Tobias returned as the sun set, and the scent of pepperoni pizza followed after him as he walked through the apartment. I’d been lying on the couch since he had left, and at some point I had fallen asleep, but I’d woken to the sound of the door opening.
“I got a pizza from that place you ordered from last week. I thought we could watch a movie together.”
He walked into the living area and placed the pizza down on the coffee table, leaning down to kiss me at the same time.
“Sounds good.” I murmured.
“Wine?” he asked standing back up.
I nodded sitting up straight, I watched him as he walked into the kitchen and retrieved a bottle from the fridge and two glasses from the cupboard.
“Everything okay?” I whispered. “After your um.. Appointment.”
Tobias nodded, but said nothing. He walked back over to the coffee table to place the wine and glasses down before walking toward the TV. He opened his DVD cabinet, which housed many I already owned. I idly wondered what we would do with the extra copies when tobias pulled out his copy of Reservoir dogs. “A homage to our first date.”
“That night was a date?” I mused. “We were hanging out.”
I looked at him and wriggled my eyebrows. He shot me a bemused look and tilted his head. “Ruby, we were delusional.”
I smiled and nodded. “I know. Reservoir dogs it is.”
Tobias put the movie on then sat down next to me. He poured the wine and I opened the pizza box. For almost two hours we sat there, snuggled on the couch together, like nothing and nobody could touch us… like we were a normal couple.
When the movie ended, Tobias kissed me on the head and let out a sigh.
“I’m sorry.” He said softly.
I frowned and looked up at him, as worry began to filter through me. “Sorry for?”
Our eyes locked, but it was like his soul was lost somewhere else, he blinked and looked away.
“For not protecting you from that article, from Mel.” he swallowed hard. “Because of me…”
I held up my hand and shook my head. “Not because of you Tobias. Don’t misappropriate guilt. You are not in control of what other people think, say or do.”
“Gert said the same thing.” He remarked. “But I feel it anyway.”
I frowned, I didn’t have the magic words to fix the way Tobias was feeling, As much as I wanted to. I snuggled into his body instead, absorbing his warmth.
“Next weekend, let’s go away. To your hometown, you can show me where you grew up, where you went to school.” He exclaimed out of nowhere.
“But you’ve got a contract to win… You sure you can spare the time?”
“baby. “ Tobias murmured. “We need a break, besides if everything goes as planned tomorrow night, I’ll have the contract in the bag before friday.”
I smiled, I hadn’t been back home since I’d run away from Ben. truth be told though, I missed the place. I’d grown up there after all.
“I’d like to visit my parents. Take them some flowers. I haven’t paid my respects in forever, but maybe it should wait.” I offered. “Maybe we could head there in a couple of months?”
Tobias face fell, and I could tell he’d had his heart set on getting away sooner rather than later. There was something on his mind, something he wasn’t telling me and it unnerved me.
“On second thought. This weekend would be good. I could use a holiday.” I smiled, unwilling to face the thought of Tobias’ unhappiness.
“Great, I’ll organise it.” He smiled wide before leaning in for a soft kiss that filled me with hope that this trip would truly invigorate him and help him face the turmoil I could see bubbling within him.
After the small road bump, the remainder of the night was relaxing. Spending time with Tobias just hanging out was without a doubt my favourite thing in the world. We’d forget all our troubles and lose ourselves in a sea of carbs, beer and tarantino. It had almost become a crutch. By the time we succumbed to exhaustion it was early morning, though we somehow moved from the couch to the bed.
When I woke the next morning the sun was already streaming through the window. We’d both been so tired that we hadn’t bothered to close the blinds, not that I minded, the warmth on my skin felt nice. I lifted my head off the pillow to look over tobias’ still sleeping body to check the time. It was almost 10.00am. We had the ball to attend tonight, the mere thought of it sent a shot of nerves through me. Last time we’d attended something like this I’d left feeling like a call girl.
“You look perplexed.” Tobias murmured sleepily.
I glanced down at him and smiled. “I’m fine.” I whispered.
Tobias lifted his hand to my face and let out a sigh. “Promise?”
I winced, unable to lie and rest my head in the crook of Tobias’ other arm. “I’m nervous. About tonight.” I admitted.
“We don’t have to go.” Tobias said without skipping a beat. “I want you to be comfortable… and if going tonight makes you feel the opposite of that, tell me.”
He spoke with such sincerity, wanting nothing more than to make sure I was okay. I leaned in and kissed him on the cheek.
“We’ll go.” I replied. “We bought a dress afterall.”
“It almost broke the bank too.” Tobias joked.
We talked for a while longer about work and plans for next, but by 12pm we both managed to get out of bed. I red the news on my laptop at the breakfast bar while Tobias made us both bacon and eggs on toast.
“I thought I might go get my hair and makeup done at a salon for tonight.” I noted, closing the screen of the laptop. Tobias dropped the spatula into the pan, creating a loud clang sound that echoed through the apartment.
“Alone?” He replied his voice low.
“There’s a place two doors down, We drive past it every day on the way to work. I’ll be fine.” I offered.
“I spose, you’ll be surrounded by others.” He murmured. I frowned, he was still feeling paranoid.
“I’ll take my phone and call you if anything feels dodgy.” I offered.
Tobias picked up the spatula and moved the food around the pan.
“Okay.” he replied softly. But I could tell he didn’t like it. The events of the last couple of weeks had really taken their toll on him and I could tell it wasn’t going to change anytime soon.
I called and made an appointment after breakfast. They managed to fit me in at 4pm, so after eating, Tobias and I fell back into bed together and we spent the next few hours doing little more than writhing between the sheets together and sleeping.
“I like these lazy Sunday’s.” Tobias placed a kissed on my naked shoulder. “For a few hours I forget who I am, and lose myself in you. I wish I could freeze time.”
“You’re a hopeless romantic Tobias Clarke.” I mused with a wide grin. His eyes widened, and he propped himself up on his elbow. He raised an eyebrow and shook his head.
“Me?” he scoffed. “Baby, until you came along I thought love was for saps.”
“But then I came along.” I smiled. “And you started saying beautiful things like you just did.”
Tobias’ face reddened and bit his lip. “You’ve got me there.”
“For the record, I wish we could freeze time too.” I added. “But alas, there is so much life to live in such a short time… and I have an appointment in twenty minutes… and I’m very very naked.”
“And the problem with that is.” Tobias laughed.
“I’ll be cited for indecent exposure if I try to leave your apartment if I don’t at least put some clothes on first.”
Tobias let out a playful sight and released me from his grip. “Go on… leave me then.”
“I’ll be back, all beautiful and shit.” I murmured moving to the edge of the bed.
“You’re already beautiful.” Tobias replied. “No additions needed.”
“Watch out.” I laughed. “We’ve got a smooth talker in the building.”
Tobias slid across the bed, wrapping his arms around my waist. “Not smooth talking.” He whispered. “Just speaking the truth.”
I let out a loud laugh before looking back at him and shaking my head. “Your sense of humor is on a roll tonight.”
Tobias shot back a triumphant grin before closing his eyes. “Wake me up when you get back and we’ll get ready to go.” He yawned.
“Deal.” I replied.
I showered, dressed and went down to the salon. I was there an hour while the beautician preened me within an inch of my life and at the end, I stared at the femme fatale in the mirror and wondered if it was even my reflection.
“It’s very dramatic.” I whispered, unsure I could pull it off.
“This is a picture of your dress yes?” The woman who’d been applying my makeup exclaimed, holding up the scanned picture I’d sent her earlier. I glanced at it, then back at my reflection.
“Then trust me this look is perfect, and you wear it well.” She said, a light accent shone through, but I couldn’t place it. “Fake confidence until you feel it in here.” She added, tapping her chest where her heart was.
“Thank you.” I replied. “I will.”
After I paid I returned to the apartment, only to find Tobias already dressed. He sat on the couch, tapping his fingers on his pants. He turned to face me as I walked through the door. His eyes widened.
“You look.” He stopped and tilted his head. “Beautiful.”
I smiled and walked across the floor of the apartment. “You’re already dressed.”
“I couldn’t go back to sleep.” He replied, his voice was heavy and low, but I did know why.
“Well I guess I’ll just go put my dress on and we can go?”
Tobias nodded stiffly, looking back down at his pants. I walked into the bedroom and grabbed my dress from the wardrobe. I stripped off my jeans and t-shirt before throwing the dress over the top of my red strapless bra and panties. It fit me snugly, clinging to my curves like a second skin. I walked toward the mirror and glanced at my reflection, surprised by how different I looked. I bit back a smile, slipped on my black stilettos and left the room.
Tobias glanced up at me as I walked toward him, his mouth fell open and he stood up. He swallowed hard and reached out his arms.
“I’d better hold on tight to you tonight.” He managed to stutter. “You look ravishing.”
“Baby, I only have eyes for you.” I replied walking into his embrace, pressing my lips against his. “I can’t wait till we can come home later and I can show you just how much I mean that.”
Tobias smiled and nodded. “I look forward to that.”
“Shall we go now so the fun part comes sooner.” I murmured seductively, or at least I attempted to sound seductive.
Tobias let out a chuckle and kissed me on the forehead. “Oh Ruby, I do love the way you think.”