Tuesday, 13 October 2015

It’s three o'clock in the morning, Sam.

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“It’s three o'clock in the morning, Sam.” Val leaned against the back of the door as she argued with him, her ex.
“I know. I’m sorry... I just ...” A pause. “Please, Val? Please open the door.”
“I can’t talk to you out here.”
“No. You can go home.”
“I can’t.” He sounded panicked.
What on earth? She yanked the door open and he nearly fell inside. “Why not?” she demanded.
“I just can’t.”
“Sam,” she warned. “Spill.”
“I thought it was too late for talk.”
“Talk or I’ll make you leave.”
“It’s that guy.”
“What guy?” Although she thought she knew which guy he meant.
“He’s at my house.”
“Which guy?”
“That young one... what’s his name - he’s been following you around. I don’t know why he’s started on me.”
“Emyr.” It wasn’t a question.
“Yeah... him.”
“Why is he following you?”
“I just said, I don’t know. You’d have to ask him”
“I will.” She pointed at the couch. “You sleep there.”
He got that look on his face. “Really? After everything we’ve done together.”
“We are not together now. You’re an ex, Sam. We parted on terms good enough to let you in the door at three am, but you will never get back in my bed.”
“Jeez... okay.”
“Good night, Sam.”
Val tossed and turned, trying to go back to sleep and failing. Why was Emyr at Sam’s place? Wait... how did Sam know who Emyr was? Or that he had been following her.
She didn’t think he was dangerous. That wasn’t the vibe she got from him.
She asked Sam in the morning. He showed her a photo one of his housemates had taken. It was definitely Emyr; standing with his back against a tree, ankles crossed. He had to know the picture was being taken. “Who took it?”
“Ben. He said he’s been around for a few days but he only got the shot last night and then he sent it to me.”
“Emyr is not dangerous. I don’t know what you’re scared of.”
“He’s been watching my house.” Sam had been left a house by a relative. He rented rooms out to people who cooked, and cleaned as well as contributed to the bills. She had been a tenant and then she’d been more than that.
“I’ll talk to him.”
“Doesn’t he scare you?” Sam asked.
“No. He’s annoying though.” She would have described Emyr as a puppy. An eager one who wanted her affection.
The next day she was more aware of people around her but she didn’t spot Emyr until the day after. He was outside her office when she left for lunch. His face lit up when she stomped across the mall to confront him. “Val!”
“Leave Sam alone.”
He pouted.
“Why are you even at his place? Answer me.”
“Can we talk somewhere?”
“No. “
“Please, Val. I’ll buy you lunch.”
“I don’t want-” but her stomach growled and betrayed her.
He obviously heard it. “There’s a bar a block over, but they do great lunches.”
She checked her watch. “I have to be back in an hour.”
He beamed at her.
The bar looked a bit shabby, more of a rough place than she usually frequented. A booth at the back would have suited her better but Emyr pulled out a chair for her at a table in the dead centre of the room. “Drink?” he asked.
“Just a soda.”
She watched as he went to the bar to order drinks. He had a glorious ass. Wide shoulders, slim hips, and not an ounce of fat on him. Pity he was so young. Too young to be in the bar, she belatedly realised. “Now, tell me what you’re up to.”
“We’ll order first.”
He ordered a mixed tapas platter, she a burger.
“Sam is not good for you.”
She frowned. “I know that; that’s why I dumped him and moved out.”
The meals appeared lightning fast. “Good lord, did we get someone else's’ food?”
He chuckled. “No. Probably not.”
Probably? Okay.
“Here,” he said. “Try this.” He held it out in front of her and she took it from his hand.
“That’s good.”
“So you aren’t getting back with Sam?”
“Ugh, no. That ship has well and truly sailed.” Busy holding her burger with both hands so that she could eat it, she was only half listening to him. “Wait up,” she said with a mouthful that she swallowed before adding, “What makes you say that?”
“He still likes you. Try this.” He fed her this piece from his fork as she was still holding her burger. He looked incredibly pleased to be sharing his meal with her.
“How did you get that from following him?”
He snorted. “It’s obvious. And you were visiting the house.” Now he fed her a piece of potato wedge.
“I was visiting Ben. He’s been having a rough time.”
“Oh.” He moved some food around on his plate and then glanced up at her through his brows. “Not Sam?”
“No. Ben was my friend when I lived there.”
“So how did you know it was me?”
“Sam showed up at my place at three am. Woke me up and said he was too scared to go home.” She snorted.
Emyr looked horrified but he was holding his fork in mid-air so she stole the chorizo from it. He blinked. “That sounds like a line.”
“That’s what I thought. You’re not scary.”
“No.” He appealed to her mutely.
“He slept on the couch,” she added. “I’m not that stupid.”
She studied him. “So why were you watching his place in the middle of the night.”
An eloquent shrug.
“Emyr, please tell me why.”
He met her eyes as he fed her some more potato.
It suddenly occurred to Val that the bar had gone very quiet. Everyone seemed to be watching them.
“It doesn’t matter now,” Emyr declared and gave her his last piece of roasted red pepper.
“It doesn’t?”
“No.” More meat this time. He beamed at her.
She chewed contemplatively. “So you’ll stop harassing Sam?”
“Okay then. That’s all I wanted.” Val looked at her plate and grabbed a handful of French fries. “Here,” she said as she dumped them on his plate. “Payback.”
“I fed you,” he said quietly.
“True.” She shoved a fry in his mouth. “There! Now we’re even.”
“Yes, we are.” He looked very serious.
She was sure she heard the barmaid gasp and mutter something but didn’t hear it clearly.
“At any rate, I have to go back to work.”

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