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.Amy turned to me, her brows disappearing into her hairline.“Geez, what did you say?”“Nothing!” I hadn’t said anything to him, nothing of note, but as my mind skipped over what he might have overheard about my blushing antics over his name, then maybe that was more than enough to make him run away.If he were avoiding me before, he sure as hell would be avoiding me now.Great.Just great.Way to go, Mel.How many more days of this torture was there to go?Chapter SixteenMaxI didn’t linger after work.Guilt is a funny thing.Coming into contact with Mel I swear she could see straight through my façade, as if she was onto me for listening in.I knew she wasn’t, of course, but like I said, guilt is a funny thing.Dead bolting the last of the doors, and switching off the main lights, you could still hear the rumblings and drunken calls from those that loitered on the other side of the locked door, no doubt wanting to continue the party further into the night.Usually I would welcome an after-hours staff lock-in—a few beers with the boys, lowered tunes and some pool—but not tonight.After bugger-all sleep on the couch, I had taken comfort that I would actually be in a bed tonight, albeit not my bed, but still, a bed.Now all I had to do was somehow slink into the night, not an easy thing to do with the likes of Sean and Ringer playing pool.I rolled up the last of the beer mats off the bar and worked at simply disappearing—out of sight, out of mind—as I snuck through the restaurant partition, leaving the cheers and laughter behind me in the poolroom.I was almost home free at the base of the stairs.“And where do you think you’re going, Maximillian?”I paused mid-step, turning to see Amy and Melanie making their way across a darkened restaurant.Amy’s brow curved.“You’re not going to bed?”“Yeah, thought I might get an early night, for once.”Amy shook her head.“Wow, you are such a lightweight.”“You are sounding more and more like Sean every day.”Amy shrugged.“You are who you hang with.”“Wow, you don’t seem in the least bit worried about that.”Amy smiled brightly.“He’s the best man I know.”I laughed, not particularly at Amy’s soppy declaration of devotion for Sean, but I couldn’t help but laugh seeing Mel’s eye roll.It was exactly how any of us felt around the two loved-up couples, and at a guess, being stuck in the kitchen all night with Amy she had probably heard all the Sean stories.“What’s so funny?” snapped Amy.I quickly moved my eyes from Mel so as not to incriminate her.“Nothing, love is a many-splendoured thing.”“Yeah, well, maybe you should look into it,” said Amy.“It might do you the world of good.”Amy sidled off, making her way to the front bar.I took the moment to roll my eyes at Mel, who broke into a knowing smile as she followed Amy out.I stood on the bottom step, suddenly not feeling in the least bit tired anymore.I knew if I went back now it would be an until-sun-up affair, and if there was one thing I knew, it was that I had to have my wits about me, for this week anyway.***I would never get used to the bass of the jukebox; it was less prominent in my room, but here, sleeping in the apartment, which lay directly above the poolroom, the beat pounded against my temples and made the pictures on the wall vibrate.So much for sleep.By 2 a.m., I ripped the blankets off me, swinging around into a seated position on the edge of the bed, rubbing my hands along my face, and groaning into the darkness.I got up, padding my way into the main room.Having forgotten to draw the curtains, the neon sign from the Carlton Draft overhang on the verandah outside shone into the lounge casting an eerie glow over the room.Flicking the switch on in the kitchen, I made my way to the fridge, opening the door and hoping for something for a light 2 a.m.snack; not surprising, the only thing on offer was a carton of long-life milk and a box of Weetbix [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]