A brief listen to the time on her mobile. How had it got to two o’clock in the morning? There were no missed calls. Missed messages didn’t ping in her ears. Was he still riding his motorbike? Could he already be on his way home, with an apology? Worry turned quickly to anger.
He could have at least texted to put her mind at rest.
Merlin’s head rested on her legs. Quiet, but breathing to his own stuttered tone, his paws were restless. Nobody was going to get any sleep until Graham got home. Heavy legs slipped into soft slippers and she finally got up.
A cold blast of air attacked her shoulders. She always hated sleeping with the window closed. It was too stifling. In addition to this, Sarah always liked to hear the sounds of the street before she went to sleep.
In the kitchen, she took the heaviest mug from the cupboard. It was tall, broad, and just right for the amount of coffee she needed. A liquid indicator rested over the rim to let her know when it was full. She tapped the side and the porcelain felt hard against her fingers.
As she waited for the kettle to boil, her mobile remained still and silent. Why wasn’t he calling to ease her mind? They had grown apart lately, but even after an argument he never took things this personal.
Boiling water bubbled and the switch clicked off. Merlin’s paws padded to the back door, then to the front. He wouldn’t remain still until Graham was back home. Neither could she.
She checked her mobile again. The knot in her stomach grew tighter as she picked up the kettle. Merlin’s barked, as his paws padded over to the front door.
Had it been over two hours since he left the house?
‘He’ll be back soon Merlin,’ Sarah said, with as much confidence as she could.
The indicator bleeped, but she continued pouring. Her reflexes stopped it from burning through her skin. A yawn was stifled with the back of her hand. Black coffee was drank all in one go. Another coffee was poured. The bitter coffee beans were like sharp shards of glass on her tongue.
An alarm would go in just two hours, but she couldn’t even think of going to work on this little amount of sleep. It wasn’t like she took much sick off anyway. Richard could wait a day for her to hand in her article. It was only a food review column. He wouldn’t lose too much sleep if she didn’t send it in time for the next print.
‘We’d better go back to bed Merlin. I’m sure he’ll call when he can.’
Merlin barked. He refused to budge from his position at the front door. As he sat on the floor, Sarah joined him.