Lucia loved dancing. Connie loved cooking. Hannah came to look at their spare room. After she left they knew they’d found the housemate they’d been hoping for. She’d swept in with a smile and a laugh you’d want to hear first thing in the morning. When she spoke it was like someone you could talk to all night. But she never assumed, never pushed. “It’s been great to meet you—to see the place,” she said. “Just text me when you’ve decided.” She moved in the next week—spent most of her time studying. Every time she emerged, for a coffee or something to eat, or a break, or just to see how their days had been, the house brightened. Lucia and Connie fell in love with her separately. Their longing was silent and peaceful. It spread through the house like the perfume of fresh lilies. Even when Hannah introduced them to Zoe it was still there. The four of them sat around the old wooden table drinking cask red, no-one wishing the night to end.

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