When Gansey blinked awake his immediate thought was an extremely annoyed What in the Name of Jesus is that? Richard Campbell Gansey III had enough trouble getting to sleep as it was, and he was rightly disgruntled about getting rudely awakened in the middle of the night by some horrid sound. He rubbed his bloodshot eyes and groped for his glasses, shoving them crookedly onto his face. Then he rolled out of bed and stumbled towards the door.
"Noah?" He called hoarsely. But his roommate was nowhere to be seen. Gansey flicked on the lights and began searching for the source of the noise, which had abruptly stopped.
Monmouth Manufacturing was in desperate need of a deep cleaning, but Gansey had decided to hold off until they were completely finished with the renovations. He and his best friend Ronan had discovered the shabby building in the wake of its destruction. Gansey had been instantly drawn to it and had bought it before it could be torn down. He and Ronan had spent hours hauling loads of junk out of the second floor and making it into a proper living space for Gansey, who had not been satisfied with the dorms at their boarding school, Aglionby. He needed more space to lay out his plans and research on Glendower, the long-lost Welsh king who's search had lead Gansey to the small rural Virginian town of Henrietta.
That had all been the fall before. It was now the fourth week of June. Monmouth was nearly done, there were just a few finishing touches left for Gansey to make. He had moved in last spring, inviting his best friends Ronan, Adam, and Noah to live with him as well. Ronan and Adam both lived relatively close to Aglionby and Monmouth, so they had declined the invitation. Noah, however, was from New York, and was glad to accept.
Then, just two days before the present day, Ronan had moved into Monmouth. Gansey stopped. He suddenly knew what the sound had been. He quickly crossed over to Ronan's room. Gansey pushed the slightly ajar door open. The room was bare, expect for an unmade bed, an unpacked suitcase, and an empty bottle. Oh, Ronan.
The sound started again. Gansey realized it was coming from the bathroom. He hurried over to the closed door, briefly fumbling with the knob before turning it open. He turned on the lights to reveal the hunched form of Ronan Lynch. Ronan was kneeling on the floor, leaning over the toilet. Gansey sighed. He crouched down beside his friend, gathering his long, dark curls back while Ronan continued to retch into the toilet. After a few moments, Ronan gagged and spit bile, then slumped down against Gansey. His icy blue eyes slid up to meet Gansey's hazel ones. "'M sorry,'' he slurred and Gansey felt a piece of his heart break off.
"Hey, man,'' Gansey murmured, holding Ronan more tightly against him. "It's okay.''
"No, izz not,'' mumbled Ronan. "Izz never gonna be okaay 'gain.''
Drunk as he was, Gansey knew Ronan believed what he said. Ronan had just lost the person most important to him, the one whom he'd loved more than anyone else in the world. His role model. His hero. His father.
Gansey rested his cheek against Ronan's head. "Come on. Let's get you to bed.''