Title: Remaining History
Summary: Just a rainy Saturday in Durham, and a phone call between Scripps and Posner.
Title: Remaining History
* * *
* * *
“And it was, it was just like she said,” Scripps said into his cellphone. Breaking into a brisk trot, he ducked under the green and white awning of the entrance to the marketplace and shook water from his hair. The rain fell steadily that morning, wrapping everything in a gray ethereal blanket. It was a strange time of day, suspended between the early morning light hadn’t really left the edges of windowpanes and the vendors setting up their stalls for the Saturday crowd. The sun was just a suggestion, a single spot where the rainclouds seemed a bit lighter before fading altogether. Well, it was
Scripps apologized softly and stepped to the side as an elderly woman bustled through the entrance, laden down with jars of marmalade and assorted fruit jellies.
“Yeah, I’m still here Pos, sorry. Had to out-run the rain.” He smiled and cupped his fingers around the phone in an attempt to speak over the rain.
Posner’s sleep-scratchy voice sounded over the phone. “So, what’s it like?”
“The fog, it’s just as Totty said. Wraps up everything till you can hardly see and then the Cathedral soars above it. It’s fantastic Pos, really it is. I wish you were here.”
Posner murmured his assent sleepily. “Where are you then? Finished your article yet?”
“Yeah, it’s finished. I’m on my way to the train station now, but there aren’t any taxis about.”
“You’re not walking there, Scrippsy? Not in the rain.” How Posner was able to express disdain at such a simple task—half-asleep and over the phone at that—amused Scripps to no end. He supposed that Posner would never truly grow out of the state of prickly apprehension and concern for others that had characterized much of their school-years. Only now, he had matured, becoming more self-confident and generous with his emotions, but Posner all the same. Scripps wouldn’t have it any other way.
Protecting his cellphone in the shadow of his chin, Scripps ducked out from his temporary shelter into the open square where the rain pelted him full in the face. He laughed as water ran in cold rivulets down his neck and seeped into his sweater. Skidding and slipping over the slick cobblestones, he made his way precariously to the next spot where he could find temporary respite from the rain. The small overhang above the posh-looking shop proved to be ineffectual, and the prim shopkeeper inside shot him a nasty look through the expansive glass window. As if his unwanted presence outside was deterring potential customers. Repressing the childish urge to scrunch up his nose at her, Scripps peered around the corner.
While he contemplated making the rather lengthy dash from the edge of the square to the tiny shop awning a block down, a bus lumbered into the square and hissed and groaned to a halt in front of Scripps. Momentarily startled, Scripps gleefully leaped into the stifling warmth and settled down into a seat in the otherwise empty bus.
He fumbled for his cellphone. Miraculously it was undamaged by the rain, and Posner was still connected. “Sorry Pos,” Scripps drawled breathlessly. “Had to dash for the bus.”
“Well, good,” Posner chided, a touch crossly. “You can’t go running around in the rain all the time Scripps. Someone would think you’d never seen it before.” There was just a touch of mother-hen in that voice, the one that implied that when Scripps sat on the kitchen stool, wrapped in a woolen blanket and sniffling through his cold, Posner wouldn’t have any sympathy for him. Not at all.
Scripps laughed, and leaned back into the hard plastic seat. “’Course. Not like I have you to take care of me.”
“That’s absolutely right,” Posner said, though the fondness was evident in his voice. “You never finished telling me about
“It’s lovely,” Scripps said. He leaned his head against the window, idly tracing patterns in the condensation with his fingers. Outside, the weathered stone buildings of the town slid past as the bus climbed the hill to the train station. “There’s something wonderful about this place, Pos, really. Buses show up magically when you need them, and the rain isn’t that grimy
Scripps smiled at Posner’s delighted bubble of laughter. “Well, I looked for the pizza place Totty had mentioned once. Couldn’t find it though, so I suppose it’ll just remain her beloved history.”
“You’d better not tell her you went traipsing about
“I was actually working, Pos. Articles to write and all that,” Scripps informed him.
“Yes, yes, you’re in the pursuit of pizza while I mark endless history papers, each one duller than the next. They’re so terrible I’ve run out of red pens, Scrippsy,” Posner lamented.
“What? No foreskins of Christ? No fornicating monks? How limiting.”
Posner laughed, and the warm sound rang in Scripps’s ear. “Indeed. Nothing compared to our old essays, to be sure.” He stifled a yawn. “Did you me back anything from your exotic travels?”
Scripps smirked, just the corner of his mouth curling in a disparaging way. “Just a packet of biscotti for your coffee.
Posner huffed ineffectually. “Look who you’re calling a ponce. I know you’ll steal some of mine, you can’t resist. Anyways listen, you inconsiderate prat, you’ve woken me at half-seven on a Saturday morning. So, I’m going back to bed.” A long pause, then, “Missed you Scrippsy; I’ll leave the door unlocked.”
Scripps smiled as the line clicked off. He knew it was ridiculous but cradled the phone between his cheek and his palm, as if he could cup the sound of Posner’s warm voice for just a moment longer.
And this was the way things were between them. There had been no sudden realization, no terrifying uncertainty as to where they stood with each other. Just talking quietly in an empty Durham City Transport bus on a rainy Saturday morning, content with the certainty that when Scripps arrived at their flat dripping water all over the foyer, Posner would pry off his jacket and press a cup of tea in his cold hands and kiss him warm again.