The first time he saw the mattress on the floor, he was curious and said as much. She told him to fuck off and he did.
The second time he saw the mattress on the floor, her face was buried in a large white pillow and her body was curled up on a woollen blanket he didn't recognize. Lindsey sat beside her and massaged her back until she let out a deep sigh of contentment. When she turned over, a look in her eyes that he did recognize, he left her room.
The third time he saw the mattress on the floor, he'd helped put it there. He had come to her room to check she was okay after the news earlier in the evening, and she'd pulled him in roughly by the arm, demanding he assist her. So he had. He'd been rewarded with a soft, lingering kiss for his efforts.
The fourth time he saw the mattress on the floor, it had two people on it, two very naked, very sated people. The man scrambled into a pair of jeans and left the suite mere seconds before Lindsey's fist would have met his face.
The fifth time he saw the mattress on the floor, the sight was too tempting to resist. She'd borrowed his guitar an hour or two earlier and was playing it with an endearingly determined expression. "I'm writing a song. About you, if you must know." Laughing, he sat on the other side of the make-shift bed and watched her turn her anger into an exquisite melody.
The sixth time he saw the mattress on the floor, she was reclining on it half-naked and beckoned him to join her. The sex was needy and rushed and filled with so much regret that he almost cried when she sent him away twenty minutes later.
The seventh time he saw the mattress on the floor, it was through the small gap left by an almost closed door. She was sitting there, openly crying. Alone. He wanted to hold her, comfort her, kiss her, make the hurt stop. But he wasn't allowed to do that for her anymore. Later that night, she came to his suite.
The eighth time he saw the mattress on the floor, he arranged the blankets for her just so. She had always been particular about that kind of thing and it made him almost proud to know that whatever other lovers she might be fooling around with, not one of them knew her as well as he did. When she returned from the bathroom, she frowned. "I don't do it like that anymore, Linds."
The ninth time he saw the mattress on the floor, she was face-down, limbs stretched out like a starfish. She didn't move when he poked her arm and she didn't react when he kissed the back of her neck. He heard the soft sigh of relief when he left her alone, and resented it.
The tenth time he saw the mattress on the floor, his imagination provided him with images of the whole room going up in flames, her with it. "Do you need this many candles?" he asked. She nodded. And lit another one. He passed her a joint. "It'll be okay. I promise."
The eleventh time he saw the mattress on the floor, it was his mattress. On his floor. Lindsey reminded her he'd just be down the hall if she needed anything. "Just knock quietly. I'm a fairly light sleeper," he added like she didn't know. At three in the morning he woke to what sounded like muffled crying. He forced himself to stay in his own bed, turning his back to Kristen and keeping his eyes focused on the picture of his children on the dresser, a reminder of reality that hopefully would be strong enough to get them all through the next three days with a minimum of scarring.
The twelfth time he saw the mattress on the floor, it was her mattress. On her floor. "This is a mistake," he insisted, removing his shirt. "We shouldn't be doing this," he added, removing her blouse.
"Fuck me," she demanded, kissing him desperately, stilling his protests with her urgent hands and whispered words of love.