I groaned, opening my eyes. There was no way I was going to be able to sleep through the hammering on the front door. Now was as good a time as any to get out of bed; the alarm clock read 10:45. Lazily, I slid onto the cold wood floor, my back up against the side of the bed and my arms limp beside me, scouring the discarded garments strewn across my room and pulling a pair of fishnets and ripped mom jeans out of the mess. The hammering continued relentlessly.
“I’m coming,” I huffed, hopping around as I pulled the jeans on and plucked the Guns n Roses t-shirt off the back of the chair. By the time I’d jogged downstairs, I was ready to tear the head off whoever was trying their utmost to cave the front door in. The sight of my seven-year-old brother crying stopped me dead in my tracks. Tommy was sensitive, to say the least, so whatever had upset him could range anywhere from a nettle sting to seeing a dog get hit by a car. I frowned, crouching down to his eye level and used my thumbs to brush away the tears behind his round glasses.
“Alice, Albie kicked our ball over number 25′s back garden and they’re playing music really loud and won’t open the door,” he sobbed. The biggest issues in my younger sibling’s world were almost too much for me to comprehend. I looked across the street to number 25′s door. Their back garden pointed to the field the kids played on.
“Okay, I’ll go get it,” I sighed, standing up and wedging my feet into my trainers.
“They won’t answer, they’re playing music too loudly, I’ve tried,” Tommy whined next to me as I lifted and dropped the chunky brass knocker several times. He was right. They were listening to Slipknot. I curled my lip in distaste and jumped off the step. “Where are you going?” he questioned as I left the front garden through the side gate. To my left was an alley that stretched down the side of 25′s house and garden, leading to the field. It smelled of wet concrete and if you were to walk through it when it rained, you were bound to crush an entire empire of snails within the fifteen seconds it took to get from one end to the other.
“To get your ball. Go onto the field, I’ll throw it over.”
“How are you going to get it?”
“Never mind, just go.” He hesitated for a second before running to his little friend and relaying the orders. I strolled down the cut-through, checking number 25′s back gate and grumbling at the fact it was locked. Who locked their back gate? Chewing my lip in thought, I inspected for any ‘beware of the dog’ signs. Nonexistent. I’d never seen them walking one either so as far as I was concerned, the coast was clear.
It wasn’t a tall fence, probably only a foot and a half taller than me. Checking for sturdiness by pushing up against it a couple of times, I grabbed the top, placed one foot on the gate handle and hoisted myself up, landing with a thud on the other side. The ball was in the middle of the garden, flattening the well-tended lawn. Stumbling out of the flowerbed, I picked it up, throwing it back over the fence where my brother and his friend cheered. Their thanks drowned out the noise of 25 coming out of his back door, causing me to yelp when he spoke.
“What are you doing?” Brushing the splinters from my hands, I stumbled out of the flowerbed, wincing slightly at some of the crushed stems.
“Getting my brothers ball back,” I responded, turning to look at him now. This was the first time I’d ever seen 25 up close. I usually only ever caught glimpses of him if I happened to be sat at my window whenever he came and went. He was near on 6′ with sandy, shaggy hair that came just past his ears and dark green eyes.
“Why didn’t you just knock?”
“Do you not think I tried that?” I asked with a little more attitude than I intended after feeling slightly embarrassed for yelping.
“So... you just broke into my garden?” He really was Captain fucking obvious. I looked around for dramatic effect before tilting my head dumbly, asking,
“Is that what it looks like?” 25 breathed a small laugh of disbelief as if I didn’t know it couldn’t possibly look like anything else.
“Then yes.” He shuffled about.
“Right then,” he muttered. The song changed from within the house and I couldn’t refrain from grimacing.
“The band you’re listening to are shit by the way,” Jesus Alice, relax. I quickly turned and made my way back to the fence, already halfway up by the time he replied.
“Slipknot aren’t shit.” Even he didn’t sound so sure of that. I smiled, jumping down onto the other side of his garden.
“Whatever,” I called over.
“You could have just used the front door,” he replied. Rolling my eyes, I started walking towards the top of the alley.
“I’ll keep that in mind for next time.”
He seemed surprisingly harmless. Which was rare for good looking boys these days, I often got predatorial vibes from them but 25 seemed... nice.
I never wanted to see him again.
I could not be doing with any of that noise in my head.