After

She lit up.

“You shouldn’t do that,” he scolded quietly.
“Should I not?” Her voice danced in the space between them, “I find it keeps the boys at bay.”
“There are quicker methods.” He stood, arms crossed, in the corner.

Sarcasm now, as the mood lifted like a sap in the meaty fist of a hired hit.

“Like sticks?” Her face shrugged as she stubbed it out. “I’ll just be looking for a mint.”

“Don’t worry about that now.” She misunderstood him and looked away, sipping a scotch already poured and forgotten about. In the mirror, her eyes betrayed her.
“You’re right.”

But then, suddenly he was there, all around her. She froze, “Get outta here kid, ya bother me.” Uncomfortable, she grasped feebly at the start of a bit in the hopes he would play along. He had told her once she was fun. Fun, but definitely not funny, she thought.

So far away, that night and others like it. But how much time was it, really? All those hours spent apart, creating new universes, new personalities and their desires welling and quelling here and there. They’d all fallen by the wayside, caught in the tidal wave left behind by each of their overwhelming forces. Maybe it had really only been a few hours. Maybe they had only been sleeping through necessity.

He stayed silent. Looking at her too long now, the moment was gone again. She felt the void of the missed eclipse and drew back, reaching for another cigarette. The old, familiar stony callous that covered her softest parts thickened and she knew he might never find his way in.

“Some heroes never win.”

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