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"But then the monkeys came out of nowhere?" The short, black haired girl asked. The blonde wrapped and arm around her and laughed

"No Mars, they came out from elephants," Mick couldn't wipe the grin off his face. Mara rolled her eyes but smiled, it had been a ridiculous film. "Looking forward to school again?"

"Yup." She smiled popping the p. Now it was Mick's turn to roll his eyes

"Only you, I'm dreading it,"

"Why? You'll get to see our housemates again!"

"Friends Mara. We'll get to see our friends again," he peered down at her "They're our friends."

"There your friends, Mick. They tolerate me."

"What are you talking about? Patricia and Joy are your friends?"

"Well yes they are, but their best friends. They like me, but…you know," she shrugged as if it were nothing.

"Right. Fabian?"

"Acquaintances."

"Nina?"

"We don't really know each other."

"Alfie?"

"Alfie?" she asked again, he smiled lopsided at her

"What about Jerome?"

"Jerome? He has no idea I exist and he is the meanest person in the school,"

"Yeah," Mick agreed, kissing the top of her head "But he's pretty nice,"

Mara tried not to point out how he had just completely contradicted himself. They walked in silence then, before coming to a road, Mara looked left then right before they both crossed.

"Oh wait," Mick panted as they got to the other side "I think I dropped something," he tapped his pockets, nodding, before jogging across the road

Mara didn't have time to say anything, the car came in a whir, it was just a blue blur. A splat.

Her eyes fixed on the body of her boyfriend. "Mick!" she cried, but she couldn't move. Sirens began filling the air, a car alarm had gone off. But she stayed fixed. Hot tears began streaming down her face. She had been warm on the stuffy starry night, but now she was cold, she was freezing, but she didn't have the energy to rub her hands together.

She knew, Mara just knew that Mick Campbell was dead.

"Mara?" came a voice, but she didn't recognise it from the fog that clouded her mind "Mara, it won't help to watch," still she said nothing, vision blurring, she couldn't breathe. "Mara? Mara Jaffray? Move!" and someone shoved her, and shoved her hard, turning her away from the bloody mess.

And then she found her voice "NO!" Mara cried, pushing the person's arms off from around her, she turned back to the sight, and winced, it was horrible. That wasn't a person anymore. That was a…there were no words. "I need to go back!"

"Hey!" the person dragged her away, they were strong, she surmised. He tolled her, holding her in his arms "No." he stated firmly

"You can't," she sobbed "Please!"

"You know it as well as I do," the voice hissed firmly into her ear "You know he's gone." And they tolled her away.

Line Break

"I think I'll just read," Mara said quietly, fiddling with the sleeves of her blazer. Two weeks since Mick had died. His parents had taken his away to get buried there, there wasn't even going to be a funeral. Mara hated the sympathy, but she hated attention of any sort.

"Are you sure dear? It's very sunny, everyone else is outside." The librarian smiled kindly

"I would really rather just read," Mara insisted quietly, walking to the back of the library, and opening her book. She felt…empty, hollow, yet full to bursting.

"Is this seat taken?" Came a voice, an eerily familiar voice. Mara looked up

"Jerome?" she asked in shock, he sat down, taking that as a yes. His blond hair was brushed forward, a dark streak of almond running through it, his blue eyes glittered.

"Mara." He greeted

"W-what are you doing here?"

"Nothing," he stretched his hands out, fiddling with them on the table "What you reading?"

"A book." She answered, raising her eyebrows. He managed a small laugh

"At least you haven't lost a sense of humour. I respect that." He smiled at her, and Mara flushed "So, how are you?"

Mara sighed, closing the book, and holding it tightly to her chest "So that's why you're here? Well I don't need this Jerome. Okay? I'm fine! So tell whoever sent you, that I'm grateful, but I don't need it!" then she stood, about to storm out, but Jerome leapt up and caught her arm across the table

"Wait, Mara no-"

"What then?" she asked, tears obvious in her voice

"Nobody sent me here." He explained, eyes widening as if it were obvious

"So, you came to see me…on your own accord?"

"Yeah," he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly "I kinda know how you feel, my friend died in a car crash,"

"Oh," Mara plopped back down on the chair "Sorry, I didn't kno-"

"You're saying sorry?" he asked, as if it were ridiculous "Why?"

"Because I didn't know you had lost someone," she explained, tilting her head slightly. Jerome examined her for a moment

"Who are you, Mara Jaffray?"

"I think you answered your own question," Mara smiled at him, hiding her confusion. She glanced down at her watch "Actually, Jerome," she couldn't hold back the smile as she said his name "I have to go, see you around?"

"Uh, yeah…" and Jerome watched her leave with a curious expression on his face. Right, he thought, that hadn't gone quite how he expected. He had thought he would comfort her, but he hadn't done anything. "Next time," he promised himself. Leaving the library.

He didn't know why he cared, there were lots of other things he should be caring about more, but he'd lost someone. And he couldn't let someone else go through what he went through, all alone.

No, not even The Jerome Clarke, was that shallow.

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