"Do you want to go to the pub on Saturday?" Beth asked as she made pasta.
"Erm, sure. We're not going out after though right?"
"No, just some food and drinks."
"Good. Yeah that sounds good."
"Alright then. Raph's coming; he's bringing that girl he fancies, the blonde."
"Anyone you want to bring?"
"Nah." I didn't look up from my book; Alex and I had met up twice in the last week, at her place, and both times Beth had asked me where I'd been. She definitely suspected something was different about me.
"Yes. When do I ever have someone to bring along? I mean I could invite someone from the course, or something?"
"No no, I just wondered. I mean you've been spending a lot of evenings out and I just thought-"
"Beth, there's nothing going on. I'm just busy okay? I need some time by myself, not in a library and not at home. It's... I'm just..." I blinked, feeling tears in my eyes. "Lots of stress."
"Oh babe... oh I'm sorry. Okay I'm sorry." She ran over to hug me. I shook my head against her shoulder. "Maybe you should talk to someone?"
"I am. I am. That's... that's where I've been going."
"Oh. Well alright then." She rubbed my back and then released me. "You silly bugger you should have said."
"Okay. Just, you can talk to me okay?"
"Yeah." I turned back to my book, and she went back to the pasta. It wasn't technically a lie. I was talking to Alex about all the stress. It had gotten to me a little over the past week, especially with the attack so close to the beginning of these two weeks filled with report deadlines. She was kind, and never once suggested special treatment, never once gave it either. She just held me, stroking my hair and kissing my head, while I told her what was stressing me that day. Afterwards, I'd feel better, and when she saw me smile, it would make her face light up too.
I sighed, and put down the book. I missed her. I hadn't seen her for the last few days, with lessons now over, and I was missing her. I could go tonight, if she was free... All my reports had finally been finished; the last one today. Now all I was doing was revising for my exams. I slipped my phone from my pocket and opened our conversation.
Are you free tonight?
Yes. Do you want to go to the beach?
No. I was thinking, if you're free Sunday,
we could make a day of it? Got the day
Sounds like heaven.
See you soon?
Give it an hour. About to eat.
Beth was serving the pasta, so I slipped my phone away and joined her at the table.
"You're brilliant you know?" I laughed, tucking in.
"Hello." I grinned when she opened the door. "I brought wine?"
"Then you are very welcome." She pulled me inside and kissed me. "I've missed you."
"I've missed you too." I chuckled in to her hair. "You smell amazing by the way."
"I'd just got out of the shower when you texted."
"Oh really?" I grinned.
"Stop it." She chuckled.
"You're thinking about what I might look like in the shower."
"Actually, this time I was thinking about what you'd look like after your shower. You know, walking around with no towel on, dripping all over the-" She slapped me on the arm, "Ouch! What was that for?"
"I'll never match up to your imagination."
"I highly doubt that." I laughed again, and pulled her in for another kiss.
"So, what are we going to do? We have wine, there's some ice-cream in the fridge if you'd like it?"
"Sounds delicious. I don't know though; we could watch a film?"
"Alright then. You go and pick."
"Okay." I went to her collection, and searched through. "Hey, you like action movies."
Alex reappeared, with two wine glasses and the ice-cream in her hands.
"Then you've got good taste in genre. Here we go." She set everything down, pulling two spoons out of her pocket just as I was about to question her about them. "Have you chosen one yet?"
"No. But I did just find a stash of romantic movies stashed away." I teased, showing her one of the films I'd found hidden. She blushed.
"Don't worry; I'd already pegged you for a romantic at heart."
"You gave me your jacket when I'd gotten wet in the rain. You took me away on your mechanical steed when I'd been in trouble."
"Sounds like I'm not the only romantic." She smirked.
"Oh trust me, you are." I smirked. "But I don't find it as... scary, as I did before."
"I should hope not," she laughed. "Because I think our day at the beach this weekend is going to be very romantic."
I rolled my eyes.
"Of course." I got up and went to the sofa. "You choose the film."
"You just want to get started on the ice-cream."
"You can read me like a book."