There's a bed tray haphazardly placed somewhere down between our knees, but our heads are pressed together, watching the rain pound against the windows, drumming in sheets, translucent pages with no words. You're supposed to write your own story on this day, maybe, if you can find enough letters still floating in the puddles on the streets once the early workday crowds have dispersed.
Empty juice glasses, champagne, a small bottle of whisky and two half-eaten croissants on plates rest there on a ravaged morning newspaper. The melon and cheese have all been eaten. We've been here for hours. It's a ritual rarely engaged in anymore. It's a weird kind of comfort in which I can center myself again and leave his world to go back to mine. The two hardly glance off each other in their respective orbits these days, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
He meets my hand, raised up to pretend to draw on the glass, and laces his fingers into mine. His hands are soft. The only tools he ever holds are paper and pen. The only time he smiles is when I'm here, I guess correctly, and that's sad but inevitable. I promised nothing here. This is just chance. Sick design. Flawed architecture. Hope for him, worshipping at the religion of Bridget, where Jesus looks like Tinker Bell, tiny and seriously messed up and unworthy and still they come each Sunday in droves to be faithful to she who hasn't shown an ounce of faith in her entire little life and that's why God turned her out early, I'm afraid.
A soft alarm sounds and I moan, frustrated.
I have to go, Bridget. I have work to do. You can stay.
No, I shouldn't be here anyway.
Then we're both breaking the spell and I don't have to be the bad guy.
But I don't move to get up and get dressed. I lie in the cool white sheets and watch him button his shirt. His shirts are as expensive as the Devil's but he is old money and doesn't notice or care. It's just The Way Things Are Done with him and I like that too.
How much did he give you? For your bonus, I mean.
He laughs. You were a slacker? A wink follows. The mood has turned back to playful and all I would have to do is say one word and he would take the shirt off again but I wouldn't do that. I'm unintentionally cruel but never purposefully mean.
Maybe. Think I should go back and campaign for more?
I would have gone higher but with caveats.
I bet you would have.
Thanks for a fun morning. Way to start a man's week.
Mmmmm. I close my eyes. So tired suddenly. It's psychological though. This is a refuge and I don't want to go back out unprotected, naked to the derision of a world that has no idea what I'm about.
But instead of leaving he sits down. I smell aftershave and wool and he's in a lovely black suit and dark grey shirt. His cufflinks are tiny silver flags. His watch is a vintage Breitling that belonged to his father. Repaired with the glass replaced and the strap now three times over.
He leans down and kisses the top of my head. My eyebrows betray my surprise. He's not affectionate, ever and yet this morning has been like Christmas, Easter and my birthday all rolled up into one.
Your hair. I like it.
Would Cole have allowed it? Or Jacob?
Then I like it because you did it for you.
Thank you. I like it too.
He looks like he wants to say something else but instead he gets up and leaves the room. I don't hear the front door. I do hear his car a few minutes later and I close my eyes. This is not familiar even though it's so familiar. The lack of attachment makes things so easy. The lack of feelings makes it unbearable.