Chapter 19

As the day dragged lazily on, we were happy. As the rain bore down against the windows, we curled up on the sofa, talking to each other, allowing time to pass however it wished, as long as it left us alone. Yet, a part of my mind still lingered upon the previous day, recalling Gabriel's seeming aversion to nightwear. I had not pressed the issue at the time, dismissing it as an odd habit, but helpless thought had rendered me confused on the subject. Considering the recent cold snap, I shivered, wondering how my friends coped with their thin blankets and scarce clothing; I wondered how they ever survived the night. Presently, I shivered again, a movement which Gabriel noticed, and held me closer. He kissed my cheek and asked me,

"Do you want me to get you a blanket?"

"No thank you," I replied, "I was just thinking."

"About what?" His tone of voice had changed; it was deeper, gentle, yet a little rougher than normal; I both hated and loved that voice. It took me a moment to respond.

"Why are you used to wearing so little when you sleep?" He chuckled a little and replied,

"You're still thinking about that? You have a good memory, Ayla."

"Thank you. Anyway, you still haven't answered my question."

"Very well then, I'll tell you." He cleared his throat, sat up a little straighter, and began. "Mia and Michael have never found sleeping easy. I wouldn't blame them, having been left in an alleyway by their parents - I would find sleep difficult too. They cried a lot, keeping me awake. Especially one night." I held his hand tighter. "They found me in the frozen darkness, and huddled around me. I sat them both down and attempted to calm them. Once they had stopped crying, they both cooled down a bit, until Mia shivered. Without really thinking, I pulled off my shirt and draped it over Mia's head. She smiled and thanked me. Michael seemed a little put out by this, so while I sat beneath my blanket, I pulled off my trousers and let Michael wear it as a scarf. After I had warmed them up, they didn't leave me, so I fell asleep with the monkeys holding onto my arms. They didn't cry after that, so it's all down to force of habit." I smiled and asked,

"So keeping them warm, makes you feel warm?" He smiled and replied,

"That's only one of the reasons I hold you." Everything made sense to me; he brought comfort to others. I decided I had better buy some more amnenities; blankets, food, clothes.

The spark was kindled in me then. I could continue to buy them blankets and food, for the people I had formed a bond with.  They had protected me. Sheltered me from all my self hate.

The spark turned into a blaze.

A shelter. Of course.

The End

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