Alright, it could have been a little bit worse, but it was still bad.
And when I say the day was going perfectly well…I mean, I guess it’s all subjective anyway.
It started out when I woke up in bed alone, which was confusing because there had been someone else in bed with me when I’d fallen asleep. I opened my eyes, breathed deeply, and turned over on to my side, a sleepy, goofy smile on my face. But all that was there to meet me was a wrinkled pillow, already cold.
I sat up and glanced around the room, blinking hard as I tried to get my brain going.
So this is what it feels like, I thought to with a pathetic chuckle. I should have known to take things slowly; you weed out the bad ones easier that way. Bloody tides! I was such an idiot.
But as I got out of bed and began looking for my robe, I remembered something: I wasn’t at my own house. I looked around at the strange room, remembrance settling in. I was at his.
I burst out in laughter at my own forgetfulness. Of course I was at his house, or his apartment, rather. I’d been there for days now! Ramei, but I was airheaded sometimes.
Last night had been the first night I hadn’t spent on the couch, though. That had to count for something.
So since I had no robe to wear, and my own clothes were tides-knew-where, I grabbed a blanket off of the bed and wrapped it around myself. I ran my fingers through my hair and made for the closed bedroom door. I opened it, greeted with a small dark hallway. There was one other bedroom right across the way, the door also closed, and an archway leading into the quaint living area and kitchen. It was a simple little loft, but Nathaniel liked it. And so, I liked it too.
I stood in the archway for several moments and listened to my body. I had to pee, but I was also ravenous. Dinner the previous night seemed like it had happened days ago, and the nearest toilet was almost all the way down the hall, near the elevator. Not to mention, I was hardly wearing the appropriate attire.
I turned toward the kitchen.
I munched on my bread and stared at the couch cushions. I couldn’t help but grin at the thought that I’d not slept on them last night. I cross my legs and leaned back into the soft cushions, looking, undoubtedly, like a true slacker. It was fine with me. I hadn’t sat on a couch so soft or eaten bread so fresh for most of my life. It was all so luxurious. I wiggled down in between the pillows and grinned, considering falling back asleep.
“What are you doing?”
I leapt up from my fort, the pillows tumbling from around me. Nathaniel’s roommate Eliot was standing just inside the room, looking almost as disheveled as I was, staring at me in the same irritating look of disdain he always had.
I didn’t say anything, either, just stared back at him like he was staring at me.
After he’d been worn down, he rolled his eyes a little and dragged his feet into the kitchen. “Right,” he said, all smug-like. “I forgot.”
“What? Do you think you’re better than me?” I asked, taking to my feet and walking toward him with a confident stride. Why? I don’t know. What did I think I was going to do? Fight him?
He eyed me once, head to foot. “Well, I’m not wearing Nathaniel’s bed sheet, for one.”
“They’re surprisingly comfortable,” I replied.
“Yeah. Well, it’s disturbing. Not to mention filthy. I couldn’t tell you the last time he washed anything he owns.”
I decided not to mention that I had actually done all of Nathaniel’s laundry since I’d moved in—er—did I say moved in? I meant, come to stay. Temporarily.
“You’re just going to make your mind up how you want about our relationship,” I spouted, feeling rather superior. It’s an easy thing to do with one is in the opening act of a blossoming romance.
He nodded, throwing his toast down onto the counter. “You’re damn right I am. He’s my friend and you’ve been around, what? All of a few days? I think it’s idiotic. And who are you, anyway? I don’t know you from a street lamp. And neither does Nathaniel when you get right down to it. He’s as big of an idiot as you are. It’s not his fault, of course, but it’s just the way he is. He doesn’t know the awful things you’re going to do to him, and when you take off, it’s gonna be me left here to pick of the pieces. I don’t know the first thing about gluing people back together.”
I stared open-mouthed at him like an imbecile. I could hardly believe it. “Clearly,” I snorted. Nothing in the world could have been plainer. He was so obviously bitter from a past love that I could hardly keep my breakfast down. I immediately began to tell myself to back off, to not look into his mind. If I looked, if I knew more than I should, things could get bad…
But I didn’t have to. I didn’t have to reach into his mind at all. I just looked on his face. It was written all over him, the remnants of her threads still staining his own.
“Raekira,” I muttered before I could stop myself. Surprise, surprise. That had been the wrong move.
His face hardened…like, it might as well have been turned to stone. He tossed the last few bites of his toast across the room with a flick of his wrist. “Screw off,” he growled.
I pictured her, the way she was when I had met her. I remember hearing, just last week, that she’d left, gone away for good. I didn’t think much of it then. I would have never guessed anything about them when I saw the two of them together at first, but nothing else could have explained the look in his eyes.
She had been lovely, in her own way. A firecracker, for sure, but I’d liked her. And clearly, so had he. I turned toward Nathaniel’s roommate as he began to stomp off toward his bedroom, opening my mouth to apologize.
It was like he was turning back to say something to me, but froze mid-turn. When his eyes met mine, fury flared within them. He stared at me like I was an abomination. “What the bloody tides is wrong with you?” he said. His voice sounded soft and broken.
I watched him disappear into his room, my mouth still hanging open. I didn’t understand.
Then I remembered I had to pee.
I forgot all about the bed sheet I was wearing and left for the toilet, sick with myself for being such a bitch. When I closed the door behind me to the bathroom, I turned instantly toward the mirror. But when I caught sight of myself, I froze. It was Raekira’s face staring back at me. I gasped, accidentally dropping the sheet. Now I’d really done it.
I exhaled and closed my eyes, letting the tension fall from my shoulders. When I looked back into the mirror again, I saw my own face. But the hurt in Eliot’s eyes wasn’t gone from my mind and I wondered if he would ever see me as myself again.