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Normal People by Sally Rooney Read Online (FREE)

Okay, she says. Time for bed.

Alright. Sleep well.

He hears her touch the handle of the door behind him but it doesn’t open. He turns around and she’s standing there, looking at him.

I don’t regret it, by the way, she says. Having a baby. It was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life. I love you more than anything and I’m very proud that you’re my son. I hope you know that.

He looks back at her. Quickly he clears his throat.

I love you too, he says.

Goodnight, then.

She closes the door behind her. He listens to her footsteps up the stairs. After a few minutes have passed he gets up, empties the dregs of his beer down the sink and puts the can quietly in the recycling bin.

On the table his phone starts ringing. It’s set to vibrate so it starts shimmying around the surface of the table, catching the light. He goes to get it before it falls over the edge, and he sees it’s Marianne calling. He pauses. He looks at the screen. Finally he slides the answer button.

Hey, he says.

He can hear her breath hard on the other end of the line. He asks if she’s okay.

I’m really sorry about this, she says. I feel like an idiot.

Her voice in the phone sounds clouded, like she has a bad cold, or something in her mouth. Connell swallows and walks over to the kitchen window.

About earlier? he says. I’ve been thinking about it as well.

No, it’s not that. It’s really stupid. I just tripped or something and I have a small injury. I’m sorry to bother you about it. It’s nothing. I just don’t know what to do.

He puts his hand on the sink.

Where are you? he says.

I’m at home. It’s not serious, it just hurts, that’s all. I don’t really know why I’m calling. I’m sorry.

Can I come get you?

She pauses. In a muffled voice she replies: Yes, please.

I’m on my way, he says. I’m getting in the car right now, okay?

Sandwiching the phone between his ear and shoulder, he fishes his left shoe out from under the table and pulls it on.

This is really nice of you, says Marianne in his ear.

I’ll see you in a few minutes. I’m leaving right now. Alright? See you soon.

Outside he gets in the car and starts the engine. The radio comes on and he snaps it off with a flat hand. His breath isn’t right. After only one drink he feels out of it, not alert enough, or too alert, twitchy. The car is too silent but he can’t stand the idea of the radio. His hands feel damp on the steering wheel. Turning left onto Marianne’s street, he can see the light in her bedroom window. He indicates and pulls into the empty driveway. When he shuts the car door behind him, the noise echoes off the stone facade of the house.