At Cambridge

A lot of things happened while I was at Cambridge. There were way too many thoughts and feelings and events and to simply note down, so I guess I'll tell the whole story. That's the only way it's going to make sense.


33. Thirty three

I start the internship the next weekend and it's pretty much the best thing ever. I was kind of nervous, expecting everybody to be really serious and sitting at desks and I expected to be scared of messing up all day but when I get there, a middle aged woman called Iris with pastel pink hair shows me around and there are all sorts of people there, but they're all kind and it doesn't seem very serious there at all. I spend the whole day watching this guy called Pete work on a film review and it's actually really interesting.

I rush into Ed's house when I get back and find him in the kitchen, cooking. I wrap my arms around him, hugging him tight. He chuckles. 

"You shouldn't just burst in here like that, I could have a teacher or a student in here or something. " he says but he twists around and kisses my head before turning back around to cook. "How was the internship?"

"Amazing." I let go of him and pull myself up onto the kitchen side, swinging my legs. "You're seriously the best for finding it. It was so good."

"I'm glad." he smiles at me. "I knew you'd love it."

"I did." I nod, peering into the pan. "What the hell are you cooking?" 

He frowns, stirring it. "It's stir fry."

"Made out of what?" I ask, frowning. 

"Chicken and vegetables."

I pause, looking at it still. "Did you cook it wrong?" 

"No, it's a stir fry, you literally fry it and stir it, how could I do it wrong?" 

"Well I thought you were making some kind of pancake before you told me what it was." I say.

He laughs. "Yeah, it does look kind of nasty."

"We could order pizza." I suggest, hopefully. 

"Or we could not waste money by buying pizza every other night and we could look in the freezer." he suggests, grinning. 

I shrug, smiling a little smugly. Even though he teaches in Cambridge and has money to waste if he wants to, he has a thing about saving money and not buying stupid things. He always says to look in the freezer so last night, I put the pizza place menu on the top of the freezer. He finds it and smirks, holding it up to me. I grin, hopefully. 

"Please and thank you?" I say. "I'll pay. Even though I'm a student and I'm super poor and you're a super rich Cambridge university professor and stuff and-"

"Fine. I'll buy pizza." he cuts me off, sighing but he smiles. "It concerns me how easily you get your way."

We're in the middle of eating and watching TV when my phone rings. Ed peers over and frowns. 

"Who is it?" he asks. 

"George." I say, looking at him worriedly. "Should I answer it?" 

"No." Ed shakes his head. "Just ignore it."

I sigh, exasperated. "We should probably talk, right?" 

"No." Ed replies but I just look at him, deadpan, and answer the phone. 

I don't know how this conversation with George is going to go. I'm hoping it's going to go well and we're going to be friends again but maybe that's wishful thinking. 

"Hello?" I say. Even I can tell I sound nervous. Ed sighs, taking my hand. I squeeze his. 

"Hey." George says, as if he doesn't want to speak to me. "Look, I don't want to fight anymore."

I breathe out, relieved. "You don't?"

"Of course I don't, Daisy. So could you please just tell me the truth?" 

I sigh again, disappointed this time. "George, I have. Why won't you just leave it?"

"Because I know you're lying!" he says, frustrated. 

"Why do you think that?"

"Because you're sneaking around all the time!" he says and my stomach drops. "Winnie says she hasn't really seen much of you in weeks, that you always say you're busy studying, but Lucy says that you're never even in your dorm room anyway. What's going on, Daisy?"

I take a shaky breath. "Okay, George, maybe I did break up with you to be with somebody else. I do have a new boyfriend, but I swear I didn't cheat on you. That's why I broke up with you, I was trying to be fair."

He pauses. "Who is it?" 

"I can't tell you." I say and Ed squeezes my hand. 

"Why not?"

"I just can't." I say. "Look, George-"

But he hangs up the phone. I groan, and lean my head on Ed's shoulder. He wraps an arm around me. We're not shocked or surprised or anything right now, we're just tired of this whole George thing. And I don't know if this is just me but talking to George and really telling him that I can't say who I broke up with him for has scared me a bit. Me and Ed aren't allowed to be together and we're not taking that seriously enough. We just go day to day, never really thinking about how we shouldn't be together, never really considering what's at risk. 

"What the hell are we doing?" I ask, wearily but I don't move my head from his shoulder and he doesn't move his arm. 

"Huh?" he asks gently. 

"We're being so naive, don't you think?" I ask. "Imagine the trouble we'd get into if people found out about us."

"We'd get into so much trouble." he admits. "But we can't worry about that, nobody's going to find out."

"No, Ed, we do need to worry about it." I frown, pulling away from him and sitting up properly. 

"Well, I don't really know what you want to do, Dais." he shrugs. "It's not like we can be more careful, we're already being careful."

"People are noticing that I'm nowhere to be found after lectures, people know something's up!" I say, frustrated that he isn't understanding this. He's the older one, he's supposed to take this more seriously than I do. All of a sudden I'm really scared. I feel like we've been wandering along in a daze and suddenly I'm wide awake. 

"Well what do you want to do?" he demands, looking equally frustrated. "Sneak over here in the middle of the night instead? See each other once a week? I don't know what you're trying to say Daisy!" 

My chest feels tight. "I'm just scared, Ed, okay? There's so much at risk and you're just acting so casually about it!"

"You've been fine with it all since it began, why are you panicking now?!"

"Because I've only just realised and you need to as well, okay?!" I say, trying to catch my breath. My heart is beating so hard now. 

"So what, you want to just stop seeing each other all together?" he asks, angry. 

"No!" I almost shout. My head is spinning. 

"Then what do you want?" he shouts back. 

"I.." I try to shout back but there are splotches in my vision. I can't breathe properly. I close my eyes, trying to breathe. Ed pauses too. 

"Daisy?" he asks, his voice suddenly full of concern. "Daisy, what's the matter?" 

"I can't breathe properly." I whisper. "Ed, I can't breathe."

"Sit up." he orders, helping me sit up properly and then puts an arm behind my back. "Put your head between your knees."

"Ed." I say, panicking a little.

"Don't panic, just do what I tell you." he says calmly. I put my head between my knees and he rubs circles on my back. "Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth."

I do. My head is still spinning but I feel a bit better. 

"You're okay." he says soothingly, getting up and standing in front of me. "You need to rest. Get up slowly and-"

I get up way too fast and hug Ed tight and I feel dizzy but it's okay. I don't let go of him and eventually he hugs me back too, resting his chin on the top of my head. I bury my face in his neck. 

"I'm sorry." I mumble.

"Shhh." he hushes me, kissing my forehead. "We'll talk in the morning. You need to go to bed."

He climbs into bed beside me and turns the light out. Even though he helped me and he's in bed next to me, I can't help but feel like we're not really okay, however much we'd like to be. 

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