The fire had burnt itself out during the night. The velvet intimacy of darkness barely kept at bay with firelight had given way to the earnest flat grey light of mid-morning.
We abandoned our living room encampment, still smelling slightly of wood smoke, and returned to Gawan’s bedroom. Third day, third fuck. I hadn’t yet spent enough time with him to be fluent in his body language, but I suspected that to someone who knew him well, he’d appear more relaxed, cheerful, and perhaps satisfied than he had in a while.
One such someone turned up rather earlier than expected: his roommate pulled into the drive, already back from her boyfriend’s place where she’d spent the last few days. I was dressed by now but a still bit cold and had thrown on a bathrobe over my clothes, but I thought it impolitic to meet the woman of the house for the first time looking as though I’d just rolled out of bed — it would bring the unstated assumptions a little too close to the surface — so I ditched the bathrobe, put on a sweater, and went out to say hello.
It was a little awkward, though that wasn’t surprising. I’d been nervous about this meeting. She and Gawan are like family to each other, and I knew I was being assessed.
That first meeting didn’t last too long though. Concerned about the unhappy state of my back and neck, Gawan had made an appointment for me with a massage therapist, so that was the first order of business. Afterwards, we ran some errands, and then he showed me the commanding view from a nearby outlook.
By the time we got home, the roommate’s boyfriend had arrived for my welcome supper, and the four of us spent a convivial evening chatting while demolishing a roast duck.
We wound down and said our goodnights. Where to sleep this time? Not surprisingly, Gawan wanted to use one of the multiplicity of beds in the house instead of the couch (which was no longer private enough anyway), so we went downstairs and tried the mattress in his office. Third night, third bed. It the same size as the one in his room but less of the surface was available. It was also softer and it sloped down slightly on my side.
Since access to the office was from outdoors and the bathroom was a long, inconvenient way away, I took out my contact lenses in the office rather than doing so upstairs and then fumbling about blindly, past the pool, in the dark.
I slept poorly. I was cold and I got bumped once or twice. When I had to pee during the night, I got as far as the lawn and thought, fuck it, good enough. This was even more like camping than the air mattress by the fire in the living room. Not good.