“C are you about?”
Cordelia padded up on deck, gazing at Jenna and Tim who were sat at the table. Jake perched in the background reading a heavy book, a navy cap placed upon his head.
“Ah there you are.” Jenna smiled. “Where’s Nik?” Cordelia pointed to inside the boat.
“Ah he’s sheltering inside in the shade, I think the sun was hurting his eyes a bit.”
A smile creased Jakes lips. “Isn’t that what sunglasses are for?”
“Jake, in case you haven’t noticed; Nikolai has been wearing a pair of sunglasses for the majority of the holiday.”
“Okay, don’t stress out on me Jenna.”
“I wasn’t; I was simply pointing out a fact.”
“You know; if Nik’s arm wasn’t in a plaster cast I could finish my work.”
“Couldn’t we just take head shots?” Tim inquired, attempting to keep the peace.
“Nah, let’s face it. This whole holiday has been a waste, because of him.”
Cordelia gritted her teeth, casting a sharp glare at Jake.
“Something wrong?” He asked. “What’s your problem?”
Nikolai stuck his head out of the hatch.
“Jake can you stop using that tone with Cordelia!”
“Tell your little friend to stop staring at me then, it’s not normal!”
“Why do you have to be so patronising?” Nikolai sighed. “Cordelia is lovely.”
“Yeah, you probably fancy her. As long as it’s female, remotely pretty and has a pulse, hey Nik!”
“What? That’s not true!” Jenna gasped.
“Yeah it is and Nik knows it.”
Nikolai froze, gritting his teeth. Jenna helped Nik up on deck taking him to another part of the boat.
“That’s it Niko! Just bury your head in the sand like you always do!” He called after them.
“He’s being an arse again.” She whispered. “You know that’s not true, so don’t let it get to you. He’s just jealous because he can’t get anybody. He doesn’t even have friends.”
Nikolai nodded, stroking Jenna’s fingers.
“I loved the way that you put that. Poor Jake is a loner!”
“Shh.” Jenna grinned. “But yes.”
They both glanced at Cordelia and the change in her mood. She seemed so anxious. Nikolai sat beside her.
“Are you okay?” He whispered. Cordelia nodded, inhaling his aftershave, sensing the gentle touch of his hand against her back.
“He’s so unbelievably rude. But unfortunately, we just have to learn to tolerate people like him. Gosh, that’s much easier said than done and sometimes I just have to walk away.”
She smiled, how she wanted to kiss his beautiful face and place her arms around his neck. Perhaps she could. Cordelia wrapped her arms around his neck, taking care not to come into contact with his broken ribs.
Jenna patted Nikolai’s hand. “I’m going to get a drink, does anyone else want one, Cordelia?”
“If you wanted to make sure that you were in love with someone, what would you do?”
Cordelia thought for a moment, planting a kiss on her hand, before placing on his cheek.
“You’d kiss them?”
She nodded her head again.
“Okay, um and what if that wasn’t enough. Then what would you do?” Cordelia shrugged.
“Sorry, I’d better explain properly. Well, I think I am in love with Mikayla but..”
Cordelia’s face fell, any short tempered woman would have slapped him but that was against her nature. Instead, she continued to sit next to him as her silent tears fell. Why couldn’t he understand?
“Sorry babe.” He squeezed her hand. “I shouldn’t bombard other people with my worries, they have their own. I didn’t mean to make you cry. It would be so much easier if you could write or even text, that way we might be able to understand each other properly. But anyway; I don’t know what I want any more. One thing’s for certain; I need to stop bogging other people down with my insecurities.”
Cordelia stroked his hair, gazing at the last of the yellow bruising upon his face which was covered by a wave of it.
“It’s nearly gone now. I’m still trying to put together so many pieces; how I fell in the water, how I got this and how I ended up on the beach and didn’t drown.”
Cordelia pointed to herself.
“You? Don’t be daft! Cordelia, I think your imagination is getting the better of you. I mean; we’ve only known each other for a matter of days babe.”
Cordelia took a deep breath, taking a few steps away from him.
“Please don’t be cross with me. I know that I- look; don’t confuse me even more.”
Anger brewed inside Cordelia, as she thought of ways to get more blood to feed the plant. She gazed at Nikolai’s tired face, drawn and pale he looked like he might fall down. Cordelia took him by the hand and seated him on the sun lounger before turning her back and scurrying inside.
“Cordelia wait!” But she was gone, Nikolai sighed, staring at the deck, resting his good arm upon his injured one. Should he follow her? He decided yes; having already upset her once before. He didn’t want to have to endure the wrath of Jenna; he would have to go after her. Nikolai placed a hand on his ribcage and walked swiftly inside. He saw a glimpse of her powder blue shorts.
He grabbed her hand. “What is this all about?”
He would never understand, she pushed a wavy strand of hair away from his face and smiled a sad smile.
“Your mood has really changed over the past few days.”
“Is it because of what I said to you the other day?”
Cordelia shook her head.
“Oh um really? Well, that’s okay then. It’s just I-I…”
Nikolai did not finish, but his head swam as he grabbed onto the hand rail. Cordelia steadied him, rubbing his back. Yet another pain seared his body as if a sharp blade was cutting through his flesh. Jenna having returned with the refreshments, put the bottles down upon the table.
“Nik! What’s wrong? Nik!”
He did not answer, his chin flopping onto his chest as he slid down the wall, falling abruptly on the floor.
“Oh God! Cordelia, run and get Tim. Quickly!”
Cordelia dashed inside, tapping Tim’s shoulder as he read in one of the seating area. He noticed her anxious expression and closed his book as she beckoned.
“Is something the matter?”
She nodded before grasping his hand and leading him back up to the deck.
“Nik!” Tim immediately was at Jenna’s side. “Jen, what’s wrong with him?”
“He- he seemed to be in a lot of pain. We have to take him back to the hospital.” She placed both her hands onto Nikolai’s cheeks as he stared at her.
“I’m not going.” He muttered. “No point.”
“Why? Why is there no point?”
He would not answer her.
“Nik, please tell me why you think that?”
“I have no proof.”
“Nik, the paleness of your face and the cold sweat upon your brow is proof enough, now please will you listen to me! You’re not doing yourself any favours by suffering in silence are you? Nikolai Capri, will you at least look at me.”
“Jen, be gentle. We’ll help him inside and give him a bit of time to recover before deciding what to do. Has he been taking his painkillers Jen?”
“Gosh, I don’t know. Nik, have you?”
“Only when I need them.”
“Have you taken any today?”
“Okay. Sorry, I won’t ask you any more questions.”
But no questions were needed, as someone further afield had full control.
©Sophie Bowns 2011-2014