My phone rang, waking me up. I groaned and blinked, the light hitting me far too brightly.
"I'll get it." Sam muttered.
"Mmm..." I muttered, and then I shot up. "No, I'll get it!" I slipped out of bed and to the place where both our phones had been charging all night. "Hello?"
"Cara, hey, glad you're awake."
"I wasn't. What do you want Liam?" I asked, rubbing my eyes.
"Oops, sorry. I just wanted to tell you I got a phone call. We got a regular gig!"
"What do you mean where numpty? Lady Lush? Audition? Remember?"
"Oh, right. That's awesome." I glanced over at Sam who was now sitting up in bed, elbows on knees, peering at me questioningly. I smiled. "When do they want us?"
"Monday nights. Once a month. Not bad huh?"
"Not bad at all."
"Yeah and apparently if they have any events we'll get to do those too."
"You don't sound excited enough."
"You woke me up." I half glared at the phone.
"Oh. Yeah. Well I'll call you later to talk about rehearsals then."
"Sure. See you Liam."
I rolled my eyes and put the phone down.
"Liam?" Sam asked.
"Yeah. Apparently we've got a regular gig now. Thanks to Lady Lush."
"That's good." She smiled. "You coming back to bed?"
"Sure." I yawned and climbed in next to her, putting my phone on the bedside table.
"You went for that fast."
"Huh?" I asked, snuggling up to her and stroking her stomach through her pj top.
"You ran for your phone pretty quick."
"Yeah." I murmured, not wanting to have this conversation. "So?"
"Nothing..." She muttered.
"Sam, you've got nothing to worry about." I looked up at her frowning face. "Don't over-think it, please."
"Okay." She replied, stroking my arm. "It's just..."
"You've been off recently. I worry Cara. We're not okay, I know it."
"Aren't we?" I asked, although I knew we weren't. It was because I was hiding so many things from her.
"I don't know. You tell me."
I sighed and turned over to lean on her stomach.
"All I know is I love you, and that's not about to change. And no, I'm not hiding some secret lover, before you ask." She bit her lip and I sighed, reaching up the stroke her hair out of her face gently. "Baby, please. Just trust me."
"I trust you." She whispered, kissing my hand.
"Good." I smiled, kissing her stomach. "Now can we cuddle?"
"I have to get up soon." She murmured.
"Boo." I moaned and snuggled up to her anyway.
"I love you." She kissed my head and stroked my arm again. Up and down, up and down...
My phone went again and I jerked awake. I looked around blearily and saw that it was eleven. I had fallen asleep again, and now Sam was gone.
"Cara, it's Lexi."
"Did I wake you?"
"What's going on?"
"What are you talking about?"
"Sam called me this morning, said you've been acting weird. Running for the phone and stuff."
"I mean obviously I told her it was nothing because I know you wouldn't want her to know about any birthday plans, but I want you to tell me that's all it is."
"Tell me the party is the only reason you're acting odd. You're not cheating on her, are you?"
"Has the world gone fucking insane?" I cried down the phone. "No I'm not cheating on her!"
"Okay okay I had to check!"
"For god's sake." I groaned, rolling over in bed and running my eyes.
"Okay, look, Myra's got the present all ready for you, so we thought you'd like to come and see it today. We'll treat you to lunch."
"Yeah, sure, sounds good. Thanks." I replied.
"Can you be here in two hours?"
"Yeah, of course. Where's here?"
"Oh yeah. Our city flat's a bit of a distance from yours. I'll text you the address."
"Thanks. I'll see you then."
I pressed the buzzer and stepped back for someone to reply.
"Myra? It's Cara."
"Oh hey, come up." The buzz went again and I opened the door. Up two flights and I reached their flat. Lexi opened the door.
"Hey." She smiled.
"Hey, how're you?"
"Better. Sorry for yelling."
"No worries. All of us go through this phase at some point or other."
"Great." I rolled my eyes and followed her in to the flat. It was incredible. Designer furniture, and paintings everywhere. I didn't even dare touch the sofa which was pure white. I suddenly realised that for all her money, Sam hadn't splurged on fancy things to cover her flat... our flat. It was homey, and I'd rather that than this... show room. But, that said, it was beautiful. "Nice flat."
"Thanks. My sister does it for a living. Designing rooms I mean. I got a deal." She winked and led me to the kitchen. "Babe, Cara's here."
"I know, I told you." Myra retorted from the stove where she was cooking. "She wasn't even dressed." She told me as Lexi chuckled and shrugged.
"I had to recover from this morning." She winked and Myra blushed.
"Yeah well it would've taken you longer if Sam hadn't interrupted."
They both looked at me awkwardly and I shoved my hands in my pockets and shrugged.
"Hey, it's alright. She's just in that lovey dovey panicked 'what if she leaves' stage. Which we know you won't, considering we've started planning your wedding." Lexi joked. I laughed as though none of it had bothered me.
"Well, Lexi will take over here." Myra said. "And I'll show you the masterpiece."
"If you do say so yourself." Lexi said. "And I can't promise I won't burn down our kitchen while you're gone."
"You break it, you buy it." Myra said, grinning and led me out of the kitchen and down a corridor. "This is where I keep everything I want to keep, or have hiding away from friends. One of your paintings is in here too actually, so you can stay here, and I'll get Sam's present."
"Can't I just have a quick look..."
"No." She grinned.
"You never did send those photos..."
"I know. I decided to keep them secret." She winked and then disappeared in to the room. I waited, wanting to peek but not daring to. I hadn't worked Myra out yet, her reactions could be... varied.
"Ta dah!" She announced, appearing with a canvas just smaller than the space above mine and Sam's bed. She awkwardly manoeuvred it out of the door and placed it in front of me.
"Oh Myra... it's perfect."
I'd asked Myra if she could blow up Sam's favourite picture of the two of us to a size that would go over our bed. She'd made me send measurements across and here it was. Sam and I, on holiday, wrapped around each other, the sun setting behind us over Rome... She was behind me, grinning over my shoulder and I was taking the picture, leaning my head in to her and grinning at something she'd just said. You could see my arms slightly in the picture, reaching out to the camera, but it looked like the perfect holiday snap and it was, as far as I was concerned. I wanted it there to remind us of that beautiful time in Italy.
I grinned at the canvas and felt my cheeks were wet.
"Hey, you're not supposed to cry!" Myra said.
"Sorry... it's just perfect. Thank you."
"Hey no problem." She grinned. "I'll get it moved in to the studio while you're at dinner. It'll be there when you come back."
"Thanks Myra. You're a star."
"I know." She grinned and took the canvas back in to the room. "Come on then, we'd best make sure Lexi doesn't destroy our food."