Silent, After The Party

Two Years Earlier, Gavin

What next? I don't remember fully...we were in Dawn's room back at Lyme House, although I don't remember any more of the walk in the early hours of the morning. Everything disjointed, like when you've had too much to drink. We were fully clothed, and Dawn was crying and pushing me to the door, saying I was a user who'd treated her like a slag… the door slammed and I went back to my room.  


I woke up late in the morning, groggy and disorientated.  

Quarter to eleven.  It took a while for me to work out the day. Monday, second day of classes, third day at Lyme House.  Details trickled back as I lay in bed, hungover and dehydrated from the combination of wine and cider…Dawn crying and resting her head on my shoulders, even when tears were streaming down her cheeks. I'd said something to her in her room, told her that this wasn't a good idea, and she'd worked it all out, worked out that I'd used her to get back at Philippa.  She'd gone mad at me and thrown me out of her room. And no, we hadn't slept together.  

So guilty. What a stupid idea all along.  

Other things came back to me. Stuff about Philippa.  Philippa's lies about a wealthy father in Kent forcing her to come to the Summer School and other stuff about a girl on Facebook, a girl Philippa had supposedly known when she was ten.  Philippa and Steve.  Philippa and Jace.  Now Paul and Dawn had got involved, and Terence Harlesden would find out about me and Dawn.

No way.

Philippa. And that boy she'd invited up, Aidan. He couldn't be from Tunbridge Wells either.
I felt this physical sensation in my stomach and chest.  A pain without the ache.

Philippa had lied to me from the start.

I'd made a big mistake getting involved with her.

I got dressed and went out.  Walked for ages.  Kept on going, through a gate and over a ramp, along a path leading through fields, lines of nettles either side.  I stopped by a tree trunk and sat down. Wondered how to sort things out with Dawn. The stuff last night had really hurt her. Apologise. Buy her a card and write her a note, saying I hope we can still be friends. Deep down, though, I knew I'd gone too far and that Dawn would not accept any apology.  And I couldn't blame her for that.  

By this time next week, I'll be back in South London, I reminded myself. It will be as though none of this ever happened. That's the funny thing about time. By this time next month, I'll be in Upper Sixth. Philippa will have gone from my life totally.  

Philippa, whoever she is.  Social workers?  She's lied to me from the start. She's from Exeter, not Tunbridge Wells. But why would she lie about that?

I got up from the tree trunk and continued walking, past the picnic table where Philippa and I had sat yesterday, across a stile, into another field. Philippa playing with me, making fun of me. Inviting her boyfriend up.  What was her game?

Endless fields. Trees. More picnic tables. I took a country lane and reached a main road.
I found myself in an unfamiliar part of town. A bucket and spade shop with a postcard rack at the front. Another bed and breakfast place.

Rough-looking sea with the pylon-like pier structure to the right.

I was on the wrong side of the pier.  


The sky changed colour, taking on dark overtones, and a blast of wind charged at me. I rushed on through a light drizzle, towards the pier, breaking into a jog when lightning streaked across the sky, followed by downpour.  Shards of rain pelted the ground, stinging my face and hands, and the wind worsened, almost blowing me over. A summer storm. I ran into a café, taking shelter there and sipping tea while bursts of thunder sounded over area and the rain went grey and wild. The thunder grew in volume, causing everywhere to shudder almost, and the sky kept darkening until it was nearly black. And then the café door opened and in walked Jace and Steve in their army trousers, Steve wearing a squaddie-like backpack. They saw me, exchanged nods.  

'Hey, Gavin. How's it going, mate?' Jace said.

Steve glowered at me. 'Want a word with you.'

'Leave it,' I heard Jace say.

Not hanging about.  I slipped out of the door when they weren't looking.  Darted into the first alleyway.  Ran through the rain and wind, away from Steve.  Down a back mews.
Rapid footsteps. Panting. Laughter not far away. Steve shouting my name.  He was catching up.

I turned a corner,  

A library.  I dived indoors.  


Rang for a taxi.  

The taxi came.  

I jumped in.

Now what?

The taxi driver tooted his horn and tutted in annoyance. An expensive looking car was parked by the signpost at the entrance to the private driveway to the House, partially blocking the lane, and the taxi driver had to swerve to get into the driveway. The blonde waitress who'd rested her head on my shoulder the other evening got out of the expensive looking car and slammed the passenger door, glancing in my direction. She looked mad with rage.
Our eyes met.

The next moment, the former Mayor, Terence Harlesden's father, got out of the expensive looking car and chased after her.  Seeing this, I thought about the other night in the Remembrance Garden. Just before the waitress rested her head on my shoulder, she'd said something about waiting for Arthur. Arthur upsetting her.  

'Must be one of the apprentices,' the taxi driver said.


'His son's enterprise helps young people with problems. But some of them don't want to be helped. Like the young lass there.'
Written by Lozzamus
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