The gentle song of bird wakes me, I open my eyes. Everything goes white for a second, but then the room forms around me. Where am I? I don’t recognise this place, I am in an unfamiliar house, this room is much smaller than mine at home. So whose house is it? I don’t remember what happened, I was in work I think, but why would I be here? Why wouldn’t I go home? It looks like this is a spare room, there are cardboard boxes piled up in the corner, though I can’t tell what’s in them. The window is open, which explains how I heard the bird, but there are no curtains or blinds.
I sit up to get a better look at where I am, to try and work out where that is. Maybe they’ve just moved in, which would explain the boxes and the lack of curtains. There is very little in the way of furniture, I’ve been sleeping on an inflatable mattress. There is a small wardrobe, but it is obstructed by the boxes, so it probably hasn’t been used in a while.
The sound of feet on the stairs causes me to tense up, I have no idea who this will be, I guess they know me though; otherwise they’d have no reason to do all this for me. The door opens slowly and I see Cal’s smile when he realises I’m awake.
“Hey, how’re you feeling?” he asks, stepping in softly, as if I was still asleep.
“I’m fine, what am I doing here?” I reply. He leans on the door and sighs.
“I guess you don’t remember then.” He says. His tone worries me, it sounds like he has bad news that he doesn’t want to have to tell me.
“Remember what?” I ask, curious now.
“Well, Ed phoned Seb to ask him to take you home, but it turns out he’s had to do an extra shift for James over the other side of the city, so he couldn’t come and get you,” he looks at me, wary of my reaction, “but when I came and told you, you just fainted, I think you..er…hit your head quite hard on the desk. So someone had to take you home, I had a spare room, so I offered.” I open my mouth to ask about Seb, but he realises before the words come out. “Don’t worry, I checked it was alright with Seb, he knows you’re here and he’s not too worried. Although, he’d probably appreciate a phone call.”
I nod, still not quite awake. He smiles again and leaves to let me get up properly. I stare at the wall, trying to process the barrage of information he just gave me. I fainted again. Damn. If I’m not careful they’ll make me go to hospital, though they are aware of my dislike of hospitals, if this continues there will come a point that they have to do something. I guess I should have listened to Ed after all, if I’d stayed at home none of this would have happened.
I stand up and realise I’m still in my work clothes, apart from my jacket, which is on the floor next to me. I guess I’ll have to keep them on for now, I’m pretty sure Cal lives by himself so he’s unlikely to have anything for me to wear. I stretch my back, which is a little painful after a night on the floor, but there is nowhere near as much to complain about as yesterday morning. I had put the headache down to fatigue, but I suppose it could be from where my head hit when I fainted. Still, it’s not too bad, so I shouldn’t complain.
I walk wearily out of the room and towards the sound of Cal cooking in the kitchen. The smell of sizzling bacon fills my senses, suddenly giving me energy just from its aroma. His kitchen is cramped but modern, a few mugs are let out on the surface, but otherwise it is spotless. He holds a frying pan in one hand and stirs some baked beans with the other. Cal turns and laughs as I bound in and search giddily through the cupboards for a plate. I find one and present it to Cal, who tips two pieces of bacon onto it. I bow my head in thanks and serve myself some baked beans and shove some bread in the toaster. Cal stands there, observing my sudden change in pace.
“You hungry then?” he asks sarcastically.
“Not at all,” I reply, my mouth full of the bacon and beans I had been shovelling in while the bread toasted. He shakes his head and returns to his own bacon. The toaster pops, I grab the toast and go through to the dining room. I let myself enjoy the blend of flavours, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t rush my breakfast. The warmth is more invigorating than any cup of coffee, I really should think about doing this myself some time.
Cal walks through, with his own plate only half as full as mine, but he doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. He sits down next to me and starts to eat, taking his time, unlike me. The bacon is perfectly cooked; I can’t help but close my eyes and let out a mental sigh when I taste it. I open my eyes, noticing Cal staring at me. I swallow the food in my mouth.
“My compliments to the chef,” I say. He grins.
“I’ll let him know.” I can’t help but laugh, not because it’s funny, but because I knew exactly what he was going to say. I see him wince at his own joke, which makes me laugh even more. Very quickly, I find myself unable to stop laughing, when I try to stop, it just makes me laugh harder. Cal looks at me with a confused expression I’ve never seen him use before. I begin to hyperventilate, feeling a little faint I put my head on the table and try to slow my breathing.
I hear Cal get up; I tilt my head to see where he’s gone and catch him entering the kitchen. The clinking of glasses and the running of the tap tell me that he’s gone to get me some water. He returns with the glass and passes it to me; I sit up, having regained composure, and take a couple of sips. I nearly end up choking on it, but I manage to swallow it.
“Are you OK?” Cal asks. I nod and turn to him. I notice the clock behind him reads 10:47, reminding me I’ve probably overstayed my welcome.
“Can you take me home? I need to check on something.” He nods quickly.
“Sure, but you’ll have to direct me.”
“Sure.” I rush the last part of my breakfast and dash into the room where I was sleeping, collecting my jacket from the floor. My phone falls out of the pocket, the screen with a neat crack along it. I pick it up and see that I have four missed calls from Seb. Damn. I’ll have to phone him on the way.