Past Lives: Settling

This city will pull you in

Romantic and drenched in sin, love

You only have but a time

Until this place will swallow you whole

– “Settle”, Two Door Cinema Club

Melinda walks slowly through the streets, a chill wind ruffling her hair and making her raise a hand to the brim of her fedora, adjusting it with a sigh.

Winter is setting in, the second one she’ll spend here, and she remembers last year, trying not to smile.

Soon, Mary will start shivering in the office, bringing in dainty little shawls and cardigans. Melinda wonders if – like last year – List will scoff and manage to shove one of his thick sweaters, knitted by his mother, over her head when she’s not expecting it. Melinda recalls her secretary’s mussed hair and indignation, as well as List’s utter lack of remorse.

Speaking of which… Now will be about the time that he – usually such a self-conscious dresser – will start looking for those truly hideous snowman ties inherited from his father, “getting an early start”.

She shakes her head involuntarily. It’s not even November. His festive spirit manifests itself in odd ways.

A hand on her shoulder, and she touches her hip for a sword that isn’t there, finding a revolver instead, turning sharply – but she’s only greeted with floppy hair and a slightly guilty smile, Mary trailing behind him with her hands hugging her elbows and… yes, a sweet little pink cardigan.

List grins at her. “Hey, boss.”

She smiles back, small and wary. “Just… getting a start on a case.” Having a think sounds ridiculous to her mind’s ear.

He frowns, long legs slipping instinctively into step with her. “Alone? That’s just asking for trouble. Or getting eaten by demons.”

“And not in the good way,” Mary chips in behind them.

She and List stop, turning to stare at the other woman. “There’s a good way?” List asks, eventually.

Mary gives him a bright smile. “I like to think there’s a good way for everything.”

“I was doing this long before you came along, you know,” Melinda tells him, hating how patronising it sounds. “I can handle myself.”

Luckily, he just shrugs, offers her another lopsided, sheepish smile. “We got bored and thought you might be in the neighbourhood. Didn’t seem private, so I thought it was worth saying hi.”

She sighs, knowing that her irritation is barely there and letting it go completely. “Fair enough.”

She turns her eyes back to the autumnal streets – and she still thinks autumn, not fall, strangely, even here – and listens to their footsteps and their easy conversation, knowing there will be other winters, other cities. For now, she enjoys this one.

Not sure what year this is set – I only know that I’ve had this song in my head for days, and it inspired this. That and jumpers, which I’ve been avoiding wearing for as long as possible.


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