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Theirs was a simple love. Fuck. Wait. No, who were they kidding? It was as complicated as love gets, but simple too, get it? Like, when she was upset, or he was upset, she didn’t go to Emily, not all the time, and especially not now, and he had no one else, not really. Freddie was a tosser, as far as he was concerned, and as for Effy... he didn’t even want to go there.

It wasn’t greedy – though they only used each other, really, if you stopped to think about it, which they didn’t, so it was ok –, wasn’t selfish: they cared for each other. He didn’t realise he did until he needed her, and she was there. Didn’t turn her back, didn’t betray him, not like the others. He stopped her from cheating on Emily, then she realised (but she’d always known; she was meant to be the cleverer of the two, remember).

JJ cried – bitter tears of regret – and Effy remained as stoic as ever – but there were little things she said, that made Freddie think – and Freddie had looked so sad, but happy too – she was all his, now. But her expression didn’t change. She wouldn’t be able see him. He wouldn’t be there to hold her when things got tough.

She wouldn’t be there to make sense of the mess.


 The waiting was almost unbearable. He, if anything, calmed down. Thought, a lot. She worked hard with Emily to try and fix themselves, and they did, for a bit, anyway.

His face, fuck, his face when she saw him again. It’d been months. Felt like longer, but she hadn’t realised how long until now. Emily squeezed her hand, looking at her. She tried to look away, but she couldn’t. She squeezed back, though.

Her eyes, fuck, her eyes. Bluer than before, he thought, but everything had been so bleak in there: Panda’s clothes were brighter than ever – he saw JJ’s arm around her – and the twins’ hair was more red. Dazzling in the sun, together they all looked like a fucking advert. Bright, happy, smiling. She wasn’t, he saw, then. She looked she might cry, and fuck, did he want to kiss her smile back.

They fucked for the second time, and they knew it would be the last time, that night, at the party they’d found. It seemed right, natural, and they held hands for the first time afterwards. She reached out, carefully touched his collarbone in the dark, and curled against his side.


Emily couldn’t stand their closeness after that. But she stayed, just to prove to him that he could never never have her the way Emily could. He hated her a bit for that.

She had Emily, and he had everybody and anybody. Not quite happy, but not quite sad, either, and that was good enough, she supposed.

He never did let go of her hand.