Part Fifty-FourMature

Today is results day.

We are all gathered around our table in the gazebo.

Daniel and Seb are sat side by side with their envelopes unopened. Seb, on my right, has my hand in a tight grip. Evan leans across me and places a comforting hand on Seb's arm, before moving behind them both to reassure Daniel.

Trish, Seamus and Tobias are all leaning across the table. Trish is grinning.

Judo glances up from opposite me and smiles. 

Daniel picks up his envelope and Seb's grip tightens further.

We watch in silence as Daniel's eyes flicker back and forth over the sheets of paper, and then he sighs and smiles.

"I got in," he says on a relieved exhale, the smile turning into a grin.

Everyone smiles back at him, but no-one speaks yet. Daniel turns to Seb, whose grip on my hand becomes so tight I can feel the blood pulsating in my fingertips.

"I don't want to," he mutters. He's shaking.

Daniel and I share a concerned look.

"It'll be all right, Seb," he encourages.

"Yeah, think about it," Evan puts in. "You have the same grades Dan does, right, Lola?"

I nod. "Yeah, it makes sense that you get in too."

Seb shakes his head quickly. "I really don't want to."

Judo opens his mouth to say something, but Daniel shoots him a warning look.

"It's all right, go on," I say.

He hesitates at Daniel's disapproving look but eventually speaks when I prompt him again. "Seb, would you prefer it if we aren't watching when you open it?"

Seb nods and looks at him gratefully with the smallest trace of a smile.

Trish is the first to act on this, striking up a conversation with Tobias, which Seamus quickly joins. Evan starts talking to Daniel, and Judo starts asking me questions about Drama.

The End

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