His eyes flickered open again, gritty and he knew that he was finally free from the grips of dreams. He felt the ghost of her lips, her presence as strongly as always, though the sickening blow from her absence was felt more strongly today. Three hundred and sixty six days since they had last had any kind of relationship. He sighed, a deep and slightly unsteady sound. He had half-expected her soft knock at the door, her sweet-spicy scent. Instead, he had woken, semi-choked by his sheets that had wound themselves in a treacherous rope around his body. Feeling as though there was a noose tightening around his neck, he freed himself and made his way to the shower. He closed his eyes, feeling the pounding water echo in his head in an oddly dull fashion. Though the noose loosened, the memories dogged his steps even as he made his way to his habitual spot by her accommodation.
Her window was open, as usual when the weather turned warm, like today. He lifted the collar of his plain white t-shirt from his neck, a quick, nervous motion, the cotton already sticky from the heat. In the split-second he had taken his eyes away from her window, she had appeared, sitting on the sill. Her hair was still messy from sleep and he could make out the band logo on the t-shirt she wore, several sizes too big for her. She looked younger, more vulnerable than he had seen her in a long time. Her lack of make-up and semi-dressed state seemed to take away the protective sheen she wore around everyone. He had seen through the cracks the day before, her appearance at the window now seemed like an omen of more changes to come. She seemed to scan the empty parking area, her storm blue eyes a shade darker than usual as she was lost in though. They skimmed over his hiding place, carrying an almost physical weight for him, like a feather-light touch, causing goosebumps to spring up on his skin. He saw her shoulders shrug in slow motion, a silent sigh and she was gone, the university-issue curtains shielding her form.
His heart jackhammered in his throat, the film of her morning routine flickering in his head, jumping like an old movie, as though the force of his heartbeat had caused the frames to jump erratically. He was breathing quickly as though he had been sprinting, the near-discovery delivering a bolt of adrenaline as powerful as electricity in his veins. He schooled his breathing, finally getting control as she appeared at the door. The sight of her was like a blow to his stomach.
She had curled her hair, fixing it in a way that spilled curls in a carefully elegant style that suited her. She wore a slim-fit t-shirt that showed off her figure to absolute perfection, just like the skinny jeans she wore. The studded belt was slung low over her hips, flashing in the early morning light as she walked, unconciously swinging her hips in a way that begged him to wrap his arms around them. His mouth instantly went dry at the thought. She was alert this morning, her eyes flickering around the area. He barely collected his thoughts in time to conceal himself as she passed. He followed her, thoughts tumbling and colliding in his head. He became so ensnared with his thoughts that he lost focus on his quarry, his feet automatically taking him to the coffee shop. He collided with her back as she stopped at the counter.
"Sorry!" He blurted out, jolted back into the present.
Her face went through a cascade of emotions, ending with a fragile imitation of her usual blankness. She blinked, gave him a polite smile, a murmured sentence that waved away his apology and asked for her order "to go". He got a strong coffee, also to go and cursed his idiocy. In the moments it had taken for him to get the coffee, she had vanished, swallowed up by early morning commuters.
He hunted for some glimpse of her, but was called away by the demands of his course. He settled in his place in a dark mood, answering only the minimum of what was required of him, in none too kind tones.
"What's wrong with you?" A voice, familiar and disgusted pierced the wall of his thoughts. He surfaced in time to see a friend stalk away, evidently one that had come to the end of his tolerance for the dark mood that had taken over.