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Isaac heard a knock on the door less than a minute after walking through it himself. Not daring to risk putting Rosie somewhere he might get stepped on, Isaac kept the puppy in his arms as he went back the way he’d just come.

Once he got to the door, however, Violet was already closing it again. Isaac let out a sigh of exasperation. “If you’re just going to let yourself in, then why do you knock?”

“Why not?” Violet asked. “Also Augusta’s cooking, so I decided I’d camp here tonight. Because we both know what ‘cooking’ means. Ignoring the fact that she’s terrible at it, of course.”

Isaac arched an eyebrow. “That’s the only reason you’re here?”

“Obviously not,” Violet scoffed. “I’m here to keep Rosie company in case he gets bored of you. Also, I thought it might be smart to paint my own bedroom last.” The eyebrow arched further. “Fine, I’m going to miss this place.”

Isaac shook his head. “I’m not. It wasn’t ever home. Just a house. Although to be honest, I’ve never really had a home anyway, so I’ve nothing to compare it to.”

Violet wrapped her arms around Isaac. “I’m going to make sure you have the best damn home. You too, Rosie. Whoever owned you was so horrible to throw you out like that. Ew!” Violet jumped back and wiped the dog slobber off her cheek. “Rosie I love you but that was disgusting.”

Chuckling, Isaac stroked Rosie’s head. “Where’s Orpheus, by the way? I haven’t seen him around much.”

“I don’t really think about Orpheus much. He just shows up every now and then and does regular cat things. The rest of the time I reckon he probably just chills in the woods or something. I don’t want to get deep into thinking about it because it just gives me a headache.” Violet flopped down on the couch.

Isaac placed Rosie onto her lap. “I’m going to go order a celebratory pizza. Then, since you’re here, you can help me pack my stuff up!” he said cheerily. “How fun!”

“Still better than Augusta’s cooking,” Violet yelled as he walked out of the lounge room. Isaac snickered as he dialled the number.

 

Violet woke on the couch under a blanket even though the last thing she remembered was almost falling asleep on the edge of a moving box. She rubbed her eyes, looking around at the lounge-slash-kitchen of Isaac’s apartment. “Isaac?” she called. No reply. Violet sat up and was about to push the blanket away when she thought the better of it. This wasn’t some generic blanket belonging to the town hall, as far as Violet knew, so she folded it up and shoved it into the nearest box that had enough space. The only box, actually. The rest that were stored there were all closed, which looked like most of them. Violet crept over to the partially open door and peered in to see Isaac sprawled on top of his sheet-less mattress. The room was strangely blank. The first time violet had ever been in there had been in the middle of a crisis, but it had been so full of life, so much of Isaac. Now it was just empty and devoid of anything remotely life-giving.

One final box was taped up ready to go, so violet took it and left. Quietly. Placed it beside the others. She turned on the coffee machine and went to wake Isaac.

“I made coffee.”

“Cool, can I have some?” Isaac groaned sleepily.

“Yeah but i don’t have it right here, you’ll have to go get it.”

“Bitch. Fine.”

Violet checked her phone. “Oh, it’s nearly ten, by the way. We have to be out in just under an hour, so hurry up.”

“Shit!” Isaac exclaimed. “Why didn’t you wake me sooner?”

“Why didn’t you go to be sooner?” Violet shot back, sipping her own coffee as she watched Isaac panic. “Calm down, it’s fine. I’ve enlisted the help of some friends. By that I mean Justin. And possibly my mother, but that remains to be seen.”

Isaac visibly relaxed. “Thank god. The sooner we’re out, the better.”

Someone knocked on the door. “I’ve got it,” Violet said, laughing silently at Isaacs obvious state of distress as he had yet to realise there was nothing left to do.

Justin, in all his blonde glory, stood in the doorway. “Hey, V. Sleeping over?” He winked.

Violet rolled her eyes and opened the door wider. “I told you not to call me that. Just get the boxes in the truck.” When Justin hesitated, Violet narrowed her eyes. “You do have it, right? I told you to bring the van.”

“May—“

“That’s all you need to say,” Violet said lightly. “Run and go get mine.” She fished the keys from her pocket and threw them over. “There’s no way I’m carrying this shit. It might be little but it weighs a lot.”

“Be right back,” Justin winked before jogging off.

Once he returned, the three of them set to warm tetrising isaac’s things into the boot and backseat of Juniper’s car. It took some time, and when they finally managed to, Isaac and Justin were all for going immediately. Isaac has even called shotgun before violet had time to run back in for a final check, and she could hear them arguing from inside.

Hidden just underneath the bed was a strip of photos that looked like they were from a photo booth from a distance. Violet picked it up, realising as she did that it was the same strip that had caught her attention so easily the first time she’d been here. The one of Justin and May smooshed on either side of Isaac, and the last one with Isaac staring at Justin with such intense longing. Eyes captivated, violet backtracked without watching where she was going, back out to her squabbling friends at the car.

“Isaac, you left this,” Violet called, holding it out. He barely glanced at it before saying that he meant to leave it behind.

“Why didn’t you just give it to Justin? He’s in the photos.”

Isaac shrugged.

Violet pocketed the strip. “Mine now, then. Where did the blonde one go?”

Grimacing, Isaac explained. “Said that it was some emergency with someone, now that people are talking to him again. Because, you know, social lives and all that.”

“Of course he did.” Violet climbed into the driver’s side of the packed car. “Get in, we’re going home.”