Chapter 6: Fulton’s POV by Star
“I thought you’d learnt your lesson about drinking from last night,” I say, eying Taz sternly. We’re sitting in the hot tub hating everyone that is currently skiing, and Taz is desperately trying to convince herself that she likes Manhattan Cocktails. She bought a bottle of it from the shop up at the main lodge and some of those little umbrellas, then got in the hot tub, after forcing me to agree to join her.
“I really wanted Sex on the Beach, but I kept blushing,” she explains, taking an experimental sip, wincing and forcing herself to smile. “I just thought it would be nice to have a drink while sitting in the hot tub.”
“Yes, a drink you quite obviously hate,” I say disagreeably.
“Well, you try some. It’s bloody horrible. I bet you wouldn’t like it either,” she retorts.
“Won’t Maya be missing you?” I ask. I’m really not in the mood for company. Hence I stayed here today, I thought I’d have some peace and quiet with everyone out, but then Taz came back early, and I know better than to refuse her anything. A refusal just encourages her more.
“Nope, she joined Goldberg and Jesse on the easy slopes,” she replies. “She and Goldie picked it up really quickly actually. I felt quite abandoned, hence I’m here. You know—”
Taz breaks off as we hear the front door to the cabin slam and a curse of extremely offensive expletives, used with great fluency and creativity.
“I didn’t even know you could do that with a hockey stick…” she murmurs looking a little dazed.
I know exactly who is cursing. The dreaded ex. Of course, he’s not usually that imaginative unless something is wrong—really wrong, not just annoyed with me. “Stay here,” I tell Taz as I get out of the hot tub and wrap a towel around my waist. “And another thing, stay here. I know I’ve just said the same thing twice, but it’s fairly important and you might have missed it the first time around.”
I go through the cabin and into the entrance hall where Portman is leaning against a wall, crutches attached to each arm, resting one foot that is bandaged tightly. He looks mightily annoyed. “What happened?” I ask in a neutral tone.
“I fell,” he replies shortly. “So laugh it up.”
“I’m not going to laugh.” I tell him. “Come on, if you have a seat on the couch, I’ll get you a drink and some toast with synthetic scrambled eggs on top.” Portman can be a bit of a baby when he’s unwell or injured, and I know just how to treat him.
“I don’t need your pity!” he snaps angrily as I move to take his arm to help him.
“It’s called compassion,” I retort. “I know you’re not overburdened with it, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is lacking.”
“Sorry, Fult…” He pauses for a few seconds, then changes the subject abruptly. “So, why are you naked?”
“I’m hardly naked, I was in the hot tub earlier.” I offer him my arm and this time he takes it. “Taz is still in there, convincing herself she likes Manhattans.”
“Oh!” His eyes light up. “I like Manhattans.”
I give him a stern look. “Nobody likes Manhattans.”
He backs down. “Ok, so I don’t. But I could if I wanted to.”
Another thing about Portman when he’s hurt, he likes to be difficult and contrary. “Do you want a Manhattan? I could ask Taz, I’m sure she wouldn’t mind.”
Portman collapses inelegantly on the couch and I help him rest his injured foot on the remaining undamaged coffee table. “No, best not,” he decides. “I’ve had painkillers.”
If he wasn’t so frustrating, he’d be amusing. I used to love it when he acted like this. Of course that was before I found out that he was a lying, cheating scumbag.
“So, what do you want to drink?” I ask, then reluctantly add, “I brought your brand of mint tea. I thought you might forget and nobody else knows which one you like best…” I trail off feeling foolish.
“Thanks,” he says softly. “But why don’t you sit down and talk to me instead?” He rubs his eyes.
He suddenly looks really tired and in a not insubstantial amount of pain. Like the big softie I am, I cave and take a seat beside him. It’s been months since we had a conversation that doesn’t consist of hurling insults and accusations at top volume at each other. Actually, it’s kind of awkward now he’s said that. I can’t think of a single thing to say that wouldn’t put us right back to the yelling stage.
“If I say something, do you promise not to yell?” he says, eyeing the ceiling as if it holds the answers to the meaning of life.
It’s on the tip of my tongue to say something along the lines of ‘it depends what you want to say’, which is a perfectly reasonable answer, but would probably result in yet another yelling match. “Sure.”
“You should have trusted me,” he says.
I can already feel my temper bubbling up. I take a deep breath and try for a neutral tone. “I should?” I can only manage two words without exploding.
“Yeah, you should,” he says firmly. “If you thought I was cheating on you, why didn’t you just confront me instead of rummaging around in my stuff like a sneak?” The look on his face tells me that he didn’t mean to say the last part out loud, but I don’t care.
“I wasn’t sneaking!” I snap. “I was tidying. And if you weren’t hiding stuff and screwing around we wouldn’t have this problem.”
“I was not screwing around!” he yells.
“What, if it was with a girl it doesn’t count?” I throw out spitefully. It’s been eating away at me for ages that not only did he cheat on me, he cheated on me with a girl.
“You really don’t believe me, do you?” he asks. “So much for all that trust we were supposed to have. I’ve told you a hundred times I never cheated on you and I never would. Although right now I wish I had!”
“We broke up, Portman!” I yell, getting to my feet. “You can cut the bullshit now!”
“I’m not lying!” he yells back, just as loud, as I make my way towards the stairs. “But if I was, wouldn’t it be time to stop whinging about it since we’re broken up?”
I don’t reply, but continue up the stairs, not stopping until I reach my—our—room. I slam the door and a picture falls off the wall, the glass shattering.
I don’t know when Portman became such a pathological liar. But I know he’s lying about cheating on me.
Because I found one of the steamiest love letters I’ve ever read tucked inside one of his books when I was packing our stuff away at the end of the school year. You would not believe what this girl wanted to do to him. He claimed that he had never cheated on me and then accused me of going through his stuff. I didn’t, the letter fell out as I picked up the book.
I can’t work out what’s worse; the fact that if I hadn’t found that letter, I’d still be with him, cheerfully oblivious, or the fact that I wish I hadn’t.