*looks mournful* Here! No excuses. *chirps up* Chapters!
James has probably been on a broom since he could work (or before, if his father's anything to go by); six weeks on the ground is no laughing matter. If we didn't know it was serious before, we sure do now!
But he's being grown up about it. He has screwed his England chances (barring some mishap, which I'm not ruling out - but under current circumstances he's not coming back) and so is focusing on the team. It's good, it's a show of his growth and humility. But I particularly like it because this isn't a NEW side of James; he's always taken his work seriously, and this is more that aspect of him rising to the forefront than a whole new leaf.
All right, maybe a new leaf if he's not drinking with Freddie! Brigid may need a job which introduces her to more men who, as James says, AREN'T her clients. I mean, good for her, but that's a disaster in the making. At least they're rich sportsmen. She could do worse! Speaking of... Freddie...
And James passes on some of his refound maturity. By yelling, but - well, passes on his wisdom of not sitting around feeling sorry for one's self. And Freddie shows JUST HOW DEEP his damage goes. Woah, poor guy. I feel for him, but he is not his parents. This sounds more like an excuse shielding his own insecurities than literally "I don't know how to love her"; perhaps "I don't know how to be loved", because being raised in a loveless marriage is likely to mess with your head in a multitude of ways - but regardless of Freddie's EXACT damage, it's still legitimate damage. Clearly Freddie does know what a loving relationship LOOKS like, but I guess this means he knows he wasn't born of one.
James still says all the right things. Much love for James, as ever. I must again gush over him; it's hard to write a story from such a narrow perspective (if you're me), but James remains a nuanced and likeable character even if he's being childish or unlikeable, and so it keeps us reading, for him. It might be lovely to see other characters through his eyes, but we're still mostly here for him, for how others relate TO him. That said, I think this is why Lily is such a stand-out character in the story, because she has her Own Dramatic Impetus in a way nobody but James does.
BUT I DIGRESS. It's good that, even 30 years later, the war's not gone. It shouldn't be and wouldn't be. The parents were all so YOUNG when it happened, and that makes it all the more likely their suffering would pass on, even a little, to their children. It makes you wonder how much damage binds people together, and how much that matters. Still. They do have each other, and that's the part that shines through the most, and matters most. Good little chapter.
Author's Response: Yep, currently James' imminent England prospects are looking pretty non-existent. He HAS matured some - the him of old would've found it much harder to tell himself to move on with things, and he took the news of his drop pretty badly in the first place, of course. But he's learning to re-evaluate his priorities. And he HAS always been incredibly loyal towards the Falcons, but this is him realising that the team is bigger than him right now. And he'll have more chances. He's still only young!
Oh, Freddie. He's messed up. He's incredibly insecure, of course he is! It's almost an inferiority complex - given who his best pal is and who his family are, it's not hard to see why doubts might creep in. In essence, he cares too much for Brigid and doesn't want to allow himself that chance to screw things up - so he instead screws up his entire friendship with her. Of course he's capable of being in a loving relationship, it's just the entire concept is alien to him and so it scares him off. James ... is in a bit of an unfamiliar situation here. But nevertheless, he does a good job at telling Freddie what he needs to hear! Whether it actually has the desired effect is of course another issue entirely.
It really is reassuring to know that James remains loveable and understandable no matter how idiotic he's being! Having a more limited perspective DOES make it harder to portray him well when he's being a bit of a douche, because there's no other perspective to freshen things up or even things out, so I'm glad as always to know that he remains in people's good books! (Totally unsure about apostrophe usage there. YOU HAVE MADE ME PARANOID.)
Yes, war scars still remain. But they'll all get by, eventually, in their own ways. James is making progress, and Freddie is learning that he too can become his own person. Thanks for reviewing!