(Continuation of If You Want A Promotion, Don't Play Pokemon)
The weekend is almost over and I could not be more overjoyed about it. I don't think I've ever worked this hard since I joined the company. It's actually going to be very strange going back to the office and resuming every day tasks that don't last until twenty-one minutes past nine in the evening. Or to not be treated to parties and lavish dinners every single night, for that matter.
Today Hannah and I have managed to convince Luke to join us down at the beach before we head back to London, but all he's done since he got here is fiddle about with his Blackberry. At least he made the effort though. Everyone else rushed off home as soon as they were allowed.
Hannah's acting like a playful child. She's splashed me with water twice and has threatened to throw me in several times. Her clothes are completely soaked from when she attempted to run away from an on-coming wave and slipped, but it still doesn't seem to dampen her spirits (pardon the pun). If I didn't know better, I'd say she was high.
"Where are you going?" I shout after her as she starts running towards the deep orange horizon.
"I might swim home," she shouts back, knee deep in Bournemouth sea.
"Well, you're going the wrong way, unless you've moved to France!"
But she isn't listening. I watch on as I see her attempt to dance along with the waves, do a few jumps, then swim.
What on earth is she doing? Hannah's the sort of girl who refuses to go outside in the lightest of rain without an umbrella because she doesn't want to ruin her slick, trademark black bob. Why is she voluntarily throwing herself in the English Channel?
It crosses my mind that perhaps this has something to do with her affair, which since Friday I've been trying to block from my memory. She's been on edge the entire weekend and now it's as if she's finally been set free. Something's changed. Something which to her is obviously good, but I have the worst feeling that for Luke it means something truly bad.
"What the fuck is she doing out there?" Luke starts stomping towards me, one hand above his eyes blocking the blazing sun. Like a protector, he grabs one of the beach towels and stands as close to the water as he can holding it out. "Han, come back!" he shouts before turning to me and saying, "Seriously, what the fuck is she doing out there?"
Well, how should I know? I've been standing here wondering the same thing!
"Hannah!" he bellowes, shaking the towel like the matador to a bull, "Get out of the fucking water!"
"Less of the swearing please," I say to him when I notice a disapproving mother glare at us. "Sorry," I mouthe to her, but she's clearly not in the forgiving mood. With one quick sweep, she's collected all her belongings and set up camp further down the beach.
"HANNAH!" Luke yells again, knowing full well it's of no use. "Can you please come out?"
But she isn't listening. This reminds me a lot like that scene in Bridget Jones' Diary: The Edge of Reason where Bridget has accidentally eaten magic mushrooms and is cluelessly in the sea.
"Do you think she's taken magic mushrooms?" I ask Luke.
He quickly turns around to look at me, eyebrows furrowed and questioning. "What?"
"Like in Bridget Jones' Diary where Bridget is pretty much doing the same thing,"
Luke's expression isn't telling me anything. He's just looking at me quizzically.
"You know, when she's gone to Thailand?"
"When Daniel is there too and he finds her? And then she gets arrested and has to go to a Thai prison and they all sing Like A Virgin?"
His look is now completely blank.
"And she's wearing that purple-"
"Ella, stop. I've never seen the bloody thing!"
Well, you could have stopped me before!
I look over at Hannah who finally looks to be returning, a smile from ear to ear.
"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Luke says, wrapping a towel around her as her teeth start to chatter.
"I'm enjoying the seaside," she replies like his question was utterly idiotic.
But she doesn't even respond to him. Longingly, she's watching the sea again. I almost attempt to hold her back so she doesn't run in, but then I remember she's completely drenched in dirty sea water, and I'm wearing a Marni top.
With my index finger I try to push her away from the sea and towards the car. "I think we should head home now," to which Luke nods his head.
If this two hour car journey has taught me anything is that I am not the maternal type. And that Luke is.
He ordered me to sit in the back with Hannah to make sure she keeps the blanket around her, and all I did was read Glamour magazine. He then kept turning around every couple of minutes to ask if she's gone to sleep yet, but again all I did was read Glamour magazine straight after a faint, "Yeah, I think so," Luke seems to think Hannah has heat stroke. I, on the other hand, think it's just a plain old stroke.
Now Hannah has actually gone to sleep so I ask Luke to turn the radio up. Well, I actually mean on. Luke is in one of his pensive thoughts mood and isn't being very chatty, so I need some form of entertainment before I'm dropped off home.
"Are you OK?" I ask him.
He only sighs.
He sighs again before responding, "She's been acting differently all weekend," he's about to say something else but stops.
I slump back in my seat and look out of the window feeling a sharp pang of guilt as I think back to that scene from the balcony. It's not my place to say anything. But it's probably not my place to keep it hidden either.
"Has she said anything to you?" his head tilts slightly towards the back seat as if awaiting an answer urgently.
"Nope," I say, which technically isn't a lie. Hannah hasn't mentioned anything to me at all. My knowledge was attained purely accidentally.
I turn my head towards her as she lies there sleeping soundly, head tucked against the top of the seatbelt. She looks peaceful and happy and I almost get the urge to wake her up and demand that she comes clean about the affair.
"How has she been acting differently?" I ask, purely selfish, wanting to know more details.
The car takes a sharp left before he answers, and I move back to my seat adjusting my hair. Second thing I've learnt on this journey is that Luke is a terrible driver.
"She's constantly on the move. Constantly busy. I find it difficult to spend any time with her at all," he stops at a zebra crossing and lets two boys with a football cross. "I don't feel like I have a girlfriend anymore. I mean, what's the fucking point?" and the car accelerates with force down the road.
"It could just be work,"
"Perhaps," but the way he says it makes me think he doesn't believe it is. "But I think there's more to it than that. You know what Hannah's like. She's loud and outgoing, and never hides how she feels. But all she's been doing of late is hiding. It's like she's-"
I'm listening to Luke intently, waiting for him to say the word "affair", but Hannah moves in her sleep and he stops.
"I'm probably just being paranoid," he finally finishes.
"Yes, I'm sure it's nothing. She just needs a nice warm shower and a good night's sleep. She'll be back to normal tomorrow,"
"Oh, before I forget," he says, his voice suddenly uplifted. "The guys at the top have given us all tomorrow off for all the hard work this weekend,"
"And you're only just telling me this? Luke, I could have arranged all sorts of things!"
He laughs. "I'm sure you can still buy your tickets for London Zoo, don't worry,"
"London Zoo?" I protest, but now that I think about it, it's not a bad idea.
"A day out shopping then?"
What? I'm actually offended now. He seems to think I'm some childish shopaholic. For all he knows I could be out doing charity work, or visiting museums. Or planting rainforests.
"Well, if I'd known I had tomorrow off sooner I might have planned something. Something incredibly interesting,"
Our eyes meet as I glance at the rear view mirror and notice he has a full blown smile. "Relax," he says. "I'm only teasing. I know what you do in your spare time. I've read your CV, remember?"
Fuck! What did I put under interests in my CV? Undoubtedly all lies I'd imagine.
"And if you fail to make any plans, there's always Pokemon,"
We pull up outside Hannah's flat and I'm surprised I haven't been dropped off first.
"Aren't you staying with her?" I ask, a bit beweildered.
He turns to look at me with a hurt smile, then at Hannah, "No. She doesn't like it when I stay over unplanned. With the way things are at the moment, I really don't want to be making things worse," he opens his door and walks round to open Hannah's.
I gently shake her arm and she awakens as if from a deep hibernation. "Han, we're home," I say.
She rubs her eyes and looks around, a stranger to her surroundings. "I'm too tired," she mumbles before closing her eyes again.
I look at Luke who's watching over her like a concerned doctor.
"I'll stay with her tonight," I tell him, trying to reassure that at least someone's with her.
"Really?" he says, brightening slightly.
"Yes, just to make sure she doesn't run off to be near water again. We don't want her diving in the Thames,"
"Not a problem. Get the bags inside, will you," I joke, but am now wondering whether I've over-stepped the mark.
"Yes, Sir!" he mocks.
I turn to Hannah and attempt to wake her again. "We're home," I say. "Han, we need to get you inside,"
She looks straight at me, rustles about, then closes her eyes again. "Can't I just sleep here? I'm far too tired,"
"No, you need to get inside. Come on,"
She moves around again, scrunching her face in annoyance, "I don't see why I can't sleep here,"
"Because we're in Luke's car. We need to get you into bed," Now losing my patience, I'm seconds away from shoving her out of the car. Yup, I'm definitely not the maternal type.
After some more fidgeting, she emerges still in a sleepy daze. I'm not enjoying the fact that I have to hold her up though.
Luke is at the top of the steps by the front door, fumbling around with Hannah's keys.
"Yes" he replies impatinetly just before the door is opened.
"Hannah, you need to get up the stairs, OK?"
"Yes. OK, Rog," she responds, and I pray to God that Luke hasn't heard.