After Raven’s party winds down, she decides to stay the night in the bar rather than return to her shitty Alabama motel room. She falls into bed with her socks still on, and is asleep before her head hits the pillow.
Three hours later, she stirs when she feels someone crawl into the other side of the bed.
“Didn’t mean to wake you,” he whispers.
She snorts. “Sure you didn’t.”
He slides closer, resting a hand on her hip like an apology. “Can I make it up to you?”
Now she laughs, full-throated and rough from booze and woodsmoke and the weight of memory. “Doesn’t sound like you want me to go back to sleep.”
“I don’t.” His voice cracks on the word and she almost opens her eyes. His hair brushes her cheek; she can smell the salt water. “Why won’t you look at me?”
She turns in his arms, tilting her face toward his with a smile but her eyes are shut so tight. “Because I only want to look at you if you’re going to stay. And you aren’t, are you.”
“I can’t.” His lips brush the hollow of her throat; it is not a kiss. “I’m sorry.”
She reaches blindly up, knowing from ancient instinct where she must grab to take hold of his hair and how to pull to make him look at her. “Don’t you apologize,” she hisses. “Not to me. Not for anything.”
“Alright.” He twists his head, kissing the inside of her wrist. “I won’t.”
“Paul’s good for you.”
She surprises herself when she doesn’t flinch. “You don’t mind?”
“Why would I mind?” He sounds almost hurt. “I want you to be happy.”
“I know.” She hooks his leg with hers to flip him, bites up the line of his throat until she finds his mouth. “But you’re allowed to be less gracious about it.”
She kisses him until he stops laughing.
“I never blamed you, you know. Not for a moment.”
She doubles over to keep the sob locked down
“It’s almost morning.”
“I know.” She can feel it.
“Sure I can’t convince you to peek?”
“I wish you could.”
She holds him until vanishes from beneath her hands. Then, she opens her eyes.