'This is a voicemail recorded message....' Julian flipped the screen shut. "Come on dad…" he sighed, typing in his dad's mobile number yet again. The street was deserted but for a flickering streetlamp above his head. Behind him was a grey green field lined with hedgerow, across the road was a line of cinder blocked houses, the curtains drawn. The chill crept up his spine and he shivered as he held the phone to his ear, listening to the phone beep at him "this is a voicemail recorded mess…" Julian shoved the phone in his pocket. That had to be something like the eighth time already and dad still wasn't picking up. Maybe he was still stuck in work; Julian prayed it wasn't going to be like this every single day. What way was the house again? Today had been screwed up enough without dads help. First thing as he got to class they were already laughing at him, then he met Andrew. He seemed like a nice guy, but looking at him made his head hurt. Well, it didn't exactly hurt but…it was so confusing.
There was suddenly a crash and a yowl as a cat tipped over a rubbish bin, and Julian became aware of how late it was getting. It probably already six or seven and it would be much, much later before he would be able to get back to the house by himself. He'd read enough books to know that young boys out by themselves on dark streets were bound to run into trouble, he found himself fiddling with his hair…
"Julian?" he turned, somebody was cycling down the pavement towards him. As they got closer, he recognised the face.
"Andrew!" he gasped, relief rushing over him "I thought you were somebody else…"
"What are you doing here? It's pretty late isn't it? Well I was on paper round but…" Andrew asked, his eyebrows knitted together in concern. Julian's heart was still thudding in his chest, he wished it would stop. It wasn't like Andrew was dangerous so why...he realised too late he was still fiddling with his hair, and snatched his hand away. He didn't want Andrew to think he was a weirdo like the rest of them, and found he couldn't meet his eye. Andrew was looking at him sadly. "Do you…want to go play some videogames?"
Andrews's house was warm and brightly lit, the hallway was painted a deep orange, and muddy boots were clustered round the door. On the walls were some photos, they were pictures of Andrew when he was just a kid, with his mom and dad. Julian appreciatively lent against the radiator while Andrew pushed his bike into the cupboard under the stairs. "Mom!" he shouted "I brought a friend round!"
A woman bustled in from the kitchen, the same woman in the photographs with a baby Andrew on her lap. Her sugar blonde curls tumbled round her ears and her face was lined from smiling. "Andrew!" she planted a kiss on his forehead.
"Mom…get off" Andrew mumbled, blushing crimson red, Julian stifled a smile.
"Well, Whos this then?" she smiled at me
"This is Julian. He's new, at school. He can't get in contact with his dad, so I said he could come round here. That's um…is that ok?" Andrew was still blushing.
"Of course! You don't nearly have friends round often enough" Andrews mother laughed "he can stay for dinner too if he wants to"
"Ok thanks mom" said Andrew hurriedly, practically shoving Julian upstairs. "Jeez, my mother is so embarrassing" he whispered, helping Julian across the landing, Julian smiled quietly. "So, um…make yourself at home" Andrew opened his bedroom door. The room was whitewashed, and there was a faded blue carpet on the floor covered with books and clothes, the walls were covered with band posters. In particular, there were posters of a rock band with spikey, electric coloured hair. "Oh, that's just Piranha" said Andrew noticing Julian looking, pulling out a couple of gamers. "The lead singer's kind a cool. He's the guy in the middle, but um…" Andrew blushed again "you can't tell anyone about that…ok?"
"Sure" said Julian. They'd played Zelda for about ten minutes, before Andrew looked up again.
"So…do you like the school?" he asked
"Yeah, its ok" said Julian "thanks…for helping me, and…"
"Its ok" smiled Andrew "you've got to stand up for yourself a bit, you know?"
"Yeah, I know. It's just…I'm not really a people person."
"Well, I can understand that much. Being alones important, but you can't be alone all the time. You'll turn suicidal"
"It's not like that totally" said Julian "you know, like…I do weird stuff. I'm a weirdo; people don't want to be friends with a weirdo"
"You're not a weirdo. Anyway, what weird stuff? You mean the hair fiddling thing?"
Julian blushed furiously "maybe…"
Andrew laughed. His laugh wasn't mocking like those kids from school, it was genuine and kind "Come on, seriously? It's not a big deal, your hairs cool"
"Really?" smiled Julian. Nobody ever said something like that to him before. Guys aren't supposed to care about their looks like girls but…
"Yeah. It's like um…what do you call it. Gabrielle."
"Boys! Come down, supper!" shouted Julian's mom from downstairs.
"You staying for dinner?" asked Andrew. Julian checked his phone; there was a message from dad.
"Oh. Dad says he got caught in traffic, but he says he's at the lamp post now" he said apologetically "I suppose I'd better go"
"Oh. Ok." Said Andrew. He eyes became, for a fraction of a second, dull.
Julian said goodbye to Andrew and his mother, and then headed outside, the lamp post was just around the corner. His heart felt a little lighter as guiltily, he felt happy that Andrew had said indirectly, he looked like an angel.