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Let Her Go

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There she stood on Elly’s doorstep with a pale face that lacked her usual energy. Chloe had waited for 30 minutes after their pre-arranged time before Katherine had text to say she couldn’t make the date. She could only be thankful that Elly was the one to answer the door and not Karl or Susan.

“Chloe,” Elly exhaled when she saw the younger woman stood in front of her. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be on your date?” The lighter haired woman shook her head from side to side, a miserable expression over every one of her features. Even a few tears started to smother her eyes. “Come in, I’ll make you a drink,” the older woman continued, putting her hand behind Chloe’s back to usher her in.

“Katherine couldn’t make it. She had to take her housemate to hospital.” Elly let out a sigh and grew a sympathetic expression whilst listening to Chloe’s words. “It’s stupid that I’m even crying, it isn’t her fault,” Chloe breathed out through her tears, trying to brush them away as quickly as possible. “I was just looking forward to it so much and I dunno, it was the first thing I’ve had to look forward to ever since my diagnosis. It just proves how unlucky I am. It proves that nothing will ever go right for me.”

“You still have the wedding to look forward to.” Elly paused realising that probably wasn’t the best thing to say, but she wasn’t fully aware that Chloe wasn’t looking forward to it. Chloe widened her eyes and stared at Elly as if to say ‘that’s not mine to look forward to though’. The older woman shook her head and stepped closer to Chloe, rolling her thumb under the other woman’s eye to help catch the tears. Their eyes caught hold of each other’s and Elly’s heart broke a little seeing such intense sadness in Chloe’s. “And you’ll be able to rearrange things with Katherine. It just means you still have that to look forward to.”

“Ugh, I guess you’re right. As always,” Chloe breathed out with a slight roll of her eyes. “I’m yours all day after all, lucky for you! Oh, but no wedding dress shopping. I cannot bear to think about romance for the rest of the day.”

“You’ll still get your romance with-“ Elly began, but Chloe quickly shut her down.

“Hey, I said no romance chat. Let’s just go to The Waterhole and grab a drink..or three.” She looked down at her phone, taking note of the time on it. “It’s late enough. Plus the last time I was in there I was waiting awkwardly for a date, it’ll be nice to rock up with someone by my side.” Chloe’s words were spoken in a bit of a rapid panic, as they often were.

***
“I think you should slow down on those drinks, Chloe,” Elly suggested after an hour-or-so in the bar. Her hand was placed on Chloe’s shoulder, trying to steady her. Chloe knew Elly was hardly one to talk though and screwed her face up at her sensible suggestion and instead shoved her phone in the other woman’s face.

“Look!” she roared. “That’s Katherine. I’ve been stalking her on Facebook, you know, as you do and she’s just so prettyyyy.” Elly nodded, not taking anything Chloe was saying very seriously.

“I just really think we should get you some water.”

“Elly just...just get drunk with me,” stuttered Chloe, climbing up on one of the chairs and tapping the table for Elly to sit opposite her. The fairer haired girl pushed her drink in Elly’s direction, tapping that now instead of the table.

Elly was about to give up and down the drink when a stranger appeared at the table. It took a few moments of Chloe talking nonsense before she followed Elly’s eye line and turned her head to notice the girl.

“Katherine?!” Chloe beamed, a smile brighter than any light in the room. “Oh my god.” She stood up and threw her arms around her date.

“I hoped you’d be here still,” the British woman began. “I came to apologise and to say I’m free now if you wish to reschedule. If not then I understand, I’m just sorry I wasn’t here when we planned.” That was when she realised Chloe was already drunk and sat opposite another woman. “Sorry, I’m not interrupting am I?” There was something in Elly’s eye, the same thing Chloe had noticed earlier in the day but this time it was only Katherine who noticed it. “Because I can leave if you’ve found another date.”

“WHAT?! ELLY?!” Chloe laughed, talking way too loudly. “She’s just a friend, she’s marrying my brother. That is so funny you thought that though. Nope, you’re still the one I want to date.”

“Chloe...can I uh, have a word?” Elly questioned after a deep breath, soon taking the other to one side so that they were able to speak without Katherine’s presence.

“Isn’t she beautiful?” Chloe gasped as soon as they’d moved far enough away. “And perfect. Who spends their day in hospital and then still comes to see me anyway.”

“Chloe-“

“I think I’ll take her back to mine. I don’t want anyone else round here getting their eyes on her. This girl’s mine.” Whilst she slurred, she also stumbled, almost falling to the ground.

“Chloe, you’re too drunk, do you really think now is the best time to go on a date?”

“I’m fun when I’m drunk. You don’t think I’m fun?”

“Yes...you’re very fun but what if- I don’t know Chloe, I just think I should take you home to bed. Or at least to calm down a bit, it’s only 9pm.” Chloe rolled her eyes and stomped her foot like a toddler.

“Fineeee. I’ll go and rearrange for another night.” She paused. “Do you think tomorrow’s too soon? I don’t really know how keen I want to seem, because I am really keen but do you think it’ll come off as clingey?”

“Why don’t you tell her you’ll be in touch.” Elly’s voice was soft, but Chloe wasn’t taking much notice and soon wandered off.

“Katherine, I’m so sorry but I think it’s better we do this when I’m sober,” Chloe explained, trying not to sound as drunk as she felt. “But I do really like you and I really can’t wait to spend more time with you so I’ll text you in the morning.” She could feel Elly’s eyes burning into her from a short distance but that thought was removed when she witnessed Katherine’s smile and grateful response.