“Me and my stupid mouth!” Nikolai sighed, shaking his head.
Cordelia grinned, placing her head upon his shoulder. He smiled a little surprised, gazing down at her amused face.
“You’re not offended? I wouldn’t blame you if you were; I mean..”
She shook her head, placing her index finger over his lips. After all she assumed that her speech loss was only temporary. Cordelia pecked his cheek.
“Hmm Cordelia, you’re so affectionate and loving. I hope that one day you’ll find a man who will love you as much as you’d care for him. What do you look for in a guy?”
Cordelia raised herself up on one arm and pointed to Nikolai.
“Umm, curly-ish hair?”
She neither agreed nor disagreed, her heart sinking a little.
“Ah you don’t mind? Okay, I’m interested; what would you prefer? Option one; that the man is disgustingly rich and could afford to buy you anything you desired, but you were never happy, or two that he was a pauper with hardly anything in his pocket and you were both very content?”
Cordelia held up two fingers.
“Good choice, I have no clue why I asked you that. It’s just I worry sometimes that…oh, don’t worry it’s stupid. Having money isn’t all it seems. People suck up to you and pretend to be your friend and sometimes, it’s because they’re more interested in your money than you. It’s also not nice having people assume that you’re a stuck up bastard just because you’re famous either. Obviously I’m talking about myself. Anyway, I don’t mean to vent. But then again, it’s nice being able to confide in someone who wont and can’t go blabbing. Do you know what I mean?”
She wasn’t exactly sure, but Cordelia willed him to continue.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me at the moment, I have a beautiful woman right under my nose and I just don’t know how to love her. She’s fascinating and interesting, yet I feel really hopeless. When you fall in love Cordelia, you’ll see.”
Cordelia nodded, fully aware that he was talking about Mikayla, the information cutting into her like a knife. Nikolai rubbed his knuckles which were poking from his plaster cast.
“Anyway, thanks for listening to an idiot. I suppose that I’d better try and get some sleep otherwise I’ll have nurse Jenna on my case. Oh um, obviously she’s not really a nurse but she likes to take care of me and I think that’s really cute. And of course, you do too. I’ve very lucky to have such kind friends. I think fate brought you to me Cordelia, you’re making me realise so much about myself.”
Cordelia sensed how tired he was growing and kissed his forehead, stroking his eyelids as they closed, before shutting his bedroom door and stepping up on deck to join Jenna.
“There you are! I wondered where on earth you’d gone C! Did you go for a shower or something?”
Cordelia shook her head. “Oh um, you were with Nik.” Jenna took another sip of her sparkling wine.
Cordelia nodded making two talking mouths with her hands.
“Oh I see, you were talking! Ah, that’s nice, did he say anything interesting?”
She neither agreed nor disagreed.
“Sorry, this is interrogation. I didn’t mean to ask you 50 questions. I’m glad that he’s decided to have a proper lie down, he looks so exhausted all of the time. Honestly, I’m beside myself with worry, Tim keeps telling me that it’s alright but I just don’t know. He should go back to the hospital I think, even if it is just for a check up. Still, only Nik can really make that decision. He’s a man in his own right! I think Tim and I are going to take the dinghy and explore one of the little islands. Do you want to come with us?”
Cordelia shook her head, trying to think of a non- verbal explanation.
“Aww C! Why not? I was hoping that you’d come.”
She pointed to Nikolai’s cabin.
“Ah, you’re worried about Nik? We were only going to go for about an hour and a half, I reckon that Nik will just want to sleep in that time anyway. He’d want you to come and enjoy yourself.” Cordelia’s expression did not change.
“Well, I’m sure that he’ll be very flattered that you want to stay with him. Nik will appreciate some company, I’m sure.”
“Well that settles it. Yes Cordelia, that’s a very good idea of yours. Will you do me a favour though; make sure that Nik eats something while we’re away.”
“I heard that!” Came a voice. Jenna laughed.
“Well it’s true Nik! You know where the food is, we don’t want you wasting away!”
Nikolai smiled at Cordelia as they heard the hatch close.
“This is really kind of you. You know; I love the way that we can communicate, you don’t have to say anything. Your little smile says it all. Is there something on your mind Cordelia? You look a little bit anxious.”
She shook her head. She wasn’t telling the truth, but the last thing Cordelia wanted to do was plague this troubled man with her own worries. Time was ticking.
“You know, your face has just triggered a memory.” Nikolai whispered.
Cordelia frowned, as she adjusted her seating position. Was it starting to come back?
“Hmm, it’s a bit of a sad subject for me even 7 years later. When I was ever ill; my Mum would always sit with and tell me funny stories to make me feel better. Often she’d hold my hand and sing to me too; I’m glad that I’ve remembered that again. It’s so strange. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with my long-term memory, but my accident damaged my short. You sitting by my bed has reminded me of her, she was so, so beautiful. A Spanish beauty.”
Nikolai coughed, how sad he looked. His face seemed to grow thinner, even just with mentioning her.
Cordelia exited his cabin and fetched the small bowl of strawberries from the fridge as a distraction. Nikolai sniffed a little and took a bite of the juicy fruit, pinching the green stalk with his thumb and forefinger. With care, he managed to eat them all.
“Thanks.” He muttered as she took the bowl from him, kissed his cool brow and pulled the blanket up to his chin, watching his slender chest rise and fall. She pushed a wave of his hair away from his face so that she could see his full form, intrigued. He had never let her become this close to her before. Cordelia stroked his cheek like she had done that day, when he lay unconscious on the beach but now he lay safe and warm in his cabin bed; wrapped in the serenity of his dreams.
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014