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“Davis! Hi!”

Florence said, completely freaked out.

She hadn’t even considered running into somebody.

She was such an idiot. She should’ve at least looked around before sitting down – and Davis, of all people.

She plastered a cheesy grin on her face, faking nonchalance.

It wasn’t like Davis could read her mood, they actually didn’t know each other very well, he certainly didn’t know what had happened to her last year but seeing him standing there made it all seem suddenly real. Her worlds had split into two, her world at the hospital safe and hidden away with Chase and her past had managed to fade away in her memory.

“How are you?”

She yelled over the music.

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that Flo, they all said you’ve gone to some kind of hospital? I asked Clarice and Marv but none of them seemed to know exactly what hospital, speaking of that shouldn’t you be there now? I went to you’re house and your Mum told me what you had was infectious... ”

She stood up, trying to gain a little composure ... and a plan.

“I, um ... Davis, it’s complicated.”

He took a step closer to her, taking in her outfit, then glancing at her broken wrist, there was that look the look of assessment he was examining just how hurt she might be and slowly backing away from any real problems she could have, that was Davis all over.

She didn’t know why Clarice had once got it into her head that Florence and Davis were meant to be, they couldn’t be more different and not in a way that could be fixed, it was like their brains were wired differently.

“How? Are you sick or not?”

“Well, they thought I was, but ...” she stammered.

Right then, an arm slipped around her waist from behind. Warm tender hands splayed territorially across her belly and Chase pulled her back against his chest, planting a solitary, knee-weakening kiss on her neck before resting his chin on her shoulder to look right at Davis’s stunned face.

Heat poured through her body, every nerve ending suddenly alive.

When Chase spoke, he made sure it was loud enough for Davis to hear. “I told you everyone would find out eventually, Flo!”

“Florence?” Davis prompted impatiently.

Chase took over.

“Look, man, I snuck her out of the hospital for a few hours – she’s going straight back, no harm. Her parents won’t approve of us and we just wanted to have a bit of time together. You know how it is.”

Some part of her brain finally clicked into gear and she realised what Chase was doing.

“Davis, um ... this is a friend of mine,” she said, avoiding using his name in case it got back to the clinic – or her parents. She wasn’t going to let Chase get into trouble for her.

“Boyfriend” Chase clarified, somehow managing to move them even closer together. Davis wasn’t happy. I knew that Clarice had been trying to set them up, but until now she hadn’t realised that Davis had clearly been in favour of the idea too.

“I didn’t know you were seeing anyone.”

“Oh, it’s new. Really new.”

Her? Breathless?

“But when you know, you know, right?” Chase added unnecessarily.

“Why all the lies?” Davis said curtly.

“It’s not lies. I was in the hospital. I mean, I am. I just ... I snuck out. You won’t tell anyone, will you?” she asked nervously.

“Like Clarice? Your best friend.”

“Davis, please don’t be mad at me. I’m sorry that you and I ...” she swallowed. Chase stayed silent, still holding her.

’But if my parents find out, they’ll go mental.”

After a tense pause, he sighed. “Sure, Flo.”

She smiled in relief.

Davis looked at her questioningly. “So, you’re with him, then?”

Chase chose this moment to become impatient.

“Yes, man. She’s with me, then.”

She elbowed Chase, but he didn’t let her go, she was beginning to realise who she was, who he was, the haze that had covered her with happiness was fading, he could probably feel the rolls of fat that her top couldn’t quite disguise.

And she didn’t want Davis to hate her, before she had been hospitalised his group had been her only friends, granted they hadn’t been conventional friends, but still.

“Davis, I –”

“It’s okay,” he said, cutting off her apology. “I won’t tell anyone I saw you.”

“Thanks, Davis. I’m ... you know,’” she said, still fumbling with her words.

“It’s all good.” He nodded once to Chase. “I was just on my way out.” And with that, he turned and headed straight for the door.

She immediately pushed away from Chase her cheeks flaming.

She couldn’t look at him.

“What was that all about?” she asked, staring at her drink.

“You were freaking out. This way you can tell your friends you snuck out of the hospital with a secret boyfriend and they’ll leave you be. At least about why you’re in the hospital.”

“And when they expect to see you and me walking hand-in-hand afterward? What then?′ she blushed, thinking of how nice that would be.

When she glanced up he was looking at her, his expression tinged with sadness.

“It won’t be a problem.”

“What does that mean?”

He shrugged. “It means you’ll think of something.”

After a pause, he smirked.

“You can tell them I turned out to be a loser.”

“That won’t be hard, I suppose.” she returned the smirk.

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