Conversation: Julian Howard and Alleyn Wallace
Jul. 18th, 2007 @ 12:26 pm
When I wake, he is still asleep. Cham has always disturbed my sleep, and in any case, the situation is so bizarre I am not certain I would have slept well had I been completely sober. I wrap myself in a robe, wash up a bit, and put on the kettle to make some tea. Whilst it is steeping, I hear him moving around a bit more - he must be waking. I mix some asprin powder and plenty of sugar into a cup of tea and bring it in to him. "Drink this. I've put some asprin in it, so be sure to finish it off." He looks like death warmed over.
I take it and start drinking immediately. The idea of aspirin is sweeter than the idea of heaven right now. I get down about half of it then have to put it down; I'm starting to feel ill again. "Thank you," I say. I sit up fully and put my fingers to my temples. "Oh, God. I am so sorry." I try to think for a moment. "Oh, no..." There are very definitely some pieces missing from my memory, and that realization makes my head hurt even worse. I start drinking the tea again. "Did I do anything too idiotic?"
"If the police come, it will be for me, not for you, since they won't know where you live, and Sam can probably take care of it for me." I let that sink in for a moment. "You kissed me in the cab. The driver noticed. You also promptly vomited the moment I opened the door, so he knows you were dead drunk." If I sound severe, it's because I'm not keen on discussing my social life with the police again, even if Sam could probably handle it.
"Oh. Oh, hell. Damn it!" I put my face in my hands. "Alleyn... I..." How does one even begin to apologize for something like that? It is inexcusable. I've put us both in danger... especially him. And I kissed him, invaded him. My only goddamn friend. I remove my hands from my face and look down at the bed. "You should've left me in the gutter"
I sit next to him on the bed and rub his back. "You were drunk. I'm more concerned about that than about what you did whilst drunk. I told the driver you probably thought I was Violet Simms. If I were him, I would be grateful you managed to wait until you were out of the cab before vomiting. No reason to go to the police. Things are not at all well with you if this is the result of a party."
I give a little guffaw at the idea of my ever wanting to kiss Violet Simms, then fall silent. I choose not to answer his comment about my wellbeing; I think my sad state is enough of an answer. It seems things truly aren't well with me.
The warmth of his hands through my shirt makes me aware that I am clammy and a little cold. I lean into him and close my eyes; he feels solid and imperturbable against my own aching, upset body. Now that the feeling comes on me again, I can remember wanting to cry several times last night as he took care of me. I sit silent for a moment, absorbing a bit of comfort and reassurance from his presence and his care. Then I sigh, and it comes out shakier and closer to a sob than I expect. "Why are you so kind to me, Alleyn?"
I instinctively hold him close. "I don't know. I don't know why I do most of what I do. But there's something in you worth saving."
I crumple into his embrace, curling up inside his arms. I look up at him a little, though not so much that it would mean moving my head off his shoulder. "Thank you," I murmur, and then I put my head back down. He holds me in silence for a long time, and I surprise myself by calming down, so much so that I am brushing close to sleep again.
We sit for what seems like ages. I don't know if he needs a lover or if he needs a family, but he certainly needs a different sort of attention than anyone has been giving him. "You should probably clean yourself up. I'll take you to breakfast. You need to eat something."
I nod and sit up as he lets go of me. I stand up, feeling a lot more steady on my feet, and go into his WC. I piss and then freshen myself up as best I can. I scrub quite hard at my face, neck, and arms. Though I am unable to quite shake the feeling of residue from my retching fit the night before, I clean up fairly well, despite the obvious hangover written across my face. Alleyn seems to have done a good job of keeping my hair out of the way. Something else to thank him for, if I can ever list everything he has done for me in the last twelve hours.
I go back into his bedroom and look around for the rest of my clothes, now that I am awake enough to have noticed that I am only wearing an undershirt and my trousers, which were unbuttoned the whole morning. "Better?" I ask, displaying my slightly damp, cleaner self as I go to pull my shirt off the door of his wardrobe.
I dress while he washes up. "Better," I smile. I give him his shirt and one of my own jackets. "There's a fairly wretched coffeeshop down the way, but you don't want to show up in tails."
"I was just worrying about that," I say, and I button up my shirt then pull on his jacket. It is not too ill-fitting; I suppose our builds are not dissimilar. It does not match my trousers very well, but I can forgive that. "Good?"
"Good enough." I take him to my usual coffee house in the Grey's Inn Road. It's fairly awful, especially the tea, but the one thing they manage well is toast, which is impossible when you've only got a gas ring as a cooker. Over eggs and bacon and mugs of the swill they call tea, I ask, "Is everything going to be all right?"
I chew thoughtfully on my toast, staring down at my eggs. I'm having a little trouble eating them all, as my stomach's a bit upset still, but I am feeling better. That is not what he is asking about, though. I become aware I am likely making an odd face, thinking about this, so I look up and give him a noncommittal smile. "It... should be, I think... I hope."
"Would it be better for you to leave London for a while? Go home to your family, or maybe go back to Italy?"