He likes the feel of the road underneath his shoes. The sound of gravel crunching underneath the soles, his heart matching the rhythm one step at a time. He tells himself once he gets going, how he needs this. This is his form of therapy. When he runs, it’s him and the road- his mind blank of all things pressing him.
He spots her coming out of her trailer when he’s done, half her body turned in, the other half out the door- one hand holding onto its knob, the other comforted by the warmth of a steaming cup of coffee. She is led by her assistant, a radio pressed against her mouth and he instinctively glances over to his watch- one hour until prep time. Caitriona glances toward his way, a brief smile overshadowed by the dark circles surrounding her eyes.
“You were running really hard,” she tells him, casually making her way toward him, her voice tired and restless. “Wondering who you were running from?”
He shrugs his shoulders, feet shuffling through the small rocks under his feet, allowing his body to cool down slowly and removing his earbuds.
She stays silent, cocking her head to the side, taking a peek at her assistant who stops briefly to wait on her, a safe distance away. Caitriona stands close, allowing herself to be with him, without regard to time and company. She knows in an hour’s time they will be both be bombarded the busyness of the day and she wants to relish the quiet still between them.
She misses him terribly, his companionship mostly. If the four month hiatus between shooting came as a relief, Caitriona regrets it. She regrets it because even now, sharing the same trailer and living so close to one another, they hardly get a chance for moments like this- just the two of them.
“Are you running from the legion of fans chasing you?” she teases, softly pressing the rim of her coffee against her lips, looking up, her eyes smiling. She smells the familiar scent of him mixing with the waft of her drink; he smells of musk and sweat, small wisps of body heat visibly escaping. She looks closely and is tempted to wipe a small bead making its way down his forehead but catches herself before looking at another forming, glistening near the base of his neck.
“Who says I’m running from someone?” he asks, swaying a bit before continuing, eyes downcast, fingers fiddling with his phone, a nervous twitch he finds himself more often doing than not, being around her.
He stops, undecided about what he wants to say next, whispering, “I could be the one chasing.”
She squints and feels it then, especially when he finds her eyes to meet his. It’s the same twist and turn in her gut whenever they’re alone, a feeling she’s learned to compartmentalized, separating friend, colleague, peer, and maybe perhaps a possible lover. She wonders momentarily if he’s ever felt the same way, fighting the urge to make something happen, to want to make something happen.
She’s worried he sees it in her eyes and decides to turn away from his face, letting him believe she’s thinking about something else. He swallows hard and purses his lips as he watches her head move again toward the direction of her assistant. It’s a struggle against his will to touch her, a plea to keep her close just a moment longer before they separated for the rest of the day, being surrounded by the rest of the cast and crew.
She lets out a sigh, saddened briefly by their reality, before whispering, “I guess I’ll see you on set?”
He nods and moves to the side, her arm brushing against his as she walks passed him, his eyes shutting in response to the small and brief touch.
“Ummph…” he mutters under his breath before glancing at his watch.
He was going to be late again.
“I’ll do it,” she blurts out loud, making her way into the room, using her third cup of coffee and the adrenaline she felt rushing through her, as an excuse for the interruption.
She needs to come out with it before she changes her mind. If she thought about it one more time, rehashing on the pros and cons, she would remain undecided and would never hear the end of it. She made it the spur of the moment, a decision made with the help of her elder sister, a tri-athlete mind you and an unfair advocate. An advocate not for her necessarily, but for Sam.
He looks up from where he sits, nestled between two producers, his script before him, red scribble and colored tabs marking the pages. He continues to watch her pace back and forth, hands flaring in over-exaggerated conversation.
“I’ll do it,” she stops in front of him, finally noticing the rest of the production team, unfazed by their stares and open mouths.
Her dark rimmed glasses she wore off set sat on the bridge of her nose, a bit too big to fit her face properly. Her hands lay on her hips, bunching up the loose over the shoulder sweater that hung over the black leggings she chose to wear today.
“I’ll do it, but we do it my way,” she points out, unable to make eye contact, “I say how we do it and when we do it. I say when we go and when we stop. No arguments.”
“Okay,” he responds, twisting his position on his chair, moving it slightly toward the table, hands criss-crossed. He bites down on his lip, trying his best from grinning. He knows what she’s talking about, quickly putting two and two together.
She knows he’s not being serious- agreeing just to agree. It’s never this easy she’s thinking and she looks straight ahead, determination set in, placing both hands on the table. Her gaze intensifies, focusing on his blue eyes, letting him know she wasn’t going to deal with anything less.
“Don’t mess with me Heughan,” her voice barely audible to the rest of the team, but loud enough for Sam to hear. “One wrong move and it’s done. I’m out.”
“I won’t. I’m not,” he whispers in response, a smile slightly forming in the corner of his mouth.
“Tomorrow. I’ll be in your trailer, waiting,” she tells him, trying not to let her nerves get the best of her, before heading toward the exit.
She stops for a moment and he’s worried she’s changed her mind. He’s mentally preparing a list to convince her otherwise but is relieved when she opens the door and steps out.
He lets out a large sigh, finally finding his feet under him, his seat cradling the back of his knees. He fixes his position, breaking the awkward silence with the sound of his chair scraping against the linoleum tiles.
“The half-marathon,” he speaks up, easing the elevated tension in the room. “She was talking about training for the half-marathon.”
The collective sigh and unified ‘oh’ surprises him.
“What did you all think she was talking about?” he asks, curious, eyes looking around the room.
Maril, red faced and slightly embarrassed, laughs, “We don’t ask questions anymore, Sam. We just don’t.”