Title: Night Living

Completed: February 18, 2004

She slips on his discarded shirt, his familiar sent encasing her, and ties her hair back into a loose ponytail. It really doesn't do anything to keep the hair from her face as the wispy pieces fall forward, but it isn't about that. It is about feeling comfortable. Comfortable here in his home. Comfortable at home.

Although she knows that it isn't going to last long. It would only last until he woke up, no matter how comfortable she made herself. Either wake up to drive her home or sober up enough to hand over money for a cab and direct her to the door.

But she wouldn't think about it now. Instead she concentrates on padding across his kitchen floor in only her bare feet and his shirt. The short pieces of hair falling around her face and the shirt hugging around her body. Like the way his fingers had traced her skin and his hands had touched her.

That was the only thought in her mind as she reaches the small bathroom. A small smile crosses her pale lips and lights her eyes. It warms her even down to her cold feet on the linoleum floor. She pushes back one of the stray strands of hair, tucking it safely behind her ear like he had done earlier so he could see her face and kiss her. Then she catches her reflected face in the poorly lit mirror.

The face in the mirror was barely her, but far too familiar.

Make-up smudged or faded. Her mascara coated lashes clumping and eyeliner all but gone: their life having run out hours ago. Her own energy draining now. Dark red marks line her neck and trace her mouth: the wounds of the night. Her own wounds start stinging now.

She closes her eyes, blocking out all thoughts of tears and clenches the shirt's fabric closer to her body. To cry now would be to confess what she was hiding. She would show that living at night was killing her. That she felt more for him, who was lying down the hall in his bed, then she knew, he felt for her.

She turns away from the mirror, which had shown her the truth, before it could break anymore of her fantasies. Quickly she wipes under her eyes, removing any traces of the wetness that had threatened to leak away from her. And maybe attempting to fix the fa├žade that is starting to crumble.

She walks through the kitchen again, quicker this time. No longer lingering in the quiet fantasy. She is retreating from it now. The cold is no longer the floor, instead a cold reminder of what she was.

Carefully she renters his room. No longer lost in her comfort. Now she feels nervous and uneasy. The gentle sound of his breathing greets her; leaving his bed had not disturbed him. In fact he hasn't seemed to notice that she was gone, or even that she is there.

Blocking the salty sting, she closes her eyes again, waiting for the dark thoughts to pass.

She reopens her now wet and shiny eyes seeing that he still hasn't moved. She can climb back into his bed like she had never left or leave as if she had never been there. Maybe leaving a hazy memory in his drunken mind. Maybe nothing at all.

She lifts the cotton cover and slides back under with him. She settles back into the space she had left: carefully sliding as close to him as possible without disturbing or touching him. She lays there feeding off the warmth of his body, desperately trying to cure the chill that has settled on her. She carefully slides back into the fantasy that this wasn't a one-time thing. She clings to the idea that he will see her as more than just a good time in the morning, like she clings to the shirt covering her body. She can't lose him now that she had finally had him.