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"What do you need?" he asks, picking up the phone almost immediately after she's dialled.

"You," she says, throwing herself down onto her (his) bed, hair fanning out around her, legs splayed carelessly across the sheets. "I need..." she pauses, thinks about it, "I need spliff. Or music so loud I can feel it. Or someone who'll fuck me like they love me."

"How about all three?" he asks. "I'll get the next train."

His self-assured, almost cocky tone is so comforting—she's missed it. She's about to scoff, though, at the suggestion, until she hears a jangling noise on the other end of the line that might be her brother grabbing his keys or gathering up his loose change, and then the sound of a zipper like he's doing up his jacket.

"Really?" she says, sitting up in surprise.

"'Course, I'll be there in about an hour," he says simply, and hangs up.


He's true to his word. When she answers the door about an hour later he embraces her immediately, stooping to wrap himself around her in the doorway.

"Missed you," he says into her hair, and she smiles against his shoulder, inhaling all the smells of him—soap, shampoo, aftershave, tobacco, Tony.

She kicks the door shut and leans in to kiss him, and he kisses her back with so much force that she stumbles, grabbing the banister behind her for support. The kiss is feverish, desperate, and it tells her just how much he's missed her. Cook and Freddie can't kiss like this, she thinks. Can't mean it like this.

"Where's Mum?" Tony murmurs against her lips.

"Fuck knows," she snaps back, hands holding tightly onto his hips.


"Moved out."

At this, his head jerks slightly back. "You didn't tell me that part."

"Mum fucked his boss, Tony," she sighs, "he wasn't going to stick around."

"Do you want to talk about it?" he asks.

She shakes her head vehemently. "I want to get stoned. And then I want you to fuck me."

He smiles, at that, fumbles in his pockets for a baggie of weed. "There's a guy in my dorm who gets me the best shit," he says proudly, and she kisses him again, long and slow, before leading him up to her, his, their room.


"So," he says over the sound of the pounding stereo as they sit at the end of the bed. They've been smoking, listening, sitting in silence for a while now, just relishing the comfort of being together. He passes her the spliff. "What's up?"

She takes a long drag. "Nothing," she says, a little hoarsely. "Nothing's up. Everything's down."

He smiles, sadly, leans in to kiss her gently on the cheek. "Everything's down?" he repeats.

She nods, and he slips off the bed, sinks down onto the floor at her feet. On his knees, he gently parts hers, spreading her legs in front of him. "Including me," he says, flashing her a grin.

It's a cheesy, stupid joke, but it makes her giggle, and that's more than she's managed in days. She puts out the dying spliff and looks down at him, at the bright blue eyes and the slight smirk that imitates what she sees in the mirror every day. She lays back, relaxing, feeling him press kisses to the soft cotton between her legs.

He makes her come twice before he fucks her, so that it's almost too much when he finally does, entering her in one swift motion and making her gasp and clutch at the hot, smooth skin of his back.

"I love you," he says against her neck as his hips thrust, back and forth. He fills her, touches her all over, goes harder or deeper when she wants him to without her having to say a word. "I love you. Fuck, Eff, I love you."

He brings his hand down between them, between her legs, strokes her where she's aching and pulsing. She sobs her way through another orgasm and then guides him through his, echoing his words right back to him and murmuring his name.

She curls up to him as they lie naked on the sheets afterwards, the blaring music still thrumming through their bones.

"You're the only one who means it," she says into his ear, lips brushing the smooth shell of it.


"The other boys. They don't mean it when they say they love me, do they? Not like you do."

He doesn't know what she means, but he hears the way her voice wavers and he strokes her bare shoulder, pulls her in closer to him and kisses her forehead.

Time passes, slowly, and she thinks he's fallen asleep until he kisses her again and says, "What else do you need?"

She nuzzles against him, against his sweaty chest and the warmth of his skin. What she needs is for their parents to stop pissing around and sort themselves out. She needs to stop letting Cook fuck her if he doesn't mean it, and she needs to learn to believe that maybe Freddie does mean it. She needs to learn to open her heart to someone other than her brother.

"I need more spliff," is all she says, though, voice muffled against Tony's chest where she can feel his heartbeat. "And then I need to sleep."

He reaches for his jacket, but after a little while of rustling and rummaging, he swears and turns back to her. "Do you have any skins?"

She sighs, shakes her head.

"I'll be as quick as I can," he promises, holding her close once more, kissing her firmly. "I'll get some vodka, too, okay? Mum won't be home for a while, right? We can get fucked up, and sleep. Here."

"And you'll love me?" she says. She can feel her eyes starting to water.

"'Course," he says. "Always, you twit," he adds, and she does smile at that, even as her tears are already spilling over.

He wipes them away with his thumb and kisses her again. "We're gonna be okay, Eff," he says, throwing on some clothes. "You're gonna be okay."


She pulls her knickers back on and sits at the edge of the bed on the dishevelled sheets.

She doesn't want to pull herself together or get back on her feet. She doesn't want someone to talk to, doesn't want the counsellor Mum keeps suggesting. She doesn't even care whether she's going to be okay. She just wants drugs and alcohol and her brother, the only person who could possibly understand and the only person who's ever been able to make her feel better.

She wipes more tears away, smearing her eyeliner. She turns the music up, and she waits.