Scrape: Chapter Five, Part One
The next day and memories of the night before came too soon for Louise. The sun shone through her bedroom window, waking her up and bringing the pounding of her hangover to the front of her head. And now there was a ringing noise, “what on earth is that?” it took a few seconds for her to realise that it was her phone. She reached down onto the floor next to her, trying her best to ignore the swimming feeling of nausea. She looked at the lit up screen. It was Mark. He never called in the morning. What could he want? She answered reluctantly.
“Hello honey,” she tried her best to conceal her hangover.
“Hi. How are you this morning?” Mark sounded cheerful.
“I’m good honey, running a bit late I think,” Louise tried to sound cheerful, “This is a surprise.”
“Well yeah,” Louise sat up in bed and looked around her room. Last night’s clothes were all over the place, “you don’t normally call in the morning.”
“Oh, I guess not,” Mark paused, “are you ok? You sound tired.”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just woke up,” Louise tried to sound fine.
“You are running late,” Mark laughed, “Well I won’t keep you. You need to hurry up and get ready sleepy head. I just called to say happy anniversary.”
“It’s been three years today!”
“Wow,” she couldn’t believe she’d forgotten, “how time flies! I know.”
“And I get to see you tomorrow,”
Double shit. “I can’t wait,” Louise tried to hide her shock, “I’ve got so much planned!”
“So much furniture shopping,” Mark was still laughing, “I know what you’re like.”
Hanging up the phone Louise could have kicked herself, how could she be so forgetful, except she didn’t have time. Instead she rushed to get dressed, rushed to the tube and rushed to forget last night’s antics. But she knew she wouldn’t be able to forget. Standing, cramped and hung over in the rush hour train, Louise couldn’t forget the look on Becky’s face. She’d have some explaining to do once she got to work.
For the second time, Louise found herself running down that road, except this time, if anyone was watching they weren’t looking for her. Louise quickly found that running and hangovers don’t mix and as she entered the building, instead of running into the waiting lift, she ran into the downstairs toilets to be sick. Groggy and still with a lingering taste of vomit in her mouth, she sat down at her desk and tried to hide her face. Louise started at her reflection in the computer screen, “I look pasty,” she thought and looked away.
In her head the blurry drunken images of the night before played over and over. Sometimes, when looking back over past actions it can feel like watching a film, which is exactly how Louise felt in these memories. She recognised the main character as herself, but the actions were somehow detached from who she was in reality. She imagined that some people might feel guilty about what had happened, and that some people (and probably Becky) might expect her to feel guilty about what had happened; but she just didn’t and she couldn’t imagine that she ever would. She knew she had done nothing wrong.
A paper Starbucks cup woke her out of her thoughts. “I thought you might need this,” Becky was standing over her, sleepily wielding her own paper Starbucks cup.
“Thank you,” sheepishly Louise took a sip of the much needed coffee, “how’s your head?”
“Pounding,” Becky managed a half smile, “I can barely remember anything from last night,”
“Thank god,” Louise thought to herself and then added out loud, “me either. Maybe drinking on a school night isn’t such a good idea.”
“Maybe not,” Becky agreed. As she started to walk away she added, “Can we have a chat at lunch time?”
Louise attempted to ignore the sinking feeling in her stomach as she nodded her head,
“Of course,” she tried to sound cheerful and quickly took another sip of her coffee.
Usually, Louise hated the quietness of Thursday mornings. The busy influx of work that piled up at the beginning of the week had been dealt with, the last minute rush of Friday afternoon was over 24 hours away; she and everyone else in the department had nothing to do. Usually, Louise hated having nothing to do; she thrived on busy and flourished under pressure, even her CV said so. This Thursday Louise wasn’t feeling as flourishy as usual; the thudding in her head meant even answering emails was a challenge. But as well as the usual Thursday deadness, today was quiet for another reason: John Reynolds was out all day. The department had noticed he’d been missing more days of work recently, and without explanation. Obviously he was seeing one of his bits-on-the-side. Everyone felt sorry for his wife, partly because she was married to him in the first place and partly because he was a cheating lying scum-bag. Without him anxiously looking over their shoulders, the Copy Writing department were left to discuss their plans for the weekend.
“And you’re off tomorrow?” Tim asked, standing a little too close behind Louise’s chair.
“Have you got any plans?”
“Oh course she has plans,” Hannah interrupted, “her boyfriend is coming. Isn’t he? So I bet they have all kinds of plans.”
“I need to go furniture shopping,” Louise mumbled.
“Furniture shopping?” Hannah giggled, “planning on breaking the bed.”
Tim went red.
Louise went redder, “Oh my God, Hannah. Grow up! All I own is a bed!”
“I can’t see what the problem is then,” seeing the angry look on Louise’s face, Hannah quickly changed track, “but don’t you think you should do something romantic. It is your anniversary.”
“Yeah,” Tim agreed, his cheeks still flushed.
“We could see a show?” Louise had no idea what they could do that would be romantic, the last thoughts in her head right now were romantic, “he is going to be here for the whole weekend. I got tickets to see Chelsea tomorrow.”
“Yuck!,” Hannah groaned, “I hope he gets you something nice in return.”
“I would never make my girlfriend watch football on our anniversary,” Tim gave Louise a knowing look.
“You don’t have a girlfriend, Tim.” Hannah laughed.
“I was just saying.”
“That was very sweet,” Louise smiled, putting her had on Tim’s arm, “but the tickets are my present to him. Anyway, I don’t mind as long as it’s not raining. I guess we’ll just go for dinner Friday night. Where’s good?”
The pressure of trying to organise her forgotten anniversary weekend soon saw Louise’s hangover off. It also saw the morning off, and before she knew it Becky was standing by her desk waiting to go to lunch.