“I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise how late it was,” I hastily apologized down the phone. “How long have you been waiting?”
“About twenty minutes. I’ve found the campus coffee shop though so it’s not all bad.” Pippa didn’t sound too annoyed at me so I had hopes that the day could be saved.
“I’m so so so sorry,” I said, running back to my room and grabbing my keys from my bag. “I’ll come down and find you. I’ll be four minutes max.”
“OK then, see you in four minutes.”
I practically sprinted out of the flat, not even stopping to make sure the door shut properly like I normally did. The weather was pretty miserable outside so I was glad Pippa had managed to find the coffee shop and shelter from the wind and drizzle. When I entered the shop I could see her sitting at a table with an empty coffee mug in front of her.
“There you are,” she said, smiling and standing up from her seat. “At last.”
“I’m really sorry,” I said, hugging my friend tightly and hoping that it would make up for the wait.
“Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you were out having fun last night which is why you slept in late.”
“I think I’ve had a bit too much fun,” I replied, suddenly grateful that Pippa was here at this precise moment.
“Is that even possible?” She asked, drawing away from me to look at my face.
“I think so,” I replied, eyes widening to emphasise my point.
“Do I want to know about it?”
“Do you want to hear about it?” Pippa nodded and we both sat down at the small table and I told my friend all about the night before and what I feared had happened.
“What’s happened to you?” Pippa asked once I’d finished. “The Nessie I know would never have done any of that.”
“Neither would the one I know,” I insisted. “OK the drinking isn’t too hard to imagine but the rest just sounds like someone else was in control of my body and I had no say in my actions.”
“Are you sure it was only the one bottle you had?” Pippa asked.
“Positive, and it wasn’t even a full bottle.”
“What was in it?”
“You know what, I have no idea.”
“That’s probably your problem,” Pippa said calmly. “Don’t you remember being told not to let other people give you drinks?”
“But I thought that only applied to strangers, and Lily’s my friend.”
“Friends can try to get you drunk too,” Pippa pointed out. “But I’m sure this seems a lot bigger than you’re making it out to be. It’ll blow over I’m sure.”
“Let’s hope so.”
“I’m just surprised that you let someone get that close to you so soon after Luke.”
“I think it might have been because of him that I did what I did.” Pippa’s confused face urged me to clarify what I meant. “Aislinn said that in her opinion I should remove Luke from my life for a bit, just so I could get used to us not being together. I suppose having Lloyd show an interest in me made me feel special and that someone other than Luke could like me despite all my flaws.”
“You don’t have that many flaws,” Pippa reassured me, “and I can’t see why any of them would put someone off from being interested in you. There are loads more men out there besides Luke. You deserve someone who’s going to make you happy and not break up with you for no reason.”
“Going away to university isn’t a reason to break up with someone. It sounds more like a get out clause so that he can do whatever he wants at university and not feel guilty about you.”
“Luke’s not like that,” I protested.
“He’s a guy,” Pippa said clasping my hand across the table. “Guy’s brains don’t work like ours do and Luke is no different.”
“Can we change the subject,” I asked. “I can tell neither of us are going to give in and I’d rather not talk about Luke if you don’t mind.”
“That’s fine by me,” Pippa said cheerfully. “So when do I get to meet all your new friends? I’ve got to make sure they’re good enough for you.”
“Well if you’re done we can head over to my flat now and you can meet Aislinn and some of the others.”
“Sounds great.” Pippa got up from her seat and followed me out of the coffee shop and into the rain. We walked quickly towards the accommodation buildings and yet again I struggled with my keys to let me in.
“It’s not half miserable here,” Pippa commented as I finally got the door open.
“You get used to it pretty quickly,” I replied, holding the door for her to get in. “I’ve only been here a week and I don’t notice it anymore. You just learn to wear more layers than you’re used to when you leave the flat.” I led her upstairs and into our flat, taking her straight to the kitchen instead of my room as I knew it was a complete and utter mess, my clothes from last night flung haphazardly around the room as I had frantically changed.
Owen had joined Aislinn, Darren and Natalie since I’d left the flat and watched me with a stern gaze as Pippa and I entered.
“Hey guys,” I said as cheerfully as I could manage. “This is Pippa. Pippa, these are my friends.”
“Hello,” Pippa said brightly. “It’s great to finally meet you all, I’ve heard so much about you.”