Someone Like You

By: Victoria Purman



He bent carefully to protect his aching leg and picked it up, its flaps origamied together to protect what was inside. With a flip of his fingers, the folds popped open and he saw a foil container covered with a white lid. He took another glance to the street and then shut the door behind him.

A minute later, when he was tucking into the red beef curry with rice and steamed bok choy, he decided that no meal in the history of humankind had ever tasted so good. He ate hungrily and then, dozy with food and a couple of beers, he fell into bed. It was nine o’clock.

The thumping ringtone of a Cold Chisel classic woke Dan up way too early. Bright morning light streamed down the hallway, right into his face. He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to hang on to sleep. Sleep. He realised then that he’d slept all night. Like a baby. Like a baby who actually slept through the night.

Out of habit more than anything, he fumbled on the bedside table for his phone.

‘McSwaine.’ It came out with a groan.

‘Danny Boy.’ Ry. He should have let the call ring out. He just wasn’t in the mood for a fight with his best friend. It was too early and he was already too hot, even though he’d slept naked inside a tangle of white sheets.

‘What the hell time is it?’ Dan croaked, slowly opening both eyes to see if the light would hurt. It did. He fell back on his pillow and draped his forearm over his face to block it all out. The light, his best friend’s voice, the day.

‘Listen, mate,’ and then Ry’s voice became lower, conspiratorial. ‘Julia wants me to call you so I’m calling you. Play along, all right?’

Dan swore under his breath. ‘Yeah, all right.’

‘So,’ Ry said. ‘What do you think about your meals on wheels service?’

‘Yeah, the food’s…great.’ Dan assumed Ry was talking about the food rather than the particular method of its delivery.

‘Fantastic. I need to come over and watch the cricket with you tomorrow.’

Now Dan was wide awake. ‘What the hell for?’

‘Because we are two true-blue Aussie blokes and the First Test starts tomorrow. It is our patriotic duty to lie on your couch, drink beer and shout at the TV about our useless batting line-up.’

Did he really want to sit around with Ry and watch Australia lose? Better than sitting around having deep and meaningful conversations with a mate who would feel as uncomfortable about the idea as he did. He tossed it around in his head and realised that giving in didn’t actually feel like such a big deal. There could be worse ways to spend the day.

‘Bring your own beer,’ Dan mumbled.

‘Listen, Dan, we’re all really worried about you. Please let me come over so we can talk. I’m your best mate. Let me help you.’

The sudden change in tone was not lost on Dan and he figured Julia must be within earshot. ‘She’s there, isn’t she.’

‘Exactly.’

‘She can’t hear me?’

‘No, that’s right.’ Dan chuckled at the fake sincerity in Ry’s voice.

‘Fuck you, Ryan Blackburn,’ he said with a smile.

‘So, it’s a date. See you tomorrow.’ Ry pressed the screen of his smartphone before setting it down on his wide modern desk. He turned his chair towards the floor-to-ceiling windows in his city office, and looked out over the Adelaide Hills skyline with a broad grin before propping his feet up on the edge of the desk, clasping his hands behind his head.

Julia sat opposite him, one leg crossed over the other, tapping an impatient rhythm with one of her high heels. ‘So, you think he bought it?’

Ry’s eyes were alive with mischief. ‘Oh, yeah. Totally. I played to his weaknesses. Beer and cricket.’

‘What about his weakness for women?’ Julia teased.

‘We’re working on that too, remember?’

Julia smiled. ‘I love you, Ry Blackburn. You are a very smart and devious man.’

‘I knew he wouldn’t be able to say no. And if he’d tried, I would have kicked his door down anyway. I mean, it’s Australia versus England.’

Julia rose from her chair and walked around his desk, slowly, making every sway of her hips count. Ry’s eyes raked over her as she lifted his feet from the desk and dropped them to the ground. She moved into him and he spread his legs, wanting her closer. When she leaned over to grip the arm rests of his chair, he pushed it back and pulled her close.

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