The train station seemed even more ominous then usual as I heft my bags up the stairs. “Leila, do you really need this much stuff?” a voice behind me asked. Straggling behind me was my best friend, James, carrying my backpack and miming like he was going to fall down the stairs.
“Yes, Jame, I do. Do you have a problem?” I dared him to say something with the look in my eyes. Come on, James, prove me right. Ask me to stay.
I rolled my eyes. “And this problem would be…?”
He sighed, setting down the bag to come over to me. Taking my purse in one hand and my Subway bag in the other, he set them both on the ground, eyes never leaving my face. “I don’t want you to leave, Ley. Not now, not ever.”
I stepped closer to him, wanting nothing more than to hear the words I hoped were coming. “But…I have to take care of some stuff, you know that.”
He wrapped his warm arms around me. “Then let me come. Don’t leave me here. Stay, please, Leila.”
“I can’t. I’ve told you before,” I whispered through tears and my ever-thickening British accent.
“I don’t care. Take me with you, or please just stay. With me. You could move in, I don’t even care! We’ll share my flat, you don’t need to start paying rent until you’ve gotten yourself back on your feet…it’ll be great! London’s full of jobs. You’ll find some great little thing so you can just get paid to write in coffee shops or whatever you like.” The pleading in his eyes gave way to tears. “Please, please don’t leave me, Leila.”
I sniffled a bit against his shirt. “Mum said…”
“Oh, you know your mum just wants you to go home so she’s not all lonesome and boring by herself. Do you want to go back to Dorchester to live like that?”
Now, that’s a bit far, mate, I couldn’t help but think. “James, shut up.” And I kissed him square on the mouth. “Let’s go home, shall we?”
He just nodded mutely, picking up my sub and taking a bite.