There was a banging coming from Lucy’s door. She groaned and forced herself out of bed and over to the door. Seeing Neil standing there, she raised her eyebrow. Instead of laughing, though, Neil just said, “We have a problem.”
“What is it?” she said in a tired voice, trying to convey how unwelcome this intrusion was to her and her headache. Apparently failing to convey this with her eyes, she said, “You realise I’m more hung-over than anyone else in this house, right?” a groan came from the bed, “Except maybe lightweight Carter over there,” she added, sniggering slightly then immediately regretting it as her throbbing head punished her.
“Just come with me, I'll show you,” Neil said. the lump in the bed which Neil now knew was Carter moved and emitted yet another groan.
“You can stay here, Carter,” Neil told it, “Only Lucy should see this.” Lucy looked at him, becoming more and more concerned by not only his secrecy but also his stern, forlorn attitude. She followed him obediently down the corridor and up the stairs to Steve’s door. He stopped and turned to her.
“What is it?” she asked again, this time in a worried tone, “Has something happened to Steve?” Neil shook his head and pointed at the door. Lucy walked to the door and opened it slowly, her mind swimming with all the possible scenarios she was about to see, many of them involving Steve missing limbs. Neil shushed her from outside as she walked in and turned to look at Steve’s bed. Seeing no bloodstained sheets her fear lifted a little and her vision cleared enough to see that there was another body beside him. Get in, Steve. She thought to herself, smirking again. However, when she looked closer, she thought she recognised the curly brown hair spread over the pillow next to him, though the face was hidden by the duvet. Looking around, she began to recognise certain articles of clothing which were strewn all over the floor. And then, I gave that skirt as a birthday present about a month ago. To Claire. As she realised what she was really seeing, she heard Neil rushing up behind her, probably to attempt to stop her from doing what she did next.
“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!” she screamed, ignoring the pain that the rush of anger and the cry caused her aching head. Neil’s arms grabbed her, stopping her from running forward and doing whatever she would have done had she reached the criminals in the bed. The two guilty parties shot up and Claire screamed as she realised what was happening and attempted to burrow under the duvet. Steve was paralysed with fear and guilt. Lucy continued to shout at the top of her lungs, “CLAIRE ROBERTS AND STEVEN LEWIS, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!”
“Lucy, calm down, please!” Neil half-cried, trying to hold her steady and soothe her as much as possible. Eventually she stopped struggling and he relented. Seeing her staying still and hoping that meant she was calm again, Steve nudged Claire to come out from under the covers. She poked her head out but kept the duvet wrapped around her in what Lucy saw as a feeble attempt to preserve what shreds of dignity she had left after being found in Steve’s bed. Again. Steve looked from Lucy to Neil to Claire and back again, speechless. Lucy’s head began to throb again. She sighed and turned on her heel, shoving Neil out of the way as gently as she could in her heightened state of emotion. Stalking out of the room, she heard Neil start to follow her. She spun around.
“Don’t you dare,” she almost hissed. Neil tried to sound reasonable.
“Lucy, why can’t they-“
“I said don’t you dare try to defend them! They were drunk and stupid and I give it thirty seconds before they realise the full extent of what has happened and of what they’ve put me through this morning.” Neil went to try and hug her but she spun back around and stormed back downstairs. She slammed her bedroom door and exhaled angrily. Carter shot up and asked as tentatively as he could, “What’s wrong, sweetie?”
“It’s like all my friends have clubbed together and just decided that it has been too long since my last breakdown,” she sighed, feeling slightly comforted (but not much) by the warm duvet and Carter’s presence.
“What are you talking about? They wouldn’t be intentionally hurtful to you,” he reasoned, “Your friends love you.”
“I know,” said Lucy, “and I love them too. It’s just that everything seems to be going wrong like it used to when we were still in school and they know how badly depressed I used to get. I thought everyone was finished with the drama.” She sighed and buried herself deeper in the covers. Carter put his arms around her and for a moment she thought she could pretend that nothing bad had happened, and that people had learnt their lessons the first time round.
Then, reality came knocking.