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Welcome to the Cheap Seat

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James gave a perfunctory knock on the door, as was his habit, before turning the key in the lock and entering Robbie and Laura’s home. It had taken several months for the couple to convince James that he was always welcome and that the key they had given him was so that he could come and go as he pleased and permission to enter was not required.

James frowned as the volume of the music he had heard from outside the house got a lot louder. He had assumed it was coming from one of the neighbours, but it was in fact coming from the garden.

“Hello.” James called, as he moved through the house until he came to the French doors in the living room.

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon, the sun had moved far enough in the sky to bathe the garden in its golden rays, but cover the patio and in turn, the French doors in shade.

James watched as Robbie and Laura danced across the lawn, hearing their laughter as they twirled and spun, sometimes moving together before whirling away from each other. Laura was far more graceful than Robbie.

James glanced down at the coffee table and noticed a CD case. The cover was almost psychedelic with Monty Phython-esque drawings on it, the main one being the torso of what James assumed was Elvis in a jumpsuit, which was a good assumption considering the album was called Never Loved Elvis by The Wonder Stuff.

James could not recall ever hearing of the band before and flipped the CD over and scanned through the list of songs – not a single one of them leapt out at him.

There was a clap of hands and a laugh of delight from the garden as a new song begun.

“Welcome to the Cheap Seats!” Laura cried in delight as she launched into singing along. Robbie pulled her into his arms and rocked her round the garden.

James put the CD back on the coffee table. He was starting to feel uncomfortable watching the antics in the garden and jealously stabbed at him. He reached up to rub at his chest as if it was real pain he had felt and not just emotional.

He longed to be in a relationship, such as Robbie and Laura had. Was it so unrealistic of him to fervently hope that one day he would have someone to love and share his life with? Was there soul mate waiting for him? Someone out there who would be able to see past the stoic exterior, the awkwardness and see the gentle soul beneath, yearning to love and to be loved?

James shook his head at his foolish thoughts and looked back at Laura and Robbie, still singing and dancing, uncaring who saw or heard them. James turned to go, suddenly overwhelmed by the bitter sting of loneliness.

'Imagine the disturbance, at the time of the occurrence, when his life became a burden, and we laughed at his cries.'

The words of the song filled the living room as James slipped back out the front door and walked back to his car.