So, what do you fancy watching then?" Sal asked, flicking through the TV channels on her remote control.
Nick shrugged. "Anything really," he replied. In truth, he didn't really care, as long as he could delay having to go back to his empty hotel room and risk a run in with Jen.
"Seen this before?" Sal asked, stopping on a channel that seemed to be showing some sort of drama film.
"Nope," he replied.
"Me neither. No hunky film stars in it though," she said, changing the channel and making Nick's eyes light up at what she'd flicked to.
"Yay! Footy," he cheered.
Sal frowned. "No way mister! I'm not watching some boring football match," she said, quickly changing channels again.
"What?" He turned to her in shock. "Boring? How can you say that?"
"Very easily actually, look, 'it's boring'. See, I said it," she came back.
"Oooh you!" he replied, diving for the remote control.
She moved quickly to sit on it, hoping to keep it from him, however, he dug his fingers into her ribs, tickling her mercilessly, and making her jump about on the sofa, thereby freeing the remote control for Nick to grab. He held it up in triumph.
"Ah ha! Football it is then!" he taunted.
"It's my house," she sulked, eyeing up the remote in his hand solemnly.
This made Nick reconsider. "But...but Sal, you're my pal, we are supposed to like the same things," he appealed, in turmoil.
Sal searched his face for a moment before answering. "Suppose we do... mostly... apart from stupid football of course. I know, why don't we watch 'Dancing On Ice' instead?" she grinned.
Nick looked horrified. "Are you kidding? Sal, please tell me you don't watch that stupid, girly stuff."
"I am a girl, remember?" she said, taking the remote control out of his hand. "But, as it happens, I don't watch 'Dancing on Ice'."
"Yay! My pal," he said, throwing an arm around her and squeezing tight.
She glared at him sideways. "Soooo, we're back to square one. What we going to watch?"
He slumped back on the sofa with a sigh and thought for a few moments, until an idea came to mind. "We can download something to watch, and I just happen to know the perfect thing," he smiled proudly.
"No gangster stuff;" she stressed suddenly, "can't stand all the blood and gore," she grimaced.
"No gangster stuff," he confirmed.
"And no films that are nothing but car chases and explosions; if you've seen one, you've seen them all," she cut in again.
"No car chases, no explosions," he replied, but then backtracked. "Well...there might be a few car chases... and a few explosions too actually..."
"Ah, I knew it! It's a guy's film," she exclaimed.
"Ah, no actually, that's where you're wrong," he pointed a finger at her. "Sal," he began, placing a coaxing arm back around her shoulder. She watched him suspiciously. "I've read about this before; there is one TV programme, whilst seeming to be a guy's show..." she glared at him. "...wait... it is actually watched by just as many women as men. It's saved many marriages you know," he said, matter of factly.
She tried not to smile. "Has it now? And what is this amazing woman and guy TV programme then?"
"Top Gear," he announced, waiting for a reaction.
She couldn't stop the smile then.
"Ah, see, you do like it," he pointed to her.
She started to giggle. "Maybe... just a bit."
"Ha ha, a bit, yeah right. It's quality. Everyone likes Top Gear. Funniest programme on TV," he stated. "Even better, I'll download a Top Gear Special."
"Oooh," her eyes lit up with interest then. "Which one?"
"US Special?" he suggested.
"For sure. Sooo funny. Clarkson's road-kill cow on the roof of his car!" Sal laughed.
"Yeah, that was hilarious. Ah, but not as funny as when they almost got killed in Alabama for what they'd painted on each other's cars," Nick beamed.
"And when they messed with James May's car so that every time he put the foot on the brake, his horn sounded," Sal added.
"Yeah, brilliant... hold on, that last one wasn't the US Special," Nick pointed out.
"It wasn't? Which one was it then?" she asked, standing up and heading for the bedroom to find her laptop.
"The India special I think, going up the Himalayas," he replied.
"Well," she said, pausing at the door, "I'll just get my laptop so you can download them, and, if we're going to watch the US Special, might as well download the India Special too," she smiled, disappearing from the room.
Nick grinned from ear to ear. "Might just as well," he mouthed after her, plumping up the cushions on the sofa and excitedly awaiting Sal's return.
"I was thinking," he began as she strolled back into the lounge, with laptop in hand.
"Don't do that, it's dangerous...for you anyway," she chuckled.
"Ha ha, but seriously, if we are going to have a Top Gear marathon, we really could do with some food...you know, to keep us going," he said.
"You hungry?" she asked.
"Haven't eaten all day," he replied.
"Me neither. I can see what I've got in the freezer," she said, handing him the laptop, and turning to head for the kitchen. He put the laptop on the arm of the sofa whilst shooting out a hand to grab her by the wrist, halting her before she had a chance to leave. She turned to him with surprise.
"Don't worry about that Sal; I wasn't expecting you to cook. I was thinking that I could pop out and get us a takeaway," he smiled.
"Oh, a take away." She hadn't thought of that."Well, yes, that would be great," she smiled back, taking a seat on the sofa again, and folding her legs underneath her. "I am kind of hungry."
"And I am kind of hungry too," he summed up, grinning. "So, a chinese it is then. I'll just download these," he said, turning to the laptop.
Sal's eyes widened. "A chinese! Wow, we are spoiling ourselves. Is the Chinese in Agios even open at this time of year yet?"
"Yep. Only at weekends though. But guess what it is today?"
"Chinese weekend day! Ohhh, I haven't had a chinese for literally...well, probably more than a year."
He turned to look at her then. "Ahh Sal," he said with sympathy, giving her a quick cuddle, "You lead such a sheltered life. I'll treat you to a Chinese," he winked.
"Oh no, I'll give you some money Nick; it's so expensive here," she replied.
"Don't be silly; it's my treat. Besides, I'm getting paid loads from all these 'quest' tourists," he pointed out.
"But you should keep that money," she said.
"In case you need it, of course."
"If I need it, I'll just get more," he shrugged.
Right, of course. Why didn't she see life that simply?
"Okay, so these will take a while to download," he said, leaning forward to place the laptop onto the coffee table in front of them. "I'll wait until they have downloaded a bit and then I'll go and get the Chinese. In the meantime, we can watch that film you flicked past," he said, reaching across her with one hand to grab the remote control from off the cushion beside her, and slipping his other arm secretly around her waist at the same time, pulling her suddenly back with him again to his favourite spot, in the corner of the sofa.
"Woa, can you give me a warning before you do that again," she laughed, falling unceremoniously against him.
"Oh, sorry Sal," he replied, wrapping his arms around her middle as she leant with her back to him again.
"Nick," she began, struggling to sit up. His arms seemed reluctant to let her go however. "Nick, come on," she laughed, "Let me up."
"Can't," he said.
She twisted her head to look at him. "Why not?"
He grinned. "I'm stuck."
She laughed. "What do you mean, you're stuck?" she said, attempting again to free herself from his arms, but failing.
"Err, my muscles have seized."
"There's nothing wrong with those muscles," she chuckled, eyeing his arms.
He watched the direction of her eyes with a sparkle in his his.
"Nick," she said, "I've got to go have my bath."
"Ahhh, why?" If he wasn't allowed to go with her, he wasn't letting her go.
"You ask the silliest questions," she chuckled. "Errr, because I'm dirty."
That really made him grin. "It's okay Sal, I don't mind you being a little bit dirty."
"Nick!" she gasped, trying her hardest to stay serious.
He gave her his most innocent look. "Dirty on your skin. You know, sand and seaweed from the beach."
"Hmm, right," she replied, unconvinced.
"Tell you what, I'll do a deal with you. If I can find some dirt on you, I'll let you go for a bath," he announced.
"There's no dealing to be done," she giggled, as he began to run tickly fingers down her arms, inspecting her for dirt. "Nick, I'm going for my bath."
"I can't find any dirt here," he chuckled. "Where else shall I look?" he asked, his eyes searching for a place, and instinctively hovering on the gap between her top and her shorts, where her midriff was showing. He had a little fascination for that place. He wanted to kiss it... every time he saw it. Now suddenly, he couldn't take his eyes away from it.
"Nick?" came the small, weak sound, cutting into Nick's distraction. It didn't sound like Sal. It sounded distraught.
His eyes shot to hers. "What?"
She was staring at him, and everything was suddenly so incredibly still. As his gaze clung to hers, her cheeks reddened visibly in front of him. He began to throb. They seemed to be stuck there like that, neither of them able to move.
"I need to go for my bath."
She had said the words, her lips had moved, but it was as if in slow motion. As if her voice, and what it had said, had nothing to do with the rest of her body. And then suddenly he released her, his arm slowly slipping from around her waist.
"Sorry Sal," he said, breaking eye contact with her.
She sat up then and rose off the sofa. "I won't be too long," she said, her voice still not quite her own.
On her way out of the lounge, something made her stop and glance back at him. He looked somehow very alone on that sofa now, and the earlier jovality seemed to have vanished from the room. She wanted it back. Turning around again, she headed back to Nick, and picked up the remote control from off the coffee table.
"Here," she said, giving him a bright smile as she handed him the remote. "While I'm in the bath, you can watch the football."
He smiled softly back at her as he took her offering. "Thanks Sal."
Then she went again to turn around. However, on instinct, before she left, she reached over to him, took his face in one hand, and kissed him gently on his cheek. Then she was gone. He couldn't help but smile.