Tom can see the sweat pooling in the curve of Chris’s neck, the bob of Chris’s throat as he gulps water, the bottle making a disgruntled crumpling sound. It’s an unseasonably hot day for March, and Tom would escape to the balcony outside their hotel room if it wasn’t foolhardy.
You never know who might be lurking on the streets below.
Chris tosses his water bottle aside and reaches for Betty, checking her with the ease and practice of someone long accustomed to holding a gun. Tom watches Chris’s movements, the quick fluidity of the muscles in his hands, the caressing glide of his fingers, the restless jump of his eyelashes.
Behind Chris, the telly drivels on. Not the news – spineless and toothless, bought and paid for – but some soap, vapid blondes and fraudulent tans and empty prattle. Part of Tom longs for the days when such things seemed like the worst the media had to offer; days when he could spend a sick day in bed, beating a lazy one out to the surgically enhanced figure of one of the blondes, becoming strangely entranced by the tortuous inanities that passed for plots.
Sudden silence, and Tom looks up to see Chris, finger coming away from the power button, impatient energy already bunching up for movement. Betty is gone, concealed somewhere about Chris’s person; Tom knows better than to assume he knows where that somewhere is.
“Coming, Watson?” Chris says, and bounds for the door, long length deadly graceful. “Leave the sheets. They’re what the cleaner’s paid for.”
But he’s already reaching for Bess.