Kaptain's Blog

The writings and musings of The Kaptain

Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Number One Under Heaven (38)

Peering through the crack of a half-open bathroom window, Blake could almost sense the coming heat of the sun, as its rays began creeping over the horizon. He thought of the tides of sweat his alcohol infused body would drip when he later made his way to the ferry terminal, vowing in this same instant to get moving without further delay. The morning after paranoia was beginning to nag at him, in all its terror. Christ! What the fuck am I going to tell Kate? Blake needed the harshness of the sun’s light like a fine silk tie needs olive oil. His head was already pounding as he turned away from the window to look once more at the reflection of someone he used to know. But the face that stared back at him seemed to belong more to some luckless hobo than a recently displaced company executive. Look at you, you fucking loser. Bloated. Spotty. Unshaven. A total fucking mess. Get a grip, son!

Splashing water over his face in an attempt to wash away the signs of decay, Blake hoped that he would be able to leave Elle’s apartment before she woke. Stood before the sink, a harrowing sense of neglect now swept over him and for the first time in a while, he suddenly began thinking of his daughter. She’ll be back from her trip by now, he thought, picturing her sleeping snugly under Barbie Doll covers. Blake’s eyes moistened. I’ll pick her up from school this afternoon. Buy her ice cream. He knew she loved ice cream. Sophie always had, ever since they gave her some to soothe her gums when she was teething… Where did all the time go? he wondered, wishing for a moment that he could turn back the clock, return to that time and place in England, when everything had been simpler, happier. When he and Kate had been the perfect couple, with their perfect newborn child. It now seemed as if it had all been a dream.

The swoosh of air as the door suddenly opened made him jump. “What’s wrong?” asked Elle, bleary eyed. “Why so jumpy?” “You’re up early,” was all he said in reply, trying not to look at her, lest she saw what he had seen reflected in the mirror. But this was not to be Blake’s day. “God, your face is so red,” she continued, unapologetically. “I can’t stand looking at it.” Thanks a million, babe, he grumbled inwardly. And I was having such a great morning, too. “Come back to the bedroom,” she half instructed. “I need to give you a treatment.” “No, Elle… Elle, I’ve got to get goi–” “Come on, it won’t take long. I know you need to go home,” she further insisted, now tugging at his arm. Then pulling him back into the bedroom, Elle turned her head to give him the strangest of looks. A look that made him blush. So. She’s guessed that I’m married, then…

Pushing him down on to the bed a little too forcefully for his liking, she patted the sheets, gesturing for him to lie down while she fetched some of her product. Blake groaned as she then began to apply a cooling cream around his eyes, the effect of which was instant and, frankly, sensational. “Reconstructive face gel,” she simply stated, reading his mind. Reconstructive face gel, he mused, his mood having lightened somewhat. “What – so you mean that at the end of this I’m going to look like George Clooney?” he managed to quip. “Silly!” Elle scolded.

But despite their playful banter, inwardly Elle was still unsure of the pace of recent events. It had perhaps been her nervousness at going home to someone – or some relationship – that had caused her to stop off in a bar before returning the previous evening. She vaguely recalled being grateful that Blake was asleep. Comatose, in fact. But while she could not fully recall what had happened during the night, the feeling in between her legs this morning suggested something had. Removing one of her hands from his face, she scratched herself there, absently, while pondering whether to ask the question that had framed itself in her mind, or not. “Adam,” she then began, finally forcing it out. “Yeah?” “Are you… No – I mean, do… No, no. Forget it,” she stuttered. “No, go on. What were you going to ask?” Now it was Blake’s turn to be firm. “Sorry, I forgot. It’s just that I’m a bit confused, that’s all. I’m not very good, first thing in the morning.” Well you’re a damn sight better than me, thought Blake. “Anyway – what’s there to be confused about?” he eventually asked, after a pause. “Well, us, for one thing,” she responded. “What’s confusing about us?” “Never mind. Like I said, the mornings are not my favourite time of day. Let’s talk about it over dinner, when I get back,” she suggested, in an attempt to finish the conversation. “I don’t think I can make it tonight, babe. Got some things to do.” “I don’t mean tonight, silly!” she teased him, laughing. “I mean when I get back from my trip.” “Trip? Where?” “Paris. Don’t you remember? I’ve got to do a quality control check at the supplier’s lab. I told you, I’m sure.” Blake shook his head, dolefully. He felt more than a little annoyed at her dismissive manner. Sensing this, Elle ventured an explanation: “The first shipment to Skin Sanctuary’s coming up. It’s a big order, and being the first one, I need to personally test the product range. I can’t take the risk of, you know, falling short of expectations at the first time of asking.” “When are you leaving?” Blake asked, still smarting at her revelation. He was now beginning to realise how quickly he had begun relying on her – how he liked her being around for him, whenever he needed her. Until now, he reflected, he had not given much thought to the fact that Elle was a mature, independent businesswoman, who had priorities other than simply existing in order to help deal with his problems. “Lunchtime. Today. The Air France flight,” she continued, jolting him from his reverie. “How long for?” he then asked, his voice that of a sulky little boy.

posted by Kirk at 10:06 pm  

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