The sharp cry of my alarm cut through the silence in the darkened apartment. 7:00am. I groaned and clumsily rolled sideways out of the bed then pushed the OFF button hard. Another day of studying and another day of hell.
Dan brought me here last night after he found me sprawled out on the office desk with a pencil stuck to my face. The thought of him finding me upstairs with a tiny trail of drool escaping my mouth and a snore erupting from my vocal cords made my cheeks turn to a crimson. Slightly embarrassing. Although Dan wasn’t much of a pretty sleeper either.
Stuffing my head through my woolen jumper and cramming my legs into the skinny jeans, which were discarded on my bedroom floor from a couple of days ago, I got dressed then slapped a little bit of makeup on. I didn’t want to miss my train out the city.
Dan stirred awake to the sound of Aria’s alarm from next door. It was about 7 o'clock that morning and considering it was this early and her train didn’t leave Euston until 9am, Dan wasn’t exactly pleased.
Shoving the pillow over his head to block out the sounds of the outside world, he closed his eyes again and tried to get back to his deep slumber. Except he couldn’t bring himself to do it. His mind was constantly wandering back to Aria’s health situation. She wasn’t eating anything, she was barely sleeping and when she did sleep she was messing up her body clock. In Dan’s eyes she was killing herself slowly, she may not have known it but it was certainly the truth.
So what could Dan do? He couldn’t do anything on his own. He needed the help of Phil for this one. They needed to stage an intervention.
I flicked on the kettle and stood back with my hands deep in my pockets. My back was resting against the fridge so slowly I let my head fall back to sit against the many pictures of adventures from many years of friendship that were plastered all over it.
It was easier back then, years ago. Walking around the world without a care. Back then when I was beautiful because I didn’t care what everyone thought of me, I didn’t care about my imperfections and about the things I couldn’t change. Now I was scared of what people thought of which pen I wrote with. And I wasn’t sure why.
The glass door to the kitchen slowly peeled away from it’s frame to reveal a very tired looking Phil. His dark dyed hair was sticking out in all directions and his ocean blue eyes were cast downwards as he kicked on his threadbare slippers that sat below the cutlery draw.
“Morning Aria” He grinned sleepily at me.
“Morning Phil” I yawned
He looked across the room at me with narrowed eyes which seemed to take in every inch of my body. All of a sudden I felt self conscious.
“What?” I asked whilst scraping my long curls back into a tight ponytail at the top of my head. His eyes stopped searching me and I felt a large weight fall back on my shoulders. It felt as though Phil lifted the struggle from my aching bones.
“Nothing” He dismissed my question with a quick wave of his left hand. After his search for nothing I then turned back to what I was doing. The kettle had boiled and the mug of sugar and tea bag were waiting patiently on the side of the chopping board. “Do you want tea Phil?” I offered him kindly. “Yes please”
As I stirred each mug of blisteringly hot liquid in turn, Phil decided to reveal why he had been looking at me in the strange accusing manner that he had been.
“What time did you go to sleep last night?”
Phil questioned, his voice was strong and firm hinting that he knew all too well that I had fallen asleep by the desk again. That was the 5th time this week, apart from the fact that Dan had never found me and brought me downstairs again. That was new in this chapter of pressure and hell.
“I don’t know” I mumbled. It was true, I had absolutely no idea what-so-ever. It was still dark at least.
“Well I went to bed at about midnight, you shouldn’t have been far behind.”
“Oh and what are you? My mother? No.”
“I just care about you Aria-”
“Yeah and I care about this job.”
Some silence passed between us before Phil spoke again. His voice had been sturdy during the small argument we had just had, now his voice was the same as silk.
“You need to look after yourself” He sighed deeply and made his way over to me as I gripped the sides of the kitchen worktop with white knuckles. “Because I can’t sit back and watch you hurt yourself like this.” His long arms snaked around me and hugged me tightly from behind. His warm embrace was one you got the craving for on a cold winter day when outside the rain was lashing it down and the comfort of a jumper wasn’t enough.
I turned swiftly and melted into his chest. It was also moments like this I missed. We both missed.
“I need this, Phil” I breathed against the material of his soft worn out pajamas, he buried his face in my brown curls and replied “I know…”
We stayed like that for about 10 minutes, just enjoying the others company. It was when it dawned on me that we were missing something important.
“Your tea is getting cold”
He laughed and broke away from our clasp, grabbed his still steaming mug and padded away barefoot towards the kitchen door. “Have a good day at Uni” He wished me “I’ll try”