Later that night, he opened her door and tiptoed into her room. She was lying still, curled into a ball, but Michael could tell that she was awake. When she was asleep she breathed like a little girl, when she was awake her breath was silent and invisible.
He walked over to her and slid into her bed. He wrapped his arms around her. He knew that she liked that, she had told him that she had never been out with someone who had worked out, before. You don’t feel like a human being, she had laughed at him. Mmmmm… talk to me about reps, and sternocleidomastoids…
“No. I don’t want him to know you’re here.”
“He’s asleep already, and I don’t want to leave you on your own.”
“Don’t be like that.” He kissed her. She’s been crying, she tasted like salt. She’d been orphaned just a couple of hours ago. The sun was starting to come up, it was almost four-thirty. It was going to be a gorgeous day. She was beautiful in the dawn. Sometimes he would look in on her in the morning before heading off on a run, or after coming home from Dov’s study bedroom on campus. At night he could take charge, it was about impressing her, and that was easy, but first thing in the morning she did something to him – something he couldn’t predict. He was not sure that he altogether liked it, but he couldn’t resist it. Her pale skin reflected that strange blue orange light, her skin was sleepy soft, she smelled differently. He didn’t like it, didn’t like the fact that this girl, already smart and sophisticated in a way he couldn’t predict or manoeuvre, could also be genuine and natural and beautiful before anything else in the world had begun yet.
But she was an orphan now. She was still stained by the night before. She would be for a long time.
He cupped her face and moved her legs apart with his foot. He kissed her, knowing that she didn’t like his breath first thing in the morning. She was wearing those stupid pyjamas that she only pretended were ironic. The kind of pyjamas that a parent buys for their kid.
Michael pulled them off and fucked her. In the early morning sunshine of the first day after a terrible tragedy shared between friends that adored and cared for each other, it felt like love, but Michael wasn’t fooled for a second.