There's no light coming in through the cheap hotel room curtains, so it's early. Very, very early.

So why is she—?

She's already up and dressed—for the most part—and is now moving around the room, silent and catlike, collecting belongings that got scattered last night. A hairpin here, a bracelet there, her eyeglasses off the nightstand (she's blind as a bat without them, you remember). Already she has reassumed the role of the perfect college student/intern/aspiring businesswoman/daughter, all sharp grey pantsuits and tight ponytails.

It's the image she presents to the world. You got a look at an immensely different side less than twelve hours ago, and the reminder makes you smile sleepily until you realize that she's leaving.

The secrecy, the tiptoeing around, the donning of the mask; it all reeks of a stealthy departure. She thinks you're asleep, and she's going to leave and not come back.

And then when you catch each other's eye on campus she'll look away. When you pass her in the halls she'll nod and smile like you're just another classmate she needs to tolerate until she graduates and moves on to greener pastures.

Gawd, Grace. None of those snotty upscale businesswomen will know you like I do, I swear.

All of this passes through your mind in the space of about three seconds, and that's all the time she needs to reach under the sheets for something—a sock, maybe?—and withdraw her arm again, ready to stroll calmly out of your life.

It wakes you right up, that's for sure.

You reach out and grab her sleeve, and she jumps.

"Shit—Allie, I didn't think you were—you scared me-"

Yeah, well, you're scaring me too.

"What's the rush?" you ask quietly. "Can't you stay?"

She swallows. Audibly. So maybe her stroll out of your life wasn't going to be quite so calm after all.

"Hey, Gracie…" You're still so tired and you've never been good at functioning without sleep, but you're also the last thing standing between her and gone so you force yourself to be coherent.

"Stay with me, would you?"

She looks more scared than she ought to. I mean, jeez, it's not like I just asked you to marry me or anything…

But fine, if she wants to play the old 'this-is-wrong' bullshit card, then you'll go straight for the throat. No sense in wasting any more time and emotion on something doomed from the beginning.

"We're not done," you say carefully, "are we?"

She bites her lip. Hard.