It was growing dark when I stormed into my room. My mother just finished explaining to me that she was divorcing my dad. I slid open my window and escaped out onto the fire escape, wracking my shoulders with every sob.
In my peripheral view, I noticed Sam's light turn on, and heard his radio turn on.
In the street below, two dogs were chasing a tom cat. Several blocks away, police sirens wailed.
Sam's window groaned open, and he started climbing out until he noticed me. But I wasn't paying much attention to him. My mind was a little preoccupied with other things.
"Do you mind if I join you? Or would you rather be alone right now?" He asked quietly. I patted the spot next to me, gesturing for him to sit. He wasn't wearing a shirt, just a pair of flannel pajama pants. I looked at his face where I remembered Gill's fist connecting with him. There was a black and blue bruise a little smaller than my fist around his eye.
"Oh, my God, Sam! I'm so sorry, I can't believe Gill did that to you! Oh, Sam, I---"
Sam put his hands up and pushed me back down onto my bum. I hadn't realized I'd stood up.
"Don't worry about me, I'll be okay. Are you okay? You still have a hand print on your cheek." His eyes bore through mine, they were so intense.
"It's not Gill that's breaking my heart. It's... My parents, they... I don't want to talk about this right now."
Sam shrugged and wrapped his arms around my shoulders, hugging me close to his bare chest. Ordinarily, I would never let anyone touch me; but right now, I was just gracious for the comfort of a good friend.
Finally, I pulled away, sick of crying. "Do you want to play a little game?" I looked at him expectantly.
"Uhm, sure," he answered hesitantly. "What kind of game?"
"Okay. You can ask anything--try to keep it clean though; nothing too intimate. You have to answer every question honestly, unless the question is truly out of bounds. There are only a few exceptions."
His eyes lit up with amusement, a single eyebrow raised (which made me insanely jealous). "I'll start. So, I can ask anything, right?"
"You can ask almost anything," I corrected. He chuckled almost silently, and I wondered what was going through his mind. I was half afraid he might ask something stupid like what color my panties were. But he took me by [a rather relieved] surprise.
"When's your birthday?" I smiled at him, thinking Wouldn't you like to know?
"January third, nineteen ninety-three." I answered. "Yours?"
"February sixteenth, nineteen ninety-three."
We went back and forth for nearly forty-five minutes, interrogating each other. I learned quite a bit about Sam, but nothing really personal.
"Oh, I've got another one. It's kind of personal, though."
"Well, what are you afraid of? Go on," I encouraged him. I hoped it wasn't about Gill or my parents... So far, we'd managed to steer clear of those topics.
"Would you kiss me right now?" He asked. His eyes smoldered, and I grinned.
I leaned in really close and ran my finger along his jaw line. My mouth was barely an inch from his. I leaned in a little closer, and I could feel his heart racing under my hand.
"Not a chance." I laughed and pulled back, ruffling his hair. I suppose it was a good thing it was really dark outside now, because I was blushing from my hairline clear to my toes.
"No fair," he joked.
"Try not to look so disappointed, Sam. I might get the impression you actually wanted that kiss." We laughed for almost ten minutes, and I had tears rolling down my cheeks--the good kind though.
"Hey, are you hungry? I could go grab us some popcorn," Sam offered.
"Yeah, that sounds great." Sam stood up, stretching his stiff muscles, and pulled me to my feet too. Sam led me through the apartment into his kitchen. I was kind of in a daze. He'd only moved in last week, and already everything was unpacked, and it was furnished beautifully.
His home looked stunning, and I was wondering, If they can afford all of this, why are they living in a dump like this? My question was never answered.