The Freedom That Paper Gives

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A week later....

CW: The following episodes heavily surround themes of bipolar disorder. This includes but is not limited to; depression, mania, not eating, self harm and suicide.

If you feel uneasy around subjects surrounding depression I would advise that you skip the next couple of chapters (chapters 12-16). You will not miss too much in terms of plot. Check out my insta or Tumblr for a break down of those episodes.

It had been a week since Percy went to visit Marie. He messaged her every day at the same time to let her know he was thinking of her and that he hoped she was alright. She hadn’t read any of them but while he was disappointed Percy wasn’t surprised. He couldn’t stop thinking about what was wrong with her. He thought she must be doing better because he could have sworn he saw her on campus. She hadn’t been back to the cafe but Percy still took every shift going both to distract himself and in case she came. No one else seemed as worried as him that Marie was missing. They all told him that she sometimes disappeared but she would be back, but none of them seemed to know why. Percy had stopped trying to get answers out of Asha as she had made it clear she wasn’t telling him anything. He had seen Byron a couple of times since but didn’t feel brave enough to go over and ask about Marie, and he always felt guilty afterworlds because he knew Marie would for him.

But one good thing was happening, it was payday. His pay from all the extra shifts he had taken along with tips meant he could finally afford that blazer, he had asked the shop to save if for him a couple of days ago. He had been saving for this blazer for months and now he could finally buy it and wear it. It was old and tweed, a bit faded but Percy thought that added to its charm. He was lucky that the leather elbow patches weren’t cracked or needed repairing but one of the pockets had given way on the inside, but he could repair that. It wasn’t missing any buttons and fitted him really well. The next thing he would save for was to get it tailored to fit him perfectly.

Percy finished he morning shift at the cafe with his pay in his bank account on his way to finally buy that blazer, he knew the exact way to the store and with every step he could feel himself getting more excited. For many people this was just a blazer, nothing to get excited about but for Percy it was more than that. This was the first job his parents had let him get, this was something he had saved for with his own money that he earned himself. This blazer represented a new era of freedom in his life, the start of his new dark academic aesthetic because he could afford it now, kind of. Finally Percy got to the store and looked in the window to where the blazer usually was.

And then he walked straight past, he had a better idea on what to spend his money on, and besides what’s one more month to wait. No one had bought it the entire time that he had saved for it, why would they now.

Percy was outside Marie’s door, rethinking every decision he had made recently. Well not every decision, he was sure that this was the right thing to do over buying that blazer. He just hoped she would like it. While Percy had dated girls in the past he didn’t really know what sort of things to buy them, and he was sure Marie wasn’t into the cliche gifts. Guys were generally easier to buy for, the majority of them had the same interests and brands and types didn’t really matter. But every girl had a specific brand and product they liked. Percy had made sure that everything in the gift basket he made was eco-friendly, cruelty free and where he could supported some form of charity. The basket himself was second hand and the tissue paper recycled from his mother’s collection she kept under the stairs for wrapping presents. He deliberated buying a balloon but he figured that if Marie didn’t want him to know she was sick she wouldn’t like a balloon, besides they’re bad for the environment. He had brought her a card, a simple card with a drawing of a woman in a long red coat outside the Eiffel Tower on the front, blank on the inside. Nothing to suggest it was a get well soon card. Percy balanced the basket on his knee and knocked on the door, he really should have thought that bit through. There was no answer so he knocked again. This time the door was opened and it was Oscar who answered, towering over Percy. Percy couldn’t tell if Oscar was trying to be intimidating on purpose or if he just was. Because Oscar really was the tallest person he had ever seen, and Percy had always thought of himself as tall. But this was something else.

“Can I help you?” Oscar said.

Percy was taken aback by the soft Irish accent Oscar spoke in, it somehow put him at ease but also scared him more. Like when the murder is being nice in a horror film, there was a sense that something bad was about to happen.

“Is Marie in? I’ve got something for her.” Percy replied, not able to look Oscar in the eye.

Percy smiled and indicated to the basket. Oscar raised his eyebrows and exhaled heavily through his nose. Percy could swear he was being intimidating on purpose.

“Marie’s not in at the moment. But I can give it to her when she comes back.” Oscar said shortly.

Percy felt he had no choice but to hand it over, he had rather hoped he could give it to Marie personally to see how she was. If anyone else had answered the door he would have asked to wait for her, but he could tell Oscar was becoming impatient and he wasn’t ashamed to admit he was a bit afraid of Oscar. As he was about to reluctantly hand the basket over a familiar voice came from behind him.

“Oscar stop scaring the poor boy. I swear you do this every time.”

Percy looked around to see Kamila coming out of the car, when he turned around Oscar was leaning against the door looking instantly more welcoming.

“He’s here to see Marie. Who is he anyway?” Oscar asked, completely ignoring Percy now.

I’m right here Percy thought and again if anyone else was stood next to him he would have said it out loud.

“Percy, Asha’s little brother and Marie’s friend from the cafe. So he’s cool. Now let him in and help me this the shopping.” Kamila said with a smile on her face and Percy could have sworn she winked at him.

“But...”

Kamila quickly cut Oscar off, “But nothing. Marie’s doing better and besides I doubt he’s here to give that to you.”

Kamila indicated to the basket in Percy’s hand. Oscar gave a defeated sigh and went to help with the shopping. Kamila walked over to Percy and indicated for him to go inside.

“Well go in then before Oscar changes his mind.” Kamila said with a smile.

Percy went inside and stood awkwardly as Kamila dumped the shopping in the kitchen.

“Make yourself at home in the living room, the door right behind you.” Kamila said on her way back out to the car.

Percy opened the door and went into the living room. It was a typical living room for a house of four students, a second hand sofa and armchair, a coffee table of stained wood. Percy was pleasantly surprised to see an actual apple crate being used as an end table as well as an original fireplace. In the corner there was a desk with two huge overspilling bookcases on either side of it, opposite that an easel with a half-finished painting and there were a few vases of flowers dotted around the room. However, the flowers looked like they had seen better days. It looked like the sort of living room you would see on mood boards online of those who live in a basement apartment in London or Oxford. It perfectly suited the aesthetic Marie, Kamila, Byron and Oscar presented. Percy sat awkwardly in the middle of the sofa and put the basket on his lap and looked around, he noticed what looked like original paintings on the wall, which he guessed were by Byron and Kamila. With the living room door open he could hear the conversation in the kitchen between Oscar and Kamila.

“Why didn’t you let him in? I swear your so overprotective sometimes Oscar.” Kamila said in a half-whisper.

“Did you think Marie might not actually want to see him. Where is she anyway, she went with you didn’t she?” Oscar replied, Percy swore he was being purposely loud enough so that Percy could hear.

“She wanted to walk home, you know what she’s like.”

“So you let her go, on her own.”

“Yes because she’s not a child.”

“But she’s not well.”

“She’s not as bad as she was this time last week. I mean she went with me and she actively chose to stay out longer.” Kamila replied.

Percy was starting to feel awkward and hoping this wouldn’t turn into an argument.

“What is she going to say when she see’s Percy here?” Oscar asked.

“I don’t know. Perhaps she will be happy to see him. And what would she think of you talking about her behind her back?” Kamila replied.

Percy guessed by Oscars silence that Kamila had won the argument. He suddenly thought that this was a very bad idea, perhaps Oscar was right and she won’t want to see him. It was definitely a bad idea to give her a get well soon gift and she never actually told him she was ill. He didn’t know who to trust Kamila or Oscar. He found himself wishing that Byron was here, at least he was sure that Byron would know what was best for Marie, even if Percy didn’t like it.

Just as Percy was preparing to make his excuses to leave he heard the front door open and he knew instinctively it was Marie. He heard her go into the kitchen and say hello to Kamila and Oscar, he then heard Kamila speak to Marie in a low whisper that Percy couldn’t make out, followed by Oscar speaking. Just as he was starting to worry from the silence the Marie came to the door and upon seeing her Percy was filled with relief.

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