Luca having slipped into the house, I slowly reverse out of the front garden, striding backwards onto the pavement, still waving at my new friend who has by now made it to the bedroom window where I first glimpsed him. When he has eventually disappeared from view, I turn round to continue walking and subsequently crash into something – or someone, rather: Thomas Amello.
Having shoved my nose deep into Luca’s older brother’s leather jacket, I get an unpleasantly pungent whiff of drink, tobacco and goodness knows what else. I can’t see him very well due to the darkness, but his body language indicates that he’s totally out of it.
“Thomas?” I frown, the name new to my tongue.
“Yeah…?” He slurs.
“Oh, um, are you OK getting in by yourself?”
There’s a pause, then “N–no keys.”
“All right, hang on.” I link his arm with mine, pulling him gently to the front door and ringing the bell, all the while thanking the Lord that he’s not an angry drunk.
“Thanks Saffron.” He murmurs.
“That’s okay.” I smile, genuinely pleased that he’s remembered my name. Seriously, these brothers are full of surprises.
Luca opens the door, takes one look at the oversized boy attached to my arm, and gives me a weird half–smile, half-grimace.
“I think your brother’s a bit tipsy.” I say, struggling to hold him upright as he topples to the side. “Sorry.” Thomas rasps at me.
Luca nods knowingly. “Thank you, Saffron. He really needs to stop doing this.”
My forehead creases. “This has happened before?”
“Uh huh. It’s pretty annoying. I’ll have to nurse his hangover come tomorrow.”
I stare, stunned, but shake it off. It’s none of my business. “Bye again.” I say before pacing to the other side of the street to catch a bus. It is still quite early; I hope Thomas isn’t going to go back out like that.