“Calli?” I say, into the darkness of the room, “Cal, are you awake?”
“No. I’m actually fast asleep. This is just my mental answer phone talking.” there was a sarcastic pause as I waited for her to shut up, then, “of course I am you idiot.” She says angrily, sitting up to face me. “What do you want?”
“I just wondered… uh, do you want to go back home for a night or two? Just so you can get some sleep, relax for a night?”
“No.” she says simply and puts her head back down. “I’m fine here. You can go home if you want, grab some of our stuff, whatever,” she says offhandedly, and I clear my throat. That wasn’t the point of the question.
“Cal, I meant, maybe you should go home? That it might make you feel a bit more… calm, relaxed. Y’know, if there was anything you needed to do, you could do it and sort of de-stress yourself before you came back?”
“De-stress? I’m not stressed. I’m perfectly fine.” She says, her voice tightening up to a squeal. “Maybe you think I’m stressed, but I’m not. I am per-fect-ly fine!”
“Perfectly fine?” I have to stop myself from laughing aloud, “Look at yourself - you’re pale, drawn, you keep dropping off to sleep, you keep forgetting to check your blood sugar levels, Cal, I hate to say it, but you’re a complete and utter mess.”
She just stares at me for a second, looking right into my eyes. I’ve struck a nerve. Oh… why start speaking, Tom? Why open my stupid, huge, idiot mouth? I look away before she can pass judgement on me, bowing my head to look at Alex’s face, barely visible as the pillows and the protective gear attempting to shield his skull swallow it up. As I look back, she is half smiling, looking down at Alex.
“Will he be alright, d’you reckon?” she says, “Y’know, if I go for a while?”
“Nothing’s gonna happen.” I reply, looking for all the world as if I know I’m right, “I’ll stay and make sure of it. I promise.” thankful of my sincerity, she smiles and yawns, rising from her seat and touching the soft, ungelled hair on the top of Alex’s head. She knows that the lack of gel isn’t there to stay; Alex could never resist spiking his hair up, even if sometimes it was just to annoy Cal. She looks up at me, then down at his hair again. Half of it’s gone, the back of his head’s been shaved for the stitches and… it’s sickening. It really is.
“I’ll be back soon, Ok?” she whispered to him, before kissing him, I turn and look out the window, to give them some kind of privacy and when I turn back, she is staring at me with a semi-smile on her face. “Thanks Tom.” she says and then gives me a tight hug, before picking up her bag and walking out of the room with that horrible, lonely smile on her face.
*3rd. Flashback. Honeymoon.*
She goes back to the suite, knocking on the door, Alex answered it, shirtless and in his pyjama bottoms. Handing him the cool glass bottle of Coke, she told him that room service would be up soon. He nods and she catches the ghost of a smile crossing his lips, reaches up, smiling back and kisses him gently on the lips, making him groan and pull back, shaking with laughter.
He goes back and sits down on the bed in silence, a smile lighting his face. Calli sat down next to him, mock-consoling him as she put her arm around him. He shrugged her off and put an arm around her, tightening it as he pulled her to her feet. His rough lips touched against her softer ones a second time and she giggled into his mouth, never pulling away as he reached a hand up into her hair.
They spent ten minutes like this, holding onto one-another in the dark twilight of the evening. They sprang apart as there was a loud knock at the door.
“Hello, room service!” the happy young woman was standing there with a chilled bottle of champagne and a whole tray of food. Alex grinned as she brought it into the bedroom, sitting on the bed and crossing his legs, waiting to eat, starving.
As Calli closed the door, he grabbed the plate, almost devouring the cutlery as, ravenous; he ate as though he had been starved for a month. She didn’t eat, not hungry herself, and Alex felt a little uneasy as she curled up on the bed, comfortable, relaxed, a half-smile on her face. In that moment, Alex realised that it was one of those traits that pissed him off, made him feel weird, but it was one of the traits that attracted him to her so much that he put the plate down and crossed to sit beside her. Calli looked at him sideways and flashed him a sort-of smile, one that told him that if he wanted to do that, he‘d have to wait.
He grinned at her, put his arm around her and waited for about six seconds, then pushed her back to the duvet covers, grinning widely.
“You still want to wait?” he whispered, touching their lips together for the third time in that hour. She smiled and pressed her hand against his chest, easing him away from her.
“This is one of those moments that you really wish you’d not put your hand in the food, isn’t it, sexy legs?”