Off The Cretan Track chapter 26

Off The Cretan Track chapter 26

A Chapter by Repgreece

Sal embarrasses Nick



Finally, as much as Nick was enjoying having free rein over just being able to watch Sal, as always, his curiosity got the better of him and, despite not intending to break the spell of the moment, he found himself asking,


“Sal, what the hell is it that you’re so fascinated with?”


She jumped then and gave a small laugh,


“Oh nothing,” she replied, taking another sip of her wine.


He narrowed his eyes at her. “Hmm, nothing indeed,” he said suspiciously. “You’re a bit of a dark horse sometimes you know Sal,” he commented.


She swung her head to him then and laughed. “A dark horse, me? You know me Nick; I’m an open book,” she replied, with maybe just a hint of sarcasm in her voice.


That was true; she was in some ways, but…


“Well, yes,” he agreed, “ and that’s one of the things I love about you the most,” he digressed for a moment…


Sal’s eyes widened with surprise for a second. One of the things he loved about her most? Maybe he’d had more beer than she realised.


“…but,” he went on, “when it comes to things closer to your heart, I reckon you keep it to yourself,” he observed, feeling surprised himself that he’d come out with that observation.


Sal went completely still for a moment, a knowing smile playing at her mouth as she searched his eyes, hers shining from the reflection of the lights inside the restaurant. 


“See,” he said, pointing to her, “you’re doing it now.”


Sal laughed suddenly, and broke eye contact with him as she lowered her head, chuckling to herself. Nick smiled as he watched her. Then she lifted her head and turned to him when a thought hit her.


“You know what surprises me about you?” she came back.


He wasn’t sure whether to be interested or wary. “What?” he asked.


“Well, you seem so casual about everything most of the time and then suddenly, out of the blue, you come out with deep and meaningful comments like that. I can see you’ve given it much thought,” she answered, observing him through curious, peacock coloured eyes. Nick was just noting how her eyes deepened in colour when she was thoughtful, before what she’d said hit home, and, for the first time in as long as he could remember, he was mortified to feel himself becoming embarrassed. Hell, he was going a bit over the top. What was all that rubbish about her ‘keeping things close to her heart’? Where had all that come from? She must be thinking he was a real jerk. Even more so for the fact that he couldn’t for the life of him think of any kind of witty retort, which usually came so easily to him. In fact, the more the silence grew, and the more he could feel Sal’s eyes bearing inquisitively into him, the deeper the colour of his face became. God, this was unbearable! He ran a nervous hand through his hair and fidgeted awkwardly in his chair.


Sal watched Nick and could hardly believe her eyes. Never had she ever imagined seeing Nick embarrassed. Her first instinct was to make a joke of it, but she instinctively dismissed that idea because of just how embarrassed he clearly was. It felt odd watching Nick cringe at his own words. He was always ready with a good comeback. She felt like it would be cruel to make fun of him now.


Then, at last, something about what she’d previously said jumped back into his head and he clung onto it.


“Casual? Is that what you think? You make it sound like I don’t give a s**t.”


Ooops, that might have come out a little more harshly than he’d intended.


Sal’s smile fell from her face and was replaced with something akin to mild panic.


“No, I didn’t mean that,” she emphasised. What was happening? How could everything be so amazing between them and then, literally within seconds, it felt like things were very rapidly going downhill? She had to get the wonderful mood back.


“Hey Nick, it’s me, remember? Your best friend, Sal. I don’t judge people. I never have. You know me better than that,” she appealed. “I was just speaking without thinking, as I always do. Please don’t take it to heart.”


God, he hadn’t really meant for his words to come out so abruptly in the first place, but having Sal appealing to him so sweetly and genuinely made his heart melt.


“I haven’t,” he replied, giving her a wink to prove it. Then he finished his beer in one final swig.


Sal watched the bottle as it fell from Nick’s lips and an idea hit her. Well, it wasn’t really a conscious idea, just something that she failed to dwell on before she found herself doing it. Leaning over the space between them, she took the bottle out of his hand.


Nick released the bottle in bewilderment at her action and his heart picked up its beat. What was she going to do?


Holding the still cold, frosted bottle between her hands for a moment, with a sly smile she then reached over again and took his face in her hands. His eyes widened. He was  still hearstoppingly uncertain of what she was going to do next, and acutely aware of her touch: the softness of her finger tips on his face, the slight aroma of some kind of hand cream she must have used and the cold feel of the silver ring on her index finger.


“There, now the fire’s gone out,” she teased, unable to stop herself from acknowledging his previous embarrassment.


He growled and caught hold of her hands, pulling them off his face. “Get back over there and not another word,” he scolded, trying to sound serious but not able to hide his smile.


She saluted him. “Yes sir,” she giggled, pleased that for once she was finally one up on Nick, but also glad that the carefree atmosphere had returned.


Okay, time to take control before she had him blushing again.


“Well, one last drink I think, and then we should go,” he announced.


Sal frowned with confusion. “Err, weren’t these our last drinks? I don’t think you’ll get that guy to let us buy anymore tonight Nick.”


“Ahh,” he began smugly, “well, that’s where you underestimate my considerable powers of persuasion Sal,” he replied, producing another bottle of beer and the remains of the bottle of wine that he’d hidden on the other side of his chair.


“What?” she beamed, eyeing up the bottles. “How…when did you…”


Nick loved surprising Sal. “Bought them all another carafe of Raki before I joined you,” he chuckled. “They seem quite contended for the time being,” he said, turning to glance behind himself. Sal followed his gaze to see the three men in deep conversation at the bar.


Sal laughed and then bit her lip as she glanced at the half bottle of wine he was holding, as if she were thinking that she really shouldn’t indulge herself anymore. Then she changed her mind. “Well, okay then Nick, just one more. But then we must go straight to bed,” she said. And there was that knowing smile again, daring him to make something of her comment.


God she was being cheeky tonight: he loved it.


Here pour this,” he said handing her the half bottle of wine, “and show me some mercy will you Sal?” he grinned back at her.

© 2011 Repgreece

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Added on October 10, 2011
Last Updated on October 10, 2011

Off The Cretan Track