THE RUNAWAYS: CHAPTER ONE

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I had woken up to the heat of the sun streaming through the shutters which, in my drunken stupor, I had forgotten to close the night before. My mouth was dry and my body glistened with sweat, causing the white bed sheets to stick to my naked torso. On the table outside were the dregs of a bottle of gin and half a pack of playing cards, and rolling onto my side to pull my boxers on, I became increasingly aware that I was still drunk. 

Granted, most mornings over that long summer had started this way but this particular hangover was imbued with the sense that something quite extraordinary had happened the night before. I felt a strange mixture of guilt and relief but for the life of me, I couldn't remember why. I kicked my legs over the side of the bed and watched as the playing cards flew slowly away over the edge of the balcony. 

From the kitchen, I could hear the sound of Sofia singing along to Juliette Greco as she cooked breakfast - a sound, I must admit, I never tired of hearing. It was one of Sofia's shortcomings that she simply couldn't stay in tune and I revelled in this little fault of hers because, over the course of that summer, I had come to realise that it was just about the only one she possessed.

‘Bonjour', she said as I stumbled into the kitchen. 

I smiled as she turned to me, remembering now why I had woken up feeling guilty. 

DesmondComment