a/n: Dedicated to Dan, rubbish, inconsequential fic that it is, because I believe that there's hope for him yet.


"Brian?" Her eyes were downcast and her voice carefully monitored, but her fingers were altogether too interested in the frayed end of her scarf. "Brian, darling?"

"Yes?" I answer, my voice equally checked, my eyes altogether too disinterested in my work, too alert for what I knew she was going to ask me.

"When did you and Max, well – you know. When did you and Max… you know. When did you and Max first – "


She leaned back in her chair, eyes fixed on mine, humour in her one arched eyebrow. "That's the word."

I waved a non-committal hand. (The truth was, the feelings I had for Max were still too painful, wrung with the kind of adolescent awkwardness I thought I'd left behind in England.) "I don't remember."

"That's the not the kind of thing you forget, Brian." Eyes back on her scarf. "Was it at the start?"

"I think so." (In truth, it had been a few nights after she'd introduced us.)


"I don't remember."


"I was drunk."

Impatience. "That's my excuse."

"I was agonizingly in love with him." (I was agonizingly angry at Sally for her infidelity, however minor, and wanted to hurt her.)

"Be serious."

"Sally," I sighed, putting the book down. "Does it matter?" (I didn't know I could fall in love.)

"Of course not. That's why I want to know."

"Sally, it was late, and I was terribly drunk. You were sleeping. He was on the couch. Everything fell into place."

She rubbed her cheek. "What happened?"

"Well, he kissed me and I kissed him back."

"He kissed you first?"


She raised the other eyebrow. "Oh."

"Is that alright?"

"I suppose." A pause, and her eyes met mine again before flitting to her scarf. "Don't do it again."

"I'll try."