His meeting with Mrs Hogston had lasted for a little over an hour. Will was surprised at how easily he'd relaxed, soon he'd been telling her all about his life in Vincula, more than he had ever told anybody, up to the point when Paradam and Anala had come for him. Every now and then she made notes on a scrap of parchment, Will didn't know what about, but it reiterated his idea that he was in a counsellor's office.
He returned to the commonroom, his stomach sloshing with three cups of cocoa and at least three slices of lemon sponge. Everybody had risen from bed by now, ambling around the room and alternating between activities. Will immediately caught on to the tension amongst his friends, whilst Sayara and Laguna sat together on the sofa, Tayna and Andrel were at opposite ends of the room. She was at the dining table, nursing a goblet of tea, making sure to glare sourly at Andrel every couple of minutes, who led on the sofa with his eyes firmly shut and his arms crossed angrily.
'Hello,' smiled Sayara as he approached them. Laguna caught his eye, looking at him with a secretive smile, Will was reminded of what she'd said. She likes you...
'What's going on?'
'Nothing much,' said Andrel, his tone strong and purposeful. 'Where have you been?'
'He was with Mrs Hogston,' Laguna said, answering in defence. 'You don't have to bite back about it. It was compulsory, after all.'
Andrel made a bitter noise, twisting himself to face inwards as Tayna finished her goblet and disappeared into the dormitory with a meaningful stomp.
Will sat down next to Sayara, and she mouthed quietly to him, 'they've been arguing... again,' using pointing gestures and rolling her eyes.
She made it sound as if Tayna and Andrel were an old, married couple, and once more Will was faced with being torn between wondering what the problem was between them and who was in the wrong. 'Do they fight a lot?' he whispered,
'I wouldn't use the word 'fight',' said Laguna, raising her voice slightly when it seemed Andrel was napping. Will noticed that, encased in warmth, she had defrosted and her hand had returned to normal. 'It's not as severe as that. They're more like tiffs or spats, silly things that they get over quickly.'
'It's easier if you leave them to it,' said Sayara. 'I'm willing to bet that it'll be resolved by sports practice this afternoon.'