Danny stirred and shuffled in the chair when he heard the toilet flush from the other room he opened his eyes, rubbed them trying to stop them from being all blurry and focused on the TV screen in front of him. It had been about an hour and a half since he’d last woken, it was the longest single nap he’d had the entire night but he still felt like crap as he woke.
As the noise of the toilet faded he knew Tracey would not be long from coming out for breakfast. Again he wished he’d had the foresight to use one of the other beds in the house instead of sleeping on the chair and trying to make Tracey feel guilty, at least in one of the other beds, even laying beside Tracey, she wouldn’t disturb him as she was getting breakfast. Even in his annoyed mind, still laden with thoughts of the previous night, he knew Tracey wouldn’t be deliberately making noise but in such a small space it would be difficult not to disturb someone with things like the kettle and china plates. Such thoughts didn’t make him feel any better but the did help him decide that pretending to be asleep was not worth the effort.
When Tracey came out to the kitchen she was wearing only her nightie, it was the short white one with Whinnie The Pooh on it that he brought her for her birthday three years earlier, she went straight to the kitchen.
“Good morning Danny,” Tracey said across the counter. “What would you like for breakfast?”
Danny was cautious, he knew she’d have been as annoyed with the way things went down the previous night as he was, maybe for different reasons, but just as annoyed, yet there she stood less than five metres away from him with a kitchen bench and a small dining table separating them and asking him what he wanted for breakfast.
“Nothing.” Danny replied. Whatever Danny would have for breakfast he would get himself when Tracey had finished in the kitchen.
“Are you sure? I’m making something for myself, it’s hardly any more effort to make you some too.” Tracey responded politely.
“I said nothing.” Danny grumped. It wasn’t quite the response he wanted to offer but it was out before he realised it and finished before he could stop it.
“Ok Danny, I’m sorry I asked. I was only trying to be nice.”
Tracey decided not to push the matter and instead went back to making her breakfast in silence. As she was pushing the button down on the toaster she heard the volume on the TV get slightly louder and knew without turning around that Danny had adjusted the volume in a vain attempt to make it hard to hold a conversation.
As the morning show host tried to make some lame joke and his co-worker Tracey couldn’t help but wonder if maybe it wasn’t the best time to try and sit Danny down and tell him her reasoning for disappearing for three months.
While Tracey was pulling a plate out of the cupboard and retrieving the butter from the fridge she watched Danny without making it known she was doing so. He was sitting in the chair, the same chair he’d been in when she went to bed, TV remote in his hand, blank stare on his face and looking very uncomfortable. Several minutes later when Tracey sat down at the table with two pieces of toast covered in butter and strawberry jam and a steaming mug of black coffee Danny pushed himself out of the chair.
Danny stood at the edge of the chair and stretched his stiff legs and arms before making any further moves. His first thought had been to get up and make breakfast, smelling Tracey’s toast had made him hungry and although he was sure Tracey would make his breakfast if he asked he couldn’t bring himself to ask after his last little outburst. He was half way to the kitchen to cook his own toast when he decided he had another pressing matter to attend to first.
Danny detoured past the kitchen, into the bedroom and straight into the en-suite bathroom, he didn’t realise how much he needed to go until he actually started moving his limbs. Although he was tempted to jump in the shower while he was in the bathroom his hunger pangs were getting the better of him, which was unusual for Danny given that he could easily skip breakfast for an early snack with his coffee around 10am on a work day. Deciding he would shower after breakfast Danny made his way out of the bathroom and back to the kitchen.
In the kitchen Danny reboiled the kettle and cooked his own toast, while the toast cooked he prepared a mug with instant coffee in it and found himself a plate for his toast. In less than three minutes Danny had his own toast buttered and smothered in jam, his own steaming mug of coffee and was headed to the table where Tracey was sitting drinking her coffee having finished her toast. He did briefly consider sitting himself back down in the chair he’d spent the night in but decided against it when he remembered how stiff he’d been after he got out of it only a few minutes before.
Danny sat down at the table on the chair opposite Tracey, it wasn’t far away from her, less than a metre, but it was as far as he could get whilst still sitting at the table. He looked at the TV, there was a commercial break on advertising the telecast times for the Sands Towers race that he would be racing at the following weekend. Without consciously doing so Danny counted how many times he saw his own car on the screen in the forty five second ad break. With the commercial over he turned back and looked at Tracey, she was sitting there staring at him.
Emptying her own mug Tracey placed the empty on the table.
“I’m sorry Danny,” Tracey started, a small tear forming in the corner of her right eye. Danny actually thought she was going to apologise for the previous night but as she continued he realised how wrong he was. “The morning I left…”
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