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There’s Someone Else.

By @Snake-of-Eden

The Caller.

A light summer breeze floated in through Arauras front window, giving the flat some much needed airing out and the occupying plants a chance to cool off. Though the sun still hung heavy overhead, the weather had definitely levied off and Araura thought she could finally concentrate on her studies.

She glanced at her watch, then after trying to focus on the face, she pulled out her phone and squinted at the time. It was five forty in the evening. She had spent the day, when she finally awoke at eleven in the morning, washing her sheets and shirts. As she saw it, this dry, slightly windy weather was perfect for efficiently getting laundry dry. And after all the rain they’ve had, this one hot day did a world of good. At least in the manner of clean sheets and shirts… 

She looked over toward her desk, where a textbook lay open in front of a computer and sighed. If she was honest, she really didn’t want to continue with the assignment today. She was admittedly almost finished, but as it had been all day, she struggled to remain focused.

She gave her front room a cursory overall glance. Her plants had received a thought misting over that day, she’d made sure of that. They looked glossy and healthy and she smiled to herself, feeling that familiar tingle of pride at having helped her plants survive this heat.

Her guitar sat in the corner of the room, leaning on its stand and beckoning to her to pick it up and begin playing. The sun glinted off its frets and warmed its cool blue surface. But she wrenched her attention back to the textbook on the desk, deliberately striding over to it her T-shirt rippling as she went. She stood over the desk, tilting her neck side to side until it cracked. She arched her shoulders until one fell out of the head hole of her over-large t-shirt. It was her favourite, a grubby off white, its collar and cuffs the darkened red of years of wear and with the word ‘flash’ embroiled across the chest in bright red. It hung off her skinny frame like a sheet, hanging down over her grey athletic leggings. She stood barefoot on the warm hardwood floors for a moment, then pulled the chair out and sat down, running a hand through her tousled short red hair. ‘It was high time she finished this project.’ She thought to herself, taking a deep breath and waking her computer up.

For about an hour, Araura trudged through what remained of her university assignment. She was sluggish and inefficient and slowly growing frustrated with herself. She struggled to word prose and points with her customary eloquence until her irritation hit a peak. She slammed her computer shut and hung her face in her hands, elbows leaning on her still open textbook. Shed marked it up within the last hour so she avoided touching its glossy pages too much. The sun had set a little more in the time she’d been working. The room had cooled somewhat but the wooden floors retained the heat and she stood up, stretched and scrummed to the calling of her beloved guitar. Picking it up and feeling its warm neck in her left hand, she took it to her armchair, she began playing. She plucked individual strings in the order of that song running loops in her head. Pressing her calloused fingers to the strings on the neck and feeling that familiar sting as the steel strings dug into her skin. But she was interrupted by a different queen song.

The heavy base beat of Queens Another One Bites the Dust tore apart the pleasant calm and she reached into the one and only pocket of her trousers for her buzzing phone. There was only one person it could be, the ring tone considered but seeing the name of her girlfriend on her screen still contorted her mouth and eyes into a broad smile. She let the bubble swell in her chest and swiping the answer button to the right, she spoke into the mouthpiece.

“Good evening dear!” She greeted Delia in a velvety tone, her bubbling joy barely contained.

“Hey Aro.” Came Delias voice. She sounded brisk and tentative and Araura sensed there was something playing on her mind. The bubble in her chest deflated her so slightly.

“Diels. You alright love?” She asked, holding her guitar by its neck and carefully placing it back on its stand from her chair.

“Well, I really don’t know yet, but we do need to talk I think. I don’t think you’ll like it. But still—“ she began, sounding as if she was choosing her words carefully. Araura swallowed, something was definitely wrong with Delias tone. She sounded off and Arauras joyful bubble was slowly loosing buoyancy.

“Well, certainly darling. Do you want to come round? I can make tea or we can go out. My treat.” Araura said, trying to inject some measure of happiness into her voice to balance out the forbidding of Delias.

“No… I think I’ll see you at yours in about twenty minutes. Don’t get up.” She told her.

“Okay dear. I’ll see you soon. You sure you’re alright love?”

“Yes Aro. Stop worrying.”

“Alright. See you. Love you!” Araura rounded off before the two of them hung up.

The conversation had been a pleasant enough exchange between significant others but it left a heavy shadow hanging over Arauras face. She locked her phone and placed it haphazardly on her coffee table, staring at it but not really seeing it.

‘What could possibly be up with Delia” She mentally asked herself, frowning. She sat there, leaning back in the chair and delved back. She thought of Delia, she thought of how their relationship had developed and how it had tracked along. Different stages and exchanges flashed across her mind as if it were a disjointed film. She saw Delia standing at her front door on the evening of their first kiss. The image of her silky placid form sleeping next to her on those mornings they’d woken together, the sheets clinging to her. Images of her driving her car, her profile as trees flashed by the window. She thought of Delia, listening to her playing, her eyes closed and a smile playing across those full lips. She remembered the feel of Delias heavy warmth clinging to her as she dozed off. She thought about their dates together, taking Delia to fascinating little restaurants and cafes. Of exploring corner bookshops and taking nights on clubs and pubs together. She remembered as if a flash, the time Delia had taken her to record shops in the city, had let her sing in the car. She remembered their discussions on meeting each others parents, discussions about marriage. How they’d playfully suggested where each of them would propose, how they would and the kind of rings each would give the other. The image of the ring Araura wanted to have made for an occasion like that flashed across her mind and it shrank ad dulled in her minds eye.

Her heart sank, ‘Perhaps she wasn’t ever going to have a reason to commission it.’  She thought horribly. The thought made her feel sick and she pushed it away amid the flurry of images. ‘Could she be imagining things?’

“No… surly not.” She thought out loud. She stood from the chair and hurried into her kitchen as if to escape the flooding of possibilities, as if by removing herself from her chair, she could remove herself from the threat of the unknown. She was sure there was something Delia was deliberately not telling her, but she couldn’t bring herself to consider the end of everything between them.

“For gods sake Aro!” She said out loud, gripping the edge of the bench-top. “just stop it! You know if this was serious, and it concerned our relationship in any serious way, good or bad, she’d tell you!” She continued to talk to herself, as if her plants were listening, as if they might tell her to quit worrying.

She opened an under bench cupboard and pulled out two mugs. She turned and flicked her kettle on and shoved a tea bag in much before striding down the hall to her bedroom. She hobbled on with a pair of socks and hurried to close the window of the front room. A knock at the door put an end to her rumination and she started.

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