Emily returned to Click's flat less than a minute after he had finished making his phone call. She let herself in without knocking or calling, but he was used to it. She was always welcome. Her choice of wine did not surprise him. It was another Ros from her expansive collection. She knew what he liked, having lived so close for so many years. She also brought a DVD with her, tucked under her arm. It was some generic comedy, romantically minute but fairly recent. It wasn't something that Click was going to argue about watching.
He invited her into the tiny confined space that was his bedroom, where his bed dominated the dark and full room. Here, as always, they would sit on the end of his single bed, their feet hanging off the sides. The television, stacked with his game consoles, DVD player and old VCR player, was against the opposite wall. It was a generous size, thankfully just high up enough that their feet didn't lean against it.
Click sat down, leaving Emily to handle the film, and instantly wondered if he was going to collapse into the sleep of the blissfully desperate. It had been a stupidly long day, and his body wasn't really ready to handle any more, but he struggled onwards regardless. Thankfully, Emily didn't notice. Her back was to him, which was handy. Even in sweatpants, it was a spectacular view.
"Now, it's nothing fancy, alright?" she asked him as she brought his television onto the right channel. In a strange contradiction, his DVD player had to run through the VCR player, but she was perfectly used to this. "I didn't want to get something that either of us would have to think about. We're not exactly big thinkers."
"Yeah, the lack of brain work is very good for me. My head hurts enough already," responded Click. "I feel like I've been ground through a slaughterhouse and spat out of the other end."
"Nice image," Emily said with a laugh. "What's the plan then? How are you going to sort out Dim and Jerry?"
"Think I'll start by making them less like Tom and Jerry, if that's even possible. Cat and mouse, cat and mouse. I swear, it's a wonder any music gets made," Click told her with a sigh. His head was aching beyond words. "I'm completely lost for what to do; no options or anything. I suppose the first thing I should be doing is working out just how much damage this interview might have done. Then I need to somehow come up with a way to stop Dim from doing anything, changing anything or even opening his mouth, even though he's the bloody singer. Then I need a lot of money. Somehow."
"So the ideal solution is the National Lottery. You've got to be in it to win it you know."
"Yeah, gambling; ideal solution," said Click, with a laugh.
As the film started, Emily revealed that she had brought the bottle of wine in with her, and left it at the foot of the bed. After taking her usual seat right next to Click, on his bed, she lifted it from the floor with her feet and pulled it between them. The cork gave way to her scrabbling fingers easily. The bottle had obviously been opened before. She had a mouthful, which was an odd way to drink wine, but Click made no mention of it when she offered the bottle to him. He took his own mouthful, and felt the warmth spreading to his belly. It was at this point that he realised just how much he'd actually had to drink. Neither of them were accustomed to heavy drinking at all. Click never had the money, and Emily was usually Harmony, who didn't drink.
"What about you anyway?" Click inquired. He knew it would be a bad move to say what he was planning to say, but that changed little to nothing of the simple fact that he was going to say it anyway. "If we're talking about work then I'll certainly jump on that bandwagon and start asking questions."
"The idea of talking about condom shortages and eating out forty year old women is bad enough already without sharing it with other people," Emily answered, though it certainly felt like it was Harmony that he was listening to for that moment. "There's a good reason I choose not to talk about work, and I reckon you can come up with about a million good reasons to fit. Off the top of your head I'll bet you'd already imagined about a hundred things that you don't want to hear coming out of my lips. And, since I just said 'out of my lips', you've just had a mental image of things that you know have gone between my lips, so let's just drop that topic before we even get started."
"Okay," Click agreed quickly. He had been much happier before he had asked the question. "Why is it you choose to follow that career? I mean, there are a ton of others, but you went that way."
This was another ridiculously stupid question that seemingly came out of its own volition. A moment after saying it, he knew that he would regret it.
She looked him over with a smirk. "When's the last time you had sex, Click?"
"No; it's been ages," Click conceded. Honesty depressed him. "Some people have clear and defined pulling power. I have pushing power. No, I'll be honest; I have throwing power."
"But you throw like a girl."
"So do you."
"Yes, but I actually am a girl," Emily responded with a raised eyebrow. "It's not really an insult if you're telling somebody an exact fact about themselves. I mean, I'm very obviously female; breasts and anything. I can throw however I want."
"Well, whatever, where are you going with this?" asked Click, eager to move the conversation away from his own mutinous reproductive system.
The answer that she gave was far from what he expected. He thought that she would have ended up in such a situation without wanting to, or that she had found it the easiest way to earn a big stack of money fast, but that wasn't what she said. "Well, I love sex," she told him. This one was clearly the Harmony side. "If I can get paid for doing something I love then where's the downside? I'm always careful, so it's not exactly a high risk job, and most of my clients are men. Men are easy to work with."
They took another mouthful of wine each as this information settled into Click's head. Undoubtedly, it would take root, fester, grow and eventually consume him like a poison that would slowly consume his insides piece by piece, but, for now, he ignored that part of it. While drinking, he tried to come up with another question to ask. His mind was beginning to swim a little, but he vehemently ignored it as best he could.
"Any other clever questions about work or should we just move on to the drink and the film?" inquired Emily, a small frown of discomfort on her face. It wasn't a look that he liked, so he dropped it.
Minutes passed while the film played, but Click was quick to note that he had missed far too much to care. Distraction came when his phone buzzed in his pocket and, pulling it out, he opened a message from Julia. It was a simple enough message, filled with the usual spite, hatred and seething venom that typically filled her every word as well. Thankfully, it was only a text message, and it was an agreement to meet him for food to discuss his job free from Matthew Cooper. Julia was going to make him pay; which was upsetting.
"Where do we go from here, Josh? You seem nervous," Emily told him.
Click looked her over, desperate to work out if the look of concern on her face was genuine or not. "I got a message from somebody I don't like very much. It's a reminder of everything I don't like about her too. It's one of those pain in the arse things that keep popping up whenever I feel like I'm starting to have a good time. You know the sort I mean."
"Yeah, it's called life," came the reply. "You look shattered. Maybe you should ignore this woman you don't actually like and just get some rest. You could do with the sleep."
"You going to stay here with me and cuddle me, right?"
"How many times, honey?" began Emily, "I've even said it tonight: you can't afford me. I'll turn off the film - you just lay down and relax and I'm sure you'll fall into sleep in a couple of minutes anyway. You look like you're halfway brain-dead."
"It's been a long day," admitted Click. The weight of the drive to the Fire Brand building, the burn of the hair gel in his eyes and the utter exhaustion that was trying to communicate with Dim and Jerry weighed heavily on his shoulders. "I don't want to sleep though; it means losing minutes with you."
In response, she placed one of her slight hands over his eyes and allowed the darkness there to ease him closer to the land of nod. "You're always so sweet, Josh," she told him. "It's nice spending time with you; you don't see what everybody else sees. I miss the old you a bit though. You used to be so laid back and confident, but this job has ruined you completely. Three years might not seem like a long time, but I know you better than you think. You've got to get out of this somehow, or all you'll end up with is a whole host of regrets about what you could have done and how you might have lived your life. What if and I wish mean nothing to life. You have to keep your head up, no matter what dirty job you have to do - even if it breaks your heart. Get some sleep. You're still so cute when you're all tired and cuddly-"
Sleep was incredibly refreshing. No light ever broke the threshold of the window, since there was no window in Click's flat. His mind was extremely foggy and, briefly, he had to struggle to recall the events of the previous night. They came back smoothly enough. With a smile, he shifted in his bed, and found a weight shifting with him. Curled up close to him, her hair falling across her face, Emily had fallen asleep, tangled in his arms.
Work could wait, just for today.