The Stale Taste of Recycled Air

Iceland and Ollie

"Erin, dear, pass that black t-shirt... "
We'd been back in the Bay Area for two days, and I and Mrs. Armstrong were packing Billie's case. Ollie smiled warmly at me as she neatly folded the shirt.
"32 and can't even pack his own crap." She tucked the shirt into the case and looked around.
"It's not that he can't pack it, it's the way he packs it." I grin, handing her the last of his toiletries.
"That's true," she chuckled. "Is that it?"
"I think so." I nodded as she zipped up the case and wheeled it from the bedroom.
She turned around as we both took a side of the case and carried it down the stairs.
"Will you miss him?" she asked, grinning at me with wise eyes.
"It's only for two days, I'm sure I'll manage," I puffed as we side-stepped down the stairs.
She chuckled. "I know you'll miss him."
I looked at her worriedly, realizing the extent she knew.
"I knew that you two liked each other, ever since I met you, I mean what cleaner starts her day dusting in the bedroom?"
She laughed as I giggled nervously, realising nothing got past Ollie.
"I saw a change in him," she huffed as we neared the bottom of the stairs.
"We should get Phil to carry this. In fact, where is Billie? It's his case."
"He's saying goodbye to Joe and Jake, were nearly there now anyway... " Ollie huffed and put down the case.
"Anyway, Erin, about you and Billie... "
"Mrs. Armstrong, err, Ollie, me and Billie, it's not as... "
"Dear," she smiled, taking hold of my arm softly, "it's none of my business, you're a very attractive and decent kid; it's not him I'm concerned about."
I frowned at her, not understanding her words; it felt like she was warning me. I didn't have time to think as Billie burst through the front door, sunglasses on, keys in hand, and a panicked face.

"You got it?" he wheezed, looking at me and his mother. "Great," he sighed, picking up the case and tugging the handle out. He kissed Ollie on the cheek and grabbed my hand, pulling me from the house with him. I waved and mouthed "Bye," to Ollie as we left and got into a waiting cab.
"So, I take it I'm coming to the airport, then?"
"Yeah." He leaned back, bringing me into his arms.
"You're saying a decent goodbye to me at the airport; then the cab is going to drop you home."
I smiled at him.
"This is unnecessary," I sighed, snuggling into him.
"No, it's completely necessary, I want a proper goodbye."
"You are only going away for two days."
"That's 48 hours without seeing you, and that's shit."
I giggled at him.
"How were Joe and Jake?"
"They are okay, moaning that they want to come home."
"Well, maybe they should."
Billie snorted. "Yeah, right, like Adi would let them live with me."
I sighed as he kissed my head and sniffed hard.
I jumped at the intake of air from my head.
"What are you doing?" I laughed.
"I want to remember your smell."
"Why? So when you meet some hot guy out there in LA, you can think of me while you're fucking?"
He chuckled, "Exactly."
I giggled into his t-shirt and also took in his scent. He sighed and ran a hand through his hair as the cab pulled up at the airport.
Saying good-bye to him at the gate hurt me in a way I never thought it would. He was only going for two days, but thoughts of plane crashes and guns in LA made me panic. I prayed to God he would get there safely.
"Be careful; text me or something when you land."
I sighed, running a hand down his chest.
"Hey, I'll be fine; I'll see you in two days, I'll ring you."
"Yeah," I moaned, suddenly becoming selfish, not wanting him to go anywhere now he was about to depart from me.
"Hey, moody, come on... " he grinned, taking hold of my chin and bringing his eyes close to mine. His eyes shined, yet they looked poignant; my heart melted as he looked intensely at me with them. Kissing me softly on the lips, he brought his arms tightly around my body and held me close.
"I'll miss you," he whispered.
"Miss you too," I sighed back as he let go of me and walked through the gate, waving and smiling at me with those sad puppy dog eyes. Soon they were gone, replaced with huge, bug sunglasses, just as he was gone, on a plane, out of my life for two whole days.

"Fuck's sake Erin, it was the microwave!" Adele raged back at me as I dived into the kitchen thinking that the exasperating beeping was my phone. I sighed in disappointment and returned to my place on the couch, watching an Iggy Pop documentary on some random channel.
"Jesus, I mean he's been gone for a grand total of a fucking hour."
I snarled at her as she started eating whatever the hell she had just cooked.
"He should have landed by now," I sighed, scratching my head and wrinkling my nose at the putrid smell Adele's food was giving off.
"What the hell is that food?" I asked her, shivering at the smell.
"It's this new healthy pasta shit I got from the vegan store."
"And you microwave it?"
"Apparently so." She glanced down, looking at her steaming snack.
I sighed again as she frowned at the TV.
"Who's that?" she asked, looking at the blonde woman being interviewed.
"Fucking Debbie Harry, you tit," I sighed as she pulled a face.
"I didn't know...this is making me feel sick... "
"Well, stop eating it."
"I can't, I have to eat the whole thing to improve my digestion."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh, Christ."
"Want to go out tonight?" she asked, placing the bowl on the floor next to the couch and swinging her legs up.
"I don't know, see what I feel like," I sighed, glancing at my ineffectual phone.
"That means if Billie texts, then yeah," she moaned.
"You go out with the surfer guy, then," I snarled
"Fuck off, I'd rather chew my own toe."
I started laughing at her facial expression of horror.
"So who are you after, then?" I asked, grinning broadly.
She shuffled uncomfortably, going slightly red.
"What Adele? This isn't like you. Who is it?"
"No one," she spat, rubbing her nose, the true sign of lying.
"Adele Hasledon, tell me now, or I'll... " I leaned across and began tickling her.
"OKAY! OKAY!" she screamed, shoving me away.
"It's...I kinda have a big ass crush on... "
"Who?" I snapped, getting more impatient.
"...Well...err... Tre."
I burst out laughing as did she. "Adele, that is so sweet; I kind of had my suspicions, I'll ask him if he... "
"No, you can't let anyone know; it's private."
"This isn't like you at all. What's gotten into you?"
"It's Tre Cool, that's what! It's fucking major."
I started giggling as she got up and put her bowl back into the kitchen.
"Really though, he's so hot. Like when I was passed out, and he was carrying me, oh God, I got so horny with those drummer arms of his wrapped around me."
I burst out laughing, "So you weren't exactly 'passed out?'"
"Not exactly," she giggled, picking at her teeth.
Suddenly my phone darted across the arm of the chair, and I snapped it open.
"Hey Erin, I'm here in sweet LA, the reception guy in my hotel is a bit sexy. May have to replace you with him tonight.
Love you lots,
Missing you,
Billie Joe xxx"
I giggled at his message, wishing I could be there with him.

"So, what are you wearing?" his voice floated across the end of the phone, and I could tell he was grinning.
"My huge grey sweat pants and a Leonard Cohen t-shirt." I looked down at my form on the sofa and grinned.
"Er-in," he whined, "humour me at least, couldn't you just say nothing or some lacy panties?"
"No, because that would be lying."
He made a puffing noise down the phone.
"Well, what are you doing?"
"Sitting in by myself, watching South Park," I hummed back.
"Goddammit, for a second there I got excited, coz I thought you were gonna say porn."
I chuckled, "Is that what you're watching?"
"Nah, I'm watching that hot receptionist from downstairs, trying to escape from the wardrobe I tied him up in."
I laughed, "Kinky."
"He's not enjoying it."
"So how was you're meeting?"
"Meet-INGS... " he exaggerated. "And they suck, it especially sucks that I'm here in some shitty hotel room without you."
"You have you're gimp to keep you entertained."
"It's not the same," he sighed like it was a serious conversation.
"So why are you alone? Where's Adele?"
"She's given into boredom and went out with that surfer dude she's been messing around with."
Billie clicked his teeth. "Does he make waves?"
"He doesn't, apparently, she's not that impressed."
Billie laughed. "God, that girl is crazy. Anyway, I'm coming home tomorrow."
"I'll come and get you if you want."
"Nah, it's okay. The flight lands at 4 in the morning. Phil is coming to get me,"
"Poor Phil."
"Yeah, I know," he laughed through what I assumed was a yawn.
"You tired?"
"Knackered." He made a grunting sound and I pictured him stretching. "I was thinking, maybe we should go away together, just you and me."
"Aren't you supposed to be working?" I grinned, twirling a finger through my hair.
"Well, technically yes, but since you are my number one inspiration for song writing, then I figure we should be locked together in a hotel room somewhere for at least a week."
"I don't know, Billie. Leaver will kick my ass, I already had the weekend off."
"Oh, screw that," he snapped, "Let's go somewhere, like Greece, or somewhere really romantic like Paris or Rome. We could always stay with your parents," he chuckled.
"I'd rather cut my nose off," I groaned, "I don't know, I'd love to go somewhere, but I... "
"Where have you always wanted to go?"
"Go on, where?"
"Billie... "
"If you don't tell me, I'll find out from Adele anyway."
I sighed and inhaled, "Iceland."
Billie was quiet for a moment. "Iceland? It's fucking freezing there"
I chuckled.
"Oh wait, they have those sexy spars and stuff, and plenty of vodka. Okay, Iceland. Nice I like it."
"Why do you find a hidden sex agenda in everything?"
"Because I'm a sexy guy."
"Hmmm, I don't know about that. I'd say more of a pain in the arse," I teased, secretly agreeing with him with all my might.