‘Sapphy, I’m desperate!’
It was 3.15am, and Maxxy and Sapphy were outside the Victoria Rooms just off the Clifton Triangle. It was a strangely warm morning for October, warm enough for Maxxy to remain in his t-shirt and for Sapphy to stay in her strapless top as she sat on the edge of the great Georgian fountain. Maxxy romped and stomped around in front of her, smoking a cigarette and glaring furiously at the pavement as if it had just insulted him deeply.
‘I know you’re desperate Maxxy,’ sighed Sapphy, ‘you’ve been making that perfectly clear all night.’
‘But I don’t understand why you won’t listen?’
‘I am listening, I’m just tired of your shit!’
‘So what have I done wrong?’
Sapphy looked up and regarded the cold tendrils of the morning sun that had begun to glow bleakly on the side of the Wills Memorial Building.
Earlier that night.
‘I don’t care what else happens, we are going to Bunker, and I am going to get laid!’
With the unsettled extravagance of first year been and gone, Maxxy and the Badock lads had returned to Bristol to begin yet another triumphant year. Although they had collectively put enough chemicals in their respective bodies over the last 12 months to kill a small elephant, being back in their university city meant they simply couldn’t stay away from the good stuff, and on the particular Monday night on which we join them, they were getting stoned and going to Bunker.
‘Weed and Bunker and birds and beer!’ cheered Swag as they walked down to the Triangle at midnight, finishing their fifth joint and cramming their last cans of beer inside them.
Nick, Tommo, Plum, Doogie, Ag and Maxxy all cheered in agreement.
‘Not sure I like all this walking,’ huffed Nick, dragging on his cigarette. ‘I miss the bus.’
‘I miss Badock,’ said Tommo, and the lads all nodded silently because they all missed Badock.
‘You know what I miss the most about Badock?’ said Doogie. ‘Easy booty calls. You could literally just get back from a night out, then text whoever you’re seeing being like, ‘yo, what you sayin?”
‘I know right, being in a house just isn’t the same,’ concurred Ag.
‘You’ve gotta cycle over to them!’ said Swag, imitating a bike. The lads found this hilarious.
As they walked past the Hawthorns Ag threw his empty tinny at a closed window and heard someone shout at them. They promptly legged it down Queen’s Avenue in hysterics. As they ran Maxxy noticed just how much his mind had disconnected from his body: the sights and sounds of the night all swirled into one with the pace of his beating heart, and he realised that he was really very stoned.
Fortunately for them the Bunker queue was not long, and they were inside in no time.
‘Who’s gonna be the first to get on a fresher?’ cackled Tommo greedily as they descended to the tune of whatever was number one in the charts feeding up the stairs.
‘I’ll take care of that, don’t you worry!’ said Maxxy, and the others all turned and said, ‘not if you bump into Sapphy, mate!’
Though he of course denied it, Maxxy knew this was true. He had been practically in love with Sapphy since they had first met in Freshers Week in Stoke Bishop last year. After months and months of trying very hard and, more often than not, failing spectacularly, Maxxy had finally got with Sapphy at the end of year Founder’s Ball in June. He would have slept with her as well, but he had accidentally taken MDMA and came up at precisely the moment he needed his penis to work.
He couldn’t put a finger on what exactly it was he liked about her so much, though then again Maxxy was not the brightest bulb in the batch. She was absolutely electric, no doubt about that, and she had the ability to make everyone feel as if they were special. If Maxxy knew any better then he’d know to be wary of people like that, but of course the hopeless Hipster got sucked into Sapphy’s gorgeous rhythm like a fish into a shark’s mouth. He couldn’t resist the way she bounced confidently from person to person, sharing her love and then moving on to the next person without a second blink of the eye. Boys were helpless in the face of her loveliness, and Maxxy was just another silly little thing to be caught in Sapphy’s glow. Only now he reckoned he had a chance.
They got down onto the dancefloor and immediately began surveying the area for Fresh Meat. Suddenly Maxxy felt a hand slap on his shoulder and the cry of a human voice over the music. It was Ray and Stevie, Maxxy’s mates from Wills Hall last year.
‘Maxxy!’ they cried, hand slaps abounding. ‘How’s it going mate?’
‘Stoned!’ the happy fella replied with a broad grin on his stupid face.
‘Really good to see you again, mate! We’ve got to have a catch-up!’
Suddenly Maxxy’s eyes latched onto something he liked.
‘Woah, who is that?’
Stevie turned his head to see, then turned back with a wicked smile on his face.
‘That’s our housemate, Lottie. Do you fancy her?’
Maxxy stuttered, then eventually fumbled together the words ‘she’s so fit’. She was standing just behind the two boys chatting away to a friend in a gold strappy top, black jeans and black trainers.
Ray and Stevie looked at each other with knowing grins.
‘I’m sure we can make that happen, she’s on the rebound,’ said Ray.
‘Let us just put the good word in,’ said Stevie.
‘Oh, lads, you’d have no idea how thankful I’d be. I’ve been back at uni a full three weeks now and I’ve only shagged twice.’
‘Lottie!’ Stevie cried over the music to the girl behind him. ‘Meet our mate Maxxy!’
The girl advanced very quickly and Maxxy just about heard the words ‘hi, how are you’ before she hugged him without waiting for a reply. She was out to make it obvious that she was drunk – perfect for a desperate young fool like Maxxy. Before introductions had even been exchanged they were already heading towards the bar, and Ray and Stevie glowed in approval of what they had set up. It looked like it was going to be a good night for our Maxxy.
And indeed, it seemed all too easy for the two of them. A double vodka and diet coke later they were getting with each other on the dancefloor, ensconced between girls with shiny faces and clipped voices and boys who leaned their faces into any girl who gave them a second glance. Maxxy was delighted with himself.
‘That old Maxxy charm is still there!’ he thought to himself as the two continued to press their faces together.
But when he briefly opened his eyes in the middle of the kiss, he noticed two things. The first was that the DJ had begun to play ‘ABC’ by the Jackson 5, and the second was that he saw a face he thought he recognised. Through the stoned, alcoholic haze he peered forward, and realised that it WAS, it WAS who he thought it was! It was SAPPHY!!
Without so much as a second’s thought, Maxxy withdrew himself from Lottie’s embrace and gazed like a silly child at Sapphy, who was dancing side-on to him with her housemates. He lost track of how long he was staring, and only began to come back to his senses when he heard Lottie shouting ‘Are you okay?’ in his ear.
‘What? Oh, yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Can you just give me a sec, I’m just gonna… Er… Go to the toilet.’
Having savvily excused himself, the dopey hipster took a step towards Sapphy, at which moment she turned and noticed him.
‘Maxxy!’ she sang, flashing her great, tonic-like grin at him, and Maxxy felt butterflies inside. ‘How are you!?’
‘Yeah, really good thanks!’ he tried to communicate as clearly as possible through the slurring of his words. He was grateful that she seemed so glad to see him, as he wasn’t sure where they stood after their last encounter. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Lottie looking directly at him. He tried to think what to do. ‘Er – smoking area?’
Sapphy agreed, and the two of them waded through the pond of salt-water Freshers out to the smoking area. Maxxy decided he would be honest about how stoned he was, seeing as there was definitely no hiding it.
‘You would not believe how stoned I am right now,’ he sighed as he began rolling a cigarette.
‘That’s nice to hear,’ said Sapphy wryly.
‘Just thought I’d be honest.’ His drunken mind turned slowly over. ‘Look, can I ask where we are?’
‘Oh God, really Maxxy? Why bring it up?’
‘Just thought I’d ask!’
‘You are more of an idiot than I can even describe. But, I don’t know, I quite like that.’ Then she burst out laughing. ‘Why do I even do this to myself? Yes, I like you, even though you’re a total idiot. I don’t know why, but I do. Not in like a massive way, but I think you’re attractive. Oh, for goodness sake…’
She turned away laughing and took a moment to light her cigarette. Maxxy gaped at what she was saying to him – it was his dream!
‘That’s… That’s cool,’ he said, the words stumbling out of his mouth like drunkards on the street. As he took the first drag on his cigarette, however, he started to feel somehow less good, and he stopped talking. His stomach was feeling strange.
‘Honestly, Maxxy, I don’t know what it is about you. You go around getting with every girl you can, you take drugs constantly, you hang out with your stupid, stupid mates, and, frankly, I think you’re a total moron. But you’re quite a nice one, for some reason. If I wasn’t so drunk I definitely wouldn’t be saying this, but I do think you’re quite sweet!’
‘Sorry, can you just give me a second…’
‘Why, are you okay?’
‘Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Just feel a bit strange. But look, I’ve been trying so long to tell you, but basically I think – I think that–‘
‘You think what, Maxxy?’
‘I think I’m – I think I might be –‘
Now! Now was his opportunity to finally say it!
‘I think I’m –‘
And with that, the hapless hipster threw up all over Sapphy’s shoes.
Maxxy’s senses deserted him, and as they slowly began to come back he became aware of a lot of people staring at him, and also someone moving towards him from the door. Before he had a chance to do anything at all, Lottie, wanting to mark him as her territory and not having seen his little accident, came charging in and began kissing him violently on the mouth.
Sounds of hilarious disgust crept around the Bunker smoking area. Lottie withdrew abruptly and stared at him.
‘Why does your mouth taste of vomit?’
She looked at his incapable face, then down at the vomit on the stunned Sapphy’s shoes. She then stared back at him, and, unable to think what to do, slapped him and stormed out, flaming like the sun with embarrassment.
Maxxy looked into Sapphy’s disbelieving face.
‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘I like you.’
Now Maxxy was a resourceful lad, and as soon as he left Bunker, which he did very swiftly indeed, he decided that he was far too drunk to go home and sleep, so he took himself off for a walk around Clifton to try and clear his head. All the while his house’s group whatsapp chat was being updated with banter from the lads; it seemed as if every single one of them had pulled. He continued to send Sapphy texts of apology.
Since he was still out and about at 2.30, he decided to wait until Sapphy came out of Bunker to catch her and explain himself fully. She didn’t emerge until 3. Fifteen minutes later they were outside the Victoria Rooms, with Maxxy desperately trying to get his point across.
‘What have you done wrong?’ cried Sapphy. ‘I don’t know, Maxxy, everything!?’
‘Look, I’m sorry I was sick on your shoes again! I can’t help it, I have a delicate stomach.’
‘I don’t care about your delicate stomach! You just embarrassed me more than I can even say. Look Maxxy, like I said I think you can be a really sweet guy, but let’s at the very least leave it a bit, alright?’
‘I said I’m sorry!’
A group of first years cheered at them from Jason Donervan’s across the road.
‘Fuck off!’ shouted Maxxy.
‘Look, I’m going home. Maybe I’ll see you at Isla’s house party on Friday, and I might not be so furious with you then.’
Sapphy hopped down from the fountain and began walking towards Whiteladies Road, but she stopped for just a moment to look at the helpless hipster, then sighed huffily and made off into the last of the night.
Maxxy finished his cigarette and threw it spitefully into the fountain. His phone buzzed; it was a photo Nick had taken and posted on the group chat, of himself and a girl he was in bed with – and as Maxxy looked closer, he realised that it was Lottie.