My eyes were drooping when the knock on the door started me awake. Sam stirred beside me and I untangled myself from her.
"Reckon he's back?" I asked, staring down at her as she covered her eyes and groaned.
"If he is, I'm going to send him packing." She said suddenly, sitting up and swivelling to get out of bed.
"You're not going to hit him are you?"
"What?" She asked, puzzled and bewildered, staring at me as she pulled on her leggings.
"Well, you know, you punched those drunks outside here."
"That was to protect you honey. I can deal with him without breaking his nose."
"Most people wouldn't break someone's nose over a girl they barely know. I just wondered if it was a habit I should be worried about." I teased, pulling on my own leggings.
"You were the most engaging, gorgeous girl I'd ever dated." She winked. "I'd have done anything to get you in to bed. Still would." She chuckled.
"Ah, so your bravery was all to get me in to bed?" I replied, pulling on a jumper and following her to the door. "That makes it less romantic. I feel like I don't even know you anymore." I finished dramatically, clutching my throat.
"Oh honey, I'll remind you who I am once we get rid of this loser." She smirked in that way that made my stomach curl with desire.
"Can't remember? I'm on."
"There are ways..." She teased as she opened the door. "Now look... Oh. Hey Anna, Ali... umm..?"
"Meg." Anna's voice replied. "We saw the light on and thought we'd come visit. Do you mind?"
"Uh..." Sam looked at me behind the door and I rolled my eyes then appeared. The three of them were huddled on the fire escape peering in and grinning like loons. I got a faint whiff of garlic from them and automatically smiled. I bet Anna got cheesy garlic chips on the way back.
"Guys it's..." I checked the clock in the hall, "half one."
"Oops." Ali giggled and slung her arms around Megan and Anna. "We'd best leave you two alone then. Wouldn't want to disturb the sleep of the elderly."
I pursed my lips.
"Fine, come in, have a drink. Try not to breathe garlic everywhere Anna." The three of them burst in to giggles and piled in. I threw an apologetic look at Sam who shrugged and shut the door, putting the catch on.
We went in to the kitchen and I took orders for three hot chocolates from them. Sam went to do it but I made her sit down. I wanted her to get talking to my friends without me there.
"Cara told me you went to see a film?" Sam said, sitting on the armchair that was left and leaning back, relaxed. "Was it good?"
"Oh yeah, brilliant!" Ali enthused. Megan joined in the chatter, but I couldn't hear Anna's voice.
"Hey." She muttered from my side.
I jumped and almost dropped powder everywhere.
"Oh, hey. You made me jump."
"Cara... those texts earlier... what's wrong?"
"Well you weren't answering like you normally-"
"-We had a visitor Anna. I'm not mad at you, I'm not avoiding you... can you just accept that not every reaction I have is about what happened please?" I muttered, not wanting to look at her. She stopped, frozen at the side of me.
"I don't think that."
"You immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was annoyed at you just because my texts at half twelve at night were a little short."
"Yeah well... you never leave kisses off."
"Jesus Anna, I was distracted ok? I'm sorry for not sending you kisses." I was exasperated at her overreaction. The kettle finished boiling and I pulled it from it's stand, pouring it in to the mugs. "I'd love to get back to how we are but you can't just hover over me with the past every time I do something slightly different or out of character. I'm changing, so are you. We have to grow together as friends, or grow apart. There's two ways. I want to grow with you, but you keep making me want to run every time you jump to the conclusion that I'm pissed with you."
"Everything alright?" Sam called as the chatter behind us stopped. I turned and smiled, nodding and then passed Anna her hot chocolate.
"Are you ok?" I asked as the conversation continued.
"Yeah. I mean, I get what you're saying. I just feel like you've been off with me since-"
"Since you gave me the key?" I asked, seeing where she was going.
"Hey! I need a hot chocolate over here!" Ali joked, and I complied, taking her and Megan their drinks. I asked Sam if she wanted anything but she shook her head and continued with the conversation. I smiled. It was nice to see her and Ali talking. And Megan I guessed, but I didn't know her that well. I returned to Anna.
"Look, I'm not going to pretend it didn't freak me out a little. And Sam I think, although we haven't actually talked about it. I mean, I felt like you were basically saying, 'here's the key you'll need if you and Sam fail and you want to come back to me'. Not in the harsh way that sounds now I've said it, but you know what I mean. Like you were offering that to me as a way out, a way to you."
"I didn't mean it like that."
"I'm glad. That takes such a weight off my shoulders."
"I didn't mean for it to be a burden."
"Not a burden. But you know how I over think some things." I grinned.
"Yeah. Too much going on in there." She pointed at my head and laughed. "I could use you as a test subject in final year."
"Hey, I'm not a guinea pig."
"Pretty sure no one has ever tried to psycho-analyse a guinea pig, but I'll bring it up next term."
And there we were, laughing like old times. It felt good.
We joined the group around the coffee table and I placed myself on the arm of Sam's chair. She motioned that I could sit on her lap and and I smiled but shook my head, stroking her hair affectionately. To think that not long ago I was being so awful to her. I was such an idiot.
We said goodnight to the three musketeers (we had made this joke earlier) at around three and headed immediately to bed. I was struggling to keep my eyes open and Sam blearily pulled me in to her arms as we lay under the covers.
"I love you." I muttered and closed my eyes, nuzzling in to her chest and hugging her torso to me.
"I love you too." She replied, kissing my head as my consciousness dimmed and I fell in to a deep sleep.