78. Deep Blue

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A/N: I'm not going to make a habit of all these author's notes, promise! Just wanted to say thank you to all of you for your continued support of this story. I honestly didn't know how last week's chapter would go down! I know you all loved Minnie, I loved her too, and I wasn't sure if what happened would make you all stop reading immediately, but I think you're all still here, and you've all been wonderful. Thank you, everyone.

Anyway, here's this week's chapter - another tear-jerker, I think, and also I think the longest so far, so if you're sitting comfortably, we shall begin...

* * *

When the sunshine is not enough
To make me feel bright
It's got me suffering in the darkness
That's so easy come by on the roadside
Of one long lifetime

When you're a child, you think the people around you - your family, your friends - will be there forever. When you get older, people inevitably drift apart. People you used to see everyday, quickly become distant and when you're young, busy, doing things with your life, you don't even notice. You don't even miss them.

It wasn't like that for me and Minnie. We stuck together. Wherever she went, I went. Wherever I was, she was. Hamburg, New York, London. Nearly ten years ago Minnie and I made a childish promise that we would stick together, no matter what, and no one would come between us.

...Promise me, Hannah. No matter what happens, you will never go back there...

...You promise me too...

...Don't worry about that. Over my dead body will I set foot in that city again...

A lot has happened since then. We've grown up. We've met people, we've lost people. We have been close at times and distant at others, but she was always there. I could always find her, contact her, speak to her, reach out and touch her.

Minnie's broken her promise to me.

She's gone. Gone forever.

And I am lost.

I am cut adrift. I feel like I'm floating in deep, dark water with nothing to grab ahold of.

I'm not floating. I'm drowning.

It's a beautiful morning. The sun is bright and everything feels crisp and fresh and new. It's an uncommonly hot and sunny British summers day.

It's not suitable. Not at all.

I'm sitting on the edge of the bed. I don't know what else to do, but sit here and wait. I can hear everyone else in the front room, on the other side of the house, quite clearly. They're talking loudly, laughing - laughing! - and even though it's early, they're all drinking too. It's what you do at funerals in Liverpool.

We're not quite in Liverpool. We're at George's parent's house in Appleton, closer to Warrington than Liverpool. Black Daimler limousines will take us from here to the church in Penny Lane.

Bobbie is crying in the next room. She's been crying for ages. Why doesn't someone come and get her?

She's in an old cot, borrowed from George's brother and set up in his parent's bedroom. George's mother isn't very well at the moment, but she's insisted on looking after Bobbie for most of the time we've been here. I have the spare room back, the same one I slept in when George and I came here, and despite the fact we now have a baby together, George is sleeping on a camp bed in the living room. I haven't protested about it, but he keeps making excuses anyway, telling me he doesn't want to upset his parents - We're both still married to other people. It's their house, it's different to when they came to visit us, we should do what they want. They're old fashioned. It's only for a few nights.

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