Josie had taken him down to Floor Eight, where Marigold was waiting with their laundry basket. She waved. “Took you long enough!”

“Veilleux! You didn’t tell me Marigold was going to be here,” Alex complained in a hushed tone, though she was already staring curiously at him.

“Of course she’s here. She’s my friend,” they said, positioning themself between the two of them like they were already preparing to defuse an argument. “And she doesn’t hate you.”

“Long time no see, Dr. Shithead,” she said cheerfully, reaching her arm out for a handshake. Josie gave her a pained look.

Alex grumbled and shook her wing. He was fully expecting her to crush his hand, but she did not, so he decided he was going to get it out of the way: “I’m sorry.” The words felt heavy in his mouth.

She seemed like she was genuinely considering it. “I already forgave you, like… god, how long ago was it? Like, the next day. You were being a dick, but we were both stupid drunk.”

“I know. There was way too much in that eggnog,” he said lamely, and they both laughed, though he couldn’t help running his fingers over the scar on the back of his hand. “How have things been?”

“Oh, yeah, good. Things have been good.” She stood up, and her face suddenly turned dark and serious. “Look, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the fuck out of here,” she said.

Both of them looked to her, visibly surprised.

“I’m serious!” She was already growing agitated. “We’re stuck in here. I’m not the only one who notices that, right?”

Alex and Josie turned to look at each other, silently asking each other what to do.

“I know what you mean, actually,” Alex shyly volunteered.