Happy Valentine's Day everyone!
Olivia isn't having a great one this year, being stuck in Cycle 27 and all. But we thought we'd share with you one of her better Valentine's Days. Here's a little extract from her story. (More to come with the release of Cycle 28!)
‘You mean Robert Bergen? He wasn’t that into you,’ Martina said, looking me square in the eye.
I put my beer back on the table. ‘How could you say that?’
‘Because it’s true, Olivia.’
The place was all but empty, just a few sad figures slumped over the bar. Some of them were in old leathers and wore their hair in ponytails. Those guys, and us. Martina had insisted we come here even though there were better places closer to her work. She didn’t want to see any couples; I couldn’t argue with that.
‘It was uni,’ I said, ‘you were probably too drunk to notice.’
‘He said that he liked you? Robert said that?’
‘No. Well, not to me.’
‘It was something people said after.’ I ran my thumb over the lip of the bottle. ‘A while after.’ I leaned back in the booth, stretching, but also getting a better look at my old friend.
She hadn’t changed much since I last saw her – she still had bags under her eyes, and her hands were stained and marked by the dyes she worked with. She smelled of sweat and chemicals. But all that stuff, all that Martina, used to have a little more life to it.
‘I saw him,’ I said.
‘Robert? You never . . . when?’
‘A few cycles back. Fifteen, maybe He didn’t see me.’
Behind us an ancient jukebox spluttered into life, right on an old crooner and his lost love.
‘Was that you?’ I said.
She held up her hands, as if to say, “I’ve been here the whole time.”
‘Where did you see him?’ she said.
‘At a local exhibition.’
‘You went to an exhibition? What exhibition? You don’t—’
‘I go to things, Martina.’
‘You’re getting soft in your old age,’ she said.
‘I’m getting shy. Not long ago I would have walked right over and said hello.’
‘And said, “You used to be into me, remember?”’ She laughed, but not in a cruel way.
‘I now know where he works.’
‘A little creepy, but okay, where?’
‘He has a studio,’ I said. ‘It’s not far from here.’
‘Yes!’ Martina slammed her bottle back, and then wiped her mouth.
‘Uni was so long ago. He won’t remember,’ I said, but I finished my beer almost as quickly as she had.
‘He will if he was into you, Olivia.’