thirty-seven ~ relationship
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For the tenth time that hour, my phone began to violently vibrate on my bedside table. For the tenth time that hour, I ignored it. I knew who it would be. Or rather, I knew who it wouldn't be.
Less than twelve hours had passed since Brent and Alastair's confrontation. A lot could happen in twelve hours; twelve hours in Kensington was like twelve weeks elsewhere. Despite my incessant phone, I at least had the house to myself. Mum and Dad were both working, but that didn't mean they hadn't tried communicating with me: two emails from Dad, three calls from Mum and several rounds of them knocking on my door before they left the house this morning. I'd pretended to be asleep. I wasn't.
The vibrating came to a sudden conclusion and I took a deep breath as I reached across for my phone to cancel the Missed Call notification. This time it had been Nicole, and her call was swiftly accompanied by a text message, saying she'd heard the news and hoped I was feeling okay. Numbness was the only thing I felt, and I didn't know if that was because I didn't care, or because I didn't want to care.
From within my hand, the phone illuminated again and my eyes automatically flickered downwards. Surprisingly, this time it wasn't one of my friends messaging me; it was Brent, telling me that he was outside my front door.
We hadn't arranged to meet up this morning—in fact, he'd had other plans—but I found myself craving company, confused that Brent and I had apparently reached a stage where I considered him a source of reassurance and comfort. Despite still being in my pyjamas, I padded downstairs and pulled open the front door.
"Is it safe to come in?" he asked, glancing behind me.
I nodded and stepped aside. "My parents are at work. What brings you here?"
He slid past me, his body ever so slightly brushing against mine as he did so, and then came to a gradual halt in the hallway, as if he didn't want to go any further. After giving it a push of encouragement, I let the door swing shut and then ushered Brent through to the living room, noticing that his eyes were absorbing his new surroundings. I hadn't forgotten his reaction to the Camberley house, nor his cutting comment about how the other half live. Of course, we'd come a long way since then and I wondered if he was still thinking the same thoughts now but choosing not to vocalise them, or if his opinion genuinely had changed over the weeks.
"The museum doesn't open 'til ten and I figured I might as well come to see you since you're nearby," he answered, his eyes landing on me again. He extended an arm, a white paper bag dangling from his fingertips. "I brought you breakfast."
I smiled as I took the warm bag from him and peered into it. A large, golden croissant sat neatly inside, feeling as though it had been freshly-baked not long before.
"I wasn't sure where I could buy something traditionally English, like crumpets or whatever you guys eat, but I thought a croissant would suffice since we're so near to France..."
I let out a small laugh at his logical problem-solving ability. "Thanks, Brent. That's really...thoughtful."
After last night, I knew there was an elephant in the room. We couldn't let Alastair's words go undiscussed and calling his gesture "sweet", which had been my initial choice of term, had such romantic undertones that I was almost scared to go there. And now? Now that everyone knew? I was even more scared to go there.