“You awake?” There was no response, so Bennett leaned closer to his lover’s ear and whispered, “Eli?” This time the young man stirred and mumbled a bit, but did not wake. Bennett began to play with Eli’s hair, using a strand to dangle against his nose and tickle him. Eli’s right hand suddenly flew to his face to brush away the nonexistent fly that was bugging him. Bennett chuckled lightly and began to bounce on the bed a bit. “Eli?”
“What?” he groaned finally. He didn’t turn to face Bennett, but kept a death grip on his pillow and his face to the wall. Bennett slowly ran his fingers along the base of his neck and into his hair causing Eli to shiver visibly from the sensation.
“Weren’t you thinking about getting a haircut?”
“You woke me to ask about my hair?” Eli asked; his voice was deep and heavy with sleep. He slowly stretched and rolled over to look at his boyfriend directly. His hooded blue eyes blinked slowly, taking in the man’s most innocent smirk.
“Well, you are getting a bit shaggy,” Bennett said as he reached out and ran the back of his hand along Eli’s jaw where the beginning of a beard was sprouting, “and slightly scruffy.”
“Or could it be that you simply can’t sleep?” Eli asked.
Bennett sighed and decided to let him be. Eli was right. He couldn’t sleep. He flipped onto his back to stare at their ceiling.
“I’m worried about the presentation,” Bennett admitted.
“Your design is flawless,” Eli said with a yawn. “They loved it during the preliminaries.”
“I know. I’m just second guessing myself.”
It was Eli’s turn to sigh. He reached out to rest his hand on his boyfriend’s abdomen and began to make slow circles in the blond fur on his belly. “Please, don’t doubt yourself,” he said softly.
Bennett looked over at Eli and, finding his eyes drifting closed again, he grinned wickedly as an idea popped into his head. “I know how you could make me feel better, sweetie,” he said eagerly.
“How?” Eli asked, fighting another yawn as he watched Bennett scramble onto his knees and reach toward the window.
Sunlight had begun leaking in through the blinds, casting black and gold stripes across their bed. Bennett opened the blinds and glanced at the house next door before snuggling back down next to Eli and kissing him deeply.
“You could help me frighten the neighbors,” he whispered hungrily at his partner’s neck. Eli chuckled delightedly as his lover’s hands began to move over his body.
A gentle tapping at the door woke him from his dream. He woke to a dark room. He woke alone. He closed his eyes again and took a deep breath, fighting the tightness that settled in his chest.
“Come in,” he said.
The door opened and cast the silhouette of his housemate on the wall next to his bed.
“Breakfast is ready.”
“Thanks,” he said, keeping his face to the wall and tugging the blankets up and tight to his neck as if he felt a chill. “I’m not hungry.” The figure remained at the door, but said nothing. He could feel the eyes on his back. “I just need to sleep a little longer,” he added. Neither of them said anything further, and the room fell dark again as he watched his friend’s shadow turn and leave. He shut his eyes and began to drift off.
You should eat.
His eyes opened, and he focused again on the blank wall. “I’m tired.”
You’re tired a lot lately.
“It’s that disorder… seasonal… something. You get it when the days become—” he took a deep breath, trying to clear his head—“when winter approaches. There’s not enough sunlight or something.”
London isn’t known for its sunlight.
“What’s your point?”
You get this way every year, and it’s not a lack of sun, although opening the blinds might help brighten up this cave you’ve created for yourself.
The room fell silent again, but he could hear people moving about the house now. There were footsteps above his head, a conversation in the kitchen, and the floorboards creaked in the hallway outside his door.
Is your leg feeling stiff? You really should get out of bed.
He stretched his leg beneath the covers. It was stiff, but he didn’t get up.
Aren’t you going to look at me?
“I remember what you look like.”
Do you remember what I looked like the last time you saw me?