April, Sleepless

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April lies still and snug, one hand curled around a tuft of quilt, hair scattered across her eyes. If she were awake, she’d be swatting at her bangs in that distracted way she often does. When she’s thinking. When she really, really wants something. When she is flirting. Instead, she just sucks in air then squeezes it out again, murmurs a little and does nothing about the ticklish hair.

Vic lies awake, propped on one arm gazing at April through the darkness. Vic is terrible at being awake alone, and works to prod April awake too. The thing is, it has to seem like it was her idea, her own body that interrupted her sleep, or else she’ll get all cranky about it.

Vic rocks the mattress gently, like he’s floating on a tightly poured waterbed or paddling a quiet sea, his weight twice April’s and easily tossing her to and fro. Small, sleeping April, sweetly rumpled in a way she’d never stand for in waking life. Vic draws his arm from beneath the covers, extends an index finger, and suspends it over April’s face before drawing it down the slope of her nose. He’s trying for one of those tickles that snares a single hair and makes a body judder and slap to brush the fluffy feeling away.

He pecks softly with his lips like a bird nipping at April’s sleep-hot cheek. She bats his nose and rolls over, hauling the blankets with her and baring Vic’s calves to the cool air. Vic freezes, absolutely still. April sighs…it is a conscious huff not a peaceful exhalation. Success! She turns over to face Vic’s smile, which dangles in wait above her shoulder. He looks pleased with himself.

“Vic.”

“Hi, April!’ He sounds too excited and blows his cover.

“You are the worst at being awake alone.”

“I love you…”

“Nice try.”

April nestles against his chest like the conversation is closed, and pretends she is practically asleep again. They both know this is untrue, that April is awake till sunrise, her brain taking over with frets and ideas, anything and everything to prevent sleep from returning until the next night.

“April?”

“Vic.”

“I feel so much better now. Super sleepy.”

“Right. That’s excellent for you.”

In seconds, Vic is snoring lightly, and a few minutes later, making enough noise to ensure that if sleep were to wash over April, she’d be in no danger of going under. She sighs, sits up to look out the window, and watches the pink sliver of morning blush across the sky.

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