"We live in a bubble."
"Cleverly disguised as a hotel room in Madrid."
"We live in a bubble," Scotty repeated emphatically, and removed the hat from his face, "and I can prove it."
"Prick the walls and the room will explode?" Kelly bounced a tennis ball lazily on the coffee table. "Let's play table tennis," he asked for the eighth time that afternoon.
"Here's my proof: we are alive."
"That seems to be a characteristic shared by most of the world's population. At least the ones that show up on the population charts."
"You are the worst agent the government has, and I have probably become the sloppiest."
"Oh, come on!"
"We haven't even checked this room for bugs, and I have just declared us agents of the government. Sloppiness established. As for you being the worst - I'm sure there are a number of dumber agents, but there isn't a single one with a higher record of being duped by pretty women."
"We can't be that bad. We've still got all our arms and legs where they should be..."
"My point exactly. Logically thinking we should be dead, but we are not. We live in a bubble consisting of pure luck, likely to break at any moment."
"What is the matter with you today, Scotty? You're even less cheery than usual."
Scotty sighed. "Sophia's marrying Gino next week."
"And you didn't tell me!"
Scotty offered a wan smile. "I just told you, didn't I? I already called the section chief. We're off to Italy on Wednesday."
That night they still stayed at the hotel, lying half-naked in tangled sheets. Scotty stayed awake while Kelly slept, breathing softly on the nape of his neck. He stared at the ceiling fan. Lazy circles, around, whoosh, around, moving hot air around the room.
Nobody ever asked questions, nobody ever heard the things they said and did and screamed that should have raised comment, and cocked guns. Once Scotty would have suspected the whole hotel of being in on an elaborate trap. Not anymore. Most of the time he didn't think about it, didn't even care; just danced the dance as the steps were laid before him.
They lived in a bubble clinging to the edge of a knife.
He closed his eyes, whoosh, whoosh.
They were at Kelly's wedding. He was dressed in a light grey suit that somehow managed to look like it fit the occasion. I always thought he'd be married in white, Scotty thought, and then realised that was an odd thing to think since black would be the right colour. Sophia and Gino beamed at the altar. Who am I marrying again? Kelly asked and laughed. Scotty grabbed him and kissed him and kissed him and kissed him.
By the time they got to the airport the following day, much of the weariness had passed and Scotty felt more like his old sharp self. Kelly, of course, never changed. Not for any long period of time.
A flash of blue in the corner of Scotty's eye, and he looked up at Kelly, smiling, sure to find his friend's eyes following the stewardess. Instead, he found them on him, and serious.
"Look, it's very possible that Gino has cleaned up his act," Kelly said. "The countess will give us an update on the situation, I'm sure. Until then, try not to worry too much, okay?" He put his arm around Scotty and nuzzled his ear, quickly, just very quickly, then turned and sat next to a woman in a yellow dress. Her face lit up in answer to his smile, like magic.
Scotty put his hands in his pockets, and felt their smiles trickle onto his own face.
One day one of the women wouldn't get on a different plane, or turn out to be a Russian spy, or be otherwise whisked away by fate. He'd help Kelly pick the colour of his suit, no doubt. Pop.
But that was all right. For now.