“How’s your sister?”
Livy’s words died on her lips, as she repressed the urge of commenting she had been asking herself how long it would be before[Seth] enquired about Tara. She studied his expression closely, looking for clues on his feelings, but he remained impassable.
“She’s very well, thank you.” She hesitated before casually dropping the grenade. “Perhaps I shouldn’t say it, as official invitations have not been sent out yet, but she’s finally getting married next spring, after all the delays due to James’s mum’s bad health.”
“Is she?” Seth removed the cigarette from his mouth and Livy wondered if the news had detonated at all. He seemed unaffected by any explosion. “Nightmare for you.” He joked. “You’ll have James Douglas-Smith for brother-in-law.”
“Don’t remind me.” Livy rolled her eyes. “And a Tory as well.”
“Is he a minister yet?”
“Assistant to our local MP, for the time being, but I’d give him a couple of years to replace him.”
“That’s a scary thought. I definitely need a smoke now.”
Seth let his gaze wander around the room, as if absorbing the last few details before walking out of the exhibition for good, and Livy couldn’t help noticing a familiar shadow in his eyes. She had seen it before. It was there the day they had met again at the bridge, four years before, after she had heard about his illness. She had found him pale and thin, but in better spirit that she had imagined, as he did his best to rebuild his life. It was there the day they had travelled to London together, sharing a train journey as she returned to Goldsmiths for her final year and he moved on to his new job. And it was there at Tara’s twenty-first birthday party, when Livy had dried his tears and they had ended up spending the night together.
As she took in the sight of him absentmindedly fiddling with the cigarette, the memory of that night played vivid and present in front of her and a sudden rush of nostalgia engulfed her, filling her mind with what ifs.