GH Tuesday: Day 03 Scene 13
It was dark when she woke. Luke slept soundly at her side. She lay still and listened for a while, wondering what had woken her. There was nothing, not even a car passing or a dog’s bark. She got up, sliding out of bed so as not to wake Luke. His face was grey in the dark, a blur. She dressed, feeling for her leggings and sweatshirt. She grabbed her keys and padded down the stairs in her bare feet. She let herself into Aunt Sophie’s flat. It was quiet. The night light under the microwave was on. Aunt Sophie didn’t like the dark. Indigo headed towards her bedroom. The door was open as always, a night light plugged into a socket near the chest of drawers.
“Aunt Sophie?” she breathed the question, softer than a whisper. There was no answer from the huddled shape beneath the blankets. She waited a moment, listening. No sound.
“Aunt Sophie,” she said in a soft voice. “I know you’re awake.”
“Oh Indigo…” came Aunt Sophie’s wail from beneath the blankets. “I tried not to wake you, I tried…”
“It’s okay,” Indigo told her, going over to the bed and switching on the bedside lamp. “You know not to do that, it’s okay to wake me.”
“But you have to go to work in the morning, you need your sleep,” Aunt Sophie peered out from under the covers, a face as crumpled and woebegone as a child’s.
“I can’t sleep if I think you’re here on your own, not calling for me when you need me,” Indigo chided her softly, piling up pillows for her aunt to lean against. “Come on, sit up. What was it, another nightmare?”
Aunt Sophie nodded, blowing her nose on the tissue that Indigo handed her. “You’d think at my age I’d be over such things,” she said, sheepishly.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
“But really, crying over things that happened when I was a child.”
“You were raised by monsters,” Indigo said, her mouth tightening. “Of course you still have nightmares, the things they did to you.”
“The things they did to your mother, too,” Aunt Sophie said softly. “You know that’s why she is the way she is, don’t you?”
Indigo tried not to let her impatience show. So this is what had set her aunt off this time. She’d welcomed Luke to dinner, delighted to have another mouth to feed, never judging Indigo for her love life, though she did ask Indigo, sotto voce, what about Kate? She’d liked her. Not that she didn’t like Luke, you understand. She liked both of them.
“Me too,” Indigo had smiled.
Aunt Sophie had raised her eyes in that way she did when she wanted to smile, but didn’t want to encourage her niece. “Just like your mother,” she’d said aloud, shredding lettuce into a bowl.
“Indigo’s mother?” Luke’s ears had pricked up from where he was sitting on the sofa. The photobooks were still out from the night before and he was slowly going through them. “You never talk about your mother, Indigo. I know Aunt Sophie raised you…”
And that had led to Aunt Sophie telling the story of her sister Gwen, the artist, living in New York and pursuing her dreams.
“She’s had exhibitions,” Aunt Sophie had said. “She’s been reviewed for the New York Times. She’s even had a couple of works feature in books.”
“Aunt Sophie has every one of those books,” Indigo had said. “Every one of those reviews. She’s been to every one of those exhibitions.”
Aunt Sophie flushed. “Gwen is very talented,” she protested. “She’s a very respected artist. Of course I’m proud of her.”
And Indigo, knowing better than to attack Aunt Sophie on the topic of her beloved younger sister, changed the subject.
And now, here was Aunt Sophie, and her usual nightmares that she would never talk about, though Cousin Mary and long ago told Indigo the brutal truth about her and Indigo’s mothers’ childhoods.
“Indigo? Gwen never abandoned you,” Aunt Sophie pleaded with her softly. “She just needed to pursue her art, but she knew you would be safe and well cared for with me. She loves you, you know?”
And Indigo, who’d not heard from her mother in nearly three years, made herself smile. “Of course, I know that. Shall I make you a drink?”
“Oh no. What time is it? You should try to get back to sleep…”
Indigo checked her aunt’s phone for the time. “No, it’s about getting up time, anyway. I’ll make you a hot chocolate and then I’ll head out for a run.”
“Okay, dear, but only if you’re sure you don’t want to go back to bed.”
“I’m sure,” Indigo gave her aunt a kiss on the forehead.
“Not even with that good looking man in still there?” her aunt looked up at her, eyes twinkling with mischief.
“Don’t be naughty, Aunt Sophie,” Indigo replied.
Half an hour later, she left Aunt Sophie happily tucked up in bed, propped up against her pillows, watching the early morning news and drinking a hot chocolate. She headed upstairs. Luke was still sleeping, snoring softly. She dressed in her running clothes in the dark and headed back out. The sidewalks were better cleared that morning and where the snow had not been cleared, it had been compacted down by passing feet. A few cars were still buried under the deep snow, but most had been dug out. A blue plastic recycling bin guarded a cleared parking space. She ran with sure steps down to Davis Square, past the T station, where a few early commuters were heading, and onto the bike path. The path was slick from compacted snow, but she was a New Englander, born and bred, used to slick conditions and she ran with confidence, through the underpass, past the projects and into Danehy Park. There the trees were still uprooted and mobile, though most were lurking in the entrance to the park. She ran past them, her heart beating a little faster in case they proved to be dangerous, wondering what she would do if a branch leaned down to grab her? But the trees shuffled uneasily away from her, as though huffy at her intrusion. The children’s play area was still an ice palace, and though that might have been deliberately left by the SDA, to please the kids, she was certain someone would be round soon to deal with the trees.
She avoided the right hand side of the park, where the kids had been sledding. It would be either sheet ice from the sleds, or deep footprints, now frozen over. Instead she ran around the left hand half, which was mostly cleared. Only occasionally did she have to struggle through knee-deep drifts. Leaving the park, startling the trees as she ran past, she headed back to Porter Square. The cows in the parking lot were gone. A few streets later she was home, in time to see Pete the tenant heading out to work. He gave her a nod, no complaints today about the sidewalk. She’d bought ice melt on the way home from work the previous evening and scattered another layer of the drive and sidewalk to defend against the bitter cold temperatures. She repeated the process now and then ran upstairs to her apartment.
Luke was just getting out of the shower, hair and skin still damp, a towel wrapped around his body.
“Mmm,” she grinned at him, leaning down to pull of her soaking wet Nikes. “Don’t you look good for seven am?”
“You’ve been for a run already? Man, you make me feel bad. I know I should get to the gym before work, but…” he patted his flat stomach.
“You know,” she grinned. “Not all exercise has to be done in the gym.”
“Well, now that’s true. What did you have in mind?”
“Well, I’m all sweaty and horrible, so I should really have a shower…” as she spoke she stripped off her clothes, letting them fall to the ground and padded naked towards the bathroom. He grabbed her as she passed within arm’s length, his towel slipping. They fell onto the bed, laughing, she wriggling until she was on top, Luke trapped beneath her. She gave him a long, lingering kiss, then directed her attention, and mouth, down his neck and chest.
“Hell,” he breathed, his fingers tangled in her hair. “Oh hell, Indigo…”
When she had him where she wanted him, desperate, eyes pleading, she fucked him with abandon, yelling with delight and triumph as she reached her own satisfaction.
They were breathless for a long time afterwards, then she gave him a quick kiss and headed into the shower. Luke was dressed by the time she came out.
“You want breakfast?” she asked him. “Aunt Sophie will be expecting you.”
“I don’t know how you can eat Aunt Sophie’s cooking every day and still be slim.”
“I told you, lots of exercise,” she winked at him as she pulled on jeans and a hoodie.
Aunt Sophie was ready for them downstairs, with poached eggs, toast and coffee.
“You seem to have worked up an appetite,” she said innocently as they both wolfed down the food.
Indigo gave her a snort. She knew damn well the building wasn’t soundproofed and it wasn’t as though she and Luke had been quiet.
“Yeah,” she said. “I went for a run.”
“Oh,” Aunt Sophie said solemnly. “That must be why.”
© Essie Gilbey, 2014