Simon gets a very strange call very early in the morning.
Summary: Written for the prompt(s): You picked up your phone, at least you thought it was your phone, and didn’t notice it wasn’t yours until. . . .
I was woken rather early from a sound sleep by the warbling of my mobile.
It was an unfamiliar ringtone but, startled awake, I fumbled on my normally junky night table and grabbed the annoying thing. It also felt unfamiliar, and heavier than usual, but I was already swiping to answer and putting it to my ear.
“’Lo?” I yawned, glancing at the meager grey light coming in from the window, then at my night stand. My clock radio read 7:07a.m.
“Hullo, David, it’s mum!” a woman’s voice trilled brightly.
For a moment, I froze, mid-yawn. Then I was huffing. Of course, it wasn’t my mum. My mum was long deceased. And my name wasn’t David.
“Sorry . . . wrong number,” I said, about to ring off when the woman went on chirpily.
“Oh, is that you, Simon, dear?” she asked, and I was suddenly a bit more awake. But then, hearing my name said in such familiar tones by a definitely unfamiliar voice tends to do that to me. “How are you? I hope I didn’t wake you.”
“I’m, er, fine?” I replied uncertainly, and sat up, scratching my head. “Erm, who is this?”
“It’s Mum, silly! I did wake you, didn’t I?”
“Listen, I think there’s been some misunderstanding,” I began to say when she laughed.
“Silly boy,” she chortled. “Is this a prank? Has my incorrigible boy got you playing them, too?”
“Oh, Simon, dear, I do so hate to burst your bubble, but you’re terrible at it!”
I huffed again, this time in annoyance and confusion. “Madam, I think—no, I know you have the wrong number, and—”
“Yes, yes, of course I do.” Another chortle. “Now, be a love and put David on, won’t you?”
“There’s no David here!” I exclaimed. “I don’t know who you are, but you most certainly have the wrong numb—”
“Is that my Mum, babe?”
Startled again, I yelped and dropped the mobile as a voice called from my bathroom. A moment later, a tall man, naked but for the towel wrapped around his trim waist, came out of my bathroom, towel-drying his dark hair.
“Who—who—“ I stammered, too surprised to scramble across the bed and away as he approached, then sat next to me, a smile on his handsome, friendly face. He pecked my cheek and picked up the mobile from where I’d dropped it on the bed.
“Hullo, Mum,” he said, putting it to his ear. My hand, meanwhile, had flown up to my cheek, to the spot that’d been kissed, while I gaped at the intruder. It was then that I noticed that the mobile he held looked nothing like my mobile. It was too big and fancy-looking, unlike my small, basic touch-screen mobile.
“Oh, he’s playing pranks now, is he?” the intruder asked, glancing at me and winking. “Silly boy.”
He sounded, in that moment, like a male-version of the woman on the other end of his mobile.
It was just then that, as I finally prepared to bolt—what the bloody hell was going on in my flat? Had I somehow brought home a stranger last night and forgot. . . ? But, no. I never did things like that, and my memory of last night was perfectly clear from the moment I got home . . . sober and alone . . . to the moment I drifted off to dreamland in my bed. Also alone—that I heard a familiar warbling coming from the night table. I looked over and saw my mobile, lit up and vibrating. It was my best friend Jules’ ring.
Relieved, I snatched at the mobile and answered it. “Jules? Thank God, it’s you.” I was near tears and on the edge of a panic attack. “You won’t believe what’s going on, but—” and here I turned to face the intruder.
There was no one there.
I jumped up and looked around. There was no one else in the room besides me. Nor the bathroom, when I ran in there to check it, nor the rest of my flat when I checked there.
Finally, breathless after running around the flat, Jules’ worried voice calling my name registered.
“Simon? Simon, what’s going on?!” she was demanding. “Are you okay? Why are you out of breath?”
“I. . . .” falling silent again, I sat on my bed, drained and still near tears. Relieved that there was no handsome stranger in my flat, yet worried that I’d somehow imagined that there was. “I think I’m going mad.”
That evening, at the candy shop, I was doing inventory at the counter, just before we closed for the night, when a somewhat familiar voice said: “Excuse me?”
I looked up slowly, disbelievingly, my eyes saucer-wide.
On the other side of the counter stood the man who’d appeared, then disappeared from my flat this morning. My own personal hallucination. And he was smiling that same friendly smile. He was also, thankfully, fully dressed.
“Y-you,” I said numbly, and his brow furrowed. “Wh-what are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry . . . do I know you?” he asked, seeming not to recognize me. I don’t know what my reply to his seemingly earnest chagrin would have been, for just then a muffled warble—the same one that’d awoken me that morning—emerged from the depths of his tasteful Burberry coat. “Oh, pardon me, a moment—hullo, Mum?” He had the mobile out and to his ear in a trice. “I’m good, how’re you?”
As he spoke to his mum, I covertly watched him while pretending to continue the inventory. He was tall, pale, devastatingly good-looking, and intimidatingly well-dressed. His features were aquiline and regular, his hair artfully tousled.
In sum, he didn’t look like the sort you’d expect to break into a man’s flat, get partially-naked, and chat on the phone with his mum. . . .
“Right . . . right. Love you, too, Mum. Right. Okay. See you tomorrow night. Right. ‘Bye.” The man rang off with a fond smile. Then he looked up at me, his dark eyes twinkling merrily. “Sorry about that, but you know how it goes: when Mum calls, we must answer.”
“Erm, yes, “ I muttered, even though I didn’t know how it went. By the time I’d been old enough for a mobile of my own, my Mum had been long gone. But that was none of this man’s concern. So I faked up a smile and a laugh, and the guy grinned, searching my eyes.
“Anyway, I,” he started lowly, then laughed, blushing just a bit as he glanced away. “I completely forgot what I was going to ask you. It was something about candy, obviously.”
“We do have a wide selection,” I informed him automatically, and he met my gaze again, still smiling.
“So, I see . . . listen . . . this is going to sound weird, or like I’m trying to chat you up, but . . . have we met before?”
“I’m pretty sure we haven’t,” I lied, just to see what he’d say. But he merely shook his head and laughed. “Unless you’ve been in here before, in which case, I’d have remembered you.”
Clearly amused, his dark brows lifted and this time, I was the one who blushed. “Oh, really? Is that so?”
Still blushing, I refused to back-pedal. “I remember return customers.”
“Ah,” he said softly, chuckled. “Well, then, I confess, this is my first time in here, as you no doubt know.” He held out his hand. It was large and shapely, like a pianist’s. “I’m David. David Bellamy.”
After a moment of hesitation, I took his hand and got a static shock that caused us both to jump. Then laugh nervously, and search each other’s eyes.
“Simon,” I finally said, when nearly a minute had passed and neither of us had made a move to release the other’s hand or gaze. “Simon Levy.”