Laura Dearlove loves the writing part of writing but tends to freeze up over the ‘sharing’ part. But the words keep coming all the same, and you will find an enormous bulk of fanfiction out on the internet under some variation of the name ‘Rainjoy’ to her name. Her original writing she guards nervously and lets out only on very special occasions. Or when drunk.
She’s English, extremely easily embarrassed, and far too young to be as caffeine-dependent as she is. Bear in mind that if you ever do speak to her she’ll be addled with either the alcohol or the caffeine or the hormonal tidal wave of embarrassment, and please be kind.
They should have chosen white wine; it was so cold that the red tasted brassy, metallic. Carla strolled at his side with her fingertips barely emerging from her bear-sized parka, while Adam had one hand stuffed deep in his pocket and the other gone numb around the bottle. Every now and then he took a gulp, and passed it along to Carla, who always swallowed and passed it back quickly so she didn’t have to hold it for too long.
“Michael. Boatie Michael, with the…arms.” Carla rowed her arms for a second to illustrate, making bulky chicken wing angles of her elbows. “I haven’t slept with him, thank you very much. All he does is row and he smells like the Cam anyway.”
“Yes you have. After that stupid toga party–”
“I didn’t shag him, we just had a bit of a fumble.” She snatched the wine back, took a slug, scowled and handed it back, and swallowed. “He practically tastes of the Cam too. And you, I never slept with you.”
“So not the entire male population of Cambridge, thank you very much. And what about you, anyway? You ever planning on getting laid?”
“Why does it always come back to this?”
“Because some days I think you’re gonna shrivel up and drop off.”
“It’s not always about just getting a shag and it’s not like I never have, maybe I would just…just rather wait for the right person, okay?”
“Oh, the right person. Princess Charming. You are worse than a girl, for the record. It’s not like you’re unattractive or anything, you have the darkest eyes—maybe a bit of an old-fashioned haircut but I could–”
“I am not…I’m not having this conversation with you. Again.”
A couple more swigs of wine, and they walked along the river in silence for a while. It was wider out here, away from the city and the colleges, and here and there narrow boats were moored up but they seemed to be empty. Cambridge was a dark, mismatched hulk of rooftops ahead of them, the old and new built on top of each other, ancient colleges and gleaming new lecture halls all silent now and dark.
“You spend so much time in your head I wonder if you can hear your body anymore sometimes,” Carla said thoughtfully. “Like, when was the last time you wanted someone—maybe didn’t shag them but you wanted them so much you could taste it–”
“I don’t know, I can’t remember.”
“You never forget that. Pass it back.” A quick gulp and the bottle handed back to him again; he took another belt because, well, why not? “If the love of your life dropped into your arms–”
“Because it happens just like that.”
“-you wouldn’t even notice you’d be so caught up in being proper and doing the right–”
And then there was a boom.
End of Excerpt
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