The Saving of Benjamin Chambers (The Uni Files) (5 page)

BOOK: The Saving of Benjamin Chambers (The Uni Files)
12.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

“So are you here as a guest or a student?” I ask.
Oh, and are you still with that possessive wanker who stole you from me at Christmas?

I lean towards her to light her cigarette and she mirrors my action and moves towards me.

“Student,” she tells me.

I raise my eyebrow in shock. What? Is she going to be here? On campus? With me? I can’t quite bring myself to believe it.

“Yes, I know I am old,” she snaps.

“Hardly.” I can’t help but stare at the eyes. I am watching them, waiting for them to make a move away from me, because this time I am ready to chase. I can feel the adrenaline coursing through me.

“Twenty-five is pretty old compared to all the spring chickens in there.” She motions her head to the venue behind us where I can still hear the hum of voices, although strangely no music.

“I’m twenty-five,” I tell her for the simple fact that we have something in common and therefore are most surely meant to be together.

“Oh.” She seems a bit perplexed by this.

I wish I knew why.

“So what you studying?” I feel like I should be a host on some TV show or something, but I want to know everything. Right now.


It’s a sheer miracle I don’t choke on the lungful of smoke I have just inhaled. That would not be cool at all.

Holy Mother of God. She is going to be on the same course as me.

She has no idea that my brain is going to explode with the magnitude of that last snippet of information. It’s like offering cookie crumbs to a kid at Fat Camp. I can’t stop myself. I move right into her space, as close as I can physically get without causing her injury or alarm.

She is still trying to make small talk with me, not even realising that she does not need to, because I want to talk to her forever and then maybe a little longer after that.

“So you been with the band long?” she asks, completely oblivious.

I want to laugh but I don’t.

“Ten years,” I tell her, taking another drag of my cigarette.

“Wow, that’s a long time.” She sounds impressed.

I feel a little tingle of pride that I have never felt before.

Attempt nonchalance.

“Yeah, I guess.” I take a last drag on my smoke and then flick it away.

She does the same and the moment both our hands are empty, I am acutely, to the point of painfully, aware of how close we are. Toe-to-toe.

My body is aching in a unique way that I will from here on in have to call the ‘Lilah Effect.’

“You don’t remember me, do you?” I ask. I have to physically restrain myself from edging even closer.

She cocks her head to one side. “No. Should I?”

Uh, yes, because I’ve been in love with you for months after the one conversation we had, one snatched and too brief conversation where you gave me something new and unexpected to live for. You.

Maybe not.

“I played at a Christmas party last year. You were there.”

I watch as she clearly tries to recall the evening, our conversation, or even me. I hold my breath as I wait for her response.

“Sorry.” She shrugs.

Damn it.

Wait a minute
. All is not lost. Time to play my trump card because the truth is I remember her. Every single bit of her.

“I think I prefer the white dress to the red,” I say. This is only half the truth.

The whole truth would be that I prefer the white dress to the red, but I would much rather there was no dress at all. Or if there had to be one, that it was decorating my bedroom floor.

That thought along with the sight of her mouth opening in shock is the end of my self-restraint. In one single fluid movement, I slide one arm around her waist and pull her in close to me. Her body is tight against my own as I lean in and kiss her in the way I have been imagining for the last nine months. My other hand automatically reaches for the chocolate hair, and I entwine my fingers in the strands to keep her fixed to me, not that she seems to be moving anywhere.

It’s everything, and then a little bit more.

She edges herself a little closer until our bodies are merged and fit together in one sinuous line. One of my knees slides in-between her thighs. I can feel her faint breath against my mouth, and I want to take it one step further and then another until there is no separating us.

This is so not a tame first kiss. She sighs a little as I flick my tongue against hers and my fingers tighten in her hair. I graze my thumb along her throat. I want to lower my lips to the exposed soft flesh of her neck but my concern is if I break the kiss she may leg it across campus, away from me. Again. So I don’t. I just stand there and kiss her some more, feeling my body start to sizzle against hers. One of my hands, with a will of its own, slides down the slope of her back, smoothing over the concave dip of silk dress at the base of her spine before continuing down to her thigh.

Crap. I want to take this dress off.

After a few moments I realise that I am practically holding her up. She seems to have gone completely limp in my arms, and as I pull away I notice that her eyes have a glassy look and for the first time it dawns on me she may be rather drunk. I have not noticed before because, let’s be honest, you bump into the girl of your dreams after months of looking and it is kind of hard to focus on small facts, like sobriety.

I laugh against her cheek, and it feels amazing. Her body is still pressed against mine, her chest rising and falling with each ragged breath she takes.

I realise there is little chance she is going to run away from me across campus but I don’t want to let go just in case she falls down, although that could just be an excuse.

“I think I should take you home,” I whisper into her ear.

Fiesty Lilah comes out to play.

“What? No way! If you think I am going to let you take me home so I will have sex with you, you’re sorely mistaken I am not some gir—”

I like feisty Lilah a little too much. Before I can stop myself, I have grabbed her back in my arms and am kissing her again. She does not put up a huge amount of resistance, and her body is soon melded back against mine, her lips firm as she teases me by trailing her tongue along my lower lip. Is this girl for real? And she just accused me of trying to take advantage of

“I am not taking you home so I can take advantage of you,” I assure her. “You really are rather drunk, and I think you should let me help you home.”


I can’t help it. I have to push it just a little.

“Besides, when I do have sex with you,”
which I will by the way,
“I would rather you were a little more sober.”

I don’t really mean this. Of all the drunken encounters I have had in my life, this would be the only one I would wake up from and completely embrace the naked conversation the next day.

I know this is not the right time though. Nine months it’s taken to see her again. Our first time making love has got to be something more, something perfect, and something that she would remember, which to be honest I am not sure she would right now.

“Where do you live, Lilah?” I ask again.

She gives an almighty sway, and I reach a hand out to steady her if she needs it.

Then stroppy Lilah comes out to play.

“Block B, Floor Five,” she announces.

I stop and stare.

Come again?

She puts one drunken hand on her hip as if to say,
Ha! I knew you would never know.

But instead of giving her time to gloat, I grab her in my arms, flinging her over my shoulder, and start to walk off.

She starts to shout but it only last for about half a minute before she goes very quiet and I continue my march towards her room.

She is out cold when I use my key to let us into the dorm. I poke my head through the lounge door as I walk down the corridor and it soon becomes clear why she is passed out over my shoulder. There is an array of champagne bottles, fag packets, and goodness knows what. There is also a bra hanging from the kitchen door. I can’t conceive how that got there but I am pretty sure that I will not be sharing a dorm with a group of male geeks.

I try her door, find it unlocked, and creep in. It’s like an assault course of discarded makeup and clothes but I finally manage to tiptoe my way to the edge of her bed and lower her down.

It’s not that graceful and she kind of slumps out of my arms and lands in a heap on the mattress. I manage to stop her rolling back off and onto the floor.

I can’t help but laugh. I feel bloody delirious. I just kissed
The one I have been searching for.
is here and I am here and there is, like, all her stuff on the floor. Tonight when I go to sleep I will know exactly where she is. Tomorrow when I wake up I will be able to talk to her, even make her a cup of coffee, and introduce myself for the third time, and I will never have to worry about not finding her again.

I pull her duvet up and edge out of the door. It is only when I am heading back to the outer door and towards the gig I have abandoned that I think of the headache she is going to have tomorrow. I am sure it is going to be a killer, much the same as I am sure she will have little recollection of her journey home. The thought makes me grin.

I nip into my room, which is right next to hers, and grab some of the bottles of water I stashed in preparation for my own hangover.

She can thank me tomorrow or the day after that, or even the day after that because one thing is for sure: I am never letting that girl escape again.

Be sure to read Anna’s full-length novel featuring Ben and Lilah, now available on

The Art of Letting Go (The Uni Files)

One year. One woman. One Diary. One question: Can you ever stop history from repeating itself, and if you could, what would you do to stop it?

When Lilah McCannon realises at the age of twenty-five that history is going to repeat itself and she is going to become her mother—bored, drunk and wearing a twinset—there is only one thing to do: take drastic action.

Turning her back on her old life, Lilah’s plan is to enrol at university, get a degree, and prove she is a grown-up.

As plans go, it is a good one. There are rules to follow: no alcohol, no cigarettes, no boys, and no going home. But when Lilah meets the lead singer of a local band and finds herself unexpectedly falling in love, she realises her rules are not going to be the only things hard to keep.

With the academic year slipping by too quickly, Lilah faces a barrage of new challenges: Will she ever make it up the Library stairs without having a heart attack? Can she handle a day on campus without drinking vodka?

Will she ever manage to read a history book without falling asleep? And, most importantly, can she become the grown-up that she desperately wants to be?

With her head and her heart pulling her in different directions, can Lilah learn the hardest lesson that her first year of university has to teach her: The Art of Letting Go?

BOOK: The Saving of Benjamin Chambers (The Uni Files)
12.86Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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