Off The Cretan Track Chapter 28

Off The Cretan Track Chapter 28

A Chapter by Repgreece

An emotional night


Sal finished her glass of wine, placed it on the table in front of them and rested her head back on Nick's shoulder. She felt warm and drowsy, contented to simply sit there with Nick without having to make conversation. She didn’t really have the energy for conversation at that point anyway. The bike ride, the sun, the beach party and the emotional roller coaster had all taken their toll.

Nick looked down at Sal's head, which was just below his. Her shiny auburn hair fell along her jawline. He lifted a hand and gently swept her hair back away from her face, letting the silken strands fall through his fingers. He'd never felt her hair before. It was cool and smooth to the touch, dark mahogany with hints of cinnamon. Unusual. Was it her real colour, he wondered? He hoped so because it suited Sal, it enhanced her uniqueness. He continued to run his fingers through her hair in rhythmic movements, and she didn’t seem to mind. In fact, she hadn’t so much as moved a muscle for a while now. Nick strained his head forward to enable a proper view of her face.

He smiled. Just as he’d expected, her eyes were closed. He felt a little guilty then for keeping her out so late, but somehow, he'd wanted to make that perfect day last just a little longer. He couldn’t remember a more perfect day, and for more than a few moments of it, he'd been truly happy. As he made the decision to leave, lifting Sal into his arms and standing up, then began the feeling of foreboding. There was no particular reason for it, but Nick couldn’t help but feel that a day like that would never come again with Sal. He felt almost a sudden panic, but scolded himself for it. He had to get her back to the hotel to that bed, she was exhausted; she had barely even stirred when he'd lifted her up off the chair. Carefully reaching down with one hand, whilst taking some of Sal's weight on his knee, he grabbed the backpack they had taken with them, containing towels, a change of clothes, and now the remains of beer and cocktail ingredients, and slung it over his shoulder before rising again and securing his hold on Sal.

 Passing the owners of the restaurant on the way out, he waved and whispered,

"She's shattered. Thank you for the drinks."

They all grinned. "Ine se agapi," the older man had said wistfully, watching as Nick carried Sal out of the door.

Luckily, the hotel was not far at all from the restaurant, although carrying Sal safely down the stone steps of the cliff on which the restaurant was perched had been a bit of a challenge. She was surprisingly light to carry though. Sal was curvaceous but petite and almost doll like when she was asleep, curled up in his arms. So sweet. At one point, just as he'd reached the coastal pavement again, she'd opened her eyes for a few moments. Dazed and sleepy, she'd realized that she was being carried and said something about being able to walk, but he'd hushed her and said they were nearly back. Soon after that her eyes had closed again.

Finally, at the door of the hotel room, he found himself struggling to slot the key into the lock, whilst still holding onto Sal and trying his hardest not to wake her again. Unable to actually see the keyhole, he felt around the metal slot with the forefinger of his right hand, which held onto the key. After several more attempts, at last, it fitted into the slot, he turned the key and let them into the room, gently closing the door behind them.

The room seemed extremely silent and still, as though it had been waiting for them to fill it. He could quite clearly see the double bed in front of them from the street lights that must have been situated just outside their window. Deciding against flooding the room with the ceiling lights, he headed straight for the bed, throwing back the light bedcover and sheet but pausing for a moment before lowering her onto the mattress. He turned his head to look at her and indulged himself.

She was nothing less than beautiful and he felt so honoured to have been able to carry her home. Her head was resting against his collarbone, her hair was a little ruffled, her cheeks still a little flushed from either the wine or the sun, and her eyelashes rested on her cheekbones, almost like a child's; only the curves of her body reminded him that she was no child. He thought to himself then though, that she had the innocence of a child sometimes, and the purity.

He wanted so desperately to slip into the bed beside her and feel the magic of being able to hold her in his arms all night, to feel her soft beauty against him, to stroke her hair and soothe her into the morning, to pretend for one night that she were his. He couldn’t do that though, because he’d be letting her down again, taking advantage when they were only supposed to be friends, because even if he instigated nothing sexual towards her, his body would betray both him and her, he knew it without a doubt. And even if he didn’t act on that, there was always his mind, making up scenarios which placed them together in never ending erotic situations. It was wrong… like Sandra had said. But that night in the restaurant, he had wanted so much for it to be right, as if Sal were to reciprocate then it wouldn’t be wrong anymore, but he’d simply coerced her again. It was the worst thing he could have done really because he was taking advantage of both her innocence and her passionate nature to encourage her to do something that was wrong. She was so innocent that in over a year she hadn’t even conceived of him making a play for her, even when he'd invited her away for the weekend.

He was corrupting her, he was vile. He would never have someone as wonderful as her, he didn’t deserve it. And even though Jen didn’t want him, and both of them were lying to each other, he didn’t deserve her either. After a never-ending string of the most casual relationships with girls who had heard on the grapevine that he was good in bed, he’d finally come to realize that he wasn’t flattered anymore, he hadn’t wanted casual, he’d been hoping that one of them would want to stay longer and bring some sort of affection and stability to his life. So he had been determined at the beginning of last summer to find someone and make a relationship work, to do everything within his power to make it work, and if it didn’t, well okay he would search again, but at least he’d have known that he’d done everything he could. But he’d betrayed them both, the girl he’d promised to himself that he’d build a relationship with, and the girl that had exploded into his life and turned it upside down… the girl he’d wanted more than anything he’d ever wanted in his entire life. The girl in his arms.

Very gently, with reluctance, he leant forward and placed her onto the bed, sliding his arms out from under her and feeling suddenly bereft.

He wished with every fiber of his being that it could work between them, he ached for her in his heart. It was a physical pain he’d never felt before. He wanted all her loveliness because he could be a better person with her, she would make him better just by being with him. And not only that, he’d never known the kind of happiness he’d felt in just the few days every now and then that he’d spent with her over the last year. He was always happy when he was with her. But all of that was selfish on his part. She deserved better. She deserved her mind shattering guy to whisk her away on his yacht and make all her dreams come true. What had he got to offer her? Only the ugliness and reality of his upbringing that was waiting back for him in the UK... that was never going away. And then came the pain and fear again, a choking feeling of loss and hopelessness. His throat constricted and his eyes stung. He reached out a shaking hand and tenderly brushed her cheek with the back of his fingers.

"Goodnight my sweetest of friends," he whispered.

Sal was not entirely unaware of her surroundings, although sleep had kept pulling her into its grips. But when Nick had placed her onto the bed, she'd registered his presence still there, and a strange quietness. Then he'd whispered to her and his voice had sounded odd. There was something not right. Her eyes opened.

"Nick, what's wrong?" she asked with concern, catching a quick glimpse of pain on his face, his emotion threatening to overflow before it was replaced with pure panic. She struggled to sit up then, her concern doubling.

He backed away from her. "Nothing Sal. Go to sleep," he said, abruptly turning away and heading swiftly to the bathroom.

She bolted out of the bed then, wanting to catch him before he got through the door, but failing. She tried the handle but he had locked the door.

"Nick, come out," she urged.  Silence. "Nick, what's wrong? Come out," she repeated. Still nothing. Damn it, why wouldn't he speak to her? She banged on the door. "At least answer me for God sake!"

"Go to bed Sal," he finally shouted back.

"I'm not going to bed; there's something wrong and since we are supposed to be friends, you can come out and tell me what it is," she said with frustration.

Damn it! What was he going to do now? He took a deep breath, struggling to rein in his chaotic emotions, and running a shaking hand over his damp face, wiping the moisture away.

Nick unlocked the door and was faced with an angry looking Sal. That really threw him. He'd never envisaged Sal being really angry before, but the look on her face was real and serious.

"I just wanted to know what was wrong," she accused.

"There's nothing wrong," he lied, cringing at his words. But what else could he say?

"Like hell there isn't," she shouted back, placing her hands on her hips. Why was he lying to her? She could put up with a lot but lies and pretenses were her biggest bug bear. "Why do you always do this to me Nick? We are supposed to be friends aren’t we? Or is that all just a load of rubbish? Is this a big game to you, eh? Am i just someone you like to make fun of every now and then? 'Good old Sal is good for a laugh.'"

Nick was speechless and in shock, frozen to the spot. To see such anger in Sal and for her to get everything so totally wrong was so distressing for him but in his panic, he simply didn’t have the words to tell her just how wrong she was. He simply stared at her. Some of the anger left her then when she registered the look on his face.

"Nick, why can’t you talk to me about what really matters because i care about you."

That admission had them both brimming with tears.

"You went away for the whole winter and you promised that you'd keep in touch but I didn’t hear a thing from you, but you kept in touch with Adam and Fay and Ruth, because they clearly mean more to you. But when you left me, you didn’t even give me a contact number or e mail address or anything. I trusted that you'd contact me when you got back to the UK but you didn’t bother," she said, hanging her head as the tears dripped down her cheeks. This was more than Nick could bear.

"God damn it," he shouted back, with his own tears streaming from his eyes, "I didn’t want you to see me like this! I didn’t want you to know everything because I wanted you to think something of me."

Her head shot up then. "You think I don’t think anything of you? You think I will think more of you if you put on a big show for me Nick?" she replied incredulously.

His head was aching with emotion and confusion. "No," he replied, suddenly taking a seat on the sofa behind him and holding his head in his hands.

"What then?" she pushed; she had to know. "What then?" she repeated.

He growled, so frustrated with himself and the whole situation. Then it all came out in an angry rush, the whole sordid mess.

"My father is an addict and he's dying as we speak but I'm here because I can’t face him. I can’t face it Sal," he shouted, the shame of it bringing fresh tears to his eyes. "I'm so bloody terrified," he heard himself admit.

Sal thought her heart was going to break and her face just became a mass of tears. She went to him and took his face in her hands, kissing him on each cheek before wrapping her arms around him and holding his head to her midriff and he sobbed.

She kissed the top of his head. "I'm here for you Nick, just please don’t push me away," she begged. "And if and when you need to go back, I'll come with you and I’ll be right there beside you all the time...if you want me to," she added. "Because Nick," she said, crouching in front of him and placing her hands on his knees, "I'll be the best friend you've ever had, if you'll just let me."

His heart melted. "I know you will Sal," he said, stroking her face. "And I'm so sorry for hurting you. It wasn’t my intention. Come here," he said, taking her hand and urging her to sit next to him. He immediately took her in his arms and held her there, stroking her hair. They sat for a while as their tears subsided. "God, what are we like, the pair of us," he whispered against her. She giggled, releasing some of the emotion as a half laugh, half cry. He tightened his arms around her. "You're going to be absolutely exhausted tomorrow missy," he finally said. "I'm going to let you get some sleep now."

She pulled away from him then with a slight frown on her face. "Where are you going to sleep?" she asked.

His eyes flicked to the sofa they were sitting on. "Here," he replied.

It was so hard though, and she didn’t like the thought of him sleeping alone with all those thoughts that had been in his head.

"Look, you don’t even have any sheets on here. We are adults; we can sleep in the same bed without doing anything untoward," she said, standing suddenly.

He stood also, hesitantly. "What, even you Sal?" he joked, breaking the tension. "Well, as long as you promise not to seduce me, I guess we could."

She laughed. "Yeah, i do have some degree of control you know. I even brought my least sexy nightie," she added, plucking it from her pile of clothes and heading for the bathroom. "Just going to change."

Nick sat on the bed and stared at the closed door, his head in a whirl. What had just happened? And how on earth was he going to cope with a night spent sleeping next to Sal, least sexy nightie or not?

© 2012 Repgreece

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LOl, the ending was a bit funny despite the serious situation. i really thought Nick was going to confess hos feelings for Sal this time, but I was wrong...I loved the emotional turmoil and you did a giid job at getting in depth of Nick's feelings. Can't wait for more!

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Added on June 5, 2012
Last Updated on June 5, 2012
Tags: romance, fun, friends, love

Off The Cretan Track