twenty four || leslie's breakdown

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By the time Leslie arrived home from the Sunday wedding after a long dinner and reception, she was exhausted. The drive back to her parents’ house had consisted almost solely of her mother gushing over the dress and the flowers, all for a woman Leslie didn’t know while in the back, Cloe had quietly teased her about the bouquet.

“Technically, you caught it,” Leslie reminded her sister.

“That’s a minor detail.”

“It’s only a matter of time,” their mother piped up from the front seat. “You’ll both be married before you know it.”

Their father grunted. “As long as it doesn’t cost me.”

Leslie rolled her eyes and watched the darkened roads pass by, covering her mouth as she yawned. She couldn’t wait to get home.

It was after nine o’clock by the time she parked up and made her way to her flat, and it was almost ten by the time she had showered off the wedding and was comfortable beneath the covers. It hadn’t even crossed her mind to ring Greg: she’d hardly had time to think, let alone pick up the phone, and now she was too exhausted to bother.

***

“Someone’s looking a bit drained,” Sue commented as Leslie pushed open the door to the break room before work started. “Up all night with that man of yours, were you?” She threw a blindingly obvious wink Leslie’s way, much to Jackie’s dissatisfaction.

“No, actually,” Leslie said with a sigh. Even nine hours of sleep hadn’t wiped her exhaustion and she was beginning to wonder if it was emotional fatigue, if she had somehow overused her brain.

“Oh.” Sue’s face fell. “Rough night?” She winced a little and hopped off the table, ready to comfort if her aid was needed. Leslie just shrugged.

“I don’t even know. I slept well. I just feel … crap.”

Jackie glanced over her way, flicking through a magazine, and immediately averted her gaze. Leslie gave her the filthiest look she could muster.

“Take it easy, hun,” Sue said, squeezing Leslie’s arm. “Maybe you’re coming down with something.”

“Again?” Jackie snorted. “You have a job to do, Leslie,” she said. “You can’t take time off every time you feel a little bit crap.”

“I know,” Leslie said with a sneer. “I’m not asking for time off, if you were paying attention. I was just talking to my friend. Like you’d know what the fuck that feels like.” She spoke with more venom than she intended but where Jackie was concerned, she refused to apologise for her actions. Sue guided her through to the shop front, leaving Jackie on her perch by the microwave.

“What’s this about?” Sue asked. She spoke softly, each word like a hug. Leslie smiled.

“It’s nothing, really. I’m fine.”

“Les, I know fine. Fine and I have been good friends for a while now, and this is not it.”

The corners of Leslie’s mouth fought with gravity. She forced a wobbly smile. “Really,” she said, a quiver hiding under her voice, “I’m ok. Thanks, though.”

Sue gave her a wary look. “I don’t believe you for one second,” she said. “If I hear that you’re lying to me, I won’t be happy.”

Leslie almost laughed. “I’m not a kid, Sue. I can handle myself.”

After a moment of watching her, Sue relaxed somewhat. “Speaking of kids, I think Lisa wants me to have a nervous breakdown.”

Leslie raised an eyebrow. “What happened to being good friends with fine?”

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