“But as you remember, I was who was left without social support. Therefore, I needed something consistent.” Xanthe held up their wine glass and wiggled it for effect. “Either actually be there for me or don’t say anything about my drinking.”

“You know,” they said, addressing me, perhaps aware and not caring that Kirra had reappeared behind them. That’s what I’m saying, this fucker was immune to her. “I really do hope [UNIVERSITY REDACTED] likes her portfolio. Because history has taught us when someone like her that doesn’t get into art school, it never really ends well.”

When the most established couple of the house came home, I’d already seen the Facebook posts about the proposal and fawned over them with congratulations and exclamations of adoration. March reacted, predictably, less than ideally. “[Ash], could I talk to you for a second?”