Brian's attempt to woo Jane in chapter 13

The encounter in Blow Your Speakers had been beyond weird. Jane felt terrible. This Brian guy was so nice to her, and she’d just told him where to go – again! It had been easy to dismiss Brian at first, he’d seemed like a loser, a waste of her time. But there was more to him than that: he’d been working hard to learn statistics, and he’d made impressive progress. She liked how awkward he was around her, and how he always defaulted to talking stats. It was endearing. It could derail her research, though, and he could never know about that. She was a monster, and if he found out the truth it would be another let-down. Best to keep her distance.

The phone rang. It was her brother, Jake. She loved and admired Jake like no one else. Until he left home, he’d been her sanity in the madhouse that they grew up in. Their parents, both highly successful academics, were at home only long enough to pile the pressure on them both to succeed. Jane reacted by spending her youth in books, in a futile pursuit of their attention. Every set of straight As was met with ‘these are just a step towards the exams that really matter, you’ll need to up your game’. She was tired of trying to impress them. Jake was her opposite – he’d realized early on that he could never win. He let the pressure roll off him, and left home as soon as he could. But he always looked out for Jane.

‘Mum is in hospital,’ he said as the blood drained from Jane’s legs.

‘I don’t care,’ she replied, but she did. She also wanted to see Brian, because he was the closest thing she had to a friend in this town.