7. Lucy

Flopping down onto the sofa for what had to be the hundredth time that day, Lucy groaned, having realised during her flop that she needed a drink and that this meant getting back up again for the hundred-and-first time. She looked around, trying to see who she could convince to bring her a drink. Steve was standing by the kettle. Perfect.
         “Steeeve?” she started, elongating his name as much as she thought necessary and using her ‘damsel in distress’ voice (which she had perfected at 16 for use in just this type of situation) to show him that helping her would make him her knight-in-shining-armour forever. Steve, knowing full well what she was about to say, simply looked at her. She batted her eyelashes at him, since she knew that she wouldn’t actually have to say anything for him to know what she wanted and that he was probably still feeling guilty enough to do whatever she asked. He went to say something, probably some joke-sarcastic comment about being Lucy’s slave but Carter, coming in from the hallway at about 100mph once he had heard Lucy say Steve’s name, cut him off.
         “Baby girl, everything okay?” he asked Lucy, with a puppy-dog look in his eyes that was probably supposed to be concern for her wellbeing but in fact just served to irritate her in her tired, post-hangover, Sunday evening state of mind.
         “Fine thanks, I was just going to ask Steve to make me tea since I only just sat down again and he loves me so very, very much,” she explained, turning to Steve for the last part and batting her eyelashes again while reverting to the voice. Steve went to laugh and turn to the kettle but Carter interrupted again.
         “I’ll make you tea, my sweetheart, because I-“
         “Aw thanks, babe,” Lucy interrupted him before he could try to say the ‘L-word’. Steve looked at her half knowingly, half amused as Carter spun round like an eager teacher’s pet to make tea. Don’t, Lucy mouthed at Steve, who was smirking at her reaction. He knew her aversion to that word, and especially to that word coming from Carter. As the kettle boiled, Lucy tried to ignore Carter gazing at her. Steve thumped him on the back perhaps less gently than he ought, partly to stop him gazing and partly to get his attention and ask for a coffee, since he was boiling the kettle anyway. Carter grimaced. He didn’t like Steve. He didn’t like the fact that he and Lucy were so close and he definitely didn’t like the fact that their friends were always making jokes about Lucy and Steve being together. If Carter had it his way, he and Lucy would just be alone, the two of them, forever, with nothing to distract them but their love.
       Carter kept trying to tell Lucy that he loved her. She must not realise, he thought, or she wouldn’t let herself get distracted. Obviously she loves me back but doesn’t know how to express it. He looked up from the mugs only to be dismayed by what he saw. Lucy had stretched out on the sofa but her legs were over Steve, who had stretched out at the other end, facing her. They were laughing together, either at some joke or at the T.V. Carter brought the drinks over, resisting the temptation to ‘accidentally’ spill Steve’s on him and inserted himself next to Lucy, fidgeting until he had his arms around her and she had been forced to remove her legs from Steve’s.

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