Off The Cretan Track Chapter 40

Off The Cretan Track Chapter 40

A Chapter by Repgreece

A friend in need


Sal looked around her apartment, with tears streaming down her face, and wondered what to do. Why did she feel so devastated? There was no reason for it at all, but nonetheless, the awful emptiness wouldn't go away. She had all night too, there on her own. How was she going to get through it? Her whole life felt so dark and so hopeless. Through a watery barrier of tears, she reached out and picked up a Jelly Baby, popping it into her mouth just because she had no idea what else to do. It simply seemed to stick in her throat though as fresh sobs took over, and she gave up doing anything but curling up on the cushions and wrapping her arms around her middle in an attempt to offer herself some sort of comfort.


Just in the middle of her sobs however, she was startled by the loud sound of her front door bell ringing. She froze. Who on earth could that be? She hadn't arranged to see anyone. She didn't even think anyone knew she was back. The bell rang again and she jumped into action, desperately wiping the tears from her face and darting into the bathroom to check herself in the mirror. Oh God, she didn't look good. Her face was red and blotchy and she looked in a terrible state. In the process of splashing water onto her face and waving her hands around in front of her cheeks in a panic stricken effort to lessen the evidence of her tears, she suddenly had an awful thought. What if it was Jen at her door? What if she was furious and had gone there to have it out with Sal? God, she couldn't cope with that.


"Sal! Are you in there?" came a female voice from behind the front door.


No, that wasn't Jen; the voice was too soft. Thank God!


"Sal," came another voice, "Open up, it's your boss here."


It was Adam and Fay. Phew.


Taking one last look in the mirror and straightening her hair, she ran to the door and opened it.


"Hey, welcome back intrepid explorer. We've come bearing gifts," Adam smiled, holding up a bottle of wine, "and to find out if you've discovered any ancient, priceless artifacts lately."


Sal was trying to half hide behind the door, unsure of whether they would notice anything amiss. She smiled, looking down and opening the door wider for them.


"Thanks, come in," she said turning to head back to the lounge.


"Sal," Fay said. Sal turned instinctively to see both of them still standing in the doorway staring at her. "What on earth is wrong?" Fay asked, stepping into the hallway and putting an arm around her shoulder. To Sal's horror, Fay's concern only brought on the tears again, and they began seeping silently out of her eyes. "Oh God, whatever is it?" Fay asked. Sal didn't trust herself to speak. "Right," Fay said decisively, turning to Adam and diverting him back towards the kitchen door, "what we need here is a cup of tea. You go in there and make them and I'll take Sal into the lounge."


Adam looked a little mystified. "Aren't we opening this bottle?" he said.


Fay's eyes widened and she gave him a purposeful glare, saying slowly and clearly, "No Adam, we need you to make the tea."


Oh, he must have said something wrong. "Right, yes, I'll go make the tea then."


"Thank you, and make them slow cups," she added.


"Right," he said turning, before quickly twisting back again. "Err, Fay," he called out, just catching them before they disappeared into the lounge.


"What?" she asked impatiently.


"What are 'slow cups'?" he whispered.


She tutted. "Cups of tea made very slowly, stupid."


"Oh yeah right, I knew that," he replied, wandering into the kitchen. "Was kind of looking forward to a glass of wine actually though," he said to himself, opening a cupboard door, which coincidentally happened to be filled with wine glasses. Hmm. He took one out and glanced guiltily back towards the door. "I'll just have a glass of wine and they can have two cups of sloooow tea," he smiled, flicking on the kettle before searching through the drawers for a bottle opener. Then a thought hit him; what if there was something terribly wrong with Sal and he was there, stuck in her kitchen making slow cups of tea? He strained to hear anything from the other room but couldn't make out more than muffled voices. How slow did a 'slow' cup of tea have to be anyway?


"Sal, what is it? Tell me what's wrong sweetie," Fay said, pushing Sal's hair off her face as Sal wept so that she could get a better look at her.


"I don't even know," she half laughed, half cried. "I'm such a mess."


"But there must be something making you upset," Fay replied.


"I's everything," Sal sobbed.


"Come on love," Fay said, holding Sal to her, "Let's just start with one thing eh."


After a few moments, Sal took an unsteady deep breath and sat back to look at Fay. "Well, my love life for a start...or lack of it."


"Ah sweetie, you're always thinking about 'Mr Mind Shattering Man' but it doesn't bring you to tears like this," she pointed out.


"But I'm so lonely," she said. "Maybe it's just all caught up with me now. I mean look, everyone else is out there with their boyfriends or husbands, or lovers, or whatever... you've got Adam, Nick's got Jen... and I'm in here with bloody 'Desperate Housewives', Jelly Babies and cheesy puffs!"


Fay couldn't help but chuckle when she looked down at the coffee table, and she reached out again to cuddle her friend.


"First of all, quoting Nick and Jen as a happy couple is a terrible example, and secondly, if I were Nick, I'd go for a night in with cheesy puffs in preference to a night out with Jen any day!" Fay exclaimed.


"Yeah well, he doesn't choose cheesy puffs, he chooses her, and I feel like the only person in Agios right now with no one to love me. Maybe I should have just given in to Mum and got engaged to Phillip," she sulked. "At least then I'd have somebody."


Fay's head shot up then in shock. "Don't you dare even think it! You've got to be kidding Sal. And anyway, you're about the most loved person I know out here. Everyone loves you. How could they not?" she said vehemently. "And also, the whole point of you being 'you' is that you won't settle for any old person; you want and deserve the best. You could have any guy you want in the bars out there," she said, gesturing to the window. "They've been scrambling to get you into bed since you got here, but they aren't bloody well good enough for you! You deserve someone who will see how wonderful you are and want you for no other reason...someone who will fall madly and passionately in love with you from the very first moment they see you because all your kindness and honesty and passion and lust for life will be so obvious to them that they won't be able to resist you," she said sincerely, with tears shimmering in her eyes. "Don't go down my road; look where that landed me: married to a complete and utter waste of space and bitter and alone for years and years afterwards. Goodness knows I was lucky to find Adam because no one else would have taken the time trying to get through to me. So don't you dare so much as mention the 'P' word again, do you hear me, because I couldn't stand to see you in a relationship like that, one that would suck all the life and optimism out of you. I love you Sal, just the way you are," she said, with the tears spilling out of her eyes and Sal's welling up in response too. "Don't ever change or give up on your dreams because I promise you, you'll find Mr Right." Both were sobbing by now as they threw their arms around each other. "And I'm so sorry because I realize now that I haven't been here enough for you. If I had, you wouldn't be sitting here on your own crying... and just the thought of that breaks my heart. I want you to promise me Sal," she said, sitting back suddenly and holding her firmly by the arms. "I want you to promise that if you feel like this again, no matter what time of the night it is, that you phone me and I'll come over, or you can come to our fact, we should arrange that. Yes, you can come and stay over for the night. You've never done that; it would be fun."


Sal laughed through her tears. "Thanks Fay. Gosh, I don't think I've ever heard you say so much without taking a breath!" she teased.


Fay laughed with Sal. "I meant it all though."


"I know you did," Sal smiled.


"And anyway, I love cheesy puffs," Fay giggled, reaching out to open up the packet. "And what else do you have here?" she asked. "Ooh, jelly babies, and why isn't this bottle of wine cracked open yet? Tell you what, I'll open it," she said, picking up the corkscrew from off the coffee table, "and you can turn the DVD on; it's been ages since I've watched 'Desperate Housewives'; you'll have to fill me in on it."


"No problem," Sal replied, sliding the magazine from off the table and attempting to hide it next to her on the sofa.


"Hey, what are you hoarding away there Sal?" Fay asked.


She gave her a mischievous grin. The old Sal was back. "A little bit of secret indulgence," she replied, whipping the magazine up in her hands and showing Fay the front cover.


Fay's mouth dropped open. "Let me see that," she said, reaching for it.


Sal moved it away from her. "Hmm, I'm not sure you should be looking at this Fay; I don't think Adam would like it."


"Never mind about Adam; let me see!"


"Did I hear my name mentioned?" came a voice out of nowhere, accompanied by a small knock. Both girls jumped guiltily and giggled. "Tea anyone?" A hand holding a cup of tea appeared from around the door. "Can I come in now?" Adam asked, peering into the room to see Fay with a glass of wine in her hand.


"Err, we don't really need the tea now; we have wine," Fay smiled.


Adam stepped around the door holding two cups of tea. "But I took ages making these," he said.


"Well, I did say to make 'slow cups'," Fay pointed out, causing both herself and Sal to start giggling again.


"Slow cups indeed," Adam tutted, placing the cups onto Sal's book shelf and leaving the room, reappearing moments later with his glass of wine.


"Hey, you have wine too," Fay pointed out.


"Yep," he smiled, moving over to Sal and kissing her on the cheek. "I'm going to make it my mission in life to find you 'Mr Mind Shattering Man' if it kills me," he said, sitting in between them both on the sofa.


"You've been listening in on our conversation," Fay said.


"Yes I have. She's my friend too, greedy. You can't keep my Sal all to yourself you know," he said, putting his arm around Sal.


Ah, Adam was so sweet sometimes.


"Watch out," Fay said to Sal, leaning around Adam to speak to her, "he may find you Mr Mind Shattering, but he's terribly unsubtle as a matchmaker," she warned.


"Well, what's the point in beating about the bush? If you like someone, you should just let them know," he retorted. "That's what I did with her," he said to Sal, "and it worked," he winked.


Sal grinned, adding, "Yeah...eventually."


"Yeah well, it might have taken a little longer than anticipated," he laughed.


Fay bit her lip guiltily and proceeded to divert the conversation. "So, did you find any artifacts?" she asked, taking a sip of the wine. "We need another glass," she hinted to Adam.


"Don't tell me, a 'slow' glass. Not a chance; I want to hear about the treasure hunting," he replied, lifting the wine in his hand to his lips.


"This one will do nicely," Fay said, sweeping it out of his hand before he had a chance to take a sip and passing the glass to Sal.


"Well actually, things didn't quite go to plan. We did have fun though, but then arriving back here to a furious looking Jen who hadn't been told where Nick had gone wasn't exactly the best ending to the trip," Sal said, taking the glass of wine off Fay.


"He didn't tell her about Matala?" Adam said incredulously, "Foolish guy. Poor foolish guy... think I'll phone him, just to check he's okay," Adam said, taking out his mobile phone and scrolling for Nick's number.


Adam waited for several minutes for Nick to pick up before ending the call. "Weird, no answer. I'll message him."


Sal started the DVD and they tucked into the goodies, however Fay's initial relief at seeing Sal smiling again was a little diminished by the anxiousness she suddenly felt in her. Sal was sitting there, not fully concentrating on the programme, and biting her thumb nail nervously.


Adam's phone beeped shortly afterwards and Sal simply sat tensely staring at the phone on the table until Adam finally realized that he had a message waiting for him. Fay pondered Sal's odd behaviour.


Adam read the message and frowned. "You know what, I think I'll go pop in on Nick. I need to talk to him about work anyway," he said, standing up. "And I could do with checking that Jen hasn't battered him! I'll not be too long."


Fay noticed that all the colour appeared to have drained from Sal's face.


"Adam," Sal said, halting him before he left.


He turned to Sal. "What sweetheart?"


"Give him my love," she said.


Adam cupped her face and kissed her on the cheek again. "I will."


Then he reached down and gave Fay a quick but gentle kiss on the lips. "I'll be back soon," he said.


Adam hadn't appeared to have noticed anything, but to Fay, a thought slowly occurred to her. She wasn't certain of it, so she'd wait to see, but if anyone knew anything more about it, it would be Ruth. It was Sal's last words that had sparked off Fay's interest, and, as Adam left the apartment, in Fay's head, 'Give him my love', seemed to echo around the room.

© 2012 Repgreece

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Added on October 18, 2012
Last Updated on October 18, 2012
Tags: love, romance, friends, fun, summer

Off The Cretan Track