|27| Campanelle

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|27| - "My head is all over the place at the moment." -

Nathan slotted right into our little Italian flat dynamic, and we all soon fell into a routine. It probably helped that he'd visited several times before, but Jasmine treated him as if he'd been here with us from the start.

When we had late lectures, we'd return home to find Nathan cooking in the kitchen. If ever he had to work late, we would leave him a plate of food in the oven to eat once he'd finished. If Jasmine wanted to head out to take photos in the dusk lighting, Nathan and I would wait for her to get back before we ate.

If he was visiting for a weekend's holiday, it would be different, and him and I would do our own thing. But he wasn't visiting. He was staying. So that meant he needed to fit into our routine. After all, I wasn't prepared to shift Jasmine aside.

During the first week of February, the three of us were watching a film when mine and Nathan's phones pinged at the same time. Without looking, Nathan flicked his onto silent, but my eyes strayed to my screen, wondering who was sending us group messages.

Jack: The countdown is almost over. The time has nearly arrived. We've been crossing off the days on our calendars for weeks and now just 7 remain. 168 hours. I'm not a twat so there's no lame theme but it is valentine's day and photos will be posted to Instagram so try to look hot-filters only hide so much and my editing skills only go so far, Nathan. See you all in 168 hours!

Jack: Actually 167 hours - you need to be here for 6pm. Don't be late, fuckers.

I must have laughed out loud because both sets of heads turned to look at me. Smiling guiltily, I put my phone on silent, but I did steal a quick look at the group members to see if Jess was there. She was.

Just I went to follow Nathan's lead and ignore the messages in favour of the film, a new one popped up, and curiosity overcame me when I saw Jess' name.

Jess: Serious question. What if we find ourselves in a position where we're not looking hot enough for Instagram? Do we spend extra time rectifying that and risk being late? Instructions not clear from your message. Please advise.

I reread her message three times, trying to work out the tone of it. Was she messing around and playfully taking the piss out of Jack's instructions, or did her words have more hostile undertones? I couldn't imagine Jess would publicly attack him on a group chat, but then I had no idea of their current situation.

Jack: You don't need to worry about that. You're hot enough already.

Jack: But the red dress is my favourite. Just an FYI.

Jess: The red dress it is...

Well. That answers that, then.

"I'd say it's a clear strategy that they've come up with together," Jasmine said.

The film's credits rolled in the background as Nathan caught up on the group chat's messages. Jasmine, who didn't know either of them that well, felt most qualified to comment on the Jess and Jack situation from an outsider's point of view.

"You make it sound like they're plotting some kind of bank heist," Nathan said dryly, glancing sideways at her.

"If they both feel awkward discussing it with you, then this seems like the easiest way for them to essentially say, hey, FYI, we've got something going on."

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