Maybe I was a bit harsh... Alice thought as she laid in bed and stared up at the swirling artex patterns of the ceiling. Gavin was laid besides her, still fast asleep, his chest rising and falling with each deep breath. Damn it! She was starting to feel guilty now. Thanks Gavin, for ruining the morning as well as last night.

She wasn't really angry at Gavin though; she was angry at herself. She had been harsh on him and like the good natured, slightly dim wonder he was, Gavin had taken it in his stride and barely even noticed it was a rejection. That just made her feel worse. Despite everything she did for them both, managing the bills, cleaning up after Gavin's filthy excursions to the dump, cooking, she still felt like she was taking advantage of him. The house was Gavin's and they didn't have to pay rent or a mortgage; he owned it outright having inherited it from his long departed parents. Gavin was head over heels in love with Alice and sometimes she felt like she was just staying around out of a combination of pity and not wanting to go to the hassle of finding somewhere else to live that she could afford on her part-time, minimum-wage job on the tills at the supermarket across town.


Her stomach was demanding breakfast, so careful not to wake Gavin, she slid out of bed and wandered down stairs. As the eggs began frying in the pan, she thought what she was going to do about the whole mess. She loved him, at least she thought she did (she'd been and gone through enough failed relationships to learn not to trust her own judgement) but was he the one? Did she really want to share his heart with a rubbish dump? She flipped the eggs over and laughed. They'd met at the dump. She'd assumed he'd been throwing something away like everyone else there. He'd asked her out and somehow something about his naughty schoolboy grin had made her say yes. She hadn't even thought about the romantic implications of being asked out on a date at a dump.

Almost immediately, he'd told her about everything: the secret life of rubbish and the magic powers that lurked under the moldering piles of filth. Normally, she'd run to the hills screaming for the people in white coats to take this nutter away, but something about his honest, open conviction made her believe him. He'd introduced her to some other finders, slowly revealing this whole other world that had been right under her nose the whole time. She felt privy to some awesome secret so bizarre that no-one would ever believe her. That's what she loved. Where she saw trash he saw wonder. When she was with him the world was a better, albeit stinkier, place.

Even so, 5 months. It was too soon.

The eggs were smelling like they were done so she flopped them out onto a plate and ate at the kitchen table in silence. As she was tucking into the second egg's gooey yolk, Gavin wandered in, fists clenched and rubbing at his eyes.


"Morning. About last night..." Alice said, a slice of egg hanging off of the fork poised in front of her.

"There any more eggs?" Gavin interrupted, rooting around in the fridge.

"Gavin, I'm trying to talk to you!"


"Oh nevermind!"

While Alice stormed off up stairs, Gavin helped himself to the remains of her eggs. Lucky she left them too, he had to be going soon. Today was the big day, the day he finally got to study at the Schola Arcanus ex Purgamentum. He could barely sit still thinking about it and only wished Alice could be a little happier for him. She seemed to be so angry recently, for some reason. He'd popped the question (though she hadn't really answered him yet, which was fine, he'd waited this long after all) and now she was angry. She did get angry when he kept asking her stuff, like the time when he couldn't find the remote or when he wanted her to try the potion he'd found at the dump. Maybe bigger questions made her more angry? It wasn't an unreasonable hypothesis. He laughed to himself, hypothesis, wow, he sounded like a real wizard already. Today was gonna be awesome.


The End

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