Sampling the local cuisine at one of the finest outdoor cafes in Australia, generally did good things to clear Sully's mind. This morning, it was working, but not quite as well' as he'd hoped.
He found himself half-wishing he'd taken the first part if his vacation in Europe, or maybe somewhere in the Middle East. Maybe stop by and see how Cutter's doing, anything to take his mind off the Nathan-Elena issue. Instead, for the first chunk of his vacation, Sully found himself in Australia. Given, it was a beautiful country, and he was enjoying every bit of it. But the natural beauty, the company of friends, even the sorority sisters from the previous night – four attractive and convivial friends from UCLA spending their term break here in Sidney – hadn't managed to cheer him up. His sleep was sporadic at best, and now, as he took a bite into his omelet, taking in the sights and sounds of this magnificent part of the city, his brain was still fixated on the problem.
Sully knew, deep down, that his bond, his friendship with Nathan, wasn't going anywhere. Come hell or high water, they would always be tight. It was impossible to go through what they had together and not be. But that didn't change the fact that, since Elena and Nathan had gotten married, Nathan seemed to have much less time for Sully.
As he motioned for a Waiter to bring him his check, he heard a familiar tune emanating from his shirt pocket. The Indiana Jones theme song. Nathan's ringtone. He missed Drake, and there was no guarantee that he'd still be able to talk if he waited till later. Drake seemed to be incommunicado a lot these days, and the ten-hour time difference that separated them right now didn't help. Sully waited a few moments, trying to play it cool.
"Sully?" came a soft voice as soon as he'd answered. Not Nathan's, female. Sounded like Elena, but… different.
"Elena? That you?"
Silence. Labored breathing. Sniffles.
Sully furrowed his brow. "Elena?"
"He's dead, Sully."
He huffed a nervous, disbelieving laugh. "What? What're you talking about? Did Nathan put you up to this?"
A deep high-pitched intake of breath from the other end. "Oh God. Nathan's dead, Sully. He's gone."
Sully's head was suddenly filled with helium, light and compressed all at once.
No no no no
His head rolled back, eyes fixed on the unforgiving blue sky, staring but not seeing. The rising sun, warming his skin until just a few moments earlier, had turned cold and empty. Sobs and undecipherable entreaties continued to emanate from the phone Sully held in his tenuous grasp, but all he could hear were the people around him, talking, about things that now seems unimportant given his current situation. Now transformed from an enjoyable bit of atmosphere to an all-consuming wall of noise.
All-consuming. Everything Sully had been worried about regarding himself and his best friend now seemed pretty, ridiculous. Marriage wouldn't have changed anything, but this…
Sully just sat there, dazed, as the phone finally slipped from his grasp, partially shattering the screen as it hit the concrete ground. He had been mistaken, he realized. Most things, "high water" included, wouldn't have been able to change his friendship with Nathan. But "hell" had come, and it had changed everything.