Nineteen: Keith in Denial

[Author Note: Sorry for the edit/rewrite, but, thinking today, I don't like this chapter. For continuity reasons, however, I'm going to leave it in for the while].

Keith slipped into the kitchen to fetch the tea that had just brewed. Despite himself, he was humming, somewhat more cheerful. A singular glance at the clock confirmed what Keith had already expected: it was only nine thirty. Andrea had cut the remainder of her evening short so that she was able to spend a bit more time home with him. On a second thought, ducking back into the kitchen, Keith fetched another mug.

“Here,” Keith said, passing the cup to Andrea.

After a second she grasped it, her eyes flashing back to reality.

“Tired?” Keith added.

“I…have a lot on my mind…” she whispered, staring blankly at the bookcase opposite.

“Is there anything-”

“No, Keith, I’m fine.”

“Andrea, you’re a mystery to me.”

In the silence, Keith thought he heard her whisper, some brief remark under her breath, as if she was reprimanding him for such a blunt statement.

Despite her stern expression, Andrea let Keith slip an arm over her shoulder. She turned, and she was almost shaking as she dug her face into his jumper. A yawn broke from her lips; Keith chuckled as he brought Andrea closer. They were warm bodies together again.

Keith watched as her ginger hair faded before his eyes, blacker and blacker- and she was laughing, triumphant at some mystery that he could not draft. What was this madness?

***

Keith jerked awake. He hadn’t remembered sleeping, knowing only the magazine he had previously been reading. Now, he brought it from the floor and back to his lap, the motion matching the sweep of his eyes to the clock. It was only nine-thirty, but Andrea was not yet home.

In a second more, Keith thought his dream might play out into reality; the latch clicked to furious muttering, and she stepped in, freezing as her eye met his.

But this was reality, Keith had to remind himself; reality never plays fair.

The End

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