Jayden drops his bag as he walks into the lounge. He looks around bored and then he sits down onto the musty couch. He slides around and lifts his legs as he stretches out onto the couch. Folding his arms under his head, he calls to Kieran, “Did you try to find the worst place in this town?”
Kieran calls back from upstairs, “This is all I could find on such short notice.”
Jayden can hear the creaks across the ceiling of the lounge as Kieran crosses the room above him. He sighs as he reaches for the remote control on the small, dingy-looking coffee table. With the tips of his fingers, he inches it closer until he can grasp it in his hand. He clicks the on button and then flips through the three television channels to see if anything interests him enough to watch.
Kieran crosses the bedroom and moves the curtain in front of the window aside so he can look out. He has a view of the entire town, from the railway bridge up to the hospital.
Turning away from the window, the curtain drops down, making the room twilight dark again. He walks across the hall to the only other bedroom in this two-bedroom apartment. He looks out of the window and notices his view is limited to the back gardens of the neighbours.
As he walks back to the first room, he calls down, “I am taking this room.”
He hears Jayden grunt above the noise of the television, “Fine. I’ll take this room.”
“You cannot sleep in the lounge.”
“Once we buy a decent TV and a nice couch and fancy this place up a bit, I think it will make a cosy room.”
Kieran leans over the banister. “Are you phoning for a cleaning lady or am I?”
Kieran walks down the stairs as he presses the buttons on his phone. When he reaches the bottom of the stairs, he pushes the phone against his ear and then when the Cleaning Agency answers with a polite, sing-y voice, he arranges for somebody to come out and clean the latest dump they have to call home.
“Arranged. She’ll be here in fifteen minutes.” He sits down on the single-seated sofa and lifts his feet onto the coffee table. It sways under his feet, but he balances his legs until the table stands steady.
Jayden continues to stare at the TV, watching an advertisement for a new miracle shampoo. The girl on the TV has the same hair as the girl he has loved for so long now. When the advert is finished, he sighs and glances back at Kieran. “I am glad you found her so easy.” Although he has known for some time where she is, he did not want Kieran to know his secret.
“These days you can track anybody on the internet. All you have to do is Google it.”
“How life has progressed.” Jayden changes his voice and mimics Shakespeare, “For the better, or not for the better.”
“When the cleaning lady comes, I think we must walk up to her house.”
“What for?” Jayden says dismissively, “You’ll see her tomorrow at school.”
Kieran stares at the television. He asks abruptly, “Are you really not going to try and make her choose you this time?”
Jayden smirks. “No competition from me this time, brother. Just go for it. I am tired and I want this curse broken. You said you can find anything on the internet, so find a way to keep her safe and you can live your happily ever after, but please just get it right this time.”
Half-heartedly Kieran says, “You know if she chooses you, the curse will automatically be broken.”
“Yeah, but she keeps choosing you. I get the message loud and clear, it will never be me. Just find a way to keep her safe or to break the curse when she chooses you, so this can be over. I am not doing it again.”
“I have a view of her house from my room.”
Without expression Jayden continues to stare at the TV. His eyes narrow briefly and then he sits up quickly when there is a knock on the door. “It’s the cleaning lady. Let’s go for a walk anyway while she is here, familiarize ourselves with the outlay of this town.”