Ugh... I pressed my face into my pillow. It felt as if my bed was trying to eat me. It was sucking the life from my limbs and slobbering me in sweat. I couldn't seem to free myself.
I tossed and turned, too hot, too cold. The covers were too heavy, the air was too humid, and my mind just wouldn't settle down. I had turned the heater off twenty minutes before but still there had been no change in temperature.
"Damn this house and its insulation! The whole town is freezing but me." I groaned the curses into my sheets and wished, half-heartedly, that my bed really would swallow me up. I didn't want to think any more.
I knew I should get up and open the window a crack but that would mean looking at the lawn and I didn't feel ready for that yet. All I'd needed early had been footprints and my brain had gone into a frenzy.
"Ridiculous. I'm ridiculous. Afraid of a window. Beaten up just by the thought of a certain boy. I always wanted to be stronger than this..."
I flipped over and gazed at my ceiling. I hadn't gone down for dinner. Michael had tried to convince me I should eat but I'd been too busy trying not to look out the window, and failing.
My stomach growled. A light flicked on in the hallway.
Was my hunger that loud? I wondered. So loud it was waking people up? Or perhaps my distressed brain was sending out so many waves of unhappiness that even other people's minds were picking them up. Ha. I could be the source for even more irritation in the paperwork pushing beast that called itself my mother.
My door creaked open and a shaggy head peered in. It was Michael.
"Nice bedhead," I shout-whispered at him. He grinned and entered.
"I thought you might still be awake. Here, I brought you leftovers." He held out a plate, freshly microwaved, and a knife and fork.
I took it and he switched on the light.
"He's really torn you up, hasn't he? You used to be such a glutten." He smiled, hoping to get a rise out of me, and I attempted to throw my pillow at him without spilling my food all over the floor.
"It's like he's left those footprints on your soul, not on the lawn. If he doesn't make it up to you, I won't forgive him."
My fork halted halfway to my mouth. Michael saying he wouldn't forgive someone?
"Has hell frozen over? Or did I hear you wrong?"
He chuckled. "You heard right. I'm rather amazed myself, really. This is the closest I've come to actually disliking someone." He paused. "But you're my sister. If anyone deserves to be protected by me, it's you."