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Chapter 1: Eighteen
At eighteen, life was about finding a way to be happy with all the bits that were left lying around...
Molly found it strange how she was unwillingly being thrust into adulthood whilst she still felt a little like a flailing teenager quite a lot of the time (although whenever she looked at fifteen year olds she had to admit they seemed extraordinarily young). They were subtle changes, mostly, but suddenly it was okay for older men to look at her and find her attractive without quickly trying to decided whether or not it was acceptable – she wasn’t sixteen anymore, there was no ambiguity about it, and now walking to the shop or ordering a drink at the Hogs Head it was okay for her to be hit on, commented about and discussed in crude and vulgar language loud enough for her ears to cringe away from it.
At eighteen, she had responsibilities. Although she hadn’t yet been called upon to vote for anything, she’d found herself spending a lot more time reading the Prophet in an attempt to find some reasoning for her views rather than just having them. Before her opinion actually counted she was quite happy to go along with whatever view seemed like a good one at the time: sometimes just to disagree with people she didn’t like; sometimes because she liked the way supporting the labour party made her feel like she had the moral high ground (although she rarely found anyone who’d discuss muggle politics with her anyway) and sometimes just for the hell of it. Mostly she was responsible for herself: decisions that were looming ever closer and whole futures that she was supposed to map out and work out.
She thought that it was bizarre that she had to decide what career she wanted for the rest of the life when she still had her socks washed for her, but she hadn’t yet learnt how to wash socks so she wasn’t going to complain too much about that (but it couldn’t be hard, right?). She liked the good bits of independence, at eighteen, and was finding herself wanting more and more to have her own space away from her parents, to cook for herself and not have to get the okay before she could actually go out and do anything. She didn’t think she was quite ready to be an adult just yet, but she was going to exploit this state of the in-between for as long as she could. She was old enough to know that being an adult was also kind of crap.
One very good reason for not-quite-being-an-adult was cemented in the fact that instead of going out to some pub, or some club, she’d been dragged into attending another house party instead. She knew that the main reason for this is that the places everyone who was of age in both worlds – or those who had acquired some form of fake ID – were muggle venues and whilst she had hit the big one eight last month, all her friends remained firmly at seventeen until after Christmas. Dexter had half heartedly suggested that they just confund one of the bouncers, but Molly had reminded him that when James tried that he got a caution, a black mark on his record and was grounded for a month. Aunt Ginny had been ‘disappointed’ and that was enough punishment for any man.
Dexter had called her uptight in retaliation to this, but they all knew that they weren’t really going to venture into the wider world of clubbing until they were all legal – mostly because they just weren’t those sorts of people.
Roxy had made quite a big deal about how she’d acquired a venue for the party, although Molly was very tempted to point out that this couldn’t have been a very difficult feet. Uncle George was not exactly well known for stamping his foot and not allowing either of his children to have the most amount of fun as possible – so she imagined the conversation beginning with ‘can I have a Christmas party?’ finished with ‘sure, don’t break any more windows.’ Still, she couldn’t complain: at least, this time, their party plans hadn’t resulted in another awkward non-event – something which had the tendency to happen every time a single person optimistically volunteered to sort out the adventure.
The end of the Christmas holidays had fallen early this year, but Molly still didn’t think she’d recovered well enough from the exhausting term to actually enjoy the party. So now she was half lying across the sofa watching as Roxy giggled and flirted excessively with long-term-boyfriend-number-two-and-a-half (depending on whether Rodger counted or not). She was fairly peacefully just sitting and watching, waiting until it was late enough that she could excuse herself, go home and sleep. That was another thing about growing old – she seemed to have lost her ‘party hard’ tendency already, and instead getting good and drunk seemed tiring and a little pointless rather than a great idea for a fun night. Not that she hadn’t already drunk more than she would admit to her parents (of age or not of age, she just didn’t think they needed to know their little girl drank Red Spark Spritzers like they were pumpkin juice – let alone what Lucy drank).
“Life and soul of the party.” Dexter commented, sitting on the arm of the sofa and raising his eyebrows at her. If she wasn’t half way to drunkenness herself, she probably would have picked up on the fact that Dexter was the walking unconscious.
“Sod off.” Molly said, rolling her eyes and shutting them for a second. She couldn’t be bothered with him for the time being.
“Oh, so witty.”
“I know right,” Molly returned, pulling herself upright and finishing the rest of her glass before setting it down on the side, “is there something you wanted?”
“Well, not your company for one.”
“I could have guessed that.”
“Unfortunately, Ian, Tom and I are nearly out of booze.”
“And this is my problem because...?”
“You’re the resident eighteen year old, Molly.”
“I told everyone last week that I would not be doing the alcohol run,” Molly said irritably, “and I’m all set, so...”
“You know you’re going to give in.” Dexter said before standing up and crossing the living room to exit out onto the porch. Outside the other males of their group were congregated and Molly half suspected that the reason for this was that they could smoke without Roxanne going apeshit.
It wasn’t like Roxanne could talk, given she’d gone through her own little smoking phase whilst accompanied with serious boyfriend number one and a half (again, do we count Roger?) and was still liable to be found leaning against walls and stealing quick smokes from people at slightly cooler parties. Molly herself was more or less the same: she had to appreciate that fags were much nicer than she wanted them to be, but also that her dad might die if he ever heard about her doing something like smoking. She’d never had a whole cigarette to herself, nor did she want to, but there was no harm in passing one back and forth, or just making do with good old fashion second hand smoke, was there? (Other than the obvious health effects, but she tended not to think of those too much). Still, if Roxanne knew about the whole smoking on her patio thing she’d probably be using their lighters to set fire to their eyebrows, or making them lick their cigarette butts off the floor.
Lucy, who always managed to worm her way into these plans no matter how much it bothered Molly, was currently dancing with Simrath and Ella. Molly grudgingly had to admit that Lucy was the superior out of the three, and was astounded by her sister’s extreme levels of class given the half bottle of firewhisky she was currently bearing in her left hand. The straw sticking out of the bottle really topped the scene off nicely.
Not that Molly was much better, at least when she was actually in the mood for one of their little parties. There were a few horribly embarrassing incidents that had occurred over the years and she wouldn’t exactly want anyone to think that she spent all parties sat on the sofa watching rather than participating. Nor would she want anyone to think was a drunken twit, although she’d had her moments. At eighteen Molly could tell you that life was all about balance – and although she hadn’t quite mastered this balance thing just yet and mostly wound up veering one way to another on issues like this, she’d decide in the end. And that was what was important.
“Molly!” Roxy declared, pulling herself off the boyfriend for a minute and throwing herself down on the sofa next to her with a woozy grin. Speaking of balance, Roxanne never seemed to able to reach that middle point, as far as alcohol was concerned, and either wound up very sober and very bored or hideously emotional and silly. This was her house which meant that for her, pre-drinks had started two hours before anyone but Molly and David (the boyfriend) had arrived... meaning she was both emotional and silly, “seventh year is really hard.” She complained, chewing on her bottom lip.
Molly took Roxy’s drink from her hands and placed it on the side. She took a good sip out of it first, for good measure. She was saving Roxy further embarrassment really. Molly was practically a saint. A fact which, in honesty, everyone should really learn to appreciate more.
“Agreed.” Molly said with a sigh, staring woefully at her own empty glass before finishing off Roxy’s drink in an act of extreme friendship.
“So what do you think of David?”
“You’ve been dating for four months.” Molly deadpanned, glancing up to where David was rather goofily attempting to do some sort of samba with a near hysterical Erin, who despite being considered fabulously hot by all males everywhere (particularly the ones smoking outside – never mind that most of them were taken respectively by the others wandering around) she really was the most terrible dancer.
“Yeah, I know.” Roxanne said sappily. Even Molly had to admit that this was the most mature of Roxy’s relationships so far (definitely including Rodger this time). Unlike with Wilson she’d learnt about this thing called trust and had toned down the clingy ‘we’ve decided what our children are going to be called’ part of her normal boy-hysteria to a bare minimum: only deciding that she loved him a little over a week ago (something which, in Roxanne terms, was an incredible feet of nature).
“I like him.” Molly admitted, and it was a truth that wasn’t so easy to spit out. She’d become accustomed to groaning and moaning about Roxy’s boyfriends with her as she rode the rollercoaster of heartache, jealousy, arguments and the eventual ‘should I break up with him’ that always followed. Now, as the honeymoon period quickly began fading, Molly was finding that she was actually having to help out Roxy with genuine problems and that her normal sentiment of ‘if he’s making you unhappy, dump the bastard’ didn’t cut it so well when there was genuine feelings to be considered. Instead Roxy had been experimenting with this little thing she called ‘working on a relationship’ and Molly was well and truly baffled by it all.
But now it was practically an adult relationship. It was nearly serious.
“I’m going outside for a minute,” Molly said, pulling herself off the couch and glancing round the room. Erin’s boyfriend, Ian, had emerged and wrapped her arms around her waist with a grin. It was like a freaking love fest in here – an outrageous reminder of singledom that pissed her off a little. At least outside she could just watch her guy-friends be brainless idiots sans sappiness.
“If the others are smoking tell them that I hate them.” Roxanne said, letting herself be pulled up by Molly’s drunken sister (her boyfriend was ceremoniously not invited, because everyone all hated his guts – meaning that at least she was acting like she was single) and forced into waltzing around the room to a rock song by ‘Expelliarmus!’ who really should have stuck to cheesy pop – and maybe not even bothered with that.
“Roxy’s gonna kill you.” Molly said as she stepped gingerly onto the patio, trying not to let her stilettos wind up stuck between the cracks between the slabs of concrete and making a note to remind Uncle George to sort it out at some point soon. If she wound up face down in one of his plant pots she would not be happy. Actually, she might end up a little too happy as Uncle George certainly had a peculiar sense of what plants to plant. Most of which were astoundingly illegal.
“What’s she going to do?” Dexter said, shrugging his shoulders at her. There were now four of them clustered round the little wooden picnic table and Molly resigned herself to joining them – squeezing next to Dexter and glaring at him for good measure.
“Hopefully hurt you a lot,” Molly returned, leaning on her elbows, “anyone fancy entertaining me in any way?”
“I’ll make out with you, if you like.” Zak suggested with a grin.
“No, ta,” Molly said with an eye roll, “any other suggestions?”
“Oh if only I was available.” Tom said with an overly dramatic gesture. Lucy's best friend's guy. Not invited. Go figure.
“Never stopped you before, mate.” Zak returned, punching him in the shoulder. Queue laughter.
“You could always entertain yourself by walking down to the shop and getting us some more booze?”
“I’ll give you a twenty,” Tom suggested, pulling his wallet out his pocket and waving around a twenty pound note, “in return for change.”
“How much change?”
“Okay, how’s this,” Zak said, tossing a fiver onto the table, “you buy us a bottle of jagermeister and some cheep energy drink... you can have a third of the bottle.”
“A quarter.” Tom corrected.
“For free?” Molly said, picking up the notes that had been tossed around and considering this for a moment.
“Classy,” Dexter hissed at her, pulling out his own fiver, “so you’ll do it?”
“Well I’m not walking to the shop on my own,” Molly said finally, “I’ll fall over in my heals and die.”
“I’ll walk with you.” Dexter said, standing up with a can of beer in his hands.
“Does it have to be you?” she asked, crossing her arms and grinning sarcastically at him. “Only if I get to keep the change.”
“If it’s less than a fiver, sure,” Tom said, “and don’t take forever, yeah?”
“Wouldn’t want you to dehydrate.” Molly agreed, pocketing the money and heading back indoors to grab her bag.
“Alcohol run, want anything?” She asked in the doorway, resigning herself to lugging her weight in alcohol back to Roxy’s after several more orders were placed, “muggle alcohol,” she pointed out when Lucy tried to order more Firewhiskey, “anyway, you’re not even of age in the wizarding world – so you can forget it.”
“You can have some of mine,” Roxy told her, sticking her tongue out at Molly. Molly returned the sentiment by lifting up her middle finger. Maybe she wasn’t an adult just yet.
“Come on Molly, no need for heartfelt goodbyes this time –it’s a ten minute walk.”
“It’s dark,” Molly muttered, grabbing her handbag from the floor before following Dexter out the front door, “we might die, and then you’ll be my last memory and quite frankly -”
“Ah, drunken ramblings.” Dexter said with a fake nostalgic sigh, tripping over his feet in his attempt to be sarcastic and walk at the same time.
“So, Dexter,” Molly said after a few minutes, “slept with anymore sixth years recently?”
“No, just the two.” Dexter said back, nudging her with her elbow and causing her to have to take an extra few steps to stop herself falling over.
“What is it with the sixth years though, seriously, I actually heard one talking about how hot you were the other day?”
“Maybe it’s just cause I’m a really nice person.”
“Right,” Molly said with a half laugh, “no... I doubt it. Either way, what’s your current count now? Four? Five?”
“Five,” Dexter said, taking another sip of his beer, “if you count Vikki.”
“She counts herself,” Molly said, “even if you think she’s beneath you.”
“She was beneath me.”
“See , this is why we don’t get on Dexter,” Molly said with a shake of the head, plucking the beer out of his hand and taking a sip before handing it back to him, “I mean, most of the time you’re an arrogant a-hole, but I can deal with that – but then with girls you’re just...”
“Ah, come on Molly. Sixth years are only a year younger than us.”
“I liked her.”
“Really now? Cause if you really liked her then surely you would have, I don’t know, dated her.”
It was very dark, just as she had expected, and due to the frankly freezing December chill she wrapped her arms around herself as they walked quickly up the road and into the centre of the village: where the allure of the off-licence was pulling them both onwards.
“I would have done if she didn’t start deluding herself into thinking that being slaggy is cool – I couldn’t date her then, could I?”
“And yet you still slept with her.” Molly said, pulling her handbag up her arm and looking downwards so that she didn’t have to face the bitter wind head on.
“You’re in a bad mood today,” Dexter commented, “something gotten up your arse?”
“Like I’d talk about with you, you’d just laugh and call me frigid.”
“So romance issues?” Dexter suggested.
“No, that’s just what you always do – laugh and call me frigid.” He laughed at that.
“You make it so easier to insult you.”
“Likewise,” Molly returned with a half smile, “it’s irresistible.”
“So, if you apparently think you have some crazy charm how come you’ve never tried to hit on me?”
“It sounds like you’re asking me to hit on you.”
“I’m not,” Molly said, “and it wouldn’t work either.”
“Hell, Molls, if I wanted us to get off we’d be making out by now.”
“Sod off,” Molly said pulling her arms tighter around her, “you wouldn’t be able to.”
“You’re making it sound like a challenge.”
“That isn’t what I meant.” Molly said, flushing.
“Cause we’ve been alone for five minutes now, and if I wanted to make out with you I would be now.”
“Well, why don’t you want to?”
“So you do want me to make out with you?”
“No, shut up Dexter, that’s not what I mean at all,” Molly muttered irritable as they reached the little cluster of shops that marked the centre of Roxy’s bit of town. “Right, I’ll get the drinks.”
“And I’ll wait here.”
“Yeah,” Molly said, stepping into the warm brightness of the off licence and blinking around for a few minutes. She could have sworn that she hadn’t drunk that much, but it still seemed like the words were moving a little as she tried to focus and read them. She couldn’t remember what Roxy had wanted for a long moment, as she stood deliberating over whether it was the blue or the orange that she’d asked for, before remembering she hadn’t asked for an alcopop at all and disappearing to the other side of the little shop to pick out the right glass bottle.
The shop keeper didn’t judge her even when she asked for a bottle of jagermeister to add to her hoard and handed over a good wad of notes (she was a teenager, he probably expected this sort of behaviour). Although he did look at her ID for a long time before allowing her to leave the stop, bottles jangling merrily at her side.
“Carry.” Molly said, handing one of the bags over to Dexter as she tried to put her purse back inside her handbag. She found the clasp was hard to do up when her fingers were this numb and she was that drunk, but she managed eventually despite Dexter’s continued huffing and sighing.
“So... you want to know why I’m not attracted to you, is that it?”
“Yes.” Molly said with a sigh of relief, knowing that if she were sober she’d find this sort of question so demeaning she’d probably never have voiced it. Or thought it.
“Well I’ve known you since you were eleven.”
“Yeah.” Molly said, taking his beer again and draining it completely before returning it to his waiting hands.
“And, you... well, when you were eleven you were... a bit... a bit of a geek. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but – you were a bit weird, you know. Not just the geek thing I mean – you were out and out special.”
“Damn straight,” Molly said, trying to envision herself as the stumbling awkward a little too sarcastic eleven year old who no one quite understood. She’d been picked on quite a bit, but that had just been who she was – it had never really bothered her (except deep down, but then again everyone has their scars deep down). “Eugh, I need to pee.” Molly added, glancing down at her feet.
“I mean, to be fair, you’re a pretty nice looking girl.”
“Gee whiz, Dexter, stop it.”
“And I like you and everything,” Dexter said with a shrug, “but we’ve been friends for too long.”
“True,” Molly said, “and to be fair I can’t stick you.”
“So what’s up, Mollywobbles?” Dexter asked, stopping in the middle of the alleyway and leaning back against the lining fence. There was a lamppost emitting a warm orange light around them, and through that light Molly could see Dexter’s vaguely interested expression.
“They’re all, you know, not single. Again. Why do you think it is that I’m always single?”
“Well, have you seen anyone that you want?” Dexter asked, artfully flicking his empty can of beer into the bush. Normally that might have sparked Molly off on a long lecture about the environment, but alcohol seemed to loosen all her usual moral standards a little. Particularly ones concerning not voicing things that made her seem a tad on the pathetic side.
“No,” Molly admitted, “but I’m eighteen – surely I should have had some serious relationship by now?”
“Why?” Dexter asked, still leaning against the fence, “maybe you just haven’t met anyone your type yet.”
“Do I even have a type?” Molly asked, putting her hand on her hip and staring gloomily up towards the sky, “Roxanne’s type always seems interchangeable.”
“Forget Roxanne, you’re Molly. Look, you’ve always been, eh... different to them, right? We’re eighteen; no one’s going to look down on you for not having a boyfriend any more Molly. It’s not about beauty, or boys, or falling in love anymore. Everyone just expects you to be with someone who makes you happy. Are you happy?”
“Most of the time.” Molly said grudgingly.
“Well then.” Dexter said with a smug little smile.
“I didn’t think it would be possible to find you any more annoying, Dex.” Molly said with a grin, “but I could practically feel your arrogance seeping out there, it was revolting.”
“Glad to be of service,” Dexter said with a return grin.
“You enjoyed that so much,” She complained, “and then you just had to whack out the ‘aren’t you happy’ card. Disgusting, Dexter, disgusting.”
“Oh come on Molly, you know what I mean. The days of drama should be behind us now, we’re adults.”
“I’m an adult,” Molly corrected, “and let’s get home before my legs freeze off.”
“No, I need a minute.” Dexter said – glancing up at the moon for a long moment.
“Look, I need the loo – can you not just hurry up.”
“I know you need the loo,” Dexter grinned, “but I’m not leaving yet.”
“Oh come on,” Molly said with an irritated sigh, “you’re making me want to strangle myself. That would be so much less painful than this.”
“If being in a relationship makes you happy, be in a relationship; if, like you, you’re a frigid bitch who can’t stick the restrictions of having to spend too much time with a single person then... then just be alone forever!”
“I wish I was alone right now,” Molly said with an eye roll, “I really need the loo now - this isn’t funny anymore.”
“There’s a bush down there.”
“I’m not peeing in a bush!”
“I hope your enjoy pain then,” Dexter said, stepping forwards then leaning against the lamppost for a long moment. “I might go in a minute, actually.” Dexter said.
“I cannot physically pee in a bush.”
“Yeah, you can,” Dexter said, “and we’re not going anywhere until you do.”
“Are you purposefully an arsehole?”
“No, it just happens,” Dexter grinned, “some people have natural talent.”
“I know people like that. I wish they were here.”
“You love it,” Dexter said, “remember, Molly, if you get thirst there’s plenty to drink.”
“Water, water, drop drop drop.” Dexter sang off key to the tune of some terrible song that’s original lyrics were possibly even worse than his adaptation.
“I’ll go if you go.” Molly said with a sigh.
“Fine by me, hold.” Dexter said, passing me the plastic bag and disappearing into the gloom for a moment, beyond the light of the lamp to the point that no one could see him even if they tried (not that Molly was about to attempt it). Molly leant against the lamppost for a second and raised her eyes to the sky, shivering. Barely a minute later Dexter re-emerged.
“For you maybe,” She muttered, passing him both of the bags and her handbag before strolling into the darkness herself. She took a deep breath, swallowed back what was left of her dignity and squatted. “You better not be watching!” She called back out to Dexter.
“Believe me, Molly, even if you were as smoking hot as Erin I would sincerely and honestly not be watching you pee in a bush.”
“Fair play,” Molly muttered, closing her eyes for a moment and pretending that she was someone else. She hadn’t peed in a bush since she was around five years old, and this temporary deviation into childhood was all Dexter’s fault.
It was hard to remind herself that she was an adult whilst trying to avoid pissing on her own feet.
“I had a very full bladder.” Molly said upon returning back to the patch of light and finding Dexter deliberately looking at his watch.
“Shove off,” she said, “and let’s not tell people about this?”
“What? That you peed in a bush?”
“No,” Molly said, “that we had an actual serious conversation.”
Dexter laughed and fell back into step with her, not giving her either of the bags full of clinking bottles back to her. “That’s the beautiful thing about our relationship.”
“What relationship?” Molly questioned dryly.
“That we insult each other, rip on each other and continually piss each other off, but... deep down, we’re actually good friends.”
“Very deep down.”
“Maybe a friend is a strong word?”
“Not as strong as arrogant bastard.”
“Yeah, thanks Dexter, I’m eighteen years old and I don’t know how to count to two.”
“Maybe that’s why you’re single.”
“You’re single too.”
“Yeah,” Dexter said with a shrug, “but I’m also getting laid.”
“Well,” Molly shrugged as they reached the door to Roxy’s house. Molly wondered whether she might be able to disappear now, whether it was late enough, but also decided that she didn’t want to escape as much as she had done previously. Instead she quite wanted to join in laughing at the rest of them being drunk, maybe convince someone into playing drunken exploding snap (which was always a good laugh until somebody lost an eyebrow, and still a good laugh if your eyebrows remained safe from the carnage) or sticking on the TV and watching some muggle documentary about genetic engineering.
She wanted to drink her share of the alcohol she’d carried, not mention the nearly-pissing-all-over-her-shoes incident and maybe exploit her own little way of flirting (mostly seated in getting angry about some issue or other, as she couldn’t deny she loved a good old debate) with, well, it would have to be Zak or Dexter essentially. Maybe being an adult was about accepting your own short comings and deciding that, in reality, it didn’t matter if she didn’t feel like a party right now – because tomorrow she might do, or she might not. Right now she felt the need to produce a boyfriend, but most of the time she didn’t have a time to divide her life up anymore to fit one in. No, it was okay to be a walking contradiction, “we all know I’m a frigid bitch.” Molly shrugged.
“Remember, Molly, happiness.” Dexter said.
“You know I don’t like abstract nouns.” Molly said.
“Oh, elation then.”
“Hogwarts really needs to give lessons on grammar,” Molly said with a sigh, watching grimly as Dexter threw his arms up into the air like some hero as he re-entered the house party with extra alcohol. Maybe she would go home, after all – there was plenty of time in her adult life to go to parties and get drunk, most probably with the same people that were hanging around today.
“Molly wobbles, your prize awaits.” Zak said from the doorway, retrieving a shot glass from somewhere and beginning to mix her drink in a plastic cup – provided by Uncle George to avoid the unavoidable broken glass situation.
“Fine,” Molly muttered, tottering back through the door in her stupid heels and taking the glass with a grimace. It wasn’t every day you got free alcohol, “Dexter, if that was your hand anywhere near my arse then I implore you to chop it off before I do.”
“That was me actually.” Zach said cheerfully.
“I’m going nowhere your arse, thanks.” Dexter added.
“Just give me my drink,” Molly muttered under her breath, collapsing back onto the sofa with a world-weary sigh that much surpassed her age. Dexter sent her a smirk and she rolled her eyes fondly. He may a first class prat, but she found his ability to be a complete tosser sort of endearing too.
“Dance Molly.” Lucy said, grabbing her hand and pulling her back up to her feet. She wound up faux-waltzing around the room with Erin, conning Ian out of a little more than the promised quarter of a bottle and eventually throwing a glass of water in Dexter’s direction. But that was okay.
She was only eighteen, after all.
A/N - Hello there! Now, I'm allowed to start this new story because it is going to be a SHORT STORY with only FOUR CHAPTERS. This story is for the Lexicon challenge. The word for this chapter being 'elation.'
Next time: Molly is seventeen and with Roxanne head over heels in love with Wilson the pressure's on to produce a boyfriend from SOMEWHERE or other (or else, she might die... apparently).