„You were sleeping?“ I was surprised that he looked tired. It was Friday afternoon!
He frowned, not happy at all. „Next time come straight in. Someone will be on ground floor for sure. This bell here, I’m disconnecting.” He pushed his fingers behind the small box and pulled it off the wall.
I would have said more, but realized then that me showing up in the neighborhood must be giving him more rest time than before. It was like a bad dream, him sending them to me with his problems. I wouldn’t have minded it so much, but this was getting regular. I didn’t like this role. I felt like he was pushing me to relearn to socialize. More like keep order inside Amazon monkey colony.
He disappeared in the house, and left the door open. I followed him quietly.
Suddenly I faced a miracle man before my eyes – ready to console, rule and lead and make everybody in the community act like sedated person on the operation table. It made me feel as inadequate fool, who out of her own inability to cope even half of his problems, tosses tasks given to her back in his yard. I could never live up to his expectation or even compare myself with him.
Yet I was not that old to play nanny to my grown up neighbor kids. To Henry, yes, but them…
I placed my handbag on the closest chair and watched him disappear in the bedroom. Nobody else seemed to be home.
“I’m going shopping! You want something?” I called after him. Needed some sugar and few other relics for the messy experiment a´la cook-at-home recipe book. You couldn’t go and eat out by your pleasure here – there was no junk food places around. Good for the diet, I added, but thought immediately on a big fat juicy burger with nothing but meat and cheese…
He didn’t respond.
I went in and followed him in the back. “I asked – you want som…”
All ideals disappeared in mist somewhere, seeing his very earthy belly down pose.
He was fast asleep, slumped on his bed like pile of clothes that surrounded his messed up bed. The bedroom was small, mostly filled with the bed. Right across the room was dirty window and on my left was typical mass product closet blocking the way to the window. He didn’t even have blanket – just two much used pillows hidden in gray slips and same colored sheets messed around his bare chest and black pajama trousers.
Nobody was home either…
On a whim, I stretched far over his bared back and pulled my thumb gently over his spine. He murmured something, but didn’t wake. He was so tense I could play drum on his back. I did it again and this time felt his muscles relax a bit.
“Want a massage?” I asked in his ear and he nodded, eyes closed. Probably not thinking really what he responded.
I climbed on the master bed, slowly sinking deep in the mattress. The blanket he was laying on was huge, rising softly around my knees as I tried to swing one leg over him and rest my weight on his back.
He felt relaxed though when I ran my fingers over his back muscles, his back was so tense it felt like caressing wood. I started slowly to work the thick muscles under my palm. They slid easily over the torso before cranking down on the shoulders. His hands were resting still on the side. I pulled mine over his few times and felt the muscles ease by the time I reached his wrists. I stopped there for a moment and on a whim of thought slowly closed my fingers around his wrists until I could feel his pulsing vein working hard to get pass my palm.
He didn’t react to it and I released him.
I moved back to his shoulder blades and started methodically going over his every muscle I could feel under my finger from the neck down. He cringed few times, when I reached to some knot he didn’t know he had, but that didn’t ease my hold around that particular muscle.
I started rocking back and forth to press harder on his lower back before continuing the routine all the way up before washing down his hands until I reached his fingertips. His shoulders seemed to uncoil a little and he shifted his weight. I sat down on his back and kept still for a long moment, enjoying him sleeping.
“You’ll be doing that often from now on.” He groaned suddenly, calmly reaching out his hands and gently brushing his thumb over my knees. It sent waves through my body, but I kept focusing on his back.
“It’s one time only offer!” I whispered, not sure of it myself, but continued massaging him. His thumb pulled gently over the inner skin of my thigh and I thought of telling him off, when suddenly the front door went open with a bang and Rasmus’ yelling rocked through the house.
I was immediately pushed over on the bed and Saul rose from the bed right in time to see Rasmus’ face appearing at the door. He’d been running, but the site of me on the bed turned his face sour.
“The hell, Saul! This isn’t the time to get in her panties!”
Saul pushed him out of the door and into the living room, explaining him on the way that I was simply giving him massage.
“Yeah, as if!”
I waited for a second, rolled myself off the bed and after scraping up a bit, followed them in the living room. Saul wasn’t looking at me, drinking some old coffee from a cup, tensely listening the irritated accusations from Rasmus. For a second our eyes met and we both looked away, irritated.
The door flew open and Janay came in first, deep in conversation with Malek, who was coming behind him.
“…and then this chick comes straight at me, flapping her scarf like monster wings or something and her daddy behind her like madman, ready to shoot my head off! Start your rooster routine, he yelled, right now or I’ll shoot your balls! Got several crows out before I got to my gun and finished the fucker off!” he slurped from his cup before he came to complete stop and stared at us. The cup fell lower and he sucked the foam off his moustaches before the crow feet near his eyes tensed and the sparkle in his eyes deepened.
They stared at me as if I was naked. I could’ve been, as far as they were concerned.
He poked Malek into ribs and Malek flunk into wide grin matching Janay’s.
“See? Talk about daddies not home! King goes out and the sleeping prince gets kissed by his princess on a pea!”
Rasmus flared in full fit rage on that moment and empty folders started flying through the air straight at the guys protecting themselves with their coffees.
“Praise your virtue, my king, but your prized bull just got laid!”
I blushed, hard and for a second thought it would be better if I too had a place to hide. They continue like that and Rasmus gladly introduced them virtues of silence! A pair from hell, I decided, listening them go on with the rhyme.
“Eff and Saul, sitting on a tree! K-I-S-S-I-N-G!” They continued, dancing around each other.
“You actually pay them?” I asked Saul, who hang on the stale coffee as a life saver.
“Tell me he at least got a kiss?” Janay smooched while Malek cracked up in another fit.
Saul’s eyes landed on those cups while the owners were staring at me for an answer.
Let their worlds crumble, I said to myself while flipping my eyebrows as high as I could manage. They started giggling, but stopped, when Saul put his mug away and grabbed for the closest hot coffee in his reach.
I used the moment and went, grabbed my handbag from the chair, said thanks and grabbed the other cup from Malek.
I sucked my lips around the hot latte and sipped from it while closing the door behind me. It was unsweetened and though I loved my cuppa over sugared, it was surprisingly refreshing. The voices inside grew to thunder and for a moment I stood there and just listened, imagining Saul-Erik standing in the middle of that all and trying to make sense of it all, his eyes still red from missed sleep and muscles tensioning up.
I didn’t dare to sit around and eavesdrop for more than few seconds. If Rasmus found me here right now, I’d be out of my place faster than you say “aaaa” in doctor’s appointment. Concentrating on his tasks, that’s how Rasmus wanted to see him. No distractions and definitely no girlfriends.
That last thing made me awfully sad.