Nick was unable to sleep, and so had taken to sitting by the bedroom window. A faint outline caught his eye – a figure standing at the roadside. A neighbour of Connor’s, perhaps. Nick wouldn’t have given it a second look had it not flickered out of sight, only to reappear again, closer to the house. He stared at the figure for a while but it did not move. Disregarding it, he went back to studying his own hands. He hoped the night would never end - until it did he was safe, left alone to dwell on his thoughts. But in the morning the formalities would begin, and everything would be real.

Lightning. A momentary flash made Nick look up to see the figure in the road illuminated for a split second, but then it was gone.

Now Nick, despite his apathy, was intrigued. He pushed open the window and leaned out to peer down the street. Rain fell softly onto his face, pushing his hair down into his eyes. Distracted from his investigation, he rolled over awkwardly and manoeuvred himself so that he was sitting on the window ledge with his back to the road outside. He tilted his head back and stuck out his tongue, giggling in an uncharacteristically childlike manner as he caught raindrops in his mouth.

“Very impressive, Nicholai.”

Nick almost fell out of the window. He twisted again so that he could see the enigmatic figure. They stared at each other for some time, an unnerving smirk upon the strange man’s face.

“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” The yell startled Nick, and he whipped his head around to see Connor standing horrified in the doorway of the bedroom.

“Nick, get down from the window, please.” Connor’s voice was pleading now, and Nick realised what he must look like, dangling out of the window. He lowered himself back into the room, watching Connor apprehensively, and walked slowly over to the bed. A few uncomfortable minutes passed as both brothers worked up the courage to speak. Connor was first to break the silence.

“I know you must feel like crap now. But there are still people who care about you, and-”

“I wasn’t going to jump out of the window,” Nick cut him off in a small voice, attempting to avoid the awkward turn the conversation was about to take, “I was just… Looking at something, that’s all.”

“OK, just, please don’t do anything stupid.” Connor mumbled, his eyes fixed upon a spot on the plush carpet.

“I won’t, mate - promise.”

Connor mumbled something else, his teary eyes still making every effort not to look at Nick, and left the room.

Nick spent the rest of the night peering out of the window, but as the sun crept up to bathe the bedroom in dawn’s blueish light, there was still no sign of the figure in the road.

The End

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