A bunch of questions competed for space in my brain. How did you get here? When? Was it your idea or Flip’s? How are you? Are you still mad at me?
What made it out my mouth was, “Were you asleep?”
He held his finger to his lips and beckoned me close, then said in a very low voice, “Only a little. I guess the trip tired me out.”
Only a little bit asleep. His answer made as little sense as my question had. I traced the edge of his face with my fingers. “You’re really here.”
“I’m not a hallucination, if that’s what you’re wondering.”
“No. I’m… I should be sober by now.” I leaned into his hand as he brushed my hair back from my face. “I was just noticing how much I miss you.”
“Then I guess I got here just in time?” He started undressing me and I didn’t have any reason to protest. You’d think by now I’d know exactly what to expect but with Ziggy you never know what to expect, you know? I was pretty sure sex was at the top of his agenda, though, and I didn’t see any reason why I shouldn’t put it at the top of mine…
Except that we had to be quiet. Claire was in the next room. I really did not want to have to deal with what would ensue if we fucked loud enough to wake her.
Ziggy seemed to be the one taking the most care to be quiet, though. He got me down to T-shirt and underwear and then pulled me under the covers.
“What are we doing?” I whispered.
“Cuddling,” he whispered back. “Like at a sleepover.”
“I never had a friend sleep over.”
“Me neither. I mean, not like that.” He fitted his body against me, a leg twined around mine, his face tucked against my chest. “If I had someone over it was for sex. I didn’t do innocent.”
That made me smile. “So you’re trying it now?”
“I don’t expect it to last,” he murmured. “You didn’t have sleepovers?”
“I didn’t have that kind of friends,” I said. “I sometimes crashed on Remo’s couch. After he and the guys left New Jersey, I ran with a crowd of burnouts and sometimes crashed at one of their places overnight. But that really wasn’t really like inviting a friend to a slumber party, you know?”
“Exactly.” He squirmed a little. “How was your birthday dinner?”
“Okay, I guess.” We fell silent then, him waiting for me to say more, and me waiting to think of something to say. There really wasn’t anything to say, and that made me feel like a fraud, like when I’d been in a good mood and leading the conversation earlier, it had been fake.
I lapsed into concentrating on my breathing, on the scent of him, so different from the rustic smells of the cabin and bed, on the warmth building up in our tent made of blankets.
“I think I’m depressed,” I whispered.
“That seems likely,” he answered. “I’m not in the best state of mind myself.”
“I feel good that you’re here, though. I mean, I’m dreading another fight but I like this. This being together thing.”
“It beats being a thousand miles apart.” He pressed a kiss under my chin.
Heat continued to build between us, as if what was going on below the belt didn’t care at all what was going on in the head or chest. My fingers slid over his ribs and down to his waistband, and he slipped out of his briefs.
Stripping down to bare skin felt more primal than usual. Maybe it was something about being in a cabin in the woods, and maybe it was that we had quit speaking and communicated only in touches and small animal sounds in our throats.
We managed to consummate our reunion without making too much noise. And once the edge was off and we could start thinking again, we managed not to fight, either.
It’s hard to fight when you’ve conked out so hard and so fast you didn’t even put your underwear back on.