I'm not sure what time it is. I don't really care. It must be morning though because a small sliver of golden sunlight is escaping through the curtains and spilling out across the carpet. For half an hour I've been lying in silence and staring up at the ceiling. There's a dark stain over in the left-hand corner that looks very much like an elephant if you squint your eyes and tilt your head a little to the right. Beside me, Tony is asleep; he has been for several hours.
Sleeping has been the last thing on my mind. I'm so wired that even closing my eyes for five minutes is like hard work. But I don't mind, I'm quite happy to watch him. Last nights buzz is still at the forefront of my mind, adrenaline rippling through my veins, as rife as it had been the moment Tony kissed me.
Speaking of last night, every inch of my body aches and my neck looks as though it's been savaged by an extremely ravenous vampire. I'm not complaining of course, anything but.
Tony's stirring slightly; I can hear him moving the covers. I look over just in time to catch him scratch his nose and then sigh into the duvet. He's lying flat out on his front, one of his hands tucked beneath the pillow, a very apparent bite mark on his right shoulder. With a smile I roll over onto my front and then reach over to run my fingers through his hair. He grunts in protest, burying his face further into the bedcovers.
Edging closer and then propping myself up on my elbow, I press a light kiss to the bite mark, soothing the wound with my tongue.
'Fuck off, Max,' he murmurs a second later, his voice hostile.
I hesitate a moment, looking down at him, my fingers still tangled in his dark hair. Does he really mean that? Definitely not the first thing I wanted him to say this morning. I leave him for a minute or so, right up until he turns his head to gaze at me and removes my hand. 'I said fuck off,' he reinforces, eyes narrowing.
Right, fantastic, should have known.
Sighing, I move away from him and stare over at the wall instead. Fucking hell. Gripping the duvet cover tightly in my fist, my knuckles going white, I pull it up higher and bite down on the fabric to quell my upset. After last night how can he act that way? I'm pretty sure he couldn't have just been playing a game all that time. No one does that. Not even Tony. That's beyond fucked up.
I refrain from moving; the last thing I want is Tony going skitzo on me because he thinks I tried to touch him up or something.
A couple of hours must have passed before either of us make any conscious effort to get out of bed, and even then I'm reluctant to open my eyes. Tony's repacking his case; I can hear him banging about in the wardrobe. He's not bothering to be quiet about it. I'm made officially aware of his frosty temperament when he throws the case down onto the bed beside me, barely skimming the back of my head.
'For fucks sake, Tony!'
Sitting up and only just avoiding being smacked in the face by the lid of his case, I turn my gaze on him, gritting my teeth. 'If you want to pretend like last night didn't happen, then fucking say so,' I offer, somewhat venomously. 'Stop acting like such a wanker.'
He ignores me, straight out. I've never hated him as much as I do right now. But Tony's like a drug, I know how bad he is for me and I still can't get enough. I'm addicted to him. I suppose if he's ignoring me it's a tad better than him agreeing to forget about last night entirely. The hate subsides slightly with that in mind.
It takes me another twenty minutes to move from the warmth and safety of the covers, and even then I'm walking on eggshells around my companion.
By eleven thirty we're stood on the seafront, leaning against the wall and Tony's still not talking to me. Is the thought of what we did really so repulsive that he doesn't even have the decency to speak? He is however offering all of his attention to a small group of girls on the beach. They'd made their way down there ten minutes ago and were now in the process of laying down towels and rubbing suntan lotion on.
A moment later the tray of chips he'd been munching on is shoved into my hands and he's jogging down the beach towards the girls. It's quite obvious what he's doing. And sure enough, almost as soon as he reaches them he's handed a bottle of lotion and he's helping to rub it in. The girl who appears to be the ringleader of the group (blonde with extremely fake looking hair extensions) is beaming at him, stroking his cheek and giggling animatedly. Tony's lapping it up of course and all the while I feel like someone's just come along and stabbed me in the chest with a blunt knife.
Turning my back on him, perching on the edge of the wall, I toss his leftovers aside and stare down at my feet. I should never have agreed to come with him in the first place. It appears to be getting harder to read Tony's actions. He says one thing and then does the complete opposite. From his spot several feet away I can hear him laughing and joking with the girls. He's turned into the flirt he was early last night.
So I continue to ignore his actions, there's not much else I can do. I leave him with his new found friends and get myself a drink from a nearby bar, sitting outside with it. Slumping forwards, I stare down into the glass, watching the light reflect off the amber liquid. At least we'll be back in Bristol by this evening and I'll be rid of him. He can go and play his mind games with someone else then.
I'm not sure how long I've been sat there when Tony finally decides to come and join me. He collapses into the chair opposite me, slamming down his bottle of San Miguel and giving a dry laugh.
I glance up, perking an eyebrow at him and then, without really thinking about it, shoot, 'Are you done trying to make me jealous now?'
Tony laughs, again, taking a drink of his beer and shaking his head. 'Max,' he scoffs, finally breaking his silence. 'What the fuck?'
'Well, what else would you call that?'
And not only am I telling him I'm jealous, I'm sounding it too, my voice is tense and edgy. He's completely and utterly oblivious to what's going on. Honestly, when did Tony become so dense? He takes his time to reply, and when he does, there's an edge of mirth to his words. 'No offence Maxxie, but why the hell would I want to do that? You're a guy, I'm not gay.'
No, you're just a prick. I resist the urge to say it, instead shake my head and glance away from him, finishing off my drink. I'm not so sure I can go on like normal after what happened last night. Sure, I managed it after Russia for the most part, but this is different. This is… well, he can't say he didn't want it.
'Tone,' I whisper eventually, looking his way as I put my empty glass down. 'It's nothing to be ashamed of. No one's going to find out.'
'Fucks sake, Maxxie,' he mutters and his gaze drops down to the table. I've struck a chord there. He's beginning to fidget, slowly peeling the label off his beer bottle, tapping his nails against the table top and running his fingers in his hair. 'Just fucking don't, alright.' He sighs, shoving the bottle away and before he gets chance to retaliate, it topples off the edge of the table, shattering across the tarmac. Tony winces, clenching his fist and cursing under his breath.
I stare over at him for a while and then when it becomes obvious he's not going to offer me anything other than an insult right now, I shrug my shoulders, get up from the table and head off down the seafront, walking slowly. I'm getting bored of him now. I'm getting bored of the whole charade.
I've been walking for ten minutes when Tony finally catches up with me, seizing my sleeve and pulling me to stop. Seeing no point in being rude, I glance back at him, but I don't bother to smile. 'I'm sorry, OK?' he starts, slightly out of breath from running. 'I'm fucking sorry.'
Part of me wants to ignore his apology, but I know he's being honest for once. 'OK,' is my muted reply. I continue to gaze at him, and then fold my arms, waiting for him to continue.
Tony stares at me. Clearly he expected that to be it. 'Fuck, what is it with you people?' he mutters, turning away from me and leaning against the wall beside us. 'I said sorry, what more do you want?'
With a soft sigh, I reluctantly move to stand beside him, my eyes focused on a point on the horizon. 'An explanation?' I request. To be honest, that's probably asking too much of him. I'm not stupid; I know he doesn't feel anything for me, but there's definitely something going on with him that I'd like an answer to. He's gone quiet again, either thinking it over or deciding not to grace me with a reply. It's probably the latter.
'Know what, it doesn't matter,' I say eventually, giving him a way out of it and beginning to walk again. 'Just in future, have the decency not to treat me like shit afterwards. Even you're capable of that, Tony.'
I'm not surprised when he darts after me, sputtering his argument, 'In future? That's not going to happen again. I mean, fuck, that's not what I'm about.'
So he keeps telling me.
'Yeah, OK, whatever Tone,' I retort. 'But I haven't been the one doing all the chasing.'
He's given up coming after me; in fact, he's stood in the middle of promenade looking every inch the deer caught in headlights. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. For a brief moment, I close my eyes, knotting my fingers through my hair as I bring them to rest at the back of my head and smile. He can deny it all he wants, but we both know I'm right.
The coach journey back to Bristol is a tedious one. Tony spends the first four hours listening to his iPod and hiding behind a pair of shades, trying his hardest to pretend I don't exist. Well, that's fine; I can find someone else to talk to pretty easy. And I do, a girl called Faye who belongs to band whose name I can't pronounce, who I spend three hours talking music with.
Tony finally decides to acknowledge my presence half an hour or so before we get home. Probably to clarify that I'm not going to tell anyone about what happened between us. The last thing we want is for Tony to look gayer than he already does after all. Of course, I take full credit for that. He's resting his chin on my shoulder, looking at me through a curtain of dark hair with those big baby blue eyes of his. So fucking tempting.
I wait patiently for him to speak, but he doesn't, he sits perfectly still, staring up at me. Shit, that's annoying.
By the time we arrive back in Bristol, he's dropped to sleep on my shoulder, with his hand laid lightly against my thigh. It's all so incredibly fucked up. I'm stuck, I can't move without upsetting him. But we need to get off the coach. I give him a very gentle dig in the ribs with my elbow and the only reaction I get is when he nuzzles his head further into my hoody. Great, this is exactly what I need right now.
Faye has just slipped past our seats with her holdall, laughing softly and wishing me luck. I need more than luck, I need a fucking foghorn.
'Tone,' I say quietly, trying again. 'Tony!'
The coach is quickly empting and he still hasn't moved. With a sigh, I roll my eyes up to the roof and then pick up my book, rising from my seat without warning. Tony's body falls forwards and the moment his face meets the arm rest, he wakes with a jolt, looking dazed and confused.
'Come on, we gotta go,' I tell him, reaching up to the luggage rack to grab our bags and then throwing his at him. He catches it, only just, gazing over at me with wide eyes. I choose to ignore him and make my way down the coach, hopping down the steps and copping my first look at the familiar sight of Bristol bus station. Home sweet home.
But as I reach the bottom step, I'm pulled back and Tony wheels me around to face him, pressing his lips hard into mine. Thankfully the driver has long since left the cab and we're pretty much alone - aside from a mother and her two kids attempting to gather their things on the back seat anyway. I sigh against his lips, telling myself to step away from him, but it's too tempting. He leans into me, losing his hands in my hair and kisses me with everything he has. Not to return it would be a waste. So I do, with enthusiasm, gripping onto his jacket and groaning into his mouth.
When we finally pull away, we're both a little breathless and Tony is stroking my cheek softly with the back of his hand, a small smile on his face.
'Don't fucking tell anyone, Maxxie,' he concludes a moment later and then, without another word, he pushes past me and straight back to reality. As if I really would.
Watching him walk off, I tilt my head slightly and smile. He may only want me where no one can see, but at least he does. I shrug to myself and then follow after him.
Works for me.