There had been this slight discomfort which Fern had felt had suddenly lingered between him and his spouse, something that he hadn't been able to truly shake off despite the usually comforting embrace which he hadn't wished to part with leaving their flat that morning and this very unfamiliar feeling was still with him as he stared down at his phone, sadly, practically blinking down at the words boldly plastered across the
the screen of his iPhone, making him feel as if he was shrinking by the second and maybe deep within the miserable cacoon of his denial was, definitely, hurt, though Fern was quite reluctant to admit it, regardless the lifeless message was still scowling right at him.
Fern was bothered by how all she could reply was a simple ‘me too’ which was such a gloomy contrast as compared to the words he had first sent, leaving his declaration of ‘love’
rather desperate and sad-looking, his words were also practically staring right back at him in ridicule.
Fern sighed as he blew a breath through his long mouth, burying long and fragile-looking fingers into silky and naturally wavy hair, at least at this length it was, struggling to comprehend the meaning of these empty words, his long fingers were almost tugging at his hair at some point. Every morning Fern woke up to his hair a mess and the reason behind it being what he hadn't gotten just last night, and the whole weekend practically, and that was why he was sure something had to be wrong. They barely were able to keep their hands off each other and he often liked to tease Theo about her prone appetite, or maybe at every chance he was spared, yet somehow he had noticed a bit of reluctance from Theo's side, hence why Fern had gone frustratingly, and miserably, without it and was feeling it too.
Fern's ample lips felt dry as he brought his hand to the back of his neck, still staring at the words before him with his slim black tie feeling just a bit too tight for him, almost as if it was digging right into his parched throat. In all the years, as unfairly little as they were, he had never gotten something so personal from her, even in the earliest stages of their dating, but these words meant so many things, but none of them had ever been so unfamiliar to him.
Fern stood in the middle of a neat isle of cubicles, lips tightly pursed as a florescent light cracked through the large floor-to-ceiling, entering in from the grey city which stood a distance behind the glass quite, there were tall buildings that stood almost dull and stoic, to pale silver, against the faint grey skyline, the almost luxuriant skyscraper nothing but distant and maybe even significant figure from where Fern stood, his tall figure peaking from his cubicle with the soft lights perched upon the bleached white ceiling staring down at him as they caressed the top of his head.
He wasn't even certain whether to leave it as it was or to just send her a more lively message, though the stiffness of those two words had said enough, that had been the end of their conversation and
he couldn't get himself to ask either, the thought of doing so made him feel so useless at this point.
The words were practically screaming at Fern, at least they felt like they were about to jump right out of his iPhone and strangle him to death or just rip his heart out and devour it slowly whilst he watched in torture. Fern's soft black irises were close to watery as the light coming from his phone gently shone against his close to soft face that was maybe highlighted by a bit of stubble just under his chin.
“What is it?” someone familiar peeked from behind Fern and almost caused him to rather stagger almost dropping his phone to the floor, this person almost yanking him right back into the usual chatter and hum of the office with a slight jolt, the air-con humming just behind it, and he scowled as he greeted the noise with the closing of his double eyelidded eyes, maybe watching the cruel letters disappearing behind his sockets, one letter after the other.
“You shouldn't bloody do that, Casper,” he said, shoving his fingers into his willingly soft hair one last time before dragging himself back to his chair, slumping as he met it.
“You look a bit pale,” the other young man said, folding his slender arms as he looked at him with a slight raise of one of his eyebrows.
Fern had his back to his friend and colleague at this point as his eyes lingered to his phone that he had decided to place down, where it joined, but kept a bit of distance from, a big coffee mug and the brightest yellow of what was a mini watch, courtesy of his wife, of course, all sat on top of his desk, a cluster of paper decorated what was left of the space.
Fern twirled the chair around and greeted his friend with an almost sluggish stare hanging so heavily against his jet eyes. “I'm fine.”
“You don't look it.” Casper lowered his eyes at his friend as he glared.
“I'm still fine,” he said.
“You guys fought, isn't it?” Casper asked, leaning forward as he folded his arms, his skin a tad bit darker beneath the office lights than it had been in what he wasn't even sure could be referred to as ‘sunlight’.
“Why?” Fern unfolded his arms, kicking his long legs forward as he stretched his limbs with his lips slightly curled.
Casper shoved his hands into the pocket of his dark-colored pants, tilting his head to the side a bit. The almost pale light which bathed the entire office almost missed the young man's eyes, just as it did his face as his tall figure, and his broad shoulders, swallowed most of the light in the office, whilst half of his face was carefully veiled in the soft shadow created by his tall figure. “You said something to her, isn't it?”
He sighed, tugging at his tie as he loosened it bit from around his nearly tall neck. “It's the bloody honeymoon again.”
“I didn't even get to touch her, it was like–”
“Isn't it a little too early to be hittin’ the iceberg?” his friend questioned, with one of his thick eyebrows arched as Casper stared at him.
“What? I don't think so. I just don't know what to bloody say to her,” Fern said, shutting his eyes as he, again, snuggled his fingers into his hair, leaning his hip further against the uninteresting grey office chair.
“You tell ‘er how sorry you are, mate?” Casper said, eyebrows knitted together as his hands remained tugged into the pockets of his pants.
“We spoke about it, I assumed it was over,” he said, stretching the back of his neck as his nostrils were slightly flaring, without him even noticing it, as he blew a breath through his mouth, blowing his slightly longer hair from his forehead and then, as he had been doing for some time, he ran his fingers through his stylishly messy hairstyle which softly curtained around his face, though he had combed it in the morning and even quite orderly, once could add, despite its current ‘free’ condition.
“You? Bloody talk? That's some miracle,” Casper said, rolling his light brown eyes.
“I bloody do, mind you,” Fern argued, quite childishly so.
“Yeah, I've known you since we were little buggers, yeah?” Casper said, pointing out to his dismay, his head tilted to the side as he stared right at his friend.
Fern squinted his eyes shut as if he had quite the headache and pinched the bridge of his slim nose. “I'm not going to deny that, but I communicate well or at least try to, simple.”
“Communicate? You're slyly dismissive, is what you are,” he said, pulling a chair from an abandoned desk in one of the cubicles that had no occupants and sitting down, legs crossed.
“I feel like that's not fair.”
“I get you because I've known your ugly face for longer, she hasn't. . .and bloody hell, she decided to marry you,” Casper said, sighing.
“I think love's like that.”
“You think. . .just try and talk bout this,” he said, more serious this time. Fern could tell by the way that his friend had inclined himself forward and was looking at him, he truly meant every word.
Fern gulped down a lump of parched air, hard, failing at attempting to moisten his already dry throat. “We sort of did.”
“You never talk, you just try your best to end a conversation before it even starts,” Casper rates grimly. “You can't run from this one, mate.”
He, unfortunately, wanted to do just that, he may be needed to.
“What is this?”
“What? This? Oh, it's just me telling you the bloody nonsense you don't want to hear,” he said, folding his arms.
“You sound like my uncle,” Fern mumbled under his breath, tossing his eyes to his black Converse sneakers.
“Have you spoken to him?”
There was a phone ringing somewhere, maybe a greeting right after, even the air-con, but still his friend's words sounded as if they yelling.
“No, I haven't.” He shifted in his chair as he felt something tighten around his throat.
“Let me guess, you're afraid he might betray you and bloody tell her,” Casper spat, his words carrying quite a lot of weight as his eyebrows shot up, sharply.
Fern didn't lift his eyes. “I'm not hiding anything or anyone from. . .anyone, alright?”
“And if she–”
The sound of the phone suspended their talk, perhaps even momentarily, lending Fern a minute to escape as he wheeled that chair and lightly nudged it forward as he going for the phone that was under a stack of papers.
He was grateful to whoever was trying to reach him. “Hello?”
Fern didn't need to hear about it, it was final to him–Theo didn't have to know and it was to stay that way, for the sake of everything, it had to.
“Roy with you?” There wasn't any doubt about it, this was their editor-in-chief who had just rung him, he had heard that almost hoarse voice and blunt tone enough, it didn't leave for doubt. “Is Roy with you?”
His day had been already spoiled as it was, he couldn't cope with worse.
“Yes, of course.” Fern suddenly sat up straight.
“I want both of you in my office,” they said, then ended the call.
Fern twirled his chair around in disbelief as he faced Casper, who was waiting on his word with an almost eager expression glued to his face stiffly.
“We are wanted up there,” Fern finally said, after recovering.
“Which. . .as in me and you?” Casper almost whispered, eyes close to popping right out of their sockets.
He didn't know what their boss was to say, but he was sure of one thing as he met his friend's eyes–he felt awful about bringing this up. Fern was well aware of the reason why his friend had almost brought this up, he, unfortunately, refused to face it and to him, the past was better off forgotten and it was as simple as that in his eyes.
“I hope we don't get fired,” Casper said, standing up to his feet.
Fean just nodded, lips tight as he joined his friend to his feet still feeling quite a bit uneasy about the way his things had felt with Theo, about the unfamiliar way in which she had held him.
Casper suddenly stopped as they were walking to the elevator and turned to Fern, his brown eyes almost softening. “Better not hate me for this, Fern. Yeah?”
“Okay.” That was all which Fern truly had.
They both strode inside the shiny elevator carrying them up to the top floor.