Friday, 1:00 am
I decide not to lower the temperature this time. I don't want to risk him putting on pajamas again. Instead, I watch the movement of his eyes, looking for the rapid back and forth that signals dreaming. It comes, and when it does I lean close, carefully placing my lips so near to his ear. The soft curls of his hair would tickle me if I had the substance for it to brush against.
"Michael," I venture tentatively, concentrating on the way my voice travels by sheer will alone, "Michael, can you hear me?" Frowning, he shifts in his sheets then settles again. How does he manage to make frowning sexy? Exhilarating, even? Okay, so the exhilarating part may be due to the fact that he seems to hear me.
"Michael," I call to him louder, "Are you listening?" His frown deepens.
"Shh," he murmurs, "Go back to sleep." Go back to sleep? Who does he think is talking to him? Apparently strange feminine voices in his bedroom are not uncommon.
"I'm not asleep, Michael, you are," I tell him wryly. He snorts.
"Then shut up," he grumbles, "I'm tired." Against my better judgment, I snicker. My humor reaches his ears and he smiles faintly. It makes my heart leap to know I did that. Well, figuratively speaking that is, seeing as I don't technically have a heart anymore. Nor hands. Which is good because if I did they'd be sweating right now. The excitement of having a 'conversation' with him pushes me onward.
"Michael," I try again, "Are you dreaming?" He frowns once more, as though thinking about my question.
"No," he mumbles, "I'm talking." I try not to giggle as it is quite obvious to me that he is, in fact, dreaming.
"Who're you talking to?" I ask, deciding to run with it. The corner of Michael's mouth curls upward in amusement.
"You," he chuckles. I gotta give him credit, if I had been him I would have retorted to my not so brilliant question with something considerably more snarky. "Coffee Girl," he adds on accusingly. He sounds rather like he's flirting. It's very hard to keep from giggling. Wait a minute… Coffee Girl?
I stop myself just short of asking 'Who's Coffee Girl' – a question that indubitably would result in another answer of 'you' – and rephrase it as, "Why am I Coffee Girl?" He moves one shoulder in a sleep hindered shrug.
"It's the only place I see you," he admits in his dream, "Same spot by the window every weekday morning." Something inside me jolts and for a split second I see it: the table beaten with use but still able to hold the laptop and a couple open philosophy text books, caught in a shaft of morning sunlight. It is my turn to frown now. Was that a memory? Or am I imagining his dream world? I'm wondering how I can test that to find out.
"Do you know my name?" I ask, curiously. He squirms in embarrassment.
"Sure," he evades, "You're Coffee Girl." I'll take that as a big fat no. A slight twinge of disappointment eats at me. For a moment, just a split second, I had hoped that he knew me in life; that he could tell me something to fill the void of my missing memories. I snort softly, amused at myself for building so much hope in just one living man. I drift away from him, suddenly not wanting to be near him anymore right now, whispering as I go:
"Whatever, Michael," I correct him, "I'm just a ghost." Confusion flits across his face.
"Wait," he tells me, but who knows who I am in his dream, "Wait, let me talk to you." I've floated to my favorite corner now, above the dresser, beside the lamp; a perfect view of the room. "Wait!" he calls earnestly, limbs twitching, "Wait!" He sits up suddenly, calling out to me, his own voice waking him. But I've already hidden.
Panting, Michael frowns into empty darkness.
I contemplate our conversation as I watch a soap bubble slide down his stomach and catch on his belly button. He's humming some new song from the radio while shampooing his hair.
Well, that's just jacked up if you ask me – the conversation, not the song. I mean, he dreamt he was talking to someone else. Coffee Girl. God, I hope Coffee Girl isn't the same as Answering Machine Anna.
No, I reason with myself, from her message, he only just met Anna and she was initiating. Coffee Girl is someone he noticed a long time ago and never got the guts to talk too. Odd that he would not have the guts to talk to someone. A little endearing actually, that a guy so hot could be so insecure. Well, except for the apparent lack of aggression part. You know, because aggression can be kinda sexy sometimes and – Ooh! The soap bubble popped. Very distracting.
Yes, I'm still angsting over Michael's "Coffee Girl." But, seriously, what else am I going to do for the next nine hours while I wait for Michael to come back home and entertain me? And it's just that for an instant I had actually allowed myself to think that I was once Coffee Girl, back when I was still alive. I am intensely pathetic.
I am still searching my mind for synonyms of pathetic with which to describe myself when I hear keys in the front door. I can't believe I forgot that today is Friday, meaning that Michael's cleaning lady will be stopping by.
Telemundo on the flat screen TV! Score! Is it a sad testament to my current existence that, aside from Michael's daily display for me in the shower, Merced's soaps are the highlight of my week?
Stupid Merced. Left before the show was over. All she had to do was watch for another ten minutes. Ten minutes! This, my friends, is the final straw. First I'm dead, then my after-life crush turns out to be in love with Coffee Girl, then Merced turns off the TV before the main character can thwart the evil machinations of her scheming arch-nemesis and win the love of her cute love interest. This day sucks.
"Argh!" I scream, hands in fists, my substance veritably crackling with rage. With a loud pop, the TV turns on. I stare at it too dumbfounded to register what is happening on the screen. Did I just do that? And if I did, how? Did I simply will it to be so?
I decide to really, really want to change the channel. Nothing happens. Grr. Stupid TV. Change channels! This time, it works. Apparently anger as well as determination is the key. Cool.
Rick is here. Of all Michael's friends I've observed so far, Rick is my least favorite. I swear that man has his head up his ass. I seriously think the only reason he comes over is that he keeps hoping Michael will let him watch porn on the flat screen. Instead, tonight Michael makes him watch Kill Bill. Rick doesn't complain too much but I suspect it's just because Uma Thurman makes his pants feel tight.
I consider turning off the TV during the movie just for kicks. Would be fun, no? Rick is totally the kind of pansy asswipe that would freak out if I started making the lights flicker.
"Damn, Uma's hot," Rick declares, taking another swig of his beer as the movie credits roll. I'm lurking in the shadows behind the couch, glaring at the back of his head. Michael stands to refill his wine glass and turn the lights back on. "What I wouldn't give to fuck that ass."
Michael snorts, "Yeah. Good luck with that." Rick twists in his seat on the couch to point a serious finger at Michael.
"Hey, don't start with me, Mikey –" Michael hates being called Mikey, even I know that "—at least I would jump the chance at Uma if I had it, instead of moping around and missing my opportunity, like some people I know." Michael rolls his eyes, leaning against the bar between the kitchen and the living room.
"Yeah," Rick affirms, nodding his head, "I mean, the whole 'Coffee Girl' thing was pathetic." Rick emphasizes "Coffee Girl" by making finger quotes in the air. I pay close attention. These weeks haunting Michael and all of a sudden this girl is the constant topic of discussion.
"Shut up man," Michael instructs lightly with a smile, as though he is unoffended by Rick's teasing. But there is tension in the muscles in his neck.
"No, no, no, no, no. You do not get off that easy. I mean, you fucking skipped an entire day of work just to sit at that table hoping to see her and you didn't even know her name." This just gets more and more interesting. Seriously. Better than Telemundo.
"No really, shut up," Michael does not sound so good natured anymore. I feel tingly with anticipation because I know that Rick is not smart enough to let that slide and I am for once entirely too grateful for his idiocy.
"You probably still look for her every morning when you stop to get coffee. She's fucking gone man. She's been gone for months. It's pathetic. Move on. Get yourself some ass and let go because you missed your chance already." Good ol' Rick. So reliably stupid.
"You know what? Fuck you," Michael snaps. Rick shakes one hand as though declining an offer.
"Naw, I'll pass. Clearly I'm not the one who needs a good fucking." Michael shakes his head and pushes off from the bar with one foot.
"Alright," he says, "Time for you to go home."
"What?!" Rick exclaims. Michael is calm but clearly serious and not to be crossed. No one with Michael's physique should ever be crossed.
"I said for you to get the fuck out of my apartment," Michael motions casually toward the front door with his hand, "C'mon. Let's get a move on." Rick rolls his eyes with a sigh then grabs one last slice of pizza, holding it in his mouth as he swipes his jacket and heads for the door. They grunt their goodbyes then Rick disappears down the hall and out the building.
"Ass wipe," Michael sneers at the closed door.
Sorry everyone that this chapter took so long. It's definitely my goal to update more regularly than this and hopefully on Thursdays seeing as Breakdancing Ninja is the only one who really answered that question. Anyway, thanks to the following for reviewing: Write a Wrong, SangoArtist, the rocket apple, tlw1, Vexi – prev. Aneedegorarose, Meshpets, whateva123, The Breakdancing Ninja, C like Cookie, Jamie Annabelle S., murderprotocol, Under the Stars (yay for favorites!!), aragon asten, Salt and Vinegar Pringles.