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Magda Trickett

See, people get mean when the chips are down

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Magda Trickett

“Lucas? Hey, you back yet? Huh? Lucas?

 

This irritating refrain continued unabated for several seconds, accompanied by a hammering fist motif, until Lucas Kettering finally answered his front door. The knocker, Magda, pushed past him without saying hello. She’d been wandering Hackney looking for someone to bother for nearly an hour, and the search had given her time to stew.

 

“Do people ever treat you weird here? Cause we all went off to school, you know, and left our old lives behind, and now when I’m back home it’s like this weird… feeling, like I don’t fit anymore.” She collapsed onto the couch and began absently picking at a scab on her knee. “And I need to fit.”

 

She’d been haunting her Hackney friends like a ghost since the beginning of the summer break, mostly because she didn’t know how to get to Bitsy, Brooklyn, and Winston’s houses. The London borough was easily accessible once she’d figured out muggle transport; it was just a bus ride away from Knockturn. She kept expecting Lucas or Jo to tell her to leave them alone. They had other friends here, after all. Friends and family and a whole separate life.

 

And what did she have?

 

“Sorry, nevermind,” she mumbled, annoyed with herself for bringing it up. “Can we watch your picture box, telly thing?”

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Lucas Kettering

The shower had been cold, even brutal if not for the rivulets of sweat that collected from his part-time work mowing lawns and then biking back to Hackney. The water heater was out again, and Lucas was only mildly annoyed as he pulled dry clothes on. More annoying was the constant knocking downstairs. The list of suspects:

 

1. Livvy. His stepmum always forgot her bloody house key which she insisted on keeping on a separate heart key chain with glitter inside.

2. Phoebe. She had it on her but liked to be welcomed home.

3. Chloe. Few and far in between instances.

4. His dad. Nate had finally scored a lucrative narratorship for some children’s series that made him go into work a regular two or three days a week. Lucas had taken his keys to make sure he couldn’t get back in before then.

 

Or Magda. Of course.

 

He took time blotting his neck dry as he went down the steps, through a shaft of evening light and dust. The door might rip open under the cyclone’s force; Livvy’s ~~positive vibes~~ plaque had certainly taken a dive onto his dirtstained trainers. He opened the door to see who he’d expected, Magda in all her ‘90s aesthetic. “What.”

 

Nearly two years later, and Lucas still looked like the boy who swam in the lake on sorting night—scrawny, the start of a cut, mouth curling with subdued amusement or surprise. “You didn’t break in this time,” Lucas said flatly, allowing his friend passage. “That’s weird.”

 

He’d hoped to leave the conversation at that. In fact, he should’ve seized the chance to turn on the telly, but Magda slumped on the sofa, like his sisters often did after a bad day at school. When he’d been here still to see it, to say or do anything about it. “Fit in your neighborhood or what?” A real question this time. Lucas turned the television on, but grey eyes stayed on the other form.

Edited by Lucas Kettering

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Magda Trickett

“I’m trying to be, like, polite, or proper, or whatever,” Magda said, propping worn, dirty trainers with rainbow laces on the coffee table and entirely missing the irony of her juxtaposed actions and statements. “It was really boring though. Next time I’ll just pick the lock.”

 

She sank down a little farther into the couch cushions as Lucas turned on the picture box. She could feel her stomach sinking too, sliding all the way down to the scuffed tips of her stolen shoes. It felt sort of like a cold egg cracked against her sternum and left to the mercy of gravity. Lately, she got that feeling whenever she thought about her family for too long.

 

Problem: they didn’t seem to be thinking about her at all.

 

Solution: ??????

 

This was the sort of thing she usually would have confessed to Bitsy, but at the moment her only channel of communication with her best friend was pen and ink, the use of which made her hand and brain hurt. Lucas was a good second option, partly because he was physically here and partly because he never judged.

 

“No, my family,” she said softly, burying the end of the sentence in another near-intelligible mumble. She pinned her gaze to a dishwasher soap advert splashed across the telly. “They just think I’m sort of weird. Like going to school changed me, or brainwashed me, or something. They don’t get it. I mean, they don’t want to.”

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