You hadnít been in work for two whole weeks now. You
had no idea what they thought, whether you even had a job to go back to. It was
the last thing on your mind. Laura had been much too nice. "I need to get
out of here", you had wept down the long distance phone line. She had
invited you to stay as long as you needed to. She had continued with her own
life. Generally doing exactly what you needed her to, leaving you alone to
recover. It had been a bad relationship from the beginning but you had been too
stupid and too blinkered to see that. Enough had finally been enough. One
infidelity too far. You had packed your bags and left him. Walking away as he
shouted your name and swore he loved you had torn in two whatever spirit you had
still possessed. Now you just felt broken. Damaged. You keep telling yourself it
had been the right decision. The only decision. But it still hurt so badly. He
hadnít come to find you.
Laura came down to eat before heading to work. You sat with your head in your hands at the kitchen table. "Eat something, please hon, I know its hard, but God, its hard for me to see you like this" You smiled weakly, you hadnít eaten for two weeks and sleep was scarce. Most nights were spent staring at the ceiling, trying to ignore the horrible feeling of emptiness inside. Even crying seemed so pointless. The nights were never ending. You always breathed a sigh of relief when dawn broke. "Come out tonight, please, I have a work function, its at some really fancy hotel, it will be fun, plus I really want you to meet my new boyfriend". At last a smile crossed your face, Laura had been so happy recently, you had suspected something was going on, "I knew it, you sneaky cow! How long have you been keeping this a secret!" Laura laughed, it was good to see her so happy and just, well, glowing! "I didnít want to be insensitive", she said, avoiding your eyes, your heart sank with the realisation of the size of the burden you had placed on her shoulders, your eyes filled with tears but you kept your voice cheery and ran over to the sink to fill a glass of water, "Well, I have to come now! Just try and keep me away!" It was even difficult to say the words but it was the least you could do, besides, you actually were intrigued at the thought of the new mystery boyfriend. Laura walked over and hugged you, whispering in your ear, "Thank you, meet me at ____ at 7.30pm, I'm not coming home from work, can you make it there by yourself?" Your stomach flipped again at the thought of socialising but you put on your chirpy voice again. "Sure!" Laura turns to leave "Call me if you change your mind, ok?" You smile reassuringly and you hope, convincingly, "See you later babe".
The venue had turned out to be very up market and the out of place feeling in the pit of your stomach was refusing to shift. As you sit staring at the reflections in the mirror behind the bar you realise you have no idea what you are doing here. You glance at your watch. Laura is twenty minutes late. Reaching for your phone you dial her mobile. The answering machine flicks on. You hang up and sigh. You glance at your watch again. Shit, the minutes are really crawling by. Suddenly your mobile beeps to life. [1 message received] it blinks. [sorry i arrived early. fight with HIM. had to leave. see u later.] Cursing under your breath you decide to finish your drink and make a quiet exit. All this trouble for nothing! You had spent the whole day getting ready, fixing your hair, painting your nails, applying make up. Your accessories were perfect and those two weeks of starvation had done wonders for your confidence as far as your figure went. Draining the last of your drink you slide down from the bar stool and turn to leave, suddenly you feel a hand on your shoulder and turn to see a very familiar face dressed for the occasion in a black tux, "James" you whisper. "Hi! How are you? This is weird, what are you doing in London?" Laughing with happiness you throw your arms around him, "James, its so good to see you! I was meeting a friend but she hasnít turned up".
"Really? I'm the same" He frowns, "Well, sort of" He puts his arm around your shoulder and guides you back to the stool, "Don't leave, this is the perfect situation - we've both been stood up and we have a lot of catching up to do!" He signals to the barman to bring over more drinks. You glance at the door and then back to James, "Good idea" you smile and sit down beside him. The relationship between you and James had been short but sweet. Never serious, after all, he was a rock star! But he had been one of the nicest sweetest boyfriends you had ever had. The break up had been amicable and you had always followed his career in the newspapers. Even after a couple of years, the bond between you was still there and you had talked and talked the whole night long. Love of whiskey had been one thing you shared. You had laughed when he put his hand on your thigh and whispered that he still thought about you from time to time. "Flattery will get you everywhere James, or had you forgotten?"
"No. I hadnít forgotten". That smile again. His gaze was melting you. Fleetwood Mac's ĎSarahí was playing in the background and drowning with James seemed like a heavenly idea. Grasping the lapel of his jacket you pull him closer, "Why are you irresistable?" you breathe and kiss him softly on the mouth. You pull away and meet his eyes again. He stands up and pulls you to your feet. "Lets go,Ē he says softly, his eyes pleading with you to agree. You squeeze his hand and together you head for the door. *Drowning in the sea of love, where everyone would love to drown*
The lights in the apartment were low and you collapsed onto the bed, sprawling out as you waited for James to join you. You had sat there together with a new bottle of whiskey, you had giggled over stupid things and it had felt so good to be carefree and drunken for once. Setting the bottle on the floor beside you and taking off your heart shaped locket, you leant over and kissed James hard on the mouth, pushing him back onto the soft mattress. Unbuttoning his shirt as his hands ran along your back and around your waist, pulling your body close to his. He was so warm and the moment just took over, surrendering, feeling his touch all over your body, pushing your clothes aside, his lips and breath all over your skin. The feeling of being caressed gently until every nerve in your body is screaming out for something harder. It was like exquisite torture, the feeling of finally being entered was too delicious to describe. Your body arching uncontrollably towards him, crying out as a powerful orgasm washes over your whole body. Kissing him as he lies there beside you in the shadows, eyes that glint even in darkness. You collected your things and left him asleep, dawn breaking outside. This was like a dream. *Hold on, the night is coming*
It was another hot day. This heat wave seemed to be lasting forever. Sunlight literally flooded the room as you lay on the bed, awake but unwilling to move. You were glad you had decided to come home instead of spending the night at James' apartment. Waking up together sober was always awkward and nasty no matter what the circumstances. Better to leave it as a perfect dreamy drunken fuck. Nothing to spoil it, just a nice memory. Somewhere in the mess of the bedroom your mobile goes off, you decide to ignore it, the moment was too perfect to spoil. Anyway, nothing could be that important. Laura had peeked through the door, her eyes looked red. Sitting up you had asked how she was, "I havenít slept, James will probably call round later, I was meant to have the day off, you can ignore the doorbell if it goes". She had talked fast, as if pausing would lead to another breakdown, "Iím so sorry about last night, we can talk when I get home". You had listened to her leave, trying desperately to convince yourself that it was some sort of horrible coincidence.
Even though you had been prepared, seeing him standing at the front door had still been a shock. Stumblingly you had asked him what on earth he was doing there, still desperately clinging to the hope that it was all still just a chance occurrence. He had been silent. He hadnít taken off his sunglasses. You had turned, finally realising, and walked into the kitchen, leaving the front door open for him to come in. The blood pounded in your ears and the room suddenly seemed very big as you stood alone in the chrome kitchen, light reflecting everywhere, reality hitting you like a steam train. In the distance you heard the front door closing and footsteps in the hallway. After an eternity you tear your eyes away from the floor and look towards his figure, standing in the doorway. "She isnít here" you say clearly, staring at your reflection in the mirror lenses. You surprise yourself with the veneer of confidence you have managed, even if you are trembling. A thousand emotions are washing over you. You quickly revise your opinion, the morning after is awkward no matter how much distance there is between you when you awake. It's impossible to tell what he's thinking. His face is expressionless, his eyes hidden from view. You sigh defeated, the tension leaving you suddenly. You turn and lean against the edge of the sink, staring out the window at nothing in particular. The room is silent. The only sound is the distant hum of the air conditioning. "You don't have to worry James I'm not going to tell her, in fact, I'll leave as soon as I can, with me out of the way things will be a lot simpler". You pause. "You two will sort everything out". He reaches up and takes off the sunglasses, putting them on the table next to him he walks towards you. Catching your arm gently he turns you around to face him, you canít meet his gaze in case you cry. And that would be unfair. That would be manipulation. "I'm really sorry, I was wrong, you understand don't you? I have to sort things out with her". You manage a smile and nod. Why does this hurt so much? After all it was nothing more than a one night stand with an ex boyfriend. "I feel guilty James, but I donít think Laura needs to know, after all it was meaningless". You pull your arm from his grasp. "Oh God", you mumble, finally cracking, "I never meant for this, how could I have done this to her?" You look at him, meeting his eyes for the first time that morning, "How could you have done this?" you whisper, "Didnt you think to mention you were in a serious relationship?" Your voice rises and you push him out of the way, walking to the other side of the room, tears streaming down your cheeks, you dig your nails into the flesh of your palms "Fuck, what the hell did I do to deserve this? I liked you James, you were alright, now you've screwed me over just like the rest of them" He is beside you again, this time his arms around you, his mouth close to your cheek, "Iím so sorry, I would never have hurt you like this if I'd known..." he sinks down to his knees, his hands on your waist, his head against your stomach. You feel as though you are being stabbed. You take his hands and push them away, taking a step backwards, your tears stopping as suddenly as they had started. "It's OK James, I've gotten over worse, no hard feelings I promise". You can feel his eyes on you as run out of the room. A few moments later the front door clicks closed as you sit hunched in the corner of the spare room, trembling, staring at the wall. Time to move on. Again.
Thunder, quite distant, the rain beats hard on the window outside. In the room its silent, just the sounds as you finish packing and zip up your backpack. Glancing in the mirror, you notice for the first time how the past few months have affected you. Your face stares back, pale. But your eyes are dry. You are almost doubled over by a sudden stab of guilt as you think of Laura, asleep in the next room. In the kitchen you pause for a few seconds, a note in your hand. Changing your mind, you crumple it up and stuff it into your pocket. You undo the latch and open the front door, stepping out into the rainy grey early morning. Its time to go, you repeat, but nothing is going to make this any easier. It was hard to be alone againÖ