Ricky was sitting up in bed when she woke, looking sleepy and distant. Christina had barely stirred when he turned to her.
‘You were awful last night, your skin was almost purple you were so hot, your hair was drenched in sweat and your eyes were open. Your lips were moving at a rate of knots but you weren’t saying anything, then you started laughing and cackling like a witch. I don’t care what you tell me, you need to go see a doctor.’
Her mouth fell open and she just stared at Ricky for a long moment. She hadn’t been expecting that, she felt like she was still dreaming. Searching her mind for something to say, Christina realised that she just wanted him off her back. She felt fine, she didn’t even have the sticky feeling of sweat clinging to her.
‘Ok baby, I will.’ Silence.
That really did shock him, he had been expecting a fight, some more excuses, he pulled her into his arms for a quick hug before work.
It was as he pulled her, the movement triggered the intense, fuzzy hangover headache to kick in right in the front of her forehead. She could still taste the vodka on her dry tongue. Eugh, she badly needed a shower and wriggled from Ricky’s grip.
Two cups of tea into the morning at work and the alcoholic taste still burned into her tongue and circulated in her saliva at the back of her throat. Sandy was due in at any minute and Christina didn’t want to face her. She was strangely embarrassed about the dream, and didn’t want to talk about Sep. She didn’t want to think about Sep. She had been far too drunk, without the vodka-induced glaze he appeared again as a threat to her, not that she could put her finger on anything specific. The whole of yesterday seemed sleazy when she remembered it.
When Sandy arrived her hair was scraped back from her face and the delicate skin around her pretty blue eyes had a dark grey hue. She was paying for last night.
‘Morning’ she said curtly and headed straight for her desk.
Christina hoped it was just the hangover making her grumpy. She sat and got on with opening some e-mails that had been lurking unread in her inbox for far too long.
‘Aren’t you going to put the kettle on?’ Sandy snapped after three quarters of an hour of quiet.
‘Err…sure’ Christina got up and headed for the kettle desperately trying to search her bleary head for any drunken deed that could have offended Sandy.
For the three minutes or so it took to make the tea she scanned her minds’ picture of the previous evening but really couldn’t place anything that could have upset Sandy. Her mind kept drifting to the dream scene and on recalling it, it was a feeling of being manic and out of control that dominated the image of the two women and the pomegranates.
Placing the cuppa on Sandy’s desk she waited for thanks as a way to begin the conversation. Nothing. What the hell?
‘Sandy, have a I done something to upset you?’
‘No, you were just being yourself I guess I just haven’t seen that side of you before.’ She replied with her jaw set in a tell tale angle, she was obviously still pissed off with whatever had happened.
‘What are you on about? What have I done?’
‘Oh you just couldn’t get enough of Sep last night could you?’ Sandy glared at Christina.
‘We were all just having a laugh, I warmed to him sure but that was all.’
‘That was all?’ Sandy spat, ‘You’d swear Ricky didn’t exist the way you were flirting.’
‘Me? You’re the flirt around here! You’re the one who asked him out with us, and if you’re so preoccupied with your fella at home why are you so concerned about Sep and I?
Like a person standing on the beach waiting for a huge wave to break over them, Christina knew it was too late to stop this now.
‘“Sep and I?” What are you an item now? Listen hon, I don’t think a bit of heavy metal karaoke and a few cheap jokes about his name qualify you as an couple.’
‘Are you really jealous? I don’t even know why, as I recall you were a mighty goddess and I was a snivelling girl, some half remembered martyr!’
Christina fumed, she wanted to grab Sandy and shake her. She knew that if she continued she would get nasty and start making spiteful comments about Sandy’s personality, picking holes in the very things about her that she usually loved. She sneered at the older woman in an involuntary movement and turned on her heels, grabbed a stack of filing from her desk and marched to the archives.
Storming down the corridor with her head down, puffing and muttering under her breath she turned a corner straight into a collision with Sep, sending her armful of papers flapping into the air like a flock of startled birds.
‘Hey, hey, slow down…. What’s wrong with you?’ He pulled her away from her paper gathering efforts with a hand on each shoulder and rotated her body so that it was facing him. ‘What’s wrong Christina?’ He said slowly, tilting his head to try and meet her eyes.
For a second she could feel tears rising but she suppressed them and instead blurted out a summary of the commotion with Sandy that had happened moments earlier before she could stop herself. Then when she had finished her rant she looked up at him blushing.
‘Ah Hera always was a jealous goddess.’ He said still holding her at the tops of her arms, though more gently now. ‘Two beautiful women fighting over me, I’m flattered.’
It was as he uttered the word “flattered” she realised how stupid and petty the whole thing had been, she positively glowed red at her foolishness, and for revealing it to him in a moment of weakness.
‘I think I need to go back and speak to her..’ She left the sentence hanging, as if she had left part of it unsaid. They both knelt to pick up Christina’s papers in silence before she returned to the office.
As she slid through the door the two women locked eyes and stared at each other for an enduring moment with their mouths slightly open, both unable to fathom what had just transpired, or why.
‘We were like a couple of school girls weren’t we?’ Sandy sheepishly piped up.
‘Yes, that truly was despicable behaviour, I’m so sorry if I said anything that hurt you.’ Christina gushed, she wanted to embrace Sandy but fought the urge.
‘All over some bloke with a funny name!’ Sandy giggled, drawing any trace of humour she could into the situation, to signify that as far as she was concerned the whole fiasco was over.
‘Yeah, it must have been the beer goggles Sand.’ Christina joined in.
And with that the wave had broken and rolled gently to shore, leaving Christina standing there with the guilt that she had just told Sep, an almost complete stranger about a very personal quarrel with her best friend. She doubted Sandy would be happy with it so she simply kept quiet.