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Shadows Settle On The Place That You Left

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The night before your wedding, you’re supposed to be all smiles. Preparing a few last minute bits, maybe confirming timings with your wedding party, enjoying your last night before the rest of your life begins. But for Zosia, she felt quite the opposite. Something just didn’t feel right.

Of course she missed her mother, she always expected that when this day came that would be a huge void she could never fill. Colette had been trying her best, having flown over from Chicago to see her the closest thing she had to a daughter of her own get married, but no matter how hard she tried she was no Anya. Beyond that, Zosia found it difficult to move past her teenage resentment towards Colette. Yes, she had been ineffably helpful during her manic period – especially after she found out about the overdose. At the time, she had done everything to ensure she got the help she needed, but some tiny part of her could not let go of the resentment over her mother’s illness and all the time she spent with her father. Irrespective of all of that, she simply wasn’t her mother. Nobody ever would be.

But that still didn’t explain why, the night before her wedding, she found herself sat alone in the Keller locker room. Her mother never even made it to the end of Zosia’s time at med school, she would never know this was where she ended up, she never even knew Keller existed. Perhaps, she thought, it was because this was where she started out. Fresh out of med school, wide-eyed and naïve, running around with an undiagnosed mental disorder, claiming her mother was alive. Even through the bad memories, this place would always be home. This was where she met her two greatest friends and roommates in Dominic and Arthur, and her original mentors in Sacha and Serena.

And then it clicked.

Arthur.

This was the place they met - officially, anyway. So many pivotal moments in her life involved Arthur and Keller, and Dominic too, and it just didn’t feel right that part of their trio was missing out on her big day. He should be here, she thought.

She didn’t know how long she had been sitting there, alone, in silence, with her phone switched off, she had no concept of the time. By the time Dominic burst through the door, stethoscope in hand, clearly at the end of his shift, she figured she must’ve been there a while.

“What a day.” Dominic sighed to himself, before noticing his present company. “Oh, hey Zosh. Didn’t see you there. What are you doing here? I thought I was meeting you at your place?” The troublesome twosome had, of course, had agreed to spend the night before the wedding together. Zosia and Ollie were, as per tradition, spending their night apart, and Dominic had of course been first in line to keep Zosia company, seeing as they barely saw anything of each other these days. He missed his best friend, and jumped at the chance to catch up for a whole night.

“I don’t really know.” She sighed, looking up at him with glassy eyes. “I guess I just wanted to feel close to him, Arthur, I mean.” She gulped as she repressed a sob. “I just sort of ended up here.”

“Oh, Zosh.” He abandoned his open locker and immediately sat himself next to her.

“I miss him, Dom. So, so much.” She let a stray tear fall down her cheek as she thought about the missing puzzle piece. “He should be here. He should be here, watching me get married.”

“He’d be super obnoxious, like he always was. He’d say I told you so. He always believed you and Ollie would work it out. You don’t want ‘I told you so’ on your wedding day.” Snarky wit was Dominic’s go to coping mechanism. He couldn’t deal with real emotions properly, couldn’t move on like a proper adult. He resorted to the only way he knew how to cope.

“I’m serious, Dominic. Can’t you just be serious for once in your life?” She yelled, her voice cracking through the tears. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled at you. I just – this is so hard. He was our best friend. I want him to be here being obnoxious because it would mean he’d be here, alive.”

Dominic put his arms around the distraught young doctor and let her cry it out for a few minutes, desperately trying to hold himself together for her. He wasn’t one to show his real emotions, the master of snark and sass, he never let the façade drop. Of course he missed Arthur too, after his recent conversation with Lofty about him, he realised his feelings towards Arthur were far more complicated than just friends, but he’d never figured that out until prompted.

He suspected Zosia might be feeling the same. After all, she was the one who actually hooked up with him, way back when. She had told him time and time again that it was nothing serious, and she was a fresh-faced, naïve, young F1 with an undiagnosed manic disorder, just looking for human contact. If anything, Arthur was the one in love with her. However, that’s not to say her own feelings were simple and uncomplicated. True, she never imagined this day with Arthur as her groom, but she always knew she wanted him involved in some capacity, and maybe had she not been so manic, a more tranquil version of her would’ve given in to Arthur’s awkward advances and maybe they could’ve been happy, for a time at least.

“Right, come on, dry your eyes. Arthur wouldn’t want you crying over him the day before your wedding. Nor would Ollie, for that matter.” Dominic mused, emitting a watery laugh from Zosia.

“Thank you, Dom.” She smiled, resting her head on his shoulder.

“Arthur would be so proud of you, Zosh. He’ll be with you tomorrow, and all days, even though he’s not physically here.”

“You think?”

“Of course, like he’d miss the wedding of the century.” He rolled his eyes and smiled, standing up and offering Zosia his hand. “Now up you get, we’ve got a lot of mischief to achieve tonight. The terrible two, back in action for one night only.”

“You’re ridiculous.” Zosia laughed, grabbing his hand as they left the room, running down the corridors of Keller.

The wedding would go on to be perfect, with bright sunshine and a light breeze, surrounded by everyone Zosia and Ollie loved. Even Jac Naylor couldn’t stay away from the ceremony, she had a hand in setting them up in the first place and though she’d never admit it, had a soft spot for Zosia. The girl had so much talent, she reminded her a little of herself, but she had been through so much, she deserved happiness. Most importantly, Arthur would be looking down on her and smiling, happy that his best friend had found her own happy ending, at last.