PLEASE READ AND COMMENT!
I’m not quite sure how many of you, my dear readers, are still sticking by this story and reading it, but I would like to know 😉 and I do have an important question to ask, so please, if you’re around, let me know!
After writing the previous chapter I was feeling inspired by this story and by exploring these two characters, and in the course of 36 hours I wrote six more chapters, and now I’m at a crossroads. In the chapters to come, I have brought the story down to a resolution: it brings characters peace, it’s somewhat sad, but leaves a small hope that they might one day find the way back to each other. I can leave it at that, and the story will end on this melancholic yet somewhat hopeful note.
Or I can write a few more chapters and finish the story of Wrennie and Dr Thorington the way I feel it should end. A few extra chapters, or maybe a separate, shorter story can be added to conclude the series.
Please, let me know what you think (and maybe just give me a wave you’re still here). Just a small anonymous comment will suffice; long and personal comments will be greeted with a happy smile!
Thea picks you up in the airport, in Jimmy’s car, and she’s driving you to the flat that you found online. The last two days of your Greek hols were spent with your phone under your hand. You got the flat, Thea volunteered to check it out, Lan moved your three trunks, two boxes, and two suitcases there. You hadn’t asked them, but Thea told you to shut your gob and accept their help. You did.
It’s quiet in the car, and you’re watching buildings fly by behind the window.
“Seriously, Leary! You’re depressing me!” Thea suddenly hollers, and you whip your head to look at her in shock. “You look like a fucking lolly of shag, all toned, and fresh, and golden, but your eyes are sodding dead!”
You have nothing to say, really. You feel dead. You’ve went through the five stages of grief, and then made a one eighty, and wash, rinse, and repeat – again and again. One thing has to be said here. You haven’t doubted your decision once.
“I’m sorry…” you mumble. “I’m still feeling cocked up, I reckon.”
“What the sodding fuck happened, Leary?! One minute the two of you are choosing orchids, or whatever other bloody rubbish they stick in their arses on those posh weddings; and the next minute you’re sending me an email from fucking Greece, no less! And then for two weeks it’s all everyone is talking about. Even the peeps in Arts are all about, ‘Have you heard about that famous neurosurgeon dumping his fiancee?’”
“It wasn’t him.” Your tone is even. “It was me. I dumped him.”
“You told me as much in that sodding email you wrote me. It read like a fucking office memo. I need answers, Leary.” She smacks the wheel angrily. “How worried should I be for you?!”
“You shouldn’t worry about me at all. I’ve made this decision, and I will get better soon. It’s just difficult, you know.”
“Difficult?!” The jazz lungs of Thea Martin can produce an astonishing level of a volume. This howl of hers isn’t an exception. “It’s John bleeding Thorington we are talking about! Since day one, it’s all been about him being the fucking King of Life, and all the mushy rubbish, like love, and cuddles, and you texting him with manky heart emojis, and…”
“I still want to.” Why is there no emotions in your voice? Inside it feels like you’re being shredded to bleeding ribbons. “Any time something interesting happens, or I see something, I want to text him. That’s my first thought. There were those pelicans there on the island, and the bottom of their beaks was bright red, like coloured with a marker, and I even pulled out my phone…”
You suddenly bent in half, from the excruciating pain in your stomach, and to muffle a scream that wants to escape you. You bite into the heel of your hand, squeezing your jaws, hoping this pain will distract you from the terrifying wave of suffocating panic rising. You had a few attacks in Greece, but it was easier to deal with them on a beach, under a parasol, with blue sea and endless sky to distract you. Here, in Thea’s tiny car, you feel like you’re dying.
She tucks the car into the first available spot, probably breaking half a dozen parking rules, and pulls you into tight embrace.
You’re crying, sobs tearing at you, and it feels that you will never stop.
Thea, Lan, and Killian bought you furniture: a bed, a table, and two chairs. Lan who meets you in the flat mumbles it isn’t much, but you give him a tight hug, and invite all three of them to dinner. Killian joins you a bit later, after his last class.
At dinner they listen about Greece, and then tell you how disgustingly happy the two idiots are together. Thea is giving them proud maternal looks. Everyone’s smiling. Among other things, you’re endlessly relieved they didn’t feel they couldn’t talk about it just because you’re now single.
You being single is a thought that you’re mulling over in your new bed that night. You know there will be more pain, and you will slip and almost as if forget about it, and then pain will come again. You tell yourself that your mind hasn’t yet accepted it, and that’s why you’re so calm most of the time.
You’re also doing quite well since this whole time you’ve been away from the familiar circumstances. Tomorrow you will come back to work, and everything there will remind you of him. And what you were together. Everything in the city is about the two of you. The cafes you sat in together, or wanted to go to; the book shops you both adore and spent hours in, talking and talking, pushing books into each other’s hands, interrupting, laughing, and kissing; streets and parks you walked for hours, without a word said, just being together. Just you and him. In love.
Going back to work is surprisingly easy. Maybe, you’ve been properly desensitized by your previous personal history. First, people talked behind your back and stared when you spent a weekend in a hotel, shagging the Sun of Modern Neurosurgery like there was no tomorrow; then you started dating the said Sun; then you agreed to marry him. It has always been everyone’s business. And now pity will be mixed into curiosity in people’s eyes. The official version is that he broke it off with you, after all.
Or maybe you just don’t give a fuck.
You work for the next two weeks as if your life depended on it. To think of it, it does. It’s all you have left. It is also something you love most of all in the world. And you deserve being here! You’ve worked hard for this job. You fought for every mark in uni; you spent endless hours in labs; you aced your presentation in Rivendell. The only thing you didn’t contribute to was the lab getting the overpriced space in the building where it is now – the building three blocks away from John’s flat. He did it for his convenience. But now, that doesn’t matter, does it? So many things don’t matter anymore.
The lab receives another grant. It is once again with Amrod pharmaceuticals, and two and a half weeks after your return from Greece, Maya marches into the lab, in her usual cloud of expensive perfume and perfect blonde locks.
“Wren, darling, I haven’t seen you for ages!” she purrs, and you shake hands. Was she hoping for a kiss on the cheek? Looks like it. You give her an empty smile. John had made sure she wasn’t appearing in the lab much, though she’s one of the leading specialists in this project. But you reckon, now you will see more of her.
The two of you exchange couple meaningless banalities – your personal drama isn’t mentioned, but of course, there is gloating light burning in her eyes – and then she finally fesses up regarding the reason of her unexpected visit. August Anderson is once again in the country, and he was hoping he could have lunch with ‘someone from the Dale lab’ to discuss couple points in the new contract.
Somehow you still feel nothing. Not from the sound of his name, nor from the memories of John’s face, twisted in a grimace at the mentioning of it, nor from how Maya just can’t wait for you to agree.
You exchange couple decorous emails with Auggie, set the date and time for the lunch, and go back to your centrifuges.
Seeing him feels like a dream. As if it’s just that day, as if nothing had happened. You had lunch then, and he flirted and laughed, and you answered and joked some more, and you felt alive and somewhat rebellious, because his attentions were bordering on inappropriate since you were engaged – but the line was never crossed. And then you said goodbye to him and wandered the city till two o’clock at night. And then you went back to John’s flat – and it was over.
You smile and shake his hand. He asks polite questions, you give polite answers. You discuss the contract, you eat Vietnamese. When the business conversation is over, he asks how you’ve been. He is of course asking about your break-up, and he doesn’t need to explain. You tell him you’re doing quite well.
“Wren, will you have dinner with me?” His eyes are warm, and the expression is soft. They are of the colour of strong coffee. You exhale slowly, but before you can answer he adds, “Wren, I know you’re in no place to start anything new now. But I would really like to see you. Just a dinner, between two friends. How’s that?”
“We are hardly friends, Mr Anderson.” Some joke from The Matrix stirrs in your mind, but your tone is still flat.
“Just one dinner, Wren. Nothing fancy, you pick a spot. I just want to spend some time with you.” His face is earnest and open, and you ask the question one isn’t supposed to ask a man under any circumstances.
“And then? What do you expect to achieve? What’s your plan for the future?” That tinge of sarcasm that has just coloured your voice is the first emotion you’re displaying.
“I like you, Wren. And I know we can be good together. I know you’ve just been awfully hurt. But I know what I want. And I always go for what I want right away. Life is short, and you’re hot.” This is a quote from Doctor Who. Your eyebrows jump up in surprise. He barks a warm smoky laugh. “I’m not into the show, but I saw your Tardis lunch box. I did my research.”
You smile. You gather that’s the first smile that reaches your eyes in the last five weeks.
“Alright, Mr Anderson. I’ll have dinner with you.”