I sit on the edge of the roof, bumping my heels gently on the wall, with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth and a beer in one hand, feeling like a teenager all over again. I'm at that age, where I'm not quite ready to settle down, but I should really be thinking about it. I don't fucking know anymore. Hadley's too young to be settling down too. That said, I was in a steady relationship at his age.
I wasn't fucking thinking about marrying anyone back then, though.
Why am I so worried about settling down? I was the one that proposed, I was the one that was thinking about it first. I brought this on myself, and now I've got to deal with the consequences.
I lie back, ignoring that the roof up here is literally the most uncomfortable fucking place in the world, and set down my beer, taking my phone from my pocket. Alex, you're the voice of wisdom and genius, why did I not ask you before I decided to propose? Aside from the fact that I was high on morphine and in the wrong country at the time. Oh, and in the middle of trying to convince Hadley that I wasn't fucking off to England on my own because I didn't want him.
Looking at it like that, it's no fucking wonder I feel like we're rushing this all of a sudden.
"Alex, pick up the phone," I groan as it rings for what feels like forever. "Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex," I will keep this up until he fucking answers. "Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex-"
"You called, my darling?"
"What, were you gonna keep me waiting just so see how much I fucking wanted to talk to you?"
"You're drunk aren't you?"
"I've had two beers, and a lot of nicotine."
"Oh, so you're hyper instead. Well, that makes things a little easier."
"I wouldn't call it hyper."
"What would you call it, then?" he asks.
"Confused and maybe a little depressed. Which probably aren't the best things in the world when you're sat on the edge of an apartment block roof."
"No, probably not. Why're you up there?"
"Y'know when you moved out, you fucked off with my roof key, right? I still want that back. I have to steal a neighbour's every time I wanna go up here. And it's not even comfortable. Y'remember how comfy the roof was at my old house in Kensington?" he's quiet for a while, probably trying to make sense of my rambling. To be honest, I dunno why he'd bother trying to make sense of it. I dunno what I'm talking about.
"Sure, I remember. The roof up there isn't so bad-"
"It's horrible," I say, cutting him off, "There's no one to sit up here with. I want Hadley to sit with me, like you used to sit with me, but he can't fucking get up the stairs can he. But d'you remember how we used to plan stuff up there? We said we'd get a place together and we did, and I thought that was it, my life was sorted, and it was gonna stay like that."
"Maxxie, where're you going with this?"
"And we had that place for a couple years, before we moved out here, and then we had this place for a couple of years together. Alex, I've had Hadley living here for just over three months... what the fuck am I doing?"
"What d'you mean?"
"Why am I marrying someone I've only known for three months?"
"Because you love him?"
"Of course I fucking love him. I wanna spend the rest of my life with him just..."
"You knew I was making a mistake when I told you. You knew that when it came down to planning stuff and setting a date for ourselves I'd get like this."
"Sure, but I could hardly stop you, could I." I wish you fucking had. You know that commitment like this doesn't scare me right up til I have to actually acknowledge it. "Listen, Max, you're good at commitment. Like, scarily good at commitment. Marriage is just a bit of gold and some paper. Otherwise, your relationship won't be much different."
"He knows. I can just tell. He knows I'm having second thoughts and it's breaking my heart that he's hurting because of me, but I can't help it." Why am I crying? When did that happen? I sit up and push my hair back out of my face, throwing my cigarette into the street and lighting another before the last has even hit the ground. I try not to sniffle, and keep going, "I said he could pick the date, and when he picked one, I told him I wanted it later, giving him some bullshit about how it'll stress me out if it's too soon. Which isn't a lie really, but I said it was the planning that'd stress me out, not the whole commitment bit. I-"
"Max, shut the fuck up. Just go back downstairs, hug him, kiss him, whatever, and tell him you can deal with the stress of the planning and stuff and just warn him you might be a bit bitchy about it. You can do it, mate, you just need to remember that you love him and that's all that matters." Thank you, Alex. I knew I could count on you. I sniff and nod, forgetting he can't see. "You're not crying, are you?"
"It's January, you big queer. Go on. Go back downstairs." He hangs up, not giving me a chance to thank him and I sort of stare at my phone.
"Suit yourself," I mutter, finishing my beer and cigarette before going back down. At least by the time I'm done with them, I might look a little less like I've been crying.
I make it down there in record time and let myself back in. The TV's off and Hadley's not there. That's the first thing I notice. For a moment, I panic, thinking that my half hour or so up on the roof had left him a window of opportunity to escape and find somewhere away from my pathetic fear of marriage.
Until I look in the bedroom and find him asleep. Oh, Bunny, don't do that when I'm about to tell you that March is okay for the wedding. Don't you leave me with my worry like this.
I take off my sling and jacket, sliding out of my jeans before climbing into the bed next to him under the covers. I carefully put my arm over his hips so I don't knock his stomach and hug him to me, resisting the urge to nuzzle his neck and wake him up. Closing my eyes, I hope that either sleep comes quickly, or that my resolve doesn't waver while I wait for Hadley to wake.