Day 74: Coffee

Chris walks out of the convenience store toward the truck with a coffee in each hand. I’m tired (hungover, if you must know), but there’s something about his walk, his denim-clad thighs, his steel-toed boots that wakes me right up.

It’s just easier to carpool to the job site, I’d told him, and he’d agreed.

I push the passenger door open from the inside, and he steps up and in, a freshly showered, woodsy smell wafting in with him. Goddamn.

“Morning,” he says, as our fingers touch briefly around my cup.

We sit, sipping. The air between us hums.

“Morning.”

Day 53: Fortune Cookie

There’s this guy in my French class, quiet, dark hair, fucking dreamy. Smart, too. He sits in the back and answers Mme. Devlin perfectly every time. Even his accent is pretty.

He came to pick up food at the restaurant tonight. Beef with broccoli, eight egg rolls, hot and sour soup, and enough mu shu pork to feed the offensive line. Pop didn’t see me slip a dozen extra fortune cookies into the bag.

I picture him picking one from the pile. He cracks it and smiles, reading the message from me to him, all the words I’ll never say.

Day 40: Laundry Day

Gladys looks forward to laundry day. She likes the fresh-startness of it, the sunny smell of detergent, the bag of clothespins clink-clunking against her hip as she walks to the clothesline.

She hums to herself as she fishes her secret happiness out of the hamper. It’s Tom’s blue button-up shirt, mixed in with the sheets and day-dresses. She pins it to the line by the shoulders, then runs her hand over the breast pocket, where he kept his peppermints. As she watches, the sleeves billow and fill with wind, rising as if to embrace her, coming alive with his ghost.

Day 31: Promised 1/?

We made each other a promise. We tied ribbons around our fingers and swore it.

We vowed we would never kiss again.

Though how can I resist, when the rose blooms so high in her cheeks? Surely she doesn’t blush from the exertion of pulling my corset ties, as that was nigh on an hour ago. She has since dressed me, buttoning my dress, smoothing my stockings, lacing my shoes.

Jewels are saved for last. She brings the necklace the viscount gifted me. He’ll be waiting, pacing among the guests.

“Let him wait,” I whisper, pushing it from her hands.

Day 28: Portrait

I can play it cool when I’m handing Kai the Blizzard he ordered through the takeout window, or when I’m secretly checking him out from across our Biology lab. But being paired up with him for the portrait unit for our Art elective isn’t the same.

It’s because I’m allowed to look at him. Really look. Study the shape of his eyebrows, memorize the slant of his neck, count the freckles that are only visible close up. And he has to sit still, quiet, and let me.

I wish my hand would quit shaking. I wish a lot of things.