Something for the Weekend: Free Kindle Novel – Hanging Around Until

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Hanging Around Until
Free for the next five days –
Available here (UK) or here (US)
 [Extract]

Twilight had turned to darkness outside. The Christmas decorations threw pools of coloured light into the street where litter danced in the wind. Julia shivered and cursed as the wind threw the icy drizzle into our faces. I saw a taxi turn the corner in front of us and stop at the traffic lights. Grabbing Julia by the arm, I ran. We pulled open the door and tumbled into the seat as the taxi pulled away from the lights.

Julia, thrown off balance by the sudden acceleration of the taxi, slipped partially off the seat and fell so she lay half across me as the taxi illegally u-turned sharply back up the dual carriageway. The driver grunted and swore as he tried to push his way into the stream of cars leaving the town. I reached into my pocket for my tin. Julia nudged me and pointed around the taxi. On every available flat surface, a No Smoking sticker glared back at me.

As the traffic rolled from traffic light to traffic light, I automatically inserted noises of assent into the taxi-driver’s obligatory monologue. I shook my head and put my finger to my lips when I saw Julia was about to dispute some points with him.

‘What’s the point?’ I whispered into her ear. She stared at me for a moment or two, but eventually nodded even though she did not look happy about it.

Julia shivered and snuggled closer to me. I could smell the icy rain in her hair. As the street lights lit up her face, I could see the animation in her eyes as she looked out of the taxi window at the now familiar sights of the town. She stared out as though seeing somewhere far more exotic and novel than this tired town battered by a relentless wind and too much indifferent history.

The taxi drew up at the house, and Julia reluctantly got out as I searched through my pockets for the fare. By the time I had paid – and politely listened to the last of the taxi-driver’s speech – Julia had opened the door. She stood in the hallway silhouetted by the light behind her.

I stepped into the house and shut the door. We stood for a moment at the foot of the stairs. Julia looked at the door to the kitchen, then at the door to her room. I looked up at Alison’s room at the top of the stairs. Up there James Joyce was waiting, locked in a darkened room. I thought I had better go up there and turn the light on.

‘I’ll see you in a little while, after I’ve had a shower and so on,’ Julia said. ‘Remember, I want you to dance.’

‘You may live to regret that,’ I replied.

‘No. I don’t think so,’ Julia said, smiling secretively as she turned away to her room.

Hanging Around Until
Free for the next five days –
Available here (UK) or here (US)

‘Education is hanging around until you’ve caught on’ – Robert Frost.
Set during the mid-1980s, Hanging Around Until is the story of Paul Carr, who, at the age of 28, decides to become a mature student at a North-Eastern university in the hope that an education will help give a direction to his life. On arriving at the university Paul discovers he is to share a house with five other students. Two of those housemates – Alison and Julia, each in their own way – turn Paul’s simple quest for an education into a tangle of confusion and uncertainty amid the turmoil of university life during the height of anti-Thatcherite campus activism and the birth of the new Left.

Hanging Around Until
Free for the next five days –
Available here (UK) or here (US)

Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

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