wow.  That is not the person I see at work.  Everything is a big deal, nothing is relaxed when she's on shift."
    "You're missing out."  Too right.  Maybe it's the office verses home that makes the difference, but it'd be an easy bet to say it's because of Henry.  He makes people relaxed.  It's not just that he loves to be around people; people love to be around him too.  He'd be great in hospitality and hotel management.  A much better match.  How could Angie not see that?  Even if she was wrong about him being interested anyway.
    "Right, I better get this little lad in the car and get my stuff over to Jan's."
    "Jan's?"  She really must be relaxed around Henry.
    "You're not just going to put him in the car like that, are you?"
    "No, Janice gave me a travel box.  It's up in my room though, so I'll get it and come back for him.  Here."  Shoving a cat off on Angie is not a good idea and poor Tibbet gets a bit of a shake up as he tries to cling to the unwilling surface and ends up in a bunch on the floor, as Henry disappears out the door.
    "Ready to go back to yours for the rest of the boxes?"
    "Actually, why don't you go get them and I'll start unpacking in our room."  Our room.  Nothing is his or hers anymore.  "I'm not really helping you, so I might as well do something useful..
    "You opened and held doors.  And it was good to have someone to do it all with.  Even if you weren't lifting anything."
    "You'll be fine on your own."  Well, that's that, then.  Fine on your own.  To do everyone else's work.  On your own.  There's heavy Henry coming down the stairs, as if he hadn't lost all that weight.  Or perhaps the cat box added it on again.  Plumping down in the hallway with it, ready for his last load.
    "Tibbet, boy!  Ah, come on.  What are you sniffing at?  Oh.  No way.  Jake!  Look what the old Tibbet has found."  Expecting a mouse, but arriving to find the familiar orange of yet more, presumably old and used train tickets.  "Ended up over here somehow.  Surprised we didn't see them going through the door."
    "We were busy.  And it's not like we were expecting them."
    "Maybe we should be.  Did you chuck the others out?"
    "Nah, I'll put them with the others.  Plymouth this time."
    "What's the date? Similar to the rest?"  September 2008, yep, like the rest, a couple of months and years before today.  "OK, I'm off while he's not moaning too much in this box.  See you later mate?"  Last seconds together in the house.  Interrupted by the waddle.
    "Bye Henry.  We'll have to have you and Janice over for dinner some time.  Once I get this place fixed up."  That's that, then.  Henry goes out again through the wind and rain.  "Help me go up the stairs before you go to get the rest of my stuff."  With the heavily pregnant girl to help in or out of the car and upstairs or downstairs in the other apartment, the next trip will end up a bit quicker.  "Is that Henry's suitcase?  Did he forget his clothes?  Idiot.  He'll be back later, then, I suppose."

    Yes.  He'll be back.  He'll be back later.