My first Speakeasy Tonight one-shot. My MC’s name is Rose, because of her red hair. Hope you enjoy! :)
As I stepped out of my cab onto the bright sidewalk, I took a deep breath, pulling my sun hat off to fan myself with it. It was a blistering-hot June afternoon in Chicago, and visible heatwaves lifted off the pavement, causing my legs to sweat from underneath my stockings as I walked. It was the first real-hot day we had since I arrived here. I was never a fan of the summer heat, as I was prone to headaches when my body got overheated. I was struggling with one today, and it was putting me in a sour mood, even when I had the day off from managing the Ice Box.
I was on my way to Neil’s flat. He had invited me over this morning when I told him Charlie had given me the day off. Usually, when we visited, we read books together, listened to baseball games on the radio, or played chess… amongst other, more entertaining things. But with my migraine along with my irritability at the moment, I decided I wasn’t up to do much of anything. I was planning on just stretching out on his sofa and taking a nap, or at least trying not to sweat that much. I was sure he wouldn’t mind. He liked to sit and read quietly anyway.
I climbed the too-many stairs up to Neil’s fourth floor apartment and knocked on the door. I leaned against the door jamb as I waited for him to answer. He pulled the door open after a couple moments.
“Good afternoon, Rose.” He looked me up and down, taking in my sweaty and miserable state. He raised his eyebrows, slightly amused, probably at my childish pout. “Enjoying the weather?”
I sighed, stepping in the doorway. “I don’t remember it ever being this goddamned hot back in Columbus. I never spent summer in a city before.” As I passed, I stood on my tiptoes to give him a quick kiss on the cheek. “All the buildings block the wind.”
His apartment was much cooler than outside, but still not cool enough to better my mood. He had set up various fans around the room, and I leaned into one for a moment so I could feel a steady breeze on my face. “Do you like the heat?”
“Not one bit.” He shut the front door and walked to the drink-cooler, reaching in to grab me a cola. “Which is why I stay inside during days like this.” He popped the top off the bottle and handed to me.
I accepted it gratefully, taking a long swig. “So anyway, I hope you don’t mind, but I don’t think I’m going to be as entertaining company as I usually am.” I kicked off my heels as I plopped on his blue sofa, laying out horizontally and putting my feet up on the arm rest.
“Whoever said you were entertaining company?” He came to join me, taking his usual seat in the armchair next to the sofa. He picked up a book which was already laying flat, holding a page. “Although, I’m fine just to continue reading and pretend you’re not here.”
“That’s jake.” I couldn’t even muster up a smart remark. I took another drink of my coke, and set it on the coffee table. Then, I put my arms up over my head, stretching out and closing my eyes.
After a while of lying back, it became apparent that I wasn’t going to fall asleep. The noise of the street outside seemed louder than I remembered and the heat from the trip over lingered in my body. My head was still throbbing, the pain of it keeping me awake. I groaned, rolling over and reaching up to press into my temple.
Neil looked up from his novel. “What’s the matter?”
“I have a headache.” I threw my arm over my eyes, sighing.
“No, I didn’t drink anything last night. I always get these during the summer.”
I heard him get up and walk into the kitchen. There was sounds of water pouring and a cupboard opening. His footsteps came to my side and I opened one eye to see him standing over me with a glass of water.
“Take an aspirin.” He handed me the glass and a little red capsule.
I sat up. “Thanks, Doc.” I downed the pill along with the entire glass of water in record time.
I felt the couch dip as he sat beside me. I looked at him and he motioned for me to come closer. “Lay your head on my lap.”
I obeyed, spreading out face up with my head atop his thighs. Here I had a nice view of Neil in all his blonde glory. The sunlight from the window cast a glow about his pale skin.
His hands stroked through my hair at first, before his fingertips came to the back of my head and the top of my neck, rubbing small circles. His hands were refreshingly cool. Feeling loads of tension leave where he touched, I let out a relieved exhale.
“Does this feel better?” His voice was soft and had a deeper tone than usual.
“Much.” I closed my eyes, relaxing into his touch. His skilled hands massaged the aching areas of my head, moving from the nape of my neck to my temples and slowly back. This treatment along with his familiar scent and leisurely attitude gradually caused me to forget all about my pain.
After a while, I opened my eyes to catch his gaze. “You’ve got magic fingers, Doctor.”
He rolled his eyes, but I saw him suppress a smile. His hands slowed and went back to just gently running through my curls.
I watched him, suddenly transfixed by the beautiful man above me. The weather had put a hint of color in his cheeks, and his lips were a muted pink in the warm lighting. His shirt collar was undone one or two buttons, and it lay lopsided on his neck. I couldn’t remember a time when he looked as relaxed or at home as he did in that moment. He didn’t meet my gaze, absently watching his own fingers play in my hair, until I reached up to touch his cheek. He looked at me then, and his blue eyes looked peaceful.
I reached up to my hair for one of his hands, bringing it to my lips to kiss his palm. “Thank you.”
He only hummed, his chest vibrating, before leaning down and lifting my face to meet his lips, kissing me softly. I reached my arms up to his shoulders and kissed him back properly before breaking off and leaning back into my spot on his lap.
He gave my hair one last stroke before leaning back up and reaching over to grab his book and drink. He took a sip before carrying on reading, his hand holding the book on the armrest. I adjusted slightly, curling up like a cat below him. His thighs were a surprisingly comfortable pillow. I suddenly felt sleepy, my body remembering that I had only gotten a couple hours sleep the night before. Listening to Neil’s relaxed breathing, the occasional sound of pages turning, and the hum of nearby fans, my eyes shut and I drifted off into a well-needed nap…
When I awoke sometime later, the room was dim and much cooler. I saw that it was dusk outside the window. My head was resting on a pillow as a replacement for Neil, who was sitting back in his armchair, still reading, only it was below the light of a lamp and I saw he was much farther in his book than he was earlier. The radio was tuned to a classical station, playing softly.
I stretched and yawned, making noticeable waking-up noises to catch his attention.
“Good morning.” He didn’t look up from his novel, but his voice was warm.
“Is your headache gone?”
“It is, all thanks to you, doctor.” I sat up and rubbed my eyes while adjusting my dress. “How long was I asleep?”
“A few hours.” He turned his page. “I had to move because your snoring became distracting.”
“I don’t snore!” I tried to sound indignant but it was difficult because we had this argument so many times and I always couldn’t help but giggle.
“Whatever you need to tell yourself, Rose.” He looked up at me, watching me lean back to stretch, my back arching. I felt his eyes linger. I winked at him and he looked away and smiled, shaking his head.
I felt my stomach grumble. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. “I’m going to make sandwiches. Peanut butter or ham and cheese for you?”
“Peanut butter, if you please.”
“Sure thing.” I stood and noticed my abandoned coke bottle still on the table. It was lukewarm at this point, but I finished it anyway as I walked to the kitchen.
I swayed my hips slightly more than necessary as I made my way. But it worked, because I knew Neil was watching me go. I had a feeling he would join me in the kitchen in no time at all.