Doar o slujba, capitolul 18

Cand Langley si Britt s-au plimbat prin Waldorf, o calatorie destul de lunga de metrou mai tarziu, holul era aproape gol. Daca Niall s-ar fi intors, asa cum spusese Nick, ar fi ajuns acum peste douazeci si ceva de minute.

– Poti sa astepti aici? A intrebat-o Langley pe sora ei, aratand spre unul dintre scaunele groase de piele galbena grupate intr-un colt. „Ma duc sa urc pana la birou si sa-l intreb daca intra.”

„Da bine.” Britt si-a scos telefonul mobil din buzunar. „Oricum ar fi bine sa o sun pe mama, sa o anunt cum a decurs zborul meu.”

– E bine, spuse Langley distras, facand drum spre receptie. Acelasi om care le verificase in seara trecuta lucra acum, dar parea (cu un ton destul de snob) sa nu o recunoasca.

„Pot sa te ajut?”

„Da, am un prieten care ramane aici sub numele de Henry Hill. Voiam doar sa vad daca intra.

– Vrei sa sun la camera lui, doamna?

„Da, te rog.” Langley astepta, cu mainile stranse la suprafata receptiei, in timp ce stomacul ii inabusea. Avea o banuiala ciudata pe care Niall nu o parasise pentru ca era bolnav sau obosit – dar nu putea ghici motivul pentru care ar fi plecat. Barbatul de la receptie a luat un telefon al hotelului si a apelat rapid. Se opri cateva clipe, apoi incepu sa vorbeasca:

„Buna ziua, domnule Hill. Imi pare rau sa te deranjez, dar am o domnisoara aici la receptie, care a vrut sa vada daca esti inauntru … da, bineinteles … cum te cheama, domnisoara? „

– Este Langley, spuse ea, aplecandu-se un pic peste tejghea, ca si cum Niall ar putea sa o auda prin telefon. „Am vrut doar sa vad daca se simte bine.”

Barbatul scoase telefonul inapoi la ureche, ca si cum comportamentul ei ar fi fost nelinistitor.

– Un Langley, domnule. Voia … da, desigur.

Array

Da, ii voi spune. A inchis telefonul. „Domnul. Hill a cerut ca astazi niciun vizitator sa nu fie permis pana in camera lui. „

– E in regula? Intreba Langley, nodul din stomac incepand sa se stranga. – Nu a spus daca era bolnav?

„Nu el nu a facut.”

„Langley!“ A auzit pe cineva sa strige vesel. Langley se intoarse sa-i vada pe Harry si Liam trecand prin hol, pungi in tractiune. Se auzi o eruptie de tipete innebunite care treceau prin geam in timp ce fetele adolescente surprindeau perechea dintre ele. Harry nu era de nerecunoscut; el purta o palarie cu turte plat si o camasa cu buton deschis, care dezvaluia un set de tatuaje pe piept. „Cum merge?”

– Nu prea grozav, spuse Langley, salutandu-i pe fiecare cu o ciugule pe obraz. „Niall este la etaj, dar spune ca nu vrea niciun vizitator. A iesit la cafea azi-dimineata si nu m-a sunat sau nimic. ”

– E ciudat, spuse Liam incruntat.

– Poate ca are gaz, spuse Harry fara jena. „El de obicei face”.

– Niall te loveste cu adevarat ca tipul de a ascunde gazul de la mine? Spuse Langley ridicand o spranceana. – Mi-a ingropat fata aseara.

„Exista aceasta teorie.”

– Buna Lang, spuse o voce mica. Britt se intorsese de partea ei si se uita fix la cei doi membri ai trupei baieti.

– Harry, Liam, aceasta este sora mea Britt. Britt, acesta este Harry si Liam. Sunt prieteni ai lui Niall. ”

– Este foarte frumos sa te cunosc, spuse Britt, aruncand farmecul. Ea ii zambi lui Harry. – Tocmai intri?

– Acum aproximativ o ora. Harry se uita de la Britt la Langley. „Arati la fel, stii.

Acelasi par, zambet similar. Ambele sunt foarte frumoase … „

– Oh, opreste-te, rase Britt. „Nu aratam la fel”.

– Stiu, dar cum altfel as fi lasat sa alunece ca esti draguta?

– Relaxati-va, Romeo, spuse Langley, taind. – Are saptesprezece ani. Poti sami faci o favoare?”

– Poti sa te bazezi pe mine pentru a face asta, a spus Liam, inainte si aruncandu-si ochii spre Harry. Harry si Britt si-au zambit reciproc intr-un mod minunat.

– Ia-mi numarul, se indrepta Langley, aratand spre telefonul din mana. I-a trecut-o si Langley a continuat sa vorbeasca in timp ce introduce numarul in telefon. „Daca ai putea sa te uiti la Niall, asigura-te ca merge bine … mi-ar placea foarte mult daca m-ar putea suna. Incep sa cred ca se poate supara pe mine, dar nu ma pot gandi de ce. ”

– Nicio problema, o linisti Liam. „Iti voi da un apel sau un text cand voi afla ceva.”

„Multumiri.” Langley se intoarse spre Britt, care flirta excesiv cu Harry intr-o maniera care o facu pe Langley sa se inroseasca. Nu era neobisnuit – Britt fusese intotdeauna mai inainte, mai iesit decat sora ei mai mare. „Britt, hai. Sa mergem la cladirea Empire State. Este destul de devreme ca liniile sa nu fie prea lungi. „

– Ne vedem, ii spuse Britt lui Harry, tragandu-si degetele prin aer cu flirt.

– La revedere, Britt. Harry il lovi usor pe Langley pe umar. – Nialler poate dormi. Astazi trebuie sa tragem promosuri SNL, s-ar putea sa arate ca un rahat incalzit din tot jetlag-ul. „

– Multumesc, spuse Langley fortand un zambet. „Sunt sigur ca asta este.” Si uite asa, Langley a parasit hotelul cu sora ei mai mica in tractiune. A dus-o la cladirea Empire State, a luat pranzul la Russian Tea Room, chiar si-a cumparat-o poseta la Bloomingdale’s si pana la 6:00, s-a infasurat ziua oprindu-se la Candy Bar-ul lui Dylan si incarcandu-se pe Oreos acoperit cu ciocolata. Totusi, in tot acest timp, iesirea brusca a lui Niall a infuriat-o. S-a mancat la ea si si-a verificat telefonul, compulsiv, la fiecare moment.

„Inca nimic?” Intreba Britt in timp ce se aseza pe canapeaua lui Langley in seara aceea. A muscat intr-un vierme gumos si l-a intins departe de gura ei. In fundal, Langley s-a strecurat prin Netflix pe televizorul lor, apasand butonul cu anxietate furioasa.

– Nada, spuse Langley, incercand sa-si mentina vocea calma.

– Nu i se pare tipul care ar pleca, asa ca trebuie sa fie ceva serios, o asigura Britt.

– Poate ca am reactionat excesiv, comenta Langley, dar Britt clatina din cap. „Relatia noastra nu a fost usoara, stiti. Nici macar nu a trecut atat de mult.

– Nu exagerezi, spuse Britt, aplecandu-se inapoi in fotoliu si verificand propriul telefon. „Nu conteaza cat timp ati iesit, aveti dreptul sa stiti de ce s-ar prinde.

In acel moment exact, telefonul lui Langley a inceput sa sune. Era un numar necunoscut, dar avea codul tarii britanice, +44 precedand restul numarului.

„Atarna”, i-a spus Langley lui Britt, raspunzand la telefon. „Salut?”

„Langley? Este Liam. ”

„Buna Liam. Cum e totul?”

“It’s alright on my end, but not on Niall’s.” Liam sighed and lowered his voice. “Look, I’m standing right outside his room. He’s been ignoring calls and texts all day, up until about a half hour ago. I’m afraid he’s not pleased with you.”

“Can I talk to him?” Langley said, biting her thumbnail. “I hate to put you in the middle here, but I’d like to know why he’s upset.”

“He uh…he didn’t want to talk to you.”

“Oh my god,” Langley said, her voice cracking. She put her hand to her forehead. “I don’t know what I did.”

“He told me one thing, just one,” Liam said.

“And that is?”

“He told me to tell you to check your phone.”

“What?”

“He said to look at your call log. That’s all.”

Langley frowned. “Okay, well, I’ll make sure I do that. Thanks for helping me out, Liam.”

“Yeah, no problem. I’ll tell him that you want to hear from him.”

“Alright. Have a good night.” Langley hung up the phone and clutched it to her chest as she sunk down on the couch. She ignored Britt’s stare and opened her call log. She hadn’t received a call since this morning, but she had made one that she couldn’t remember making. Around 8:23, she had called Niall’s cellphone. The call had lasted only two minutes.

“What is it?” Britt asked, looking intently at her sister’s face. “You look like…well, you look sick.”

“What were we talking about in the bathroom this morning?” Langley asked slowly. “When Niall wasn’t with us…what did I say?”

“Uh…oh, you said that you had started dating him because of the job. But that it wasn’t weird because you liked him, even though you hadn’t at first, and…”

“Oh my god,” Langley interrupted. “He heard it. He heard the conversation.”

“And?”

“Well, let’s see,” Langley said, her voice growing slightly hysterical. “He heard me say I wouldn’t be with him if I hadn’t taken a job. He heard me say I wouldn’t be with him if it weren’t for the promise of money.”

“I think that’s a stretch,” Britt said, getting up and reaching into their fridge for a can of Coke.

“Not if he didn’t hear the whole conversation.”

“Well, maybe you should wait until tomorrow and then go over and explain it to him. If he really likes you, he’ll listen.”

Langley bit down on her thumbnail. “Maybe not. I don’t think I’d listen to me right now either.”

“Come on,” Britt said, collapsing down next to her sister and slinging an arm around her shoulders. “Of course he will.”

“I know you’re trying to be nice and comfort me, so I won’t tell you that it’s not working.” Britt grinned.

“How about this to distract you?” She asked. “Harry slipped me his number and has been texting me.”

“What?”

“Yeah,” Britt giggled. “He’s cute, huh?”

“Jesus Christ,” Langley said, rolling her head back into the couch.

“Sorry.” But Britt kept smiling. “But not really. Come on, let’s just watch TV.”

They fell asleep on the couch, lulled into a food coma after they consumed all the chocolate covered Oreos and gummy bears. Langley was awakened by her cellphone ring splitting through the air, jolting her from her sleep. Britt, ever the deep sleeper, simply slumped onto the arm of the couch and snored a little louder. Langley grabbed her phone and ran into the next room so she could speak in peace.

“Niall?” She answered after glancing at the screen. “Niall, are you there?” In the background, Langley could hear laughter and screams and the sound of drinks being slammed down on a bar.

“Oi,” Niall slurred into the receiver. “Langley…I’m calling you back…”

“Niall, oh my god.” Langley shook her head. “I don’t know what you heard today, but I–”

“You said that you were detached from me.”

“No, Niall, that’s not what I meant–”

“I never thought that about you,” Niall slurred loudly, cutting over her. “I always thought you cared. I cared.”

“Niall, of course I–”

“I loved you.”

“What?” Langley felt her heart drop and pound harder. Her hand went slick as she licked her lips and pressed the phone against her ear. “What did you just say?”

“Not anymore. No, no. I don’t let people use me.”

“Niall, I would never.”

“But you did, right? Tuition money?” In the background, Langley could hear people calling his name, but Niall ignored them.

“We both used each other. That was the whole reason we met. And I know it’s fucked up but that’s not what I want from this, not anymore.”

“Too late,” Niall said, and Langley heard him slap his hand down on the bar. “Too late for this.”

“Niall, please,” Langley begged, her voice shaking. “Can’t we please just talk about this?”

“Like I said,” Niall said, slurring. “Too late.”