Hydie searches for her phone as it rings amongst her brother's magazines, newspapers and rolling tobacco products. The device shrills on relentlessly before she finally manages to locate and answer it.
“Hi.” A throaty baritone on the other end of the line, unfamiliar. She hesitates.
“It's Patrick.” His voice is rich and smooth, like the man.
It's been two days since their encounter in the dressing rooms.
“How are you?”
“...Can I come over?”
Hydie stares at the wall clock, it's 7.30pm. She notices the stains on the clock's plastic cover, the clutter and mess around her, frowns.
“I live with my brother.”
“But. I could see you tomorrow?” She hears hope in her voice.
“It's my day off.”
“I know. Yes. Alright.” The sound of his five o'clock shadow as it catches on the receiver. “Come to my house. We'll have a drink.” His tone lightens. “I expect we'll work something out. I'd like to see you again. Come at 2.”
A sharp tang of surprise on her tongue as she puts down the handset. She makes herself a cup of tea, reads the paper, choosing to go to bed early. She calls to her brother lounging in the TV room as she pads her way up the hall.
Patrick owns a condo in a leafy street. It's a long simple bus ride to his suburb, affording her enough time to brew anxiety beneath her smile. Hydie's hands shake as she rings the doorbell. He answers in a work shirt and grey pants, like last time. Her heart does a flip flop. His sleeves are unbuttoned, he's barefoot.
“You look gorgeous.”
Hydie giggles. He leans against the door frame and pulls her to him, encircling her waist in it's pretty yellow sundress. A hot, reassuring kiss.
“Thank you.” Hydie breaks away, grinning, much more relaxed.
“Come in.” He swings the door wide and ushers her inside.
In the back room, down a cream hallway, a man stands by the window, tumbler of scotch in one hand, the other touching the flawless glass of an enormous window. Anthony turns as they enter.
Hydie shoots Patrick a look of surprise, his expression remains neutral.
“Would you like a drink?”
Patrick makes his way over to a wall cabinet, busying himself fetching drinks and ice.
Soon they are seated on the big, beige leather lounge in an otherwise sparsely furnished sun-room, Patrick sits opposite in a matching, single-seater lounge chair and his friend sits to Hydie's left on the lounge. The sun blazes through the wide window, muted by tinted glass. Hydie takes her drink and sips. Ice-cubes make a glorious clinking sound, knocking courage into her ribcage, forcing her to swallow nervously, the only other noise in the room. Anthony clears his throat.
“Well, I ought to get back to work. Nice to see you.”