SomeWhere On...

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...Canon Street (A Vignette)

Murph can’t stop wheezing. Which, probably isn’t the weirdest thing that’s pissed me off about him, but right now, it is.

“Are you okay?” This is the fourth time I’ve asked, because he’s given me dodgy answers like

“I promise, I’m all right.”

That.

Like that.

It’s pissing me off because he doesn’t wheeze. He gets out of breath sometimes, but he’s open-mouthed breathing like he’s just run the length of the Thames.

I step in front of him. “What the fuck’s wrong with ya?”

Murph smiles. It’s an open-mouthed smile. “It’s nothing.”

So I don’t ask again.

“Why aren’t you panting?” he asks.

I look at him. “Because I don’t need to? Because it’s weird? So stop.”

“Oh.” Murph looks away, turning red. “Sorry.” He pauses. “I’m probably going to make myself pass out at this point. I’m really sorry if that happens.”

I nudge him with my shoulder. “I’d carry ya.” Maybe.

Murph goes red. Redder. “Please don’t.”

“Slap you awake, then?”

“Oh my God, please don’t.”

“I’ll throw water on you.”

He takes in a slow breath and sighs. “That seems...like the most appropriate response to my being dumb.”

I laugh. And then I imagine Murph wet on the pavement panicking. And I laugh harder.

But my stomach twists more.

I don’t know what I’m doing still.

Then I realise that I’ve walked past my flat. And Murph didn’t tell me.

We turn around and go back to it.

“Steve isn’t here, is he?” asks Murph.

“Why?” I ask.

He shrugs as I unlock the door. “He’s been busy. I wanted to say hi.”

I shake my head. “Nah, he’s in Spain for a business conference.”

“Where does Steve work?”

I shrug. “Doesn’t matter to me.”

I push open the front door and let him in. He turns to me and smiles. It’s a hesitant one, but I still see dimples. He’s breathless. Chuffed, even. I’m not sure how to describe it. Like a puppy who knows he’s going to play outside. Murph’s got that energy about him. And it’s really fucking cute.

“Oh, fuck, I forgot my book at your place,” I say. Shit. Shit.

Murph touches my arm. “I can bring it by whenever, Tommy.” he says, grinning.

I move past and unlock the door to the flat.

He slips under my arm and moves passed me.

I kiss him.

Murph pushes me back gently. “We need to talk about this, Tommy,” he whispers. Like he’s trying to be careful with his wording. “Kissing after, okay?”

I nod. “Fine.” I close the door.

And just like that, the doors to the outside world close behind us.

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