Pho waited in the dark with Aina's small frame curled against him. The comfort was familiar, but he drank it all in like a starving man. Every inhale, every exhale. Each brush of contact was filed away in his memory. The curve of her hip, the smell of her hair. He didn't want to get up, to pull away from the warmth of her, but some things needed to be done. He hugged her more tightly against him, wishing she was as interested in their connection as he was.
It had taken years to get as close as they were. To be allowed the privilege of kissing her lips. He wanted to again, wanted to kiss her without restraint. To be allowed to treat her the way any other boy would. It would take time, he thought, but he was certain he could convince her that they were meant to be more than siblings. More than twins.
After he successfully passed Cira's check, he rose from the bed in achingly slow motions. He tucked the blanket against her back so she wouldn't notice his body heat missing. He already felt colder without her.
In the darkness, his fingers reached between the matress and boxspring for that tiny little notebook he wasn't supposed to know about. Grasping it, his heart raced in anticipation. What would he discover?
Things had been different for a while. He hoped it was paranoia, hoped he was seeing things that weren't there, but he needed to know. He couldn't just wander from day to day without some kind of confirmation of their relationship.
He found himself a spot on the floor, his back against the wall, facing the bed so he would know if she began to stir. He had hidden a small flashlight in her room the night before, having been planning his reconnaissance mission for at least a few days, and he snatched it from beneath the dresser. The light blinded his eyes for a moment, but it passed and he turned to the most recent entry.
He scanned the entry, his eyes searching for trigger words. Crush, he found, and immediately reversed a few sentences to catch up.
"the only person who is nice to me at school is Daniel Green, he doesn't care about me being a twin and he's really sweet. I think I may have a crush on him..."
His reaction was instant, and he fought to swallow it down. It wasn't often Aina took interest in a boy, but the relative infrequency of the event didn't help to ease the absolute fury that overtook his senses. Sometimes he wondered what made him the way he was, what it was beneath his skin, beneath his veins, beneath his muscles and tendons and bones, that made him behave the way he did. Sometimes he wondered about a lot of things.
He closed the diary and shut off the flashlight. Sitting in the complete darkness, he pondered his next move. How was he going to handle the situation presented before him?
He felt dirty for having pried. But she had been keeping it from him, after all; and what was the purpose of that? They were twins, they were kindred. He thought they shared everything.
He choked back the bitterness, the sour taste of betrayal.
He certainly couldn't let Daniel Green step between them. No one could step between them, he thought; a tingle of anxiety wriggled down his spine. What would he do if -
No, he thought, cutting off his own thoughts. She wouldn't.
He scowled, all of his features hardening, becoming harsher and a little more sinister. The faintest glow of moonlight began appearing in the room. His eyes must have adjusted to the darkness, he thought, and studied Aina's delicate features in the new light.
Her lips were turned upward into a slight smile. Her fingers lay to rest on the pillow beside her face. Her skin seemed illuminated in the glow of night and he sighed. She was his contrast. The white to his black, the light to his dark. Even their skintone mirrored their difference. Yin and Yang.
What was he willing to do to keep that?
The light to his dark, he thought again.
He stood up suddenly, every cell in his body called into action. He gently returned the diary to its rightful place and pocketed the flashlight. He leaned over the bed, hovering just above Aina, and sighed into her hair.
He kissed her forehead and left, sneaking out of the house through his bedroom window.