‘That- that’s really insightful!’ Louise condescended. ‘Really wise’.
She resumed sucking her cheeks into ice-cream scoops and continued to apply diagonal rectangles of Orange blusher to her accentuated cheekbones.
“Yeah, yeah…I know I need to tell myself the facts. It would –“
Louise examined her face with gentle rotation of her head like a ring on display on a shopping channel. Gaining a vantage point of the best features and relegating the problem areas to shadow.
“Yeah, no, you’re right. I just need to keep reminding myself we’re in love. He loves me.” She concluded, before, in a squeal of remembrance, adding in a shrill, delightful tone: “I showed you what he got and made me for my birthday didn’t I?” She became agitated by the influx of associated memories; the corporeal and gestural signage of her first love’s love. “We’re just.” She recoiled in pleasure from the act of revelling. “We’re just so obsessed with each other. And..”
And she went on. It would be unfair to cast Simon – an ever-avid listener – as an egoist. He tapped the drum to Louise’s guitar solo with ample ‘yes’s’, ‘it’s only natrual’s’ and many, many – any in fact – other platitudes. He was simply bored. Not entirely disinterested, just simply unmoved by the palpitations of his friend’s heart. You can be happy and rejoice with those who have had the world awakened and embossed in such a way as falling in love. Stories can be shared and the little vaudeville that emerge can be intriguing. It’s always, however, bromide if you were not part of the partnership. A pair fall in love and the only devoted audience is one other. Perhaps any interloper with a vested interest in one or the other, a disapproving eye would also be as imbibed and as passionate. But no one else.
It’s for this reason Simon changed the conversation entirely towards himself. To his own hedonistic pursuits.
“I wonder if I’ll get any one on their backs tonight”
“Uh huh. It’s a def cert. Just don’t get too drunk. And avoid talking about China”
Simon chuckled and stretched out on the bed, right hand in the air. He massaged his nose with his top lip.
“You invited Josh didn’t you?”
“Yess.” Simon said unsurely. “I can’t help shaking the feeling that we only fucked around last time because he felt obligated. Even courteous.”
“Pah-haha. I’m sure no one does such a thing.”
They exchanged uniform eyebrow raises and caught each other in the eye before curtly returning to their respective activities: Louise pruning, Simon writhing.
“Just make sure he doesn’t strangle you again. Or if he does: be coquettish and absolutely clear that that sort of behaviour is only tolerated in the bedroom. I can’t wait to meet him”
“You won’t like him.” Before adding hastily: “You don’t need to”.
Louise paused, a frown segueing with her black-painted eyebrows. “You’re not going to fuck in your mum and dad’s bed are you?”
Simon considered the large bed, memory foam mattress against the probable tide of bodily fluids.
“No. The plan is: we fuck in my sister’s bed if he bothers showing up. If not, I get the marital suite. You and Adam get the stable.”
“Or if he attends and (for some inexplicable reason) refrains from sex – he sleeps in the cellar restrained and with a muzzle”
Simon’s eyed widened and he gravely nodded. He jolted into activity and swung round feet first onto the edge of the bed, sitting upright.
“Yes! Do you mind pouring while I check my Facey-B?” She searched around in vein for Simon’s laptop, tracing wires to decommissioned phones and adapters for goodness knows what.
“It’s downstairs.” Simon said, pushing himself upright using the bed as jumping board. “You have to choose the song.”
Louise groaned. The prospect of picking the right song was a chore for them both. They were interested in music with no capacity, focus or time to seek it out and enjoy it. Songs were always played to them, finding concord in a bestowed playlist as they sought the release of their cupidity. There were some memorable favourites, bashful guilty pleasures, flash in the pan repeats and timeless treasures. It was far too early for the second and so Louise settled on a song she faintly enjoyed and Simon seemed tireless of. He had never quite forgiven her for ruining Running the year before. The dulcet vocals and soothing, tame piano and 808 combinations followed her like a cold tobacco smoke. It rang in the background of every phone conversation Simon and Louise shared for two weeks until he could no longer tolerate it.
Speaking of tolerance. Louise followed him down the stairs fervently texting on her mobile. Tapping smudges onto the screen.
‘No..it’s fine. It’s all fine. He loves me, he loves me…’