July 8th, 2015
Hadley had just finished loading the washer with the freshly scrubbed sheets when she heard the doorbell ring. Panicking she glanced at the old Digitex. 12:17 PM. He’s thirteen fucking minutes early? What happened to having to drive from work? Simon was never early, never late. Normally, his precision annoyed Hadley to no end. Today she would’ve given her leftmost toe for ten more minutes to let her dampened hair dry. Running to her closet, she grabbed an over-sized white tank top that read Beartooth in large and black stylized lettering. I’ll tell him I went for a run after the morning shift, and that I’ve just taken a shower.
Walking quickly out the bedroom door, Hadley turned left, towards the stairs. They were awfully elaborate and would require some patience to traverse in her still-inebriated state. Slow and Steady. Breathing deeply, she started her descent. The stairs were a helix that spiraled left. Damn thing’s closer to a ladder than a banister. On the third step, she tripped, falling hard on her left shoulder, simultaneously snapping her head against the jagged stone wall. Fuck! Concussions don’t mix with hangovers. Hadley, still sliding down the stairs, stabilized herself and decided to take the remaining rungs on all fours. This design…Was…The…stupidest…Idea.
Reaching the bottom, Hadley’s mouth cornered slight smile. Chuckling, as she realized Simon had seen her climbing down the bannister in through the glass window. Smiling wide, she opened the door, careful not to wobble. Simon stood there smiling back at her. Wait, what’s that look? His smile quickly turned to concern. Did I forget something?
Leaning forward, reaching for her face, Simon asked “Hadley, your eye?”
Confused, Hadley laughed “What? Is the color off today?” Her jaw tightened as Simon’s concern deepened.
“Sweetie you’re bleeding everywhere. What happened?” he asked, in his warm baritone.
Shit. I must’ve cut myself when I fell.
Scrambling, Hadley responded “To be honest, I wasn’t expecting you, and I had just finished running, so I came from the shower and slipped on my way down the stairs.” Maybe this isn’t so bad. I might be able to pass the hangover as a concussion from the fall.
Looking pale, Simon apologized “I’m so sorry, sweetie. I should’ve called, the shift I was covering was canceled. I…I wanted to surprise you. I brought someone. But I need to clean this wound as soon as possible, you could have a concussion, considering the cuts location.”
Hadley suddenly felt faint. Who’d he bring? Simon seemed to notice and tenderly put her arm around his shoulder. Slowly they walked towards the living room adjacent to the banister and door.
“I missed you, Hadley.” Simon said, tenderly. “I know this new job hasn’t been easy, especially during your recovery, but I’m damn proud of you. You’re doing great, getting clean isn’t easy. Hell, half the people coming into the ER are either seeking a fix or coming off a fix they injected incorrectly.”
Hadley Smiled as she sat on the couch. Leaning back, letting her shoulders sink deep into the soft leather, she responded “It hasn’t been easy, it really hasn’t. You and Adam keep me going. I need new friends, I think.”
“Why do you say that?” Simon asked, calling over his shoulder as he searched the first aid cabinet bolted to the wall between the front door and window. Blood from her cut dribbled into her left, stinging. He wasn’t kidding.
“Oh Simon, don’t you know by now that the girls at the law office party hard? I can’t keep up with them anymore. We went to that new club, Studio 26, last night. Some of them started rolling, Samantha had Ketamine, too.” said Hadley, looking away to her right as she lied.
Turning, a look of amusement forming on his handsome, angular, face, Simon giggled “Ecstasy? On a week night? I bet they didn’t feel great this morning.” No, I’m sure they felt shitty too.
Blushing nervously, Hadley exclaimed “I didn’t feel good this morning from the Jello shots alone!” He believes me. Simon relaxed a little as he walked back towards Hadley, wipes and bandage in hand.
Simon gently rubbed the wound with a small alcohol wipe, responding “I’m really impressed you turned the E down, Hadley.” Smiling reassuringly, he secured a small bandage over the cut. “But please be more careful on that Banister, I don’t know what I’d do if something ever happened to you. I got someone waiting in the car for you though, and I don’t think he likes the heat all that well.” As Simon turned, Hadley grabbed his left scrubs sleeve, pulling him back. He really does love me, and I’m repaying him with lies. I love him so much.
As their eyes met, she studied his face. His strong jaw tightened as his lips formed a half amused, half surprised expression. He had his favorite, black, set of scrubs on. His hair was cut short, the way she loved it. He has the perfect amount of stubble, too. A moment of silence later he asked “You okay, Hadley?”
“I am, with you here.” She responded, pulling him closer. Leaning forward she kissed him, hard. He leaned down, sitting next to her. He tasted of nicotine and mint. He’s been smoking again? But Hadley didn’t care, she pulled him even closer, grabbing his short dark-brown hair. Can we stay like this, forever?
Simon pulled away first, looking Hadley in the eye, he said “We are gonna get Adam back. They can’t punish us for the same mistake forever. Once we are clean, we are going to get him back.”
Tearing up again, Hadley responded “I know.” Maybe Adam is better off without me. I can’t even stay clean a week, and here Simon is, three months clean and working his ass off to stay that way. I don’t deserve him.
Noticing the tear forming, Simon wiped Hadley’s eye, and whispered “Wait here.” Hadley nodded, as Simon turned towards the door. As the door opened, and closed, the tears came. I’m going to stop, I can’t keep doing this, I need to grow up, for Adam, for Simon, for…me. She leaned forward, covering her eyes, and felt her mascara run. Hadley’s reverie was interrupted by a loud “YIP!”
Surprised, she looked up, and saw Simon closing the door with a small Australian Shepard in his arms. My favorite! Excitedly, Hadley got up from the purple-leather couch and ran forward to Simon.
Looking up, Simon smiled kindly. After a moment, his brow furrowed, and he asked “Why are you crying? This is your favorite breed, isn’t it? Hey, hey careful!”
Hadley laughed as she barreled into Simon’s outstretched left arm, leaning down to kiss the puppy. “What should we name him?” she asked, fervently.
“I think it’s up to you, Hads.” Said Simon, all trace of concern wiped away.
Pondering aloud, Hadley noted “Well it can’t be a boring name, he’s a special little fella. It’s gotta be weird, but cool as well as short and masculine. He’s clearly a strong boy! How about Silgan?”
Amused Simon asked “Silgan? I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.”
“Me either, that’s the point. It fits though. Isn’t that right, Silgan?” said Hadley, ruffling Silgan’s fur as he licked her hand.
Next Chapter: https://bluebeard-art.com/chapter-five/