The rumbling of my stomach woke me. I rubbed it, hoping it would stop, then rolled over to glance at the clock. Fuck. Two am? Seriously? I burrowed back under my blankets, but it was no use. There was no going back to sleep without a snack.
As I padded to the kitchen I remembered that because I’d picked up an extra shift, I hadn’t actually been to the grocery store. I was out of nearly everything. I could make up some plain pasta with butter and salt, though that had been dinner. Or maybe heat up a can of green beans. Yeah. That wasn’t happening. I went back to my room for a sweatshirt, and pulled my hair into a messy tail on the back of my head. As a whim, I decided my nightgown was perhaps a bit too risqué to be traipsing around in on State Street, so I yanked on a pair of long yoga shorts. They were supposed to be capris but my ungodly long legs made them knickers. Perfect. I looked like a crazy disaster, which meant no one would bother me.
I didn’t even mess with socks as I stuffed my feet into the shoes waiting by the door. I took a moment for inventory. Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. Cell phone? Eh. I could live five minutes without it.
I stepped out into the hallway, brighter than my apartment had been, and was surprised to find my neighbor Karl in a sleeping bag on the floor. We stared at each other for a moment, as though both of us were trying to find a polite way to ignore the weird. His pale cheeks went slightly pink. “Uhhh. Hi, Tien,” he said shyly.
“Are you locked out?” I asked. It didn’t seem quite right, because he was awful prepared for that.
Sitting up, he shook his head, his long blond curls bouncing on his shoulders. God, I wished I had his hair. “Andy’s fiancée is here for the weekend.”
It took me a moment to figure out exactly what that meant. Their apartment was a mirror of mine, and the two guys shared a room. Oh. Yeah. That’d be awkward. “Don’t you have a couch?”
He looked down. “They’re really loud,” he said delicately.
I couldn’t help but giggle. “Wanna go get some ice cream? I have the munchies and I’m all out of groceries.”
“Sure.” He unzipped his sleeping bag and pulled on his shoes before standing up. “Beats lying here.” He slept in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, which was unfortunate because Karl was pretty easy on the eyes. Or maybe he just dressed that way when he was stuck sleeping in the hallway. “Oh crap. I don’t have my wallet, and I am not going in there for it. But I can still walk with you, if you want.”
“Yeah. Come on,” I looped my arm around his, a little surprised by my own forwardness. Apparently being tired did something to my inhibitions. “Triangle market has Ben and Jerry’s. It’ll be my treat.”
“You don’t have to,” he said, and I noticed he was being careful not to pull his arm out of mine. “But I can’t bear to pass up the offer.” He smiled, showing teeth so perfect they had to have been straightened at some point.
We managed to get all the way to the sidewalk without disconnecting, and it somehow didn’t feel forced, even though I was totally making an effort. I regretted the sweatshirt, which kept me from feeling his skin against my own. “I like Phish Food because of the fudge fish.”
Still grinning, he shook his head. “No way. Chocolate Fudge Brownie is the superior option for meeting your chocolate needs. Chocolate Therapy is good, too, but they don’t usually carry it.”
This guy spoke my language. “What about S’mores?”
He stuck out his tongue in disgust. “Not enough chocolate, the graham crackers are weird, and I’m not used to eating marshmallows.”
“Is there something wrong with marshmallows?” Sure they were obnoxiously sweet, but that was the point.
“Marshmallows aren’t vegetarian. And I feel weird eating something that tastes like them, even if it doesn’t have gelatin in it.” His blue eyes were wide, reflecting the street lamps, and he looked like he was having fun.
“You wanna sleep on my couch?” I abruptly offered.
He missed a step, but recovered quickly enough that I didn’t have to let go of his arm. “Yeah. I mean, if it’s not too much trouble.”
I bumped him with my shoulder. “It’s no trouble.”
“Thanks.” He squeezed my arm a little. After a few moments of silence he suggested, “If you get eggs and bread, I’ll make you breakfast.”
Prompt: I got up at 2 am to get some snacks at the convenience store down the street and opened my door to find you sleeping on the floor of the hallway because your roommate has his finacee over so I guess I’ll lend you my couch for the night
If you want the genesis and rules for this project, or to read the other completed exercises, go to my Completed Exercises section.