Maddy was perched on the edge of her desk when Felix and Liv turned up later that evening. Her violin was resting absently against her shoulder and her bow hanging limply in her hands. She had picked it up almost a half hour ago with the intention of practising Felix's wedding piece, but a new outbreak of shouting and smashing from downstairs had distracted her. The arguments in the Richards household were growing steadily worse, so much so that the cracks were beginning to show to the outside world.
Hey Mads, Felix called gently, as he came to stand next to her. What's going on? I feel like I've just crashed someone's funeral.
Maddy blinked inquisitively up at her oldest friend. It took a moment for his words to penetrate the haze of thoughts that were clouding her mind. Then, after several seconds of peculiar silence, she shook herself with the tiniest of gasps.
What? she murmured.
Never mind, smiled Felix. Miles away, again.
He sauntered over to the window and peered around the voiles, apparently interested in something in the driveway. Liv took up his place by Maddy's side and offered her a comforting hug.
Have they been fighting again? she asked, her voice full of reassuring warmth.
It's getting worse, Maddy muttered, without looking up. She let her violin drop down into her lap as Liv cuddled her close to her chest. Is it bad that I'm kind of hoping they'll just get it over with and split already? I don't want them too I'm just sick of seeing dad's face when it hits eight and she's still not home, or hearing Caden on the landing when they're having one of their We're not fighting, we're just talking' fights.
Maybe it won't come to that, Liv suggested. They might sort out their differences.
Or your mum might get fired, interjected Felix, apparently trying to be helpful. That's probably the best thing that could happen for your family, you know. If she's not at work all the time, then the problem's solved, right?
Maddy looked up over Liv's shoulder and shot Felix a stony glance.
But she's not actually at work, is she? she said, slowly, grinding out each word with a short, staccato emphasis. That's the problem! She's using work as an excuse.
Oh, yeah, good point, Felix muttered.
Well, you don't know that for sure, began Liv, delicately. You've caught her behaving suspiciously that's for sure, but you've not actually seen her doing anything wrong. And I don't want to, muttered Maddy, disgusted. In fact, I'd rather cut my own face off and feed it to the dog.
Felix sniggered but Liv merely pulled a face.
There's no need for that, she mumbled, quietly.
Somewhere downstairs, a door slammed. The three paused to listen, hearing only silence for a moment before the sound of an engine flared up outside.
That'll be her gone again, sighed Maddy, without bothered to go to the window and look - she recognised the impatient crunch of fast moving tyres on gravel to be her mother's driving.
No more yelling, at least, Felix shrugged, brightly, as he peered out into the garden below.
Ever the optimist, muttered Maddy, sarcastically, though she did chance a smile, which Felix returned jauntily.
There was a curt knock on the door before it swung open, admitting the head and shoulders of Maddy's father, a tall, slim man with greying hair, an intelligent face and care-worn eyes, which had grown even duller as of late.
Maddy, he began, in a snappy, irritable tone. Then he sighed and shook his head. I'm going to take your brother and the dog down to the heath, he informed her, more quietly, in defeated sort of voice. If you decide to upturn the house whilst I'm gone, I've taken the PIN off the adult channels and your mother has several bottles of that ghastly pinot grigio in the rack - just don't confuse it with my good sauvignon blanc.
He glanced only briefly at Liv and Felix before retreating and closing the door with a soft snap.
Wow, breathed Felix. Your dad got cool.
No, he just stopped caring, sighed Maddy. Looks like we have an empty house tonight then.
Strip Truth or Dare? Felix suggested, eagerly, and he dodged, albeit narrowly, both of the reprimanding blows that came sailing his way. What?! he exclaimed. What's the point in having lesbian friends if you can't reap the benefits once in a while?
We're not a peep show, Liv muttered crossly, whilst Maddy simply laughed. Our relationship isn't for your entertainment.
No, it's not, agreed Maddy, once her giggling had died down. But before we get into that, we have to decide what we're going to do with this rare opportunity.
Eat pizza and watch lousy porn? Felix suggested.
Ew, Liv sighed, shaking her head.
Deal, smirked Maddy.
Half an hour later, Maddy was near choking on her pepperoni pizza as she chortled at the amusingly unrealistic scene unfolding before her.
So let me get this straight? she managed, pointing at the TV screen. She's just been stood up by the guy she was doing in the first part. So now she's going to sleep with her friend over there to make herself feel better?
Pretty much, grinned Felix, as he sipped merrily at his beer. It's quite a common concept. Girl gets hurt by man, turns to her hot, busty friend for comfort
How silly, Liv commented, her voice laced with obvious distaste.
Isn't that kind of how you guys ended up together? asked Felix, bouncing his eyebrows and smirking. Your asshole boyfriend screwed you over, you go to cry and Maddy's shoulder and, a couple of bottles later, you're all over each other.
Maddy could see Felix's point, but nevertheless she shook her head, mostly to appease Liv, who was looking deeply affronted by Felix's over simplification of their union.
It wasn't really like this though, she said, quite truthfully. I mean, we didn't rip each other's knickers off. We kissed - once - and then fretted about it for weeks afterwards until we both calmed down enough to figure ourselves out.
Felix looked thoughtful as he contemplated this for a moment. Then he shook his head and took another healthy swig of his beer.
No, he said, eventually. I'm going to pretend you didn't tell me that. As far as I'm concerned, it went down like that.
He gestured to the television screen, where the pair of very blonde, very busty girls were proceeding to get rather friendly indeed. Liv looked near nauseated.
Turning you on, Livvy-babes? Felix teased, nudging her and winking exaggeratedly.
Quite the opposite actually, she said tonelessly. I mean, that's really not how it works
Well, you would know, Felix smirked. I couldn't hope to know a bigger pair of dy-
Don't say it! both Liv and Maddy roared in unison, loudly. Felix slopped his beer down his shirt in alarm.