Life Begins At Thirty : Chapter Six


The New Year

Hannah stepped off the train at Euston Station and eagerly pulled her suitcase towards the escalators which descended into the tube station of the same name. It had been a difficult Christmas. Her first without her Grandma, her first since moving away from home.

It had shocked her to return to the sleepy town of Rollinsborough where she had spent the first eighteen and a half years of her life. Nothing had changed there. It was the same sleepy town with the small war memorial museum and one street of struggling independent shops and about seventy pubs. There were no franchise coffee shop or fast food restaurant. No department stores. No cocktail bars or clubs. She had only been away for four months but to Hannah coming back felt like travelling back in time.

Hannah had spent the holidays digging through the so-called “junk” in her Grandmothers attic whilst her Mother and Father made the house ready to be sold at auction, much to Hannah’s protestations. Hannah had discovered the first love letters between her Grandfather and Grandmother in that attic and had brought them back to London with the intention of putting them in a safety deposit box.

Hannah had also discovered an old vinyl recording of her favourite old song “We’ll meet again” by Dame Vera Lynn. She had listened to the song repeatedly sat in her Grandmothers antique armchair which had been left to her in her Grandmothers will. Her thoughts had been drawn to the nameless man she had enjoyed a one night stand with a couple of months previously. She remembered more about that night now, his round face haunted her dreams, replacing the face of the American Serviceman who had been there since her childhood. But she still couldn’t remember anything about him. His name, his job, why he was in London.

Hannah had decided not to tell Caroline about this. She felt sure that her flat mate would decide the solution would be to go out and sleep with someone else and Hannah didn’t want that. Hannah didn’t know what she wanted. Did she want that guy to magically appear at that bar again? She’d thought about it, but what would she say to a man who she knew very little about but had shared something so intimate with.

Intimate. Hannah had used that word precisely once to Caroline during her recounting of a cloudy memory of that night which had surfaced on her month away. “Intimate? LOL!” Had been Caroline’s WhatsApp response and this had been repeated at each opportunity thereafter.

Hannah turned the key as she reached the flat, was about to open the front door when she heard Caroline’s screams.

“Oh baby! Fuck me, Harder, Harder, Harder” her voice becoming higher and louder with each “Harder”.

Hannah giggled to herself and opened the door silently, peering inside she saw a discarded hot-pink thong in the middle of the hallway. Hannah rolled her eyes and quietly pulled her suitcase inside.

Hannah snuck inside and made for her bedroom trying to ignore the sounds coming from Caroline’s bedroom across the hall. The flat was a mess no more so than in Hannah’s room. Caroline had gotten fucked in her bed again, that much was obvious, but it also seemed like someone had been reading her books and that certainly didn’t seem like something Caroline would have done.

Hannah set about straightening up her room and was just replacing the final book on her shelves when a half-naked Caroline opened the door.

“Hey Intimate Girl” Caroline was never going to forget that.

“Hey slut” Hannah responded not looking up.

“Hey, we erm… kind of had sex on your bed again”

“I guessed”

“We didn’t have a choice, we made a mess of my room”

“And every other room by the looks of it”

“Oh yeah” Caroline laughed.

“Caroline, you’re out of milk” a smooth foppish man with floppy dark hair appeared in the doorway wearing a red silk kimono with intricate gold embroidery. The kimono was gorgeous. He was gorgeous. Too gorgeous. He looked like Hugh Grant in Notting Hill if he’d been to the gym a gazillion times a week. Hannah couldn’t stop staring at the chiselled hairless chest which peeked out from beneath the robe.

“Hannah this is Spencer, my boyfriend” Caroline put her arm around the man.

“You have a boyfriend?” Hannah was shocked. Caroline had been with a lot of guys since September but none had stuck around long enough to earn that particular tag.

“I met him at my new job”

Hannah almost fainted at that. “You have a job?”

“I didn’t tell you?”