Chapter 23

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I never would have thought that a five second walk of shame down a hallway could be worse than a half-hour train ride with the man himself and another woman's unwashed dress, but it was.

I was stark naked and it was dark. I'd left my dress and underwear in Rick's room, not wanting to disturb him from his sleep by fumbling around for them. He'd been sleeping soundly as I laid there with Will's voice cutting through my blissful state. I also had practical thoughts of disrupted living arrangements distracting me. I wanted to be in my own bed to mull over these things.

I also wanted to extend my arms and legs out like a starfish while I was naked and luxuriate in my post-coital happiness that could stop at any time when Rick woke up and likely told me that what we did was a mistake and should never happen again.

I gently peeled his arms off me and padded out of the room. His voice made me yelp.

'Beth, where are you going?'

'I-I'm just going to my own bed,' I said hurriedly. 'See you in the morning.'

I scurried up the hall and instantly realised what a big idiot I was. Those lame words were the best I could come up with? Still, my feet scampered towards my room instead of going back to erase those last awkward ten seconds and curl up against him. I dove into my bed and threw the duvet over my head.

I tried a technique Kade had told me about one afternoon that was supposed to help people get to sleep. It involved clearing the mind of everything until it just felt like a black chasm. It worked for about a millisecond until the avalanche of yesterday's events tumbled in - being called a homewrecker, grinding up against the broccoli guy in front of Will's conservative family, sticking my arse out at Will while lip-synching to Jay-Z, running away, flinging my bra off, and not so successfully sneaking out of Rick's bed while knowing it was a mistake. Why did I do half the things I did?

Kade, that bastard. I wouldn't have been surprised if this sleep technique was a psychological trick he'd played on me - my nagging thoughts were bothering me even more now. Then everything went blank until I awoke mid-morning to sunlight dappling through my blinds and onto my body, and the sounds of Rick and Mitch making breakfast downstairs. I guess I could thank Kade after all.

I figured that a shower would bide me some time before I had to go down and face the music. I scrubbed myself under the warm water and thought about the soundtrack to yesterday. Ballads, dance pop, then blues. Romance, fun, then drama. Then sex. Maybe more romance.

Conscious that this was going to be a significant morning, I dabbed some concealer on my face, coated my lashes with mascara and dabbed my lips with gloss. I pulled on a grey t-shirt dress, took a deep breath and made my way into the living area, where Rick and Mitch sat watching cartoons and munching on toast.

Rick clearly hadn't put in as much effort as me in anticipation of our morning after conversation. His crumpled t-shirt and faded boxers suggested to me that he hadn't even showered. He looked up at me and opened his mouth to say something, but Mitch beat him to it.

'Hey Beth, I heard the wedding was a bit full on.'

'Sorry, I told him already,' Rick shrugged.

'Oh,' I said, sinking down into the armchair near the couch. 'Yeah, it was a total disaster. Will found out about Izzy's fling with Matt and I got the blame, even though I knew nothing about it.'

I gave Rick a pointed look which he ignored as he stared at Aqua Teen Hunger Force on the telly.

'Sorry to hear that,' said Mitch. 'I was hoping something like that wouldn't happen.'

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