Bill & Jane

He is lying on the bed.

On his back with his eyes closed, hands covering them, counting. Five, four and so on.

When he says zero, he opens his eyes seeing the blue wall of her room. The whole room is blue, he’s feeling like he’s in an aquarium. He gets up and leaves the room. The whole house is covered in quietness. He tries to hear something. Nothing. He doesn’t walk far and opens the door to his bedroom. It’s messy, clothes lie on chairs, it is dark, with a funny smell. He takes a look around. Nothing. In the closet, under the bed, under the desk, no sign, just dust.

He walks the hallway, stepping on the cold floor, feeling his skin getting colder with every step. Still no sounds. He then takes a quick peek into the kitchen. It’s empty. With a hand on the living room handle, he watches the hallway. Takes a breath and steps into the room. The brownish walls are lighter from the sun coming through the window. The couch was in front of the TV and stillness in the air was almost palpabile. He moves two more steps and the floor squeaks. He quickly turns his head to his left. Nobody. Relieved, he wants to move again, but she jumps on his back and lets out a noise of joy. He catches her legs with his arms, laughing and collapses on the yellowish couch. She laughs with him, but doesn’t hesitate to catch his hands under her knees and pulls his ears. She sits on him as if she were catching a pig in the Christmas week.

Bill and Jane.

Roommates and good friends for several years.

This is just one of their days. When neither has something to do, they do this. It’s not always like this. This time it looks like she’s wining. Oh, it seems I spoke to soon.

He struggles to free one of his hands from under her right knee. He manages to pull his hand and pushes himself up and makes her fall on her back. Now he’s in control. Bill pushes her hands near her brown hair and stretches himself over her body. Their heads are at the same level, but his legs go about 10 centimetres longer. She tries to escape but it is very hard. Jane shakes her whole body  and manages to move one of her legs. In a quick action she kicks him in the groin. Instantly, his power drains and Jane runs away. She runs through the hallway and into the bathroom. He feels this quiet pain moving from his genital area all the way to his head. But Bill doesn’t let this stop him. He gets up and limping, with his jaw clenched, moves towards the bathroom. Jane puts the clothes basket against the door and waits, gasping on the edge of the bathtub. She frowns at an unusual smell. He’s almost there and the pain is almost gone.

They’ve met at a party of a common friend. You all know how those go, you’re in a happy mood, with a beer you get even more popular, laugh, talk a lot about nothing and sometimes you meet someone you can’t take your eyes off. Bill first saw Jane while she was telling a joke to a group of people. He watched from a distance and saw how she managed to make people laugh, smile by telling a not so funny joke. She laughed out loud with her head tiled back, genuinely looking like she was having a good time. She’s not a superstar. She’s skinny, with brown hair, a little longer than the shoulder, common brown eyes, with a bigger than normal mouth. She was not actually a girl you would notice across the room and fall in love with. But she’s confident in her sexuality, walking slowly, with purpose, touching your arm when she wanted attention and managing to be in the spotlight. Even if he saw other, more beautiful girls, he was helpless in relation to Jane, she mesmerised him.

Near the reddish bathroom door Bill lies on his right shoulder on the wall, then knocks three times. “You can’t come in here, I have put the basket against the door,” she blurbs out and can’t help herself but laughing. He doesn’t answer anything. “Hey, I’m still here.” Nothing again. She kneels in front on the door and looks through the key hole. Just an empty hall. Jane lifts the empty basket and puts it back and lies on the floor against the door. Bored, she scans the room and stretches her legs until they touch the bathtub. That smell again. She gets up and looks in the toilet. Nothing. In the tub, just some water, clothes smell, but that’s not that. What is that smell? She turns everything around to see where is that coming from. And what the hell is that guy doing? She says out loud and storms in the hallway. Bill is nowhere to be seen. Jane finds Bill making a huge sandwich with all “disgusting stuff”, as she tells him every time he makes a sandwich with everything. “Come quick, I want you to see something in the bathroom,”

“Let me eat this and I’ll come,” he says and puts the second slice of bread on top. It’s about 5 cm thick. “Fuck your disgusting food and come with me,” she pulls him. “Can you smell this?” she asks, while both of them are in the middle of the bathroom. He sniffs the place like a dog. “Nothing special,” Bill says. “Ah, God damn it, I can’t smell it either,” Jane puffs. “I’m gonna go eat.” “No, stay, it will come back.” “I don’t wanna eat here.” “God, can’t you think about anything than food, if at least you were a fat fuck.” “Well… you…” but he stops and wants to get out of there. This was one of the things for which they won’t work as a couple. Often they step on each other’s toes with such little stuff.

He doesn’t have time to step out because the stench hits him as well. “Can you smell it now?” she says gladly, but disgusted at the same time by the stink. It was the scent of rotten meat, very pungent, spicy and unusual. “What the hell is this,” Bill says and covers his nose with his palm. “It smells like a dead cat in here,” he adds on a funny voice, because of this thumb and forefinger squeezing his nostrils. “It’s weird, right?” “Fuck Yeah,” he answers and they start to look for clues as where the stink comes from. Jane, breathing only on her mouth, starts looking through some dirty clothes on the floor and Bill, incapable on breathing just on the mouth, squeezes his nose with his left hand and starts turning stuff around to see where is the source. After a while, they discover that it was coming over the ventilation. “Yup, this is it,” Billy says, climbed on the bathtub with his nose near the grind of the vent. “Cover it with something,” says Jane and hands him a towel. He manages to cover the vent so they get out and use some perfume to clear the air. After ten minutes of deliberating on why does it smell like that, they get back in there to find that the perfume, somehow, made the dreadful smell even stronger. This had to come from the other bathrooms they are connected with, through the vent. There’s nothing here that could stink like that. “You wanna see if the downstairs neighbour has the same problem?” “Hmmm, sure, I ain’t gonna eat now anyway.”

Four of them lived in this apartment, but two of them left and only Bill and Jane remained. Bill thought it would be awkward living with Jane because of their kissing accident, like he likes to think of it. A while back, after a few weeks they met, he kissed Jane at another party. They kissed only once because, it was late, some girlfriends pulled her out of there. Bill would not see her for two weeks. They exchanged numbers, but they were not so good friends then and he called her a few times but she didn’t answer. When he finally saw her again he couldn’t bring the subject up, so he gave it up. He tried again, but no luck. Seeing this, he concluded she doesn’t want him and wants to forget.

It was freezing outside and in the tower house hall it wasn’t any different. They went down a floor and knocked on the door of the apartment that was bellow them. Nothing. Two times. Still nothing. They ran the doorbell, still no movement on the other side of the door. “Come on, let’s go back in, I’m freezing,” says Bill with his arms closed so he can preserve all the heat he can. She doesn’t say anything, still knocking. He was on his way up when Jane gave up and followed him with the cold on her lips and cheeks. They tried to forget about the smell but every time they went in the bathroom it felt that the stench grew even more.

The next day Bill and Jane went to attend some courses and nearly forgot about what they left at home, but they were reminded quickly by the need to go to the bathroom. So it was decided to go back at the neighbour, who they didn’t know, to see what’s happening.

Same situation, cold, not answering.

Only this time before she tried to leave, Jane pushed the door handle and discovered that the door wasn’t locked. She gently pushed the door and faced a thick darkness. Before she entered she searched for the light switch. Bill didn’t know what to say and grabbed her, but Jane shoved him off and lit the hallway. It seemed to be empty, Jane thought and stepped in. Bill followed her helplessly, shivering with cold and uneasy with the situation. She opened the first two doors she saw. Just empty furniture and cold air. They walked the hall holding hands. Jane startled when she saw a white door with a picture of a little boy peeing in a bowl. The Bathroom. Bill squeezed her hand when they both felt the same smell that was upstairs. She put her sweaty palm on the door and pushed until it made an opening noise, then she lit the room and opened the door wider. A white sink, a dirty mirror and a piece of the bathtub could be seen when the door hit something and couldn’t be open all the way. It was the foot of the old, dead owner of the apartment, but they didn’t know that yet. Jane found out first and ran outside, all the way into her bedroom, screaming. Bill, surprised, quickly looked too and shocked, he closed the door with power. The picture of the little boy peeing fell and shattered on the ground. He, calmly, shut the lights and closed the door they’d opened. He didn’t run on the stairs, but walked and stepped on every step, holding on the rail. He didn’t know what to think, but he felt this adrenaline pumping in his veins, saying “You are alive, You are not dead, This is it.” With this new credo he found Jane in her room, talking on the phone. With the police probably, he could only hear his heartbeat, everything else was noise. She talked fast, with hiccups, trying to give the address. Bill closed the bedroom door leaning on it, with his hands at his back. When Jane threw the phone on the bed she spread her arms and hugged him. Bill squeezed her, planted his nose between her shoulder and her neck. It was warm, soft and smelled good. Then, he started kissing her neck and caressing her back with his hands. After one moment she started to breathe deeper, heavily and she turned her face to kiss him. It was a violent kiss, smashing their lips together.


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