When she opened her eyes, Carla felt that her hands were free, resting next to her head as she lay on her stomach, on the edge of her bed. There was a quilt over her, pulled up to her neck. She didn't move. It was ominously quiet in the flat. She had no idea how many hours had passed.
When she sat up, sunlight was streaming into her room. Dave must have opened the shutters carefully, noiselessly, before leaving. Her mouth was dry as she had been breathing through it ever since her nose had started running and had got blocked with her crying.
She rubbed her wrists - red marks now circled them from the chafing of the silk scarf... she turned to find a glass of water on her bedside table, next to her book - thoughts of the night before suddenly came back into her head. Dave pretending to read - a memory that would have made her smile in other circumstances !
She felt so confused - why hadn't Dave come to her when it was clear the game was over for her ?
Between the glass and the book was a piece of paper folded in half - she grabbed it and opened it to devour its contents with her eyes....
Carla I'm so sorry - I was too ashamed to stay and thought you wouldn't want that anyway. Please tell me when I can come and get my stuff out of your home. I think it would be best. If I try to explain what I did, please bear with me : I have had so many women break my heart - I just wanted to test you - to see how much you cared - I had doubts about you me being "the one" for you. This wasn't one of my better ideas !
Listen, I'm not asking you to forgive me right now - but maybe one day ? - if not you might just try to understand.
This hurts - you have no idea how much - because I still love you so very much. Dave xxx
She read the whole thing again then lovingly stroked the paper - how long ago had he left ? Perhaps just minutes ago – maybe that was what had woken her up. She wanted to talk to him as soon as possible to let him know that of course she would forgive him !
They were learning about each other - in a way he had just taken revenge for the time she had bitten him on his neck ... she raised her head and gazed at the pictures on the opposite wall, thinking of his face in the mirror, remembering that he had tried to warn her he wasn't entirely happy with what she was doing.
She felt cold all of a sudden and jumped up wrapping herself in the quilt, before going to have a shower, which would warm her and relieve her aching muscles. Then she would call Dave.
She dressed in a warm pullover and comfortable old jeans then sat down in one of her soft armchairs with a cup of coffee and her cell.
Carla sighed a long despondent sigh, then pushed the buttons. His phone rang once, twice... then he picked up :
“ Hello ? “
" Hey, luv... " she greeted Dave in a calm but slighty sad voice.
" Carla...listen : I'm - so .... "
" Where are you now ? " she asked quietly, she missed him already.
" Eh ?... not far. I'm sitting in a park close to your neighbourhood. "
" I love you, Dave. Do you hear ? No matter what. "
She tried to imagine Dave's face as he heard something he perhaps wasn't expecting to hear. She thought she heard him catch his breath, then there was definitely a gulping sound, but he didn't speak, so she continued.
" Please come back - I miss you already ! I cried when I read your note, you know - sweetheart we have to learn about each other if this is going to work. There's nothing to forgive, so don't you dare say you're sorry any more. Promise me ? "
" Are you sure ? That you still love me ? " his voice was shaky.
" Come here and we'll talk - please. " Carla whispered.
" O.K. I'll be there in five minutes - I'm - not sure I deserve this "
" Just get here and I'll show you what you deserve ! " she chuckled, then hung up.
Carla sat waiting, smiling contentedly. Ten minutes - it would feel like ten hours She wanted to be in his arms so very badly. She made some more coffee to pass the time.
When the intercom buzzed, she ran to the door to open it.
There he was, looking worn out and crumpled. Unshaven, drenched from the heavy rain, head in his hands, leaning on the wall in the corridor.
" Come in " she said quietly, putting a hand on his shoulder..
" Thanks, " he replied as he shuffled into her hall, allowing her to close the door.
" My God, you're soaked ! You should go and change – you're making a puddle on the floor, look ! You'll catch cold, mon amour. " She had both hands on his shoulders as he said this, but they didn't stay there long because without warning Dave took her in his arms and hugged her, head bent into her shoulder, and it was from here the sound of his sobbing started to come.
" I - nearly - lost you. " his voice was hoarse, his hold on her was so tight, his whole body was shuddering against hers from the emotion that he felt, but also from the relief that he was feeling.
" Hey - mon amour - it's all right now. I didn't think I meant this much to you - I feel like I'm the luckiest woman on the planet, how does that make you feel ? "
She drew back from him and touched his chin, hoping he would raise his head - her wish was granted.
Dave smiled through his tears, which he wiped from his bloodshot eyes.
" My angel ! " His hand came up to stroke her hair and she leaned into his caress, closing her eyes. Then she took both his hands in hers and was shocked to feel how cold they were.
" You are freezing cold, Dave ! " maybe there was another reason for the bloodshot eyes : she felt his forehead with her lips and found he had a fever.
" How long have you been out in the rain ? " she was concerned for him now.
" Since I left here. Same park - short walks or just sitting on the bench. "
" Right, I'm going to run you a hot bath and make you a hot chocolate - get out of your wet things, and I think I'll put the heater on in the bathroom for you, that's the best place for you. Come on ! " and she lead him along the corridor.
She was scared that Dave could be ill, so she prepared everything quickly. When the bath was ready, she helped him to undress.
" Come on, honey, step in ! " she led her naked Dave to the tub and encouraged him to sink right into it.
" Oh, God, it feels so good... " sighed.
" You just relax, and I'll prepare the hot chocolate, all right ? "
" Uhmm... " - he nodded and sank even deeper into the hot water to warm his body up.
Carla rushed out from the bathroom and searched for some anti-febrile medicine, then went to the kitchen.
Coming back with a glass of fizzing paracetamol, plus the mug of hot chocolate, she knelt down by the side of the bath and asked :
" Feeling better ? " Dave nodded. She continued : " Drink this to get your temperature down. If it goes back up later I'm calling my doctor. "
" It's just a chill - that won't be .. "
" Listen to me : I'm not taking any chances with you ! You don't have a choice in the matter. Just drink. "
" Yes, nurse Sagnier " replied Dave, and Carla saw the old Dave starting to shine through his exhausted state. She smiled and kissed his forehead, then stood to take off her sweater, only now realising that it was damp from when she had hugged Dave, and stood there in her bra.
There was a little glimmer of cheeky interest in Dave's eyes – which made Carla smile and raise an eyebrow, but she was already on her way out again.
" Like some music ? " she asked.
" Mmm - that'd be nice, thanks. "
So Carla put on her Best Kept Secrets CD by Lamb - she selected the song
"Gorecki", which always gave her goose bumps, and went back to the bathroom. She had put on another sweater – a lightweight short sleeve one, pale blue lambswool with a v -neckline, as she was going to be running round after her patient from now on ! Dave immediately complimented her on its colour - “ It really makes the blue of your eyes stand out !”
" Never mind that ! Listen to the words of this song." she said, all but ignoring him, kneeling down again. Then she leant forward to kiss him, this time on the lips.
" Hey, if this is contagious ..."
" I couldn't - give - a fiddler's - fuck ! " said Carla, punctuating what she said with more kisses, while Dave pretended to be shocked at her foul language. It got them both laughing, and Carla thought how good this felt, to have him back.
The introduction to the song had finished and Dave obeyed Carla and listened to the lyrics.
They gazed deep into each others eyes and heard :
" Wrapped in the warmth of you.. loving every breath of you ... " floated out of the living room.
Carla whispered " I love you " in a small instrumental gap - it showed just how well she knew the song to be able to do this...
Dave's eyes were full of his love for her - even in his exhausted state. He felt that Carla was too far away from him. He waited 'til he heard what he thought was the end of a verse, not wanting to miss the lyrics, which he found beautiful and very appropriate....
" Wanna get in with me ? " he stroked her cheek as they listened to the next part of the song ...
He followed her moves as she freed herself from her clothes. She was looking into his eyes, and as she undressed she sang the lyrics...
"Could we stay right here
Till the end of time until the earth stops turning
Wanna love you until the seas run dry
I've found the one I've waited for..."
Dave reached out with one hand for his naked lover. She was so beautiful in his eyes ! He felt heat rising inside, but it wasn't just the fever, it was his burning love. This woman... she had robbed his heart, but it felt oh... so good !
She stepped into the tub carefully and sank into the hot water facing Dave. The music reached them softly as Carla slid closer to him. She was still looking straight into his eyes, singing the song quietly :
"all this time I've loved you
and never known your face
all this time I've missed you
and searched this human race
here is true peace
here my heart knows calm
safe in your soul
bathed in your sighs
wanna stay right here
till the end of time..."
Dave felt such thoughts that he couldn't even begin to describe. Carla's love reached his very core, his very soul. He was always craving for love and acceptance and he couldn't believe that now he had finally found it . Maybe that's why he had tried to ruin everything last night, feeling he did not deserve such happiness.
But Carla was wiser than that, she knew better : she knew to trust his love and she was clever enough to give in to him. She hadn't put up a fight, she had just showed him her deep love and offered forgiveness. Dave just wanted to die in her arms - he grabbed her waist pulled her closer and held her very tight saying nothing only raggedly breathing from the raging emotions inside him. He wanted to be with her, something to share. He wanted to show her he was here, not there.
Carla just lay there, her head on his hot chest. She was listening to his quick heartbeats and the music. His heartbeat was music. He was her music. She felt his love for her surging out of him, surrounding her.
However, she was still scared about Dave's cold. She raised her head to give a kiss on his forehead to check his temperature. He still had a fever. But Dave had locked on to her gaze, then he raised a hand to stroke her chin. He didn't say a word, just pulled her closer to give a soft kiss on her lips.Only then did he say :
“I'll be fine – you worry too much ! You'll see.”
They finished bathing to the sound of the remaining tracks on the CD and then, wrapped in soft thick towels, they went to the bedroom. Carla helped Dave into a T-shirt and boxers, got him into the bed, and went to fetch extra covers. He was shivering again, and his head was still worryingly hot.
She also brought a bowl of water and ice cubes, and two soft facecloths. She sat next to him on the bed, smiling to reassure him, then wrung out a cold cloth to stop it dripping and placed it on his burning forehead.
" Mmmm, that's really nice ! " Dave whispered, eyes closed, his breathing slowing. The best thing for him was sleep, so she stayed there, changing the facecloth when it got warm for the other ice-cold one, stroking his head in between times and just marvelling at the sight of this loving, sensitive, gorgeous man lying in her bed who was now such a big part of her life.
Sleep took mercy on him at last and as she listened to his deepening breaths she decided to lay down next to him, next to her man. Her mind started racing again : what if he got pneumonia or lost his voice ? She sighed and tried not overreact to his cold and his fever.
After a while she got up and went to the kitchen to prepare a hot, herbal tea which would be ready when he awoke. She prepared some sandwiches too in case he was hungry, but then she couldn't help herself and had to go back to the bedroom, to lay down again with him, unable to take her adoring gaze off him.
" You're watching me. " she heard suddenly after a while from Dave, whose eyes were still closed.
" How do you... "
" Hmmmm ! I can feel the intensity of your gaze, babe " he replied huskily and looked at her. He saw the worry on her still beautiful face.
She nearly blushed, and answered him with a little smile, as she checked his forehead.
" You have a fever even now ! I'm calling my doctor. While we wait for him, I can bring you some hot tea. Good idea ? "
“ Yeah, some tea ! Nothing I like better when I get a cold than hot tea, but have you got anything to eat as well, baby ? I am absolutely starving.”
“ Sure, some sandwiches with cheese and apples, here you are. ”
“ Oh, this is divine, thanks a lot. It's so good to have you taking care of me, my love. ”
“ Yeah, but you still need to see my doctor.”
“ What for ? I have one here ! ” he said and pulled her to him, trying to kiss her.
Carla was laughing. “ No, no ! Bad boy ! Eat up now and drink your tea and then we'll see if you deserve a dessert. ”
" I'll try hard to be a good boy, mummy ! " he sat up straight.
" Oh, shut up and eat ! " she laughed and gave him the food.
" Please feed me, I feel so weak... " Dave's pleading eyes had the expression a dog would wear if it was asking for the biggest bone in the butcher's shop !
For a moment Carla was about to fall for this, but then she realized that he was joking !
" Oh youuuuu....!!! Seems like you're feeling a little better, hm ? and she pushed him playfully back into the pillows.
But then she fed him anyway, and the touch of his lips was so damn exciting ! He noticed that she was getting turned on, and went on playing his little game, occasionally sucking or licking her fingers, or holding onto them with a play-bite. She kissed him on his cheeks while he was chewing and whispered what she would rather be doing with him in his ear.
Dave responded by sliding his hands up under her sweater and massaging her breasts, first through her bra and then going inside it, once he'd undone it. This made her crazy with lust she barely could restrain herself from jumping on him ! But now was not a good time to engage in anything more than a quick hug – the Doctor would be arriving at any time.
When Dave had just eaten his fill - he didn't feel like eating more than two small sandwiches and an apple - he obediently drank his herbal tea. He went and freshened up in the bathroom before the doctor arrived, and then crashed out again on the bed.
Carla came back to sit with him until the intercom sounded. She showed her doctor to where Dave was sitting propped up with pillows, and sat on the end of the bed, hoping what he had was not too serious.
After a thorough examination, the doctor announced that it was probably viral and that rest, paracetamol and tender loving care would be their best weapons to fight this. Once he had given this reassuring diagnosis, the doctor smiled, his head bent down.
" Is something wrong Doctor ? " asked Carla.
" No, no! Not at all - it's just that my wife will probably fall over in a faint when I tell her who I saw today ! She's a big fan – she's often on the internet looking for Depeche Mode related sites. She has photos of you at home, even more in her office, and the ones she doesn't dare put there, to avoid questions from our children, she has in her locker at her sports club ! "
Dave laughed at this - he had seen that type of enhanced photos of him, lovingly created by fans, and was always flattered by such a show of devotion. He said that his fans really did count enormously for him.
After a short “autograph session” for the doctor's wife, Carla showed the doctor out, paying him and thanking him.
When she returned to the bedroom, Dave was lying down - preparing for some restorative sleep.
" Nice bloke. Has he been your doctor for long ? " he said sleepily.
" Since I moved here, three years ago this summer. He's great - I'm very lucky. " she bent over Dave to feel his forehead and found that it was cooler than before.
She smiled and said " Let's see if we can't get you better for the weekend, hm ? " then she lay down beside him and took his hand.
" You are my favorite nurse - did you know that ? " Dave turned to face her and said " Turn on your side, with your back to me, then you won't be breathing in fumes, babe. "
" Ha ha ha ! " Carla said, pretending to have heard the oldest joke in the world ! But he was right : no point in them both coming down with this.
They lay there, like interlocking puzzle pieces, Dave curled into Carla's back with one arm round her, so Carla could kiss his hand every now and then, and Dave whispered that he missed her lips, her tongue, her teeth . She let the sound of his breathing relax her and soon they were both asleep : Carla's worrying had exhausted her more than she suspected.