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I hope you enjoy chapter six!
Soon they were all down by the sea, and small sandy stretch between them and the water. Darrell closed her eyes and took a deep breath, just taking in the familiar smell of the sea. Sally laughed at her, slipping her arm through her friend’s again. She grinned at Darrell.
“You know you can smell the sea on campus when the wind blows inland, you don’t have to just enjoy the salty smell here,” she teased her friend. Darrell grinned good naturedly at Sally and looked at the boys.
“So are we going to stand here all day, or are we actually going to see how cold it really is?” Darrell asked chuckling. They all grinned at each other.
“Come on then,” Julian said chuckling, “we won’t get there if we stand here all day,” he said with a grin, jumping off the rock they were standing on to the beach below. David followed suit.
“If you think we’re doing that, you’ve got another thing coming,” Sally said with a laugh as the wind picked up a little and whipped around them.
“I think we’ll walk down using the pathway,” Darrell said with a smirk.
“Don’t be silly,” Julian said chuckling, “sit down on the rock and we’ll lift you down! It’ll be much quicker.”
David nodded. “Come on girls,” he said laughing, “It’ll be simple,” he assured them as Darrell and Sally exchanged looks.
Darrell relented and sat down on the rock first, and allowed the boys to help her down on to the sand. Sally was a little less eager to try it; she had visions of herself ending up face first in the sand.
“Come on Sally,” Darrell called as the wind picked up and swept her hair over her face.
“Come on,” Julian said smiling up at her, his hands extended upwards to catch her, David waiting by his side to lend a hand. Sally found herself looking down at Julian and finding herself sitting on the rock, sliding forwards him. Sally smirked a little to herself as Julian caught her easily and lifted her to the ground with barely any help from David.
“There, that wasn’t so bad was it?” Julian asked Sally grinning widely as he set her down on the sand. Sally shook her head, realising that her cheeks were a little flushed.
“Come on!” Darrell called from a good ten metres away from the other three. Sally laughed and turned away from Julian to run after her best friend. David raised an eyebrow at Julian who rolled his eyes. The boys smirked at each other and set off towards the girls.
After an hour down by the sea, half paddling, half walking up and down the tide mark, the four of them decided to head back to the university in search of a warm cup of tea and a mid afternoon snack.
“It’s not nearly tea time yet,” David said looking at his watch, “but I don’t see a problem with sitting in one of the common rooms and just having a quiet afternoon in. The sky is clouding over after all,” he added looking up at the sky, where big dark rain clouds had crept in over St Andrews, threatening rain.
“We can sit in our common room,” Darrell said smiling, “I’ve got some crumpets somewhere that we can toast on the fire.”
“I’ve got some biscuits,” Sally volunteered as they walked down the street back into town.
“The only thing we might need is some milk,” Darrell said smiling, “I don’t think we’ve had a chance to pick some up yet.”
“We pass the newsagents on the way back up to the University, so we can pick some up on our way,” Julian said.
“Do you think anyone would mind us being in your common room?” David asked as they walked, “I mean, I would invite you back to ours, but well, wouldn’t want to subject you to all those boys,” he said, grinning sheepishly.
Julian chuckled.“Yes, it’s not a pleasant smell,” he agreed wrinkling his nose.
“I don’t think boys can help it sometimes,” Sally said grinning at the boys, “Smell just seems to radiate off of you!” she teased.
The boys had to laugh at Sally’s comment.
“You caught us,” Julian said with a laugh and giving her shoulders a quick squeeze. Sally found her breath being taken away from her as she felt his arm squeezing her shoulders affectionately. Sally found that she fitted rather comfortably under Julian’s arm. She chuckled, shaking her hair back from her face, hoping that her cheeks had not gone pink.
It was a short walk from where they had been to the university and soon, even with a quick dash into the newsagents for some milk, Julian and David insisted that if the girls were inviting them back for tea then the least they could do was bring something along to contribute. Sally and Darrell had protested but the boys had been adamant and came out of the newsagents with not only the milk but with a packet of biscuits. The walk back to the girl’s halls was a short one and though the cold wind off the sea had picked up, everyone was in a fairly jovial mood when they finally made it back to the university campus.
“Sally, if you take these two to the common room, I’ll go and get the stuff from our room?” Darrell asked as she turned the key to the front door of University Halls.
Sally nodded and smiled. “Yes captain,” she said with a giggle as the boys mock saluted Darrell. She laughed at them.
“Keep that attitude up and I might just get used to it,” she joked as she pushed the door open and stepped inside giving a little shiver as she felt the warmth on her skin. Darrell headed up to her and Sally’s room to fetch the tea bags and crumpets, while Sally took the boys to the common room. She pushed open the door to the room and was glad to find it relatively empty.
“Everyone must be in lectures,” Sally said stepping in and shrugging off her cardigan. She made her way over to the fire place and sank thankfully down into a chair, stretching out her legs in front of the fire. Julian and David drew two other chairs over to the fire, leaving the other chair by the fire free for Darrell.
“I didn’t realise how chilly it was outside until we got inside,” David said sighing and sitting back in his chair.
“Yes, that wind was very chilly,” Julian agreed smiling a little as he stood up and moved towards the fire to warm his hands.
Sally smiled lazily.“I forgot how much being down by the sea takes it out of you. I know I’ll sleep soundly tonight,” she said with a laugh. “But I have enjoyed the afternoon very much,” she added grinning.
“Well if scrambling around rocks and a bit of sand can be called fun,” David grumbled, with a faint smiled on his face. “Give me fields and hills of the countryside any time,” he said with a laugh.
Julian smirked at him. “Well you might just have to get used to climbing up and down rocks while you’re here,” he said with a chuckle, “I saw some pretty interesting caves just past where we were,” he added a glint in his eye. Sally and David had to laugh.
Darrell came back just as they were laughing. “What’s the joke?” she asked sitting down on the floor next to the fire and putting her little bundle of things down on the floor in front of her.
“Julian’s trying to get us to explore some caves,” David said with a chuckle.
Darrell smiled as she sorted out the tea bags from the crumpets and producing a small tub of butter.
“You’ll have to do a lot to get me to explore some smelly caves,” Darrell said with a twinkle in her eye which suggested that it wouldn’t take very much really but she was happy to tease Julian.
“There’s nothing to say that they would be smelly caves,” Julian protested as he tried not to smirk. “I don’t think they’re close enough to the shoreline to get filled with water and sea weed at high tide,” he said with an authority of someone who knew about these things. He laughed at their faces.
“Don’t worry, I won’t make you explore them with me if you don’t want to,” he said with a laugh, sitting back in his chair. He rubbed his hands together and winked at Darrell.
“So how about this tea then?” he asked with a laugh.
Over the next few days Julian kept an eye on the papers to see if there had been any other attempted break-ins at his uncle’s house at Kirrin, and to see if any other prominent scientists’ papers had gone missing. He didn’t voice his concerns to his friends, though he felt bad for not doing so. They were having a wonderful time; there were plenty of social functions to attend and clubs to try out for. Julian found that he found the work from his lecturers easy and was glad to be able to balance his time properly. There were some nights where the four of them would sit in the library and work together, reading and helping each other collect data if they were at a loose end and Julian noticed that he was certainly becoming more drawn towards Sally.
He liked and admired Darrell who could play up to David and himself like a pro, making her almost like a sister, but there was something in the dynamic with Sally that told Julian that there was something else going on there. He didn’t get much chance to follow that train of thought as Raisin week was upon them. A traditional social event at St Andrews which included such things as pub crawls and foam fights in St Salvators’ quadrangle.
David and Julian didn’t see much of Sally and Darrell that week because they were doing different subjects they had different academic mothers and fathers. Julian and David made a point of seeking the girls out during the foam party and dousing them with the foam. All four finished that might drenched and bedraggled, but laughing and threatening each other with revenge for getting foamed.
The work started getting harder as the term progressed, and there was more to do as the nights drew in and the temperatures started to drop, there was less and less time to meet up and chat, but there was always chance to sit in the quiet corner of the library with a flask of hot tea or coffee and complete their work.
David and Julian found themselves partnered more and more with Anthony in their lab practicals and found it strange that even having to spend a lot of time with him that he barely said a word to them, only to relay results or to ask for a piece of equipment. Anthony became even more of a recluse than he had been at the beginning of the term.
“He gives me a funny feeling,” Julian said to David one day after class, “there feels like there’s something a little off kilter with him, that I just can’t put my finger on.”
“I know what you mean,” David said nodding as they hurried along the corridors towards the lunch hall where they were to meet the girls. “There’s something about his silence that’s worrying.”
“That Thomas Ainsworth makes me uneasy as well, though his manner suggests it’s the last thing he wants to do,” Julian said, after a pause for thought.
David nodded his agreement. “I do agree with you there as well. There is something about Thomas that suggests he’s trying very hard to make sure he’s liked. Have you seen him around Darrell and Sally? Sally in particular,” David asked Julian, well aware that his friend had missed this spectacle.
“No, I haven’t,” Julian said looking at David, puzzled.
“He’s very… smooth, almost oily,” David said wrinkling his nose in disgust. “It’s almost pathetic to watch. He seems to think that because he checked on Sally after Anthony almost knocked her over that first day that he has some strange claim towards her.”
“How do the girls act?” Julian asked, stopping David outside the dining hall, pulling him to one side out of people’s way as they hurried in out of the cold.
David shrugged. “Mostly, they let him make a fool out himself, but I’m not sure that’s how they see it exactly,” David said his mouth set into a disgruntled line. “They do nothing to encourage the man over, but they seem to like the attention in a novel sort of way; almost like they can’t believe that someone from a higher year is taking the time to talk to them.”
“Almost like it as in school then,” Julian said almost rolling his eyes. “You were either flattered that you had been noticed by the older years, or you had been caught doing something you shouldn’t have been.”
The boys exchanged significant looks at each other, seemingly having pacified themselves that Thomas was nothing more than a novelty and a bit of a nuisance. Julian assumed that as soon as the novelty of Darrell and Sally being new to the university that Thomas would lose interest and move on to the next set of girls.
As the boys walked into the hall where they were meeting the girls, the spotted the two boys they had been talking about in there as well. Thomas was surrounded by his group of friends, mucking about at the far end of the hall, whereas Anthony was sitting quietly at the opposite end reading his book in a very studious fashion.
David sighed and looked over his shoulder at Julian as if it proved a point to what they had just been saying to one another. Julian shrugged and pointed through the throng of people to where he had spotted Darrell and Sally sitting at one of the long tables. David followed Julian’s pointed finger and nodded, moving towards them.
Sally was first to see the boys approaching them. She nudged Darrell and nodded in their direction.
“Look who made it here at last,” Darrell teased the boys as the made it through the crowd to the girls and sat down on the opposite side of the table to them.
“Sorry, but as you can probably see there are a lot of people making their way into here out of the cold,” David said pulling a face but then smirking.
“How was your lecture?” Sally asked as Julian sat down opposite her.
“Nothing incredibly special,” Julian remarked idly as he put his bag down on the floor. “We didn’t get close to blowing anything up, so no need to worry there,” he said teasingly to Sally.
It was easy sometimes to say something about physics in the wrong way and Sally would get annoyed and start ragging them about the idea of bombs and things being dangerous. Julian found that he liked arguing with her about it. Sally and Darrell both had a very strong sense about what was right and wrong which lead to some very interesting conversations.
Sally smiled a little at his teasing. “Well if you’ll let me know when you’re going to start trying to blow things up, I’ll make sure I’ve got my tin hat with me,” she teased back, making Darrell laugh.
“I didn’t know you had a tin hat at the ready for when undergraduate physicists get to actually do an experiment,” David teased Sally.
Sally blushed. “Well not exactly, but I’ll go out and get one!” she said with a twinkle in her eye.
“Anyone would think that you don’t trust us!” Julian teased sitting back in his seat and grinning broadly. He was just about to close his eyes for a second when he picked up a change in the tone of Thomas and his friend’s calls. They were focusing in on someone on the other side of the room. Julian half stood up to get a better look in the direction they were jeering at.
“Who are they yelling at?” Darrell asked who was craning her neck to see.
“Don’t look,” Julian said shaking his head. “It’s Anthony,” he added meaningfully to David.
David looked over to where they had seen Anthony sitting when they had entered the hall.
“What has he done to draw their attention?” David asked looking uncomfortable. “Do you think we should go over there and…?”
“And what?” Julian asked almost sarcastically. “There is nothing we could do apart from inflame the situation, and let’s be honest Anthony hardly makes conversation easy during lectures.”
David nodded in defeat. “You’re right of course,” he said looking away from the scene unfolding at the other end of the dining hall.
Sally and Darrell observed the disturbance with wide eyes.
“Is this what boys usually do to one another?” Darrell asked a doubting look in his eyes looking marginally disgusted. “They are being really horrid to him.”
“Well he is foreign,” Julian said flatly. “I don’t suppose they figured that out until just now.”
“Where does he come from?” Sally asked interested.
“He’s from eastern Europe,” Julian said shrugging a little. “His accent’s not strong enough to pin point where exactly, but definitely eastern Europe.”
“That would explain the boys’ reactions,” Darrell said looking back over to the ruckus. Anthony appeared to be trying to leave the dining hall.
Julian and David looked at each other. They both felt like they should be doing something but with not really knowing Anthony that well they didn’t really feel as if they ought to try and stop Thomas and his friends jeering at him. There was a lot of anti-Russian feeling going on at the moment and it was hard to know who to trust. The jeering and catcalling was being picked up by others around them.
“Can we get out of here please?” Sally said looking as uncomfortable as they all felt. Julian nodded and grabbed his bag, the others following suit.
“Shall we go to the library?” David asked once they pushed their way out of the dining hall, hoping that Anthony had done the same.
“I don’t feel like studying at the moment,” Sally said soberly. “Who knew people could be small minded.”
Julian didn’t feel like correcting her and pointing out that they hadn’t exactly been stand-up citizen’s offering to help Anthony. The most they could say is that they hadn’t joined in the jeering.
“How about we go up to our common room,” Darrell said trying to push past the awkwardness. “There should be a fire in there and it should be pretty empty at this time of day,” she added as they saw people start leaving the dining hall behind them.
“Let’s take the shortcut to your halls then,” David muttered heading down a relatively unused passage. They followed him taking the passage that they knew took them to just behind the girls’ halls. It took them around the back of the professors’ studies as well which was why it wasn’t greatly used by students as the professors tended to lean out of their windows and tell them to clear off if they were too loud.
They were all surprised however when they saw a figure ahead ducking into the shadows and off under one of the arches and had disappeared before they could get a good look.
“How strange,” David said raising an eyebrow. “That was definitely someone who didn’t want to be seen,” he said as they all stood at just under the archway and looked towards the open college grounds.
“You’re right it is rather odd,” Julian agreed thoughtfully.
Sally managed a laugh. “You look like you’re about to chase after him and find out where he went,” she said, not all together back to her usual self after the dining room incident.
Julian allowed himself a smile and looked down at her. “Of course I’m not going to do that,” he said with a laugh. “These are the professors’ studies, so I assume that it’s just a student heading to see a professor for a meeting or some kind. Nothing more,” he assured Sally, who was looking very much like his sister Anne did when she was afraid that her brothers and cousin were going to pull her into an adventure. Julian slipped an arm around Sally’s shoulders and gave her a comforting squeeze as Darrell laughed.
“Not that I’m sure we’d mind having to follow you all over school trying to work out a mystery,” she said with a giggle. “It would certainly break up the monotony of the place.”
“You can’t seriously tell me that you’re bored here already Darrell Rivers!” Sally exclaimed moving out from Julian’s one armed hug, trying not to act as if it was anything important.
“Of course I’m not bored, but it’s the routine. There’s so much work to do, and we seem to have fallen into that trap of work, study, eat and sleep. I mean the sports are fine, but there’s nothing really to do at the moment if it’s not sports or work,” Darrell said airily as she led the way down the passage towards the halls.
Sally laughed at her friend. “You just want something to get involved in like when we were at school,” Sally said with a giggle. She explained to the boys. “When you’ve got a classroom full of girls you do tend to end up with some problems, and Darrell was a dab hand at sorting them out,” Sally said with high praise.
“I wasn’t always that good, you seem to be forgetting about my first year,” Darrell said bashfully as they reached the girls halls.
Sally smiled.“So that wasn’t your brightest hour, but you turned out alright,” Sally said patting Darrell kindly on the shoulder and chuckling. The boys threw each other smirks.
“Maybe you should join a poetry club if you want problems to sort out,” David teased. “I’m sure there are a lot of emotionally overflowing people there.”
Darrell looked at him over her shoulder as she went to open the door and stuck her tongue out at him. Julian gave David a little shove in the back.
“Don’t tease her, remember what you’ve heard about this famous temper of hers,” Julian teased.
Darrell flushed. “I wouldn’t lose my temper over something as harmless as you two teasing me!” she insisted as she finally managed to get the door opened.
Julian smiled as he followed her in, giving her shoulder a small squeeze as he moved out of the doorway. “We know old thing. No need to get in a huff about it,” he said grinning at her.
Darrell smiled up at him and chuckled. “You know if you weren’t so charming Ju, I’m sure you would have been clobbered by now,” she teased back. She grinned up at him as Sally led the way upstairs.
Julian bowed a little as Darrell passed him. “Madam is too kind,” he grinned and followed David upstairs. David was trying to hold back his laughter.
“It wasn’t that funny!” Julian protested as they reached the girls’ common room.
“It was,” Sally agreed. “You and Darrell are a hoot to watch; such a double act!” she added sitting down in her favourite chair by the fire. She dropped her book bag by the side of her chair and stretched out her legs as the boys fetched two more chairs to sit in as Darrell took the seat opposite Sally’s that was already by the fire. Sally closed her eyes for a moment enjoying the warmth of the fire on her skin; the wind was cold today and especially down those passages it came whistling along in such an alarming fashion.
“Do you think Anthony got out of the dining hall alright?” David asked eventually as they sat in silence for a few minutes.
Julian pursed his lips.
“I’m sure they wouldn’t actually hurt him,” Darrell added.
Julian shrugged. “I suspect a professor would have come along and broken anything up by now,” he said although he didn’t sound convinced himself.
In an attempt to steer the conversation away from what she felt was a depressing subject, Sally pried open her eyes and asked the boys if they had their usual rugby club meeting that evening.
“I think we do,” David said sitting back in his chair. “I’ve not heard anything about it being cancelled, but I’m not been back to our dorm since this morning,” he added.
Julian nodded his agreement. “We should take a wander over there in a while and see if there’s anything up on the notice board.”
“Couldn’t you just find someone else who’s in your dorm and ask them?” Darrell asked surprised that this wasn’t the first idea on their minds.
“Where’s the fun in that?” Julian asked with a grin. “And anyway, if rugby is on then we’d need to go back and dump our rucksacks and pick up our kits in the first place.”
“May as well kill two birds with one stone,” David said with a grin.
“There’s still the fact that if rugby’s not on that you’ll have walked over there for nothing,” Darrell said challengingly.
“The exercise will do us good,” Julian said with a teasing glint in his eye.
Darrell laughed. “There’s just no winning against you is there?” she asked settling back in her chair with a smile on her face. Sally was grinning as well.
Julian pulled a face. “I didn’t realise I was that bad!” he said in pretending to be surprised like this was a big revelation to him. He couldn’t hold the pretence up too long as the corners of his mouth began to twitch into a smile.
“You could be worse,” Darrell said with a smirk. “You are terrible at trying to act hurt though,” she said casting an eye on his face and chuckling.
Julian laughed and sat back in his chair. David had his head hidden in his hands shaking his head in mock despair.
They had a light hearted hour in the girls’ common room before Julian started feeling restless.
“Does anyone fancy a walk down to the town?” he asked leaning forward in his chair, elbows on his knees.
“I could go for a walk,” Darrell allowed with a small nod. She looked over at Sally. “How about you Sally?” she asked her best friend as David followed suit and picked up his own bag.
“Better wrap up warm though,” David said looking out of the window at the gray sky and seeing the trees bent against the wind.
“Let me just get my jacket then,” Darrell said standing up, bag over her shoulder.
“If you want to wait for us downstairs, we’ll catch you up,” Sally said over her shoulder as she led the way out of the common room. Darrell followed Sally as they made their way to her room smirking a little bit.
“I think you have to stop enjoying yourself so much when Julian hugs you,” Darrell teased her friend as Sally stopped to open the door to their room. Sally looked up sharply at Darrell as she turned the key in the lock.
“I don’t know what you mean,” Sally said turning away from her friend to push open the door. Sally stepped inside the room and clicked the light on.
Darrell followed her through the door and smiled as she shut it, leaning on it for a second. “Oh come on Sally, I’ve seen you blush when he hugs you, and if you’ll notice, I never get a hug off of him,” Darrell was grinning wickedly at her friend, her eyes twinkling.
Sally pretended to take no notice as she searched for a scarf to take out with her.
“Of course there is the fact that he likes you too to consider,” Darrell said with her grin still in place as she crossed the room to get her own coat. She watched Sally very carefully, her best friend was standing very still as she waited to hear what Darrell would say next.
“He seems very fond of you,” Darrell said gently aware that she may be treading on some toes. She picked up her coat and pulled it on. She was wrapping her scarf around her neck when Sally spoke.
“I think you’ve been reading too many of those romantic novels in your English class Darrell,” Sally said standing up straight and adjusting her coat. She grinned at her friend. “Ready to head off?”
Darrell nodded and motioned Sally out of the door first and grinned to herself as her best friend’s back was turned. Darrell decided not to say another word to Sally about it unless she brought it up first. She locked the door and followed Sally down the stairs to the front of the halls where the boys were waiting.
“You two look like you are wrapped up for Arctic winds,” David commented as they saw them.
“Well you were the one who said wrap up warm,” Sally said teasingly. “Are you two going to be warm enough? I’m not sure that Darrell and I have a jumper big enough for you, but we can offer you an array of nice colourful scarves.”
“I’ve got a nice floral one upstairs that would go nicely with your eyes David,” Darrell added teasingly. Darrell and Sally had to laugh at Julian and David’s astonished looks. The boys had to laugh too, when they caught site of each other’s faces.
“Shall we get going before the wind picks up any more?” Julian asked after a moment of laughter. Everyone nodded and trooped outside.