7| Let's Stay Together

Amy

Her eyes were shut when she brought the stick to her cherry colored lips. It was her only tool to calm her excitement in Delia's presence, and while the other woman didn't smoke herself, she didn't seem to mind Amy doing as such.

Exhaling, she slowly stretched her legs out and glanced about the room. It was much darker than she would have liked, but it was Delia's condo and she knew that suggesting brighter colors would be a losing battle. "I'm glad you're back," she said after offering a warm smile. "I was starting to feel lonely."

Delia arched a brow, as if she didn't quite buy that statement. "What have you been up to recently? Still into baking?"

A frown played with her lips. The last time she had baked something was over a year ago, the day before Delia left. She made her a cake, black and round yet sweet and gooey. I had hoped it would remind her of me and maybe even prompt her to visit. She never did.

While she knew the Queen was a pointless soul to play after, Amy did enjoy her company.

She shook her head. "No, I stopped doing that a long time ago. Nowadays, I spend my time reading the tabloids or watching gossip shows. Speaking of which: Care to explain the sudden appearance?"

Delia pushed herself from her seat and went for the kitchen. Amy could hear the clatter of glasses and after a moment of silence, the woman called out with, "Do you want a drink?"

"No," she answered. "I don't care for drinks when smoking. It leaves a strange taste." Leaning back in her chair, she glanced back towards the kitchen. Delia was leaning against the doorframe, watching her silently. "You look dead yet beautiful. How can you do such a thing?"

Delia tapped her fingers against her glass before taking a sip. Her eyes were shallow pools of brown and red veins, yet Amy still thought them pretty. "I'm just tired," the Queen simply stated before heading back for her seat.

"From what?"

Delia looked to her once more before smirking. "You should already know the answer to that."

While it was true, Amy still wanted the woman to say it, cry on her shoulder and talk all about her little Marcus. It brought pleasure to her to hear such things, to feel needed by another. She had come to me her second trip down here, spent the night in my arms crying. Her last visit had been the worst of all, and for a moment, Amy had believed she would claim the Queen. "I imagine things haven't gotten any better?" There's only so much a person can take…

Sniffing but not revealing any tears, Delia shook her head. "I don't want to talk about him right now." She smiled weakly after forcing down another sip. "Besides, isn't it cliché for two women to only talk about a man? Tell me about the tabloids or gossip or anything other than him."

Amy took another drag and shrugged. "Celebrities are breaking up and new ones are getting together. Babies are being born while others are being forgotten. Scandals are coming and going. Wars are starting, I think, but that's politics and I was never a girl for that sort of thing." She smiled softy to that. Mother told me it wasn't my place to bother with politics.

"Anything new here?"

Yes, but nothing that should concern you. "Not much, really. The garden has gotten a few exotic plants since your last visit, and the poolside has a handful of new lounge chairs. I think the social room got a new coat of paint, but I'm not sure if that was before or after you left." She glanced down at her cigarette and smiled. "And there is a new tenant, a young writer from the city."

When she went to look for Delia's reaction, all she found was the woman staring blankly at her drink. Too busy thinking of Marcus, no doubt. Sighing, Amy got from her seat to dispose of her stick in the kitchen. "You look a wreck, Delia. A terrible wreck." Approaching the sink, she dampened the cigarette and went to toss it in the trash. "I will never understand why you put up with the things you do." She took a moment to look about the room, eyes traveling across the countertop and stopping at Delia's purse.

"There is nothing wrong, really," Delia had called back. "Everything is perfect."

Her eyes rolled. We both know that's a lie. You only come here to hide away from you troubles. "If you say so, dear," Amy dully responded as she began to peak around in the purse. When she came to a strange orange container, whatever smile on her lips dissolved. Cymbalta? While she knew well enough that what she found was medicine, she knew not what for. Hesitantly, she placed the bottle back into the bag.

"Amy? What are you doing in there? Come back out here."

"Hmm…?" Blinking, she quickly twirled around and went towards the kitchen door. "What was that?"

Delia had her hand outstretched towards her. "Let's do something fun, yes? I want to take a drive, just you and me all the way out to the coast. We can rent a motel room, share a bed, and watch old time movies." Her fingers wiggled freely, begging for her to take her hand.

Amy's stomach began to knot up. "Why do that when we can snuggle up here?" She took her hand and gave it a tight squeeze. "We can have a sleepover."

"No," Delia whined, pulling her hand back and placing her drink aside on an end table. "That's not creative at all. I want to get away, if only for a night. Please, Amy, let's just go."

"But you've been here for only what, a week?" Amy turned herself to face a window, sunset off to the distance. In truth, she would have loved to drive off in that direction with the Queen, skies of red, purple, and orange illuminating their way. But I can't leave… "And besides, I'm in no mood whatsoever to go out."

"You never are. I can't recall a single time we left this tower, not even to go visit the village." A quiet whine followed suit and when Amy turned to look at the source, she found Delia pouting. "If we must stay here, then you have to get drunk with me. Let's have a celebration of my return? I want to forget everything tonight."

Her body relaxed to that and with a nod, Amy agreed. "I can do that." I know somewhere we can go. "Let's make it a party, though, yeah?"


When the elevator doors opened on floor 87, Amy piled out with an armful of champagne bottles. Her fur coat slumped off her shoulders and clung heavily at her elbows. Turning around, she grinned when her eyes found Delia's. "Just this way!"

Delia stumbled after, laughing as she slipped through the closing doors. Her cheeks were rosy and her eyes glossy. Leaning against the hallway, she glanced upwards and her hands slowly began to tiptoe up wall. "Is he a friend?"

"Yes," Amy answered. I would hope so. "Maybe," she answered again. I've only met him once. "I'm not sure." Twirling around, she began to search for his room. The last door to the right... "Delia, over here now."

The Queen pulled Amy's fur coat back over her shoulders and gave her a hug, arms quickly enwrapping her neck. "He must be a friend if he doesn't mind us visiting this late. Or a lover…is that it?" Pressing her lips to her ear, Delia whispered, "Have you been doing naughty things with this man, hmm? Spill the tea!"

Shrugging her off, Amy tilted her head back to send Delia a red-faced smiled. "It's only nine o'clock. And it's not like that at all. I only just met him, so behave yourself, yes?"

Delia grabbed at her again, nuzzling her jaw onto Amy's shoulder. "Alright, unless if he's handsome. And if I'm drunk. Is he pretty?"

"He's…" Pausing, Amy went to tap lightly on the door. "He's not gorgeous, but he's nothing to sneer at. Don't ask about his book; he'll become a bit boring." She tapped on the door harder when some time passed, shifting her weight to get Delia off her once more. "Maybe he's not here?"

Pushing past her, Delia began to bang on the door. "You need to get his attention, like this." Bang bang bang. "Just like this."

Amy winced and tried her best to suppress a smile at the Queen's tipsy antics. It felt nice at that moment to see the woman so happy, even if she knew it was all a lie.

Soon enough, the door creaked open ever so slightly, enough for a pair of bewildered eyes to peek out. "Yes?" the voice asked, timid and maybe a bit tired. Amy couldn't quite tell. "Amy, is that you?"

Delia clapped her hands together and sent her a grin. "Oh, he remembers you!"

The door opened a bit more, enough for Amy to see his face. "Wesley, darling," she practically gushed, pushing the door completely open. "It's been too long!" She went in for a hug, bottles clanking when she took him into her arms. The writer's body tensed quickly in her grip, but relaxed just as fast.

"Uh, yes, hello." His hand briefly touched her back, not to pull her deeper into the hug, but she took it as much. When he was released, his face grew pink. "Ah, yes…is there something wrong?"

"We're in need of your service," Delia answered, playfully taking one of the bottles and waving it in the air.

He titled his head and his stare quickly shifted over to Amy. "I don't understand." When Delia pushed past him to get into his condo, he went wide-eyed. "What is going on? Who is that?"

Peering past his shoulder, Amy watched as Delia plopped herself down onto a sofa, blue throw pillows engulfing her. When she returned her stare back to Wesley, she could see a mixture of terror and confusion on his face. "I thought we'd pay you a visit—no, more like throw a little party."

Wesley lowered his brows. "A party? Where? Here?"

"Amy!" Delia called out. "Come here now and pour the drinks!"

"That woman—your friend, or whatever—is she drunk?" His face had relaxed a bit from his initial reaction and she couldn't help but nod and silently watch. He vanished down the hallway, over to where Delia lurked. I can win this game.

Again.

Her hand found the doorknob, and when she went to enter, the sound of elevator doors opening caught her attention. A woman in black walked out, their eyes meeting instantly. Whatever long locks of hair she had hung over her left shoulder and her pale skin seemed to shine in the dim hallway.

The watchdog has found her way to us.

Sending the woman a sweet smile, she entered Wesley's condo and slammed the door. Cool air brushed past her, licking at her cheeks. From her spot, she could see the open window with curtains dancing about it. Her condo did not have a balcony, and she felt a stab of jealous run through.

How easy it can be to push somebody over. The thought intrigued her enough to dwell on it more than she should have. Yes, it would be considered cheating, but in the end, do rules really matter? Her mind cleared when Wesley cleared his throat. Blinking, she looked over to the two and watched as Wesley stared at Delia with narrowed eyes.

Play fair. Play now.

Pursing her lips, she wiggled her finger, beckoning him to follow. "Darling, stop pestering her and come help me with the drinks, yes?" The kitchen wasn't hard enough to find and as she began to cover the sink countertop with champagne bottles, Wesley quickly entered. His arm took her elbow, pulling her off into the depths of the room.

"What is going on? Why did you bring that strange woman here?" His voice was low, timid, and soft, as if afraid of somebody else hearing him.

A sigh pushed through her mouth, eyes falling down on the hand that held her. The last time a man touched me tenderly like this was… "Is it really that bothersome? My friend needed to get drunk and I thought I would include you, but if you don't want this…" Trailing off, her eyes traveled back up to meet his. Now, puppy dog stare.

"Drunk?" He pulled his hand away to rub his chin. "I guess I don't mind, but it would have been nice if you, uh, forewarned me about this little arrangement." A long pause followed. "Is she safe?"

"Safe?"

"Well, I don't know this lady. And she's in my condo, drunk. Should I worry about her? Does she break things?" He quickly leaned in, his voice a whisper. "Is she the type to throw up? I got some nice furniture in there, and, well, uh, I don't want to regret letting this stranger in. Actually, she more forced herself in…is that common with her?"

"Stop," Amy ordered, laughing. "If things get out of hand, then I'll take her home. Just say the word and we're out of here. Simple as that."

His hands ran up the sides of his skull, gripping his hair and he gave a small shrug. "Fine." It was a weak agreement, but enough to satisfy her. "What was her name?"

She let it roll off her tongue. "Delia."


At one am, after endless drunken conversations, Amy found herself wrapped up in Delia's arms. The Queen slept, warm breath tickling her neck, rising and falling chest a lullaby. Her hand fell off the edge of the couch and gently landed atop Wesley's shoulder. The man lay motionless except for his own pattern of soft breathing.

A smile grew.

There was a quiet buzz off to her left, a beam of light illuminating the dark room. Glancing upwards, she saw the cell phone beckoning its owner to answer. The name read Claire and Amy simply just pushed the call to ignore.

Nobody was going to ruin her luck.