Things had gone sour at uni, anyone could see.

Joss had turned up once on Monday, stayed at home for the rest of the week, and turned up again on Friday afternoon. One side of his face was painted with fading bruises. He felt pummelled, but could not bear to stay at home another day. Razvan was judging him.

... )
It was some late hour on Tuesday morning when Joss got home, stumbling into the chasm of the entranceway, one hand on the wall as he moved, step by step toward his bedroom. He’d stayed at the uni pub with April till they closed, then went back to the halls for more drinking, as he and April encouraged a group of first years to write off Monday night completely. On the surface is was a great night. There was a lot of laughter, especially when he and another guy (Jack? Frank?) walked in on April with her hand down Ollie’s pants, and when Dana threw up out the window and everyone who wasn’t a Nutford resident had to flee out the same window because one of the dorm neighbours called campus security because it was nearly three in the fucking morning and they just wouldn’t shut up.

He and April split up from the others, running toward McKinley till April had to bend over, hands gripping her knees, gasping for breath till the panting turned into tears.

... )
Zoe tensed when she heard footsteps running up the library steps behind her, even though she didn’t expect that whoever it was was actually trying to catch up with her, even though people ran past her all the time, she still tensed. You could expect danger, and still not be prepared for it, which was why when she heard the voice behind her say her name, she wasn’t expecting it, and jumped.

Merry smiled because she understood jumping at the sound of her own name. It was a ridiculous thing to understand, but it was a ridiculous thing to do. Her stupid, jumpy self; she hated it. “Alright,” she said, to Zoe.

“Hi,” Zoe said.

The girls eyed each other suspiciously, out of habit.

... )
On the Sunday before classes started back, Merry was reorganising her room in McKinley Hall, unpacking her life back into her room. It felt like ages since she’d been here; a different woman had returned than the one who had left, and Merry wasn’t sure she liked her as much.

They’d been back in London for a week – she and Ellie and Geordie, Joss and Leon. Merry had been staying at Neil’s, and there hadn’t been a single day between coming home and leaving again than Merry hadn’t burst into tears at something totally stupid. This was not like her, not like the person she wanted to be at all.

She was more exhausted, and, Merry though, less brave.

... )
Merry spent the first week of the summer holidays feeling like she was going mad with frustration. She’d moved back home for the break, though she spent most of her time at Geordie’s house, or at Ellie’s, where it was quieter.

How did you track down a boy, a girl and a ghost, when they didn’t want to be found?

... )


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Darker London

October 2014

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