“Lucy, baby wake up.” James’ voice came soft as he delicately shook her shoulder.
Lucy opened her eyes, slowly coming back to reality, trying to understand where she was, then she recognized the unfamiliar bedroom and the tall building outside the window and she remembered. The sky was dark outside.
“What time is it?” She asked, brushing her hair off her face.
“Five-thirty,” replied James.
“In the morning?” She queried, confused.
The man chuckled.
“No silly, in the afternoon.”
Lucy buried her head back in the pillow and sighed heavily.
“I can’t believe I’ve slept for more than twelve hours!” She exclaimed, her voiced muffled by the pillow.
James smiled fondly.
“You needed it, baby.”
She had arrived the evening before after landing back to London from Singapore, she and James had only had time to have sex, then she had fallen asleep, exhausted from the previous days. James had gotten up in the middle of the night for an early start, leaving Lucy in bed.
“How was your day?” She asked finally pulling herself up to seated.
“It was really good! We got a lot done,” replied James standing up from the bed and removing his shirt.
“I’m gonna take a quick shower then we can do something? I have a day off tomorrow.”
Lucy cheered welcoming the news and swung her legs off the bed with renewed energy.
She turned on the TV in the lounge area on the news channel and made herself a coffee from the bar then sat on the long cream sofa.
Minutes later James appeared from the bedroom in his grey tracksuit bottom, his chest still wet like his hair.
“So you never told me yesterday, how was the flight the other day?”
Lucy looked up at him with a bright smile.
“Of course I remembered!” Said James sitting next to her “I wanted to ask yesterday but you were so tired!”
Lucy clapped with joy and told James all about the first flight she had been in charge of.
All the things that went wrong and how she had dealt with them, the way she had managed her team and their reactions, everything fully filled with details. Then she stopped and looked at him for a moment.
“You have no idea what I’m talking about, have you?”
James chuckled softly.
“No,” he pulled her on top of him and held her waist with his hands. “But you haven’t stopped smiling for the past ten minutes and that’s all I’m paying attention to.”
She kissed his lips, tenderly, slowly.
“You’re sweet”, she said.
“So now that you’re the boss you’ll give me an upgrade next time I fly with you?” He joked.
Lucy rolled her eyes and went back to sit next to him.
“As if you need it,” she murmured.
James laughed and flicked her nose with his finger in a sweet way.
“I’m proud of you. You’re doing amazing, I’m happy the company sees how much you’re worth! I’m sure you’ll get your permanent promotion in no time!”
Lucy crossed her index and middle finger.
“So, what’s the plan for tonight?” She asked then.
James walked to the bar and took a bottle of water from the fridge.
“That movie you wanted to watch was out yesterday, wanna go watch it?”
Lucy brought her hand to her chest in surprise.
“Mr Blackwood, are you suggesting we leave these four walls?” She asked dramatically.
James laughed and threw the lid of the bottle at her, which she caught with a giggle.
“I know you’re doing so much to be with me right now, it’s only fair we do something you like”, he said.
“Thanks, Jamie. That’s very thoughtful”, she flirted, looking at him from under her lashes and slowly tracing the outline of the back of the sofa.
James walked to her and lifted her face placing a finger under her chin, then softly bit her lower lip.
“You can’t blame me for not wanting to leave when you look at me like that.”
Then James suddenly shifted his attention to the TV, his eyebrows knotted as he listened to the news. Lucy silently followed his gaze to the screen.
“...about Pablo Ramirez, who recently won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Leading Actor. The mugshot was leaked to the press anonymously and dates back to when the actor was only twenty years old”.
James walked around the sofa and sat, turning the volume up slightly.
“Further investigations seem to have confirmed that Ramirez was originally arrested for a minor crime related to drugs but as of today, we still don’t have any comments from the actor or his team.”
“Shit,” said James, his eyes still on the TV.
“Do you know him personally?” Asked Lucy placing a hand softly on James’ arm.
James shook his head.
“No, I mean I’ve met him before but I don’t know him.”
Lucy just nodded briefly, not sure what to say.
“This is bullshit,” said James exasperated. “That thing must have happened almost twenty years ago. What’s these people problem?”
Lucy watched as he hastily stood up and walked to the TV, turning it off.
“I don’t know. I don’t see how this could be anybody’s business...” agreed Lucy, trying to read into her boyfriend’s reaction.
“They’re just dirty fuckers, all of them. How can they just ruin people’s lives as a profession? How do they sleep at night?”
Lucy walked to him and held his shoulders gently.
“I know. It’s so unfair...but from what they said it was a minor crime and it was so long ago, I’m sure people will get bored of this story as quickly as anything else”.
James looked at her but didn’t say anything, a strange vail of discouragement in his eyes, he suddenly looked disheartened.
“I’m sorry you all have to go through this. It’s unfair...I’ve had my fifteen minutes and it was enough for two lifetimes.”
James finally pulled her close and kissed her head.
“It’s the price to pay. It’s vile but I guess we have to suck it up and carry on...no one’s forcing us to be where we are.”
Lucy wrapped her arms around his neck.
“It sucks,” she said to his ear.
“Why did you have to entertain that guy like that?” Asked James annoyed as they stepped into the lift of his hotel.
Lucy took a deep breath and rolled her eyes internally.
“I did not entertain him, James, I answered a question”.
James was about to talk when the lift stopped and a woman with a child entered. The couple was silent until the doors opened and the woman left, leaving them alone again.
“You should know better than to liaise with the paparazzi!” He continued, his tone calm but his voice dry.
Lucy looked up at him.
“Liaise? James, I told him we were doing fine, I didn’t plan the sage of Leningrad with the guy, c’mon!”
The lift finally opened to their floor and they walked to James’ suite in silence.
“You for one should be more careful! You know those arseholes would do anything to invade your privacy and this is especially not the right time to be fraternizing in the street.”
Lucy didn’t reply, busying herself with her coat and the strap of her heels.
“Is it all just a game to you? You should be good at following orders!” He was heating up.
Lucy kept silence putting on the white slippers provided by the hotel.
“Are you not gonna talk? Very mature, Lucy!” His voice was raised now, his face red. “Not surprised, you used all the words for the photographer, always the attention seeker!”
Lucy closed her eyes, her back still to James.
“Shut up,” she said, her voice low and barely audible.
“What did you say?” James asked, his eyes wide in surprise.
Lucy staid silent.
“Fucking hell Lucy, just say something!” James yelled taking two quick steps to her and pulling her wrist to turn her to face him.
Now it was Lucy’s time to scream as she yanked her wrist away from James’ hand.
“I said shut up, James! Just shut up! Shut. Up!”
She was panting.
James’ eyes remained wide, his face red with his jaw clenched, he instinctively took another step towering over her. She could see his eyes clouding.
Lucy suddenly grabbed a cushion from the little sofa in the foyer where they were standing and held it before her body.
James looked at it then back at Lucy.
“Hit it, c’mon! Pretend it’s me!” She told him, her voice still raised.
“What?” He asked, confused.
“You’re so frustrated at me James, I know you’re holding back! C’mon, hit it! Picture my face and hit it!”
He looked at her for a moment, his rage building up.
“C’mon James! I see it in your eyes, better this than me!” She screamed.
James’ hand closed in a fist, exasperated with his girlfriend’s attitude, his jaw twitched. Then his eyes moved to the big mirror behind her and he understood.
“Fuck!” He screamed as his image looked back at him with all its chilling rage and he saw himself through his girlfriend’s eyes.
He let himself fall to the floor, his head in his hands and he started to cry.
Lucy sat next to him and held him tight, rocking him in her arms until he calmed a little.
“This is so fucked up,” he screamed between sobs.
Lucy tightened her hold around his shoulders.
“It’s OK, baby, it’s OK. We’re good.” She kissed his head. “I love you.”
Thank you all for reading so far, it makes me really happy! XD