[November Breaks] THEN | 16 | Noah

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Brett left for work shortly after ten this morning and there’s no way he wasn’t still high, but he didn’t look it. It was actually quite impressive. Last time I did white drugs was forever ago, a past life. I don’t do that anymore, or I didn’t, except he does, so perhaps I do too. I can’t think about any of this in too much detail, except it’s all I’m thinking about.

He said he should go home after work, to his home, not mine. I wanted to argue, but I didn’t. Maybe he wanted me to ask him not to. Or tell him not to. I don’t know. I should have made some sort of arrangement to see him tomorrow or call him later, something more than just letting him go.

I paced and drank coffee and paced some more. I didn’t have the energy for the gym, so I stood in the shower for forty-five minutes because the heat trapped me there and I wanted my body to turn to vapour. Then I got dressed and sat at the computer, staring at nothing on the screen until it started feeling like someone was watching me and time’s breath on my neck was a cold whisper. I gave up. I slept.

It’s dark now and I’m not sure what day it is or if it’s morning or night. My watch says it’s eight o’clock on November thirtieth, so I’ve only been asleep for a few hours and it’s fine. I haven’t lost a day. Nothing’s happened. Part of me wants to take off the watch and smash it. I used to think it was beautiful. Now it weighs too much.

There’s a dull ache in my neck, something like tension, something like lack. The scar on my shoulder used to make itself known in times of discomfort, but now I only feel places his hands have been, places they aren’t now, places they should be.

I’m meeting with Max and Dinah Ford and Lewis Neil tomorrow, and everything’s going to change. Lewis is going to get Alchemy at a good price and Dinah’s going to find a house I want to live in and two more flats I hope other people will want to live in. There will be contracts and signatures and things will happen. Things will move forward.

And all I can think of is how someone I’ve known for two weeks is going to fit into this whole plan. And I know that’s insane. Or I’m insane. Or everything’s insane, so nothing really is.

I need to hear Brett’s voice. I shouldn’t, but I do.

So I call him.

I shouldn’t.

But I do.

He answers. “Hey.”

I don’t know what to say. “It’s Noah.”

“I know.”