Tim sat on the couch. The cricket wasn’t holding his attention. He used the remote to bring up the time on the television screen. Twenty-four minutes late. The key sounded in the door, and he tried to relax into the couch, but he was too mad.
Jenny’s high heels clicked on the floorboards, then she giggled as she slipped slightly. Tim sighed. She’d been for lunch with her sister, and she was clearly drunk. Jenny kicked her shoes off, came into the room and dropped onto the couch next to Tim. She pulled a can off a six-pack and placed it next to him.
‘You said you’d be here at two.’
‘What?’ Jenny looked at him. ‘You were serious? You want a house meeting? There’s only two of us living here!’
Tim knew he had already lost any high ground. He started to deflate and snatched the open beer Jenny held out.
‘I’m just so frustrated with you.’
Jenny spun around to sit cross-legged on the couch and face him. The age and wear of the pillows that caused her to lean in to the back and she opened a beer for herself. She forced a serious look onto her face.
‘What is the problem, Tim?’
‘You never clean up after yourself in the kitchen or replace anything you use – like milk – and the bills.’ He took a sip to calm himself. ‘You told me you were working and could pay. I can’t pay for you.’
‘Oh,’ said Jenny quietly. ‘Sorry. I didn’t realise I was such a pain.’
Tim stopped himself for contradicting her. She was a pain. He took another drink and stared at the television.
‘Do you want me to move out?’
Tim shrugged. Jenny’s face dropped. She had been in four share houses in the last six months and was sick of freaks and losers and being stolen from and all that crap. Tim seemed different.
‘Shit, no. Really? You want me to move out.’ Jenny turned back to sit on the couch properly. They sat in silence, drinking their beer.
After the next over, Tim muted the game.
‘No, I don’t want you to move out.’ Jen threw herself at him, her arms around his neck. His beer spilt on her jeans. ‘But…’
‘I’ll get cash in the morning. I’m too pissed now.’
Jenny gave a look of guilt.
‘I’ll try to get better at replacing stuff.’
‘How about the kitchen?’
Jenny nodded. ‘Tomorrow?’
Tim smiled. ‘Better be.’
He clicked the volume on and they sat back, satisfied.
‘Can you change a couple of things, too?’
‘I can try.’
‘Well, can you shut both the screen door and the front door? And can you empty the ashtray out the back once in a while? And can you not cut your nails in the lounge room, or at least put them in the bin? And can you flush twice if you need to?’
‘I don’t cut my nails in the…’ Tim tried to protest, but Jenny pointed to a neat pile next to the Green Guide. ‘Oh. Ok.’