—Hey. Hey, have you seen Ellel around? Kerin asked.
—No. The last time I saw him he was with that guy on the sofa, up in the corner.
—Okay. Well I haven’t seen him in a while.
—Yeah, well neither have I.
Kerin looked vacantly at the girl in the eye mask. She panned around the small room, arms akimbo. She put both her hands on the shoulders of a girl stood beside her, facing away, and asked the same question, whispering into her ear. She turned back to Kerin seemingly waiting for a response.
—Do you want to look downstairs and I’ll keep an eye up here?
—Yeah, I guess. I was going to go downstairs for a drink or something anyway so yeah.
—Thanks Kerin.
He leant to a low stool to pick up a bottle of beer, nearly finished, then tapped those who he needed to tap in order to pass. Cold air pushed through the opening of Kerin’s jacket onto his bare chest and back. The dressing gowns had been taken off, a weave belt now exposed around Kerin’s waist, his pale skin shone almost translucent down from the overhead lighting. Makeup fixed on his face.
The second cat, the first they met, was waiting by the bathroom door. Her shoulders hunched leaning towards the door handle, her makeup was perfect.
—Alright? Is it busy in there?
—Yeah, they’ve been ages. I think someone might be throwing up.
—Shit. Are there no other bathrooms about?
—I don’t know. There might be one downstairs.
—Yeah, I might check. Have you seen Ellel about?
—Is that one of Leah’s people?
—Yeah, youngish about average, this height, sat with the weird guy upstairs.
—Sorry. I don’t think I know actually. There are some people across there, you could check in there.
—Yeah, I mean it’s not urgent.
The girl knocked on the door lightly. —Excuse me, is there somebody in there? Are you okay?
Kerin filled his cheeks with air and shrugged when there was no response from the bathroom. —I might go and check the room.
—Okay, yeah. The girl didn’t turn, leant further in towards the door.
The room was empty, a few bottles on flat surfaces. A window directly opposite the door, outside the tops of the street and the sounds of cars passing beneath. There was a dark mark on the beige carpet but the white rug in the centre of the room was pristine. The duvet of the bottom bunk of the bed was neatly pressed while the one on the top bunk hung out over the ladders. It was finished.

Kerin left the room, the bathroom door opposite was shut and no one was stood outside it. The door to his left partially open. Inside the walls were painted in block colours of burgundy and white. The furniture was dark brown or exposed light brown wood. In the centre of the room stood a large double bed, dark wood. The room was lit by two lamps, one on the right hand side of the head of the bed, the other on a desk to the immediate left of Kerin. On the far end of the bed, by the window, sat Ellel, his back to Kerin, head in hands, next to a middle-aged woman who had one hand on Ellel’s back and was leaning in front of him, trying to look him in the eyes. In front of Kerin stood a middle-aged man looking across at the woman and Ellel.
—Hey. The man had turned his head and was smiling at Kerin.
—Come in.
—How are you feeling?
—Yeah, I’m good okay thanks.
—I guess this happens at parties like this every now and again hey?
—Yeah, I guess it does.
—I’m Michael by the way. Michael put his hand out for Kerin to shake.
—Hey, I’m Joe.
—Hi Joe.
—Is Ellel alright?
—Yeah, I think he’s just had a bit too much to drink that’s all.
The woman’s hand slowly rubbed Ellel’s back, she turned her head to face the voices, smiling.
—Hi Joe. Joe was it?
—Hi, yeah.
She huffed and sort of laughed, her grin bigger, turned back to Ellel, continuing to rub his back.
—It’s good to have these get together sort of things. We like having you kids around. I’d much rather you were safe in this house than out there. I mean we’re not really over there anymore. You don’t really want to be out there at night. Michael said.
—No, I guess not.
—So what do you do?
—I go to school. The same as Leah. We don’t really have any classes together but she’s a friend of a friend.
—Okay, yeah. Sarah and I met in school. That was, when abouts was that?
—Oh, I guess not too long ago. Sarah turned her head back to Kerin and smiled. —I was one of the first girls to get pregnant after school ended. She turned to Michael and smiled. —We were all getting together then.
Ellel began to cough staggered by broken inhalations, deep breaths for the air spat out, his throat torn. Kerin looked across at Michael and he smiled at Sarah’s back.
—You have a really nice house. Kerin said.
—How is Leah upstairs? Michael asked.
—Yeah she’s okay I think.
—He just needs to throw up I think is all. Michael gesticulated towards Ellel’s back.
—Actually Ellel, Leah was asking where you were?
Elle beat drunk and tired unable to close his eyes or sleep but sleeping in parks in the same clothes for days I don’t want to go home.
—Oh he’ll be fine, don’t worry about him. You go and enjoy the party if you want, there’s a bed free next door if you want to stay?
—I think I’ll be alright. Thank you though.
—Don’t worry about him he just drank a bit too fast that’s all. He’ll be alright.
—Alright, well, cool. Are you going to be alright Ellel? I’ll tell Leah you’re down here.
—He’ll be fine.
—Sure, alright. I’ll see you in a bit then. Kerin quickly shot a hand up to wave as he backed out of the door, allowing only a small space for him to pass and almost closing the door on himself.

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