Rating: PG except for the last one, which I guess is kind of salty.
Word Count: 400, exactly! That was a pain in the balls.
Summary: Four drabbles. He never thought he was lucky.
Author's Note: For anxietygrrl, who prompted.
The night she gets to Baton Rouge they sit in a lounge chair outside his apartment, watch a lizard scuttle by. Her small hands cup a wine glass. His chin rests in her hair. His blood beats like a thunderstorm, a furious swish in his veins. Ray waits.
Neela glances out, towards the dark smudge of the tree line. "Have you got neighbors?" she asks.
"In theory I do," he tells her. "Never seen any."
"Ah." She pauses a moment. "It's dark out here."
His mouth quirks. "Pretty much."
She turns around to kiss him. She tastes like the color red.
They go out with Ray's friends who all hate her, a raucous laughing crowd. Neela observes, scientific. A dazzling redhead skates familiar fingers over his back.
She knows she took too long to get here. He's so used to being alone.
"What's wrong?" he asks her later. Neela shakes her head. She thinks of ancient healers, the laying on of hands. Finally she picks up her keys.
He raises his dark eyebrows. The fear is visible on his face.
"I'll be back," she promises. Ray nods.
Neela drives all the way to the airport, watches the planes in the sky.
In her top drawer is a birthday card he gave her when they were roommates, a ridiculous piece of business boasting a picture of the Queen of England wearing pasties and riding an elephant. "What message precisely are you attempting to communicate here?" Neela demanded, over a celebratory pitcher at Ike Ryan's. It was before things started to get peculiar, when the great majority of his behavior seemed designed specifically to torture her. She liked it more than she'd admit. "In all seriousness."
Ray shrugged. "It's your birthday," he said calmly, and nudged her with one warm shoulder. "Go wild."
On Sundays he used to stay in bed 'til noon at least but Neela wakes up early, pushing her restless hips against his. He's hard before he opens his eyes. "Hey," he mumbles, but she's already settling herself above him, a familiar rhythm. Her body is warm and sleepy-loose.
"Morning," she says softly. Her short nails rasp over his scalp. Ray groans.
He never thought he was lucky.
He never thought he was much of anything, really.
He guesses maybe that's the whole point.
Neela gasps, moves faster. The ring glints on her finger. The sun makes patterns on the sheets.