As the sun glared on Douglas' face he thought it rather warm for February... but then again it was July and the first officer had only just come out of his sleep filled haze. It was acceptable that he was not aware of his surroundings or the time of year. The only thing that Douglas was aware of at this early hour was the dull ache in his back due to a night on the sofa and his wife sat opposite in a smart three piece suit clutching onto a saucer and a small china tea cup. As she lifted the fragile china tea cup to her lips, Douglas lifted himself off the uncomfortable couch and faced towards her.
“Did you mean what you said, last night?” Helena placed the cup down onto it's saucer and looked her husband in the eye. The look of sadness shone brightly from her pale blue eyes, but her lips told another story. She was attempting to hide the pain she felt. Douglas, confused, sat up quickly and reached for Helena's small hand. “What's wrong?”
“Douglas, we both know what is wrong. I know it, you know it, why are you even asking?” She sighed, blowing her blonde hair slightly out of her face. She moved her hand away and placed the now empty tea cup on the coffee table and got up to move towards the kitchen. Pushing a shaky hand through bleached hair, Helena sighed again, only to feel arms snake around her tiny waist. “Please don't.”
“Don't what?” A kiss placed to her neck before the first officer buried his nose into the crook of it.
“Don't make this harder than it already is.” She moved out of the embrace and looked her husband in the eye. “I know about Martin.”
Douglas stood in shock. He had thought that he had kept Martin's secret, well... secret. Helena turning around and telling him that she knew was the last thing he was expecting.
“He's a sick boy.”
“I know he is, that's the problem.”
“Martin's the problem? How on Earth is this his fault?”
“Because he's stealing you away and I can not stand it a second longer!” Douglas flinched, he had never heard his wife raise her voice with this level of desperation before. If the first officer was honest with himself he would have said he was certainly shocked, and even more so when he saw his wife on the floor, hands in her hair and her legs tucked up to her chest. A sight he had seen so many times by a frail ginger man. Seeing the sight in his wife only made his chest ache and make him want to tear up. Gently, he lent down, and softly stroked her forearms taking comfort in the lack of scars. He didn't think he could deal with the two of them feeling worthless.
“Is this what you do to him?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you comfort the boy by rubbing up and down his arms? Do you sit by his side while he falls apart? Do you love him like you love-”
“What are you saying? I love you! I'm here aren't I? I'm not away, I'm here because you're in emotional pain and I don't want to see you like this.”
“I bet you've said the same thing to him. I bet you have.” Tears fell down her face. It was heartbreaking for Douglas to watch. He wanted nothing more than to take the fragile woman into his arms and hold her tightly until she realised that he did care for her.
“Helena... what's got you like this?” he pushed a stray strand of hair from her eyes, and kissed her forehead.
“You don't love me. Not like you love him anyway...” She got up, picked up the overnight bag she had prepared the previous night, headed towards the door and reached for the handle. “I'm sorry-” A knock interrupted her. Opening the door she huffed and moved past the visitor, brushing he bag against his leg.
“Is this a bad time? I'll-” the visitor turned around about to leave the Richardson household when he felt a large hand around his wrist.
“Please don't go. I don't want to be alone right now. Plus you wouldn't have come here unless you needed to talk. I know you Martin.” The captain smiled softly at his first officer and ushering him into his own house, it was no longer a home to Douglas, not with the possibility of Helena never returning. Martin guided Douglas to his sofa, a place they have both sat before on numerous occasions where the former was usually in a state. The older man sat down, trying to compose a coherent thought in his head. He just didn't understand. How could Helena think that he loved Martin? He was just a friend to him. That was all... right?
* * *
Martin had moved into the kitchen, he decided to make Douglas a cup of tea to calm his nerves. If this was any other time and it wasn't Douglas that he was dealing with Martin would have brought out the best bottle of whiskey he could find so the pair of them could get sloshed and would forget their own names. However, Martin was smarter than this, he didn't want his friend to relapse. After all if Douglas had been helping Martin to prevent a relapse then surely the captain should also do the same. It didn't seem fair to the ginger haired man to allow his friend to travel on the downwards spiral that he knew far too well.
As the kettle boiled he stared at his shirt sleeves. They hid most of today's damage but the crimson liquid seeped through the soft blue plaid material. He knew he needed to get the fresh cuts looked at, but he was too afraid to go to the hospital. He came to Douglas to see if he would go with him, Martin had realised over the few months that Douglas had been helping him recover that everything seemed easier with the older man by his side.
Martin poured the hot water into the tea cups, covering the tea, milk and two tea spoons of sugar that he had placed to sweeten it up to Douglas' standards. He placed the delicate china onto a small tray and brought both cups over to where the first officer was sat his head in his hands.
“I just don't understand Martin...” He looked up with sad brown eyes, glancing at the cup of tea the younger man had placed in front of him. “I can't work out why she would leave... I hurt her... and I don't even know how. Why Martin? Why is it I can't keep a relationship together?” A stray tear fell from Douglas' eyes and it was gone as quickly as it came. Martin sat on the couch next to him, and pulled the first officer into a comforting embrace. Hands behind the captain's back Douglas then noticed the tinge of red on his hand. “Martin...”
“Not now.” Douglas moved out of the embrace and looked at the blood soaked shirt that hung of the younger man's frail form. Slowly he lifted up the fabric, minding the cuts and gasped at the destruction that Martin had dealt on himself. “Don't.”
“Why didn't you tell me?”
“Douglas, you're in more pain than I am at the moment. You're the one who needs comfort, not me. I've had my share, the only difference is I got my comfort a different way. One that we both know I shouldn't do, and one day there will be a day I don't need to, but right now you're more important. Okay?” Douglas shook his head. “Yes you are. She'll come back, think about it. She'll need more clothes because we both know how much an over night bag can hold and we both know it can only hold a few days worth of clothes on a push.” Martin touched the others hand softly. “She'll come back, don't you worry.”
Douglas looked up to the captain, and smiled. He moved his hand over to the wrists of his captain. The blood had now crusted around the fresher of his cuts. The flash back of his wife's words stopped him from rubbing his fingers across the swollen lines, so instead he led the boy towards his bathroom.
* * *
“Douglas, you don't have to do this.”
“Yes I do Martin. If you get an infection because of -”
“It would be my fault.”
"Look Martin, it would-
“No it would by mine. You want to know why Douglas? I didn't treat it sooner, and even if it did get infected I would just have to take some penicillin and it would be okay... please don't doubt yourself... I'm used to the sarcastic Douglas, the one who wouldn't worry about a mere infection.”
“I'm sorry” Martin bent down to Douglas' eye level and looked at him with suspicion.
“Okay, I know this is effecting you more than I originally thought.”
“She was my wife Martin!”
“She still is your wife!” Douglas looked down to the floor, sighed and looked back into Martin's pale eyes.
“She said I didn't love her...”
“She said that I didn't love her, as much as I love you.”
“What? Y-you're joking...right?”
“Why would I be joking about something like this?”
“Do I what?”
“Do you love me?”
“I don't know Martin. I honestly don't know.”