Author: Lacey Raine

Chapter 0


I stared out of the window, watching the rain drops trickle down it. I remembered when I was little, at one of the earlier Homes, how I used to pretend they were racing. I used to pick a drop, name it, then cheer it on as it 'raced' the other one down the window to the frame on the bottom. Squeezing the neck of the glass bottle in my hand, I took another swig of vodka. I liked the vodka bottle. It was my friend. I shuddered as I felt his arms go around my waist from behind, his chest pressing up against my bare back.

"What you looking at, Zak, baby?" He asked. I gritted my teeth. I wasn't his baby. I wasn't even Zak, not really. It was my 'professional' name, Zak Sudden. But he didn't know that. Or maybe he did. Whatever.

"Nothing," I replied. What was I supposed to say? Mentally cheering on a raindrop I named Martin as it races the other one, which I named Suzie? Yeah, right. He'd tell Blain if I did that. And then I'd get a kicking.

"Well what's the point in just standing here doing nothing, eh?" He said, and I could hear the smirk in his voice. He lay down on the bed and patted the space behind him. I took another swig of vodka and then placed the bottle on the windowsill. I walked slowly, in the sexiest way that I could, over to the bed and lay down beside him. He toyed with my hair, pushing it out of my eyes so he could look into them. He smiled. "Wanna fool around?" I sighed mentally at his pathetic attempt at flirting with me, but plastered a false grin onto my face.

"Depends," I shrugged. "What you got for me?" He sat up.

"Get on your hands and knees and I'll show you," He said, grabbing a condom from the bedside table. I did as I was told, glad that he was kneeling behind me and couldn't see the tears streaming down my cheeks.

When we were done, he made me remove the condom with my teeth. It was something that I hated, but was apparently good at. Evidently Blain had told him this. I did it, despite desperately not wanting to. I shuddered slightly as I dropped it into the bin beside his bed. He leaned down and kissed me roughly, using way too much tongue. Still, I kissed him back. He checked the clock. "My wife will be home in twenty minutes," He informed me. "D'you want me to give you a lift back to Blain's place or what?"

"No, I'd best walk," I said, pulling on my boxers and jeans, then shrugging my shirt on. He shrugged and handed me the payment for my services. I thanked him, and counted the notes as I dashed out of the front door and into the cold and rain outside. A hundred and fifty pounds.

That would probably cover our next fix.



I laughed and shook my head fondly at Mum. Tears were welling up in her eyes. "Will you relax, silly woman, it's not like I'm leaving the country," I said. "I'm gonna be two miles down the road. I'll come and visit you."

"Every weekend," She said. "You're coming here every weekend, alright?"

"Okay then, mother," I rolled my eyes at her. My mum always was a bit... full on. I kissed her gently on cheek. "Well. I'll be off now then. I'll send you a hosewarming party invite as soon as I get settled."

"Oh, you," She pretended to clip me around the head, giving me a watery smile. "Go on then, if your going."

"Bye," I hugged my mum, then my little sister Jaya. Then I left the house.

I got in my car, already packed with my boxed up stuff and my suitcases. As soon as I got around the corner however, I stopped. I bent my head and had a cry myself. I'd miss not seeing them everyday, not hearing Mum's singing in the mornings, not having to yell at Jaya for making a mess of the sink with hair mousse and eyeliner. But I couldn't live at home forever. I was a man now, with a job and a life all of my own.

It made sense to have a flat of my own as well, right?

I got to the building and started unpacking my stuff. A pretty woman having a cigarette helped me lug it all up the lift and into my flat. "Thanks," I said, smiling at her. "I'm Lucas Rothery."

"Gina Patel," She replied, shaking my hand. "And no problem. I live next door. Looks like we're neighbours, eh?"

"Apparently so," I replied. "I'd offer you a coffee but I don't know which box anything's in. Sorry."

"No problem," She replied. "Why don't you come next door for one? I'll help you unpack afterwards."

"Oh, you're a sweetheart," I smiled at her at followed her next door into her flat.

I couldn't help checking her out as we went along. She was a little older than me, probably early twenties, and absolutely stunning. Her mahogany skin gleamed and her hair was long and soft and glossy. My fingers itched to stroke it. She turned and flashed me a dazzling smile.

Holy crap, Luke,  I thought. I think you're falling in love.



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