’He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.′
The room is silent enough that the sound of a pin dropping would easily be heard as our Professor, Faye, finishes reading the quote aloud.
‘So, what do we think, ladies and gentlemen?’ She addresses the class, closing the hard-back with a snap.
‘I think it’s beautiful.’ A girl two rows behind me gushes wistfully and I roll my eyes.
‘It’s Hardin, that’s what it is.’ Another sighs dreamily. ‘That film, After, just made the quote a million times more romantic,’ she says and I scoff loudly.
Attention turns to me and I swallow hard.
My derision for their opinions suddenly seems less emphatic.
‘Care to elaborate on your audible exhale, Miss Myers?’ Prof Faye raises an eyebrow at me, and I can see the visible challenge in her smile.
She wants me to contest their thoughts.
With her mentally backing me, I decide to reply.
‘It is not romantic,’ I say boldly and a girl in front of me actually gasps with shock. I resist rolling my eyes and continue. ‘They have a toxic relationship from the beginning, they ruin each others’ lives and they’re almost like siblings, it’s gross,′ I comment.
A guy to my left, lifts up his book and reads a quote.
′“He’s more myself than I am”, please tell me how these two are not soul mates?′ He challenges me and I turn in my seat to address him fully.
‘That exact quote proves that they just want to be each other. It isn’t love, it’s obsession, they might be soul mates, but it’s not in a romantic way,’ I argue and I hear someone else pipe up.
‘How can you be soul mates but not be romantic?’
‘Easy, would you not call your best friend your soul mate?’ I retort. ‘Have you ever gotten along with someone so well that you wonder how you’ve not known them your whole life, and yet you don’t want to sleep with them? Platonic soul mates are possible.’
I sit back in my chair and cross my arms over my chest, looking over at the Professor. She smirks at me and intervenes in chaotic debate that has unfolded.
‘Some excellent points have been raised, let’s dive deeper into some of these...’
And so the lesson continues, finishing an hour later when I’ve successfully caused almost the entire class to scorn me.
‘So, what did your parents say?’ My best friend, Kira, asks as we gather our bags to leave the seminar room.
‘They went ape shit, shouted at him, shouted at me and of course, the only answer was to buy a house for us to live together.’ I roll my eyes, the idea sounds even more ridiculous out loud.
Kira furrows her brows in confusion. ‘How does that work?’
‘Exactly! They’re crazy, honestly,’ I tell her, shaking my head.
‘What’s it like? Living with your brother,’ she questions me.
‘It’s alright I guess, he’s not around too much and besides, it’s only been a week!’ I reply and she laughs.
‘Very true, well good luck! See you tomorrow.’ She waves goodbye and I put my headphones in for the twenty-minute walk home.
My parents are very strict; they always have been.
My family comes from money. I love them, but they are sometimes snobby and always sensible. My brother doesn’t fit well into their perfect image of a family, hence why he moved out as soon as he turned eighteen.
He was expelled from his boarding school when he was sixteen, and went to public school (much to my parents’ horror) for his A-levels (of which he failed all four).
I worked hard at my boarding school, did well at my A-levels, and then at university. Now, I’m doing my one year post-grad.
Our parents decided that if we lived together, I might rub off on my brother and ‘calm him down’.
They bought us a house near my university, and all but demanded we move in. I was more than happy to, a student flat is the last thing I want to live in again. My brother, Micah, was happy to move out of his cheap flat he shared with a roommate he hated.
And to think, the final straw happened three months ago, when Micah got his first tattoo.
A tattoo is what finally made my parents snap and buy a house for me and my twenty-five year old brother.
I’m not sure why my parents are so offended by a tattoo, but the same goes for piercings, dyed hair, shaved heads and skimpy clothing. Conservative doesn’t even cover it.
I had to beg them to let me get my ears pierced at sixteen, my mother nearly cried when I had a couple more put in when I started uni. She still makes me cover them with my hair when we visit my grandparents.
Our house is in a safe neighbourhood in the good part of the city, it sits on a street surrounded by identical copies, and they all back onto a public park with a large lake. It’s pretty, but it’s a good thirty minute walk to a bar.
I let myself into the house and pop my head around the arch to the living room. Micah is lying on the sofa, playing on his Xbox.
He briefly glances up, nods an acknowledgement in my direction, and then turns his attention back to his game. I roll my eyes and kick off my shoes.
‘How was your day? Productive?’ I tease and he scoffs at me.
‘Very. Now I’m taking some much needed R and R, what about you? How was your lecture?’ He asks, but keeps his eyes on his game.
’Caused chaos in the seminar, told them Heathcliff wasn’t romantic, it did not go down well.′ I grin at him and he rolls his eyes.
‘Wow, way to go,’ he jibes and I shrug. ‘And I thought you were a romantic?’ He checks.
‘I am, just not for Heathcliff,’ I explain and he shakes his head in disbelief.
′Girls, man, you’re all so complicated,′ he mutters and turns his attention back to his video game.
I walk into the kitchen and open the fridge.
‘Seriously Micah? You had one job! I told you to buy milk today.’ I scowl. ‘I told you I was at uni all day today, it’s your day off and you couldn’t even get milk?’ I yell as I march back into the living room.
‘Don’t get your panties in a twist, I’ve sorted it, milk is on its way,’ he replies with a patronising tone.
‘What do you mean milk is on its way?’ I ask, completely confused.
Before he can answer, the doorbell rings and he smiles smugly.
‘That would be the milk.’ He grins and I walk past him, purposefully stepping in front of the tv screen. I ignore his protests and open the front door.
Jett, Micah’s best mate, is stood on the doorstep, holding a pint of milk.
‘Hey Lilah, I heard you needed milk?’ He smiles and holds out the carton.
‘Are you serious, Micah? You’re such a dick!’ I shout over my shoulder and turn back to Jett. ‘I’m so sorry Jett, he’s feeling particularly lazy today, please come in,’ I apologise and step to one side to let Jett enter the house.
Being the nice boy that he is, he wipes his feet and removes his shoes before going into the living room. I put the milk in the fridge and make myself a cup of tea. I carry two steaming mugs back into the lounge, passing one to Jett before I sit down next to him on the sofa opposite to Micah.
‘You’ve got company, I think you can turn that off now,’ I tell Micah and press the power button on the TV. The screen goes black and Micah swears, throwing down his controller in frustration.
‘Thanks for the tea Lilah, how’s your day been?’ Jett asks and throws an arm around my shoulders. I lean onto his chest and sigh.
‘It was really good thanks J, thank you for bringing milk.’ I look pointedly at Micah as I say the last part, he rolls his eyes at me.
‘You coming to The Junction tomorrow?’ Micah asks and I glance at Jett.
‘Yeah, I’ll come with you,’ he offers and I look back at Micah.
‘What’s The Junction?’ I ask and Micah smirks at me.
‘A tattoo parlour Lils, going to get some more ink on my arm,’ he replies and I sigh heavily.
‘Really? Are you trying to give mum a heart attack?’ I retort and he snorts in derision.
‘Whatever, she’ll be fine.’ He shakes his head, his shaggy hair falls over his hazel eyes that match mine. ‘Besides, she doesn’t need to know,’ he glares at me and I purse my lips at him.
‘You’re an idiot Micah, I’ll be upstairs.’ I leave them to it and head to my room.
I study in my room for a while, giving Micah and Jett some time alone together. They’ve been friends for years, and I’m really close with Jett, close enough that Micah gets jealous sometimes so I like to give them time together without me.
I come downstairs after seven and start to cook some chicken and pasta. I serve up shortly after and the boys come through to the dining room to eat.
‘I’ve found a guy to take the spare room,’ Micah announces as we eat our dinner.
My parents bought a three-bedroom house for us, mainly because they wanted to buy quickly and this one was available. Micah got it into his head we could earn some extra money if we rented the third room out.
We agreed that the rent we receive from the room would pay for the monthly expenses like Wi-Fi, electricity, water etc.
‘Oh, really? Where did you find him?’ I ask and Micah smiles.
‘He’s my tattoo artist,’ he states and I raise my eyebrow at him.
‘Alright, just don’t tell the parents,’ I reply and Jett nods in agreement.
‘No problem, we’ll tell them he’s one of your friends from uni or something, a respectable English writer,’ Micah mocks me in a fake-posh voice and I ignore him.
‘As long as he pays the rent on time, is clean and doesn’t smoke, he’s allowed,’ I comment and Micah groans.
‘What is it with you and smoking?’ He complains and I glare at him.
‘You know I hate the smell of it, not in our house Micah, no smokers,’ I warn him and he scowls but agrees.
‘This is really good, Lilah,’ Jett says and shoves more pasta into his mouth.
‘Thank you, Jett.’
It’s a shame Jett couldn’t be our roommate, but he lives above the garage he owns where he and Micah work as mechanics.
‘So, how long have you known this guy?’ I ask Micah, wanting to know more about my potential new roommate.
‘A couple of years actually, remember Joey?’ He asks and I nod. ‘Well, he used to go out with Joey’s sister, that’s how I met him, and last month I bumped into him and he mentioned he does tattoos and I wanted one, so yeah,’ he explains.
‘He’s sound, Lilah,’ Jett chips in. ‘He might look a bit scary with the ink and stuff, but he’s a great guy really.’
‘Is he still going out with Joey’s sister?’ I ask. I always liked May so it would be nice if she would be round sometimes.
‘No.’ Micah shakes his head, his eyes wide. ’That did not end well, I’m not entirely sure what happened but I think she cheated on him.′