Summary: Sometimes, someone can be so afraid that it borders on stupidity. But all you ever wanted was for it to be just you and her...
Authors Note: NO idea where this one came from, but I like it. Femslash, again.
In The Summer
When you blinked your eyes awake she was lying next to you, for the first time. There was a chink in the curtains that masked the window above her bed, and that, along with the thin material, was letting the fresh morning light through, so that the bedroom was illuminated with a soft, ethereal glow. The brightest beam from the chink itself shone down at such an angle that it fell directly upon her, glinting off her golden hair. Her face was soft in the light, her freckles faintly scattered across her nose and cheeks, soft lashes framing her still closed eyes, and the most deliciously content faint smile upon her soft lips that was urging you to kiss them, but you daren't, because that would break the moment. It might even wake her, and there's nothing you'd hate more right now. You could lie here, just looking at her, for eternity. Her hair seems to glow with the rays shining upon it, a halo cradling her precious head. Your Grandmother told you that it was bad luck to wake a sleeping angel. So you mustn’t wake her. Not yet.
But the urge to touch her becomes too strong. You lick your lips, nibbling one nervously, as you reach out a shaking hand. There's a stray tendril of golden hair lying across her face, and, as gently as you can, you brush it back, tucking the lot behind her ear. You smile to yourself as you see the tiny diamond earring you got her for her birthday a few weeks ago sparkling in her ear, twinkling like a star, but in the daytime. You got them specifically because they would look like that. You know more than anyone what suits her, how exactly she is at her most beautiful. You watch her every moment you can, that's why. Every little move she makes - from the way she totters down the stairs in the mornings to breakfast, pale blue eyes dusty with sleep, hair tousled, to the moment when she's chasing her brothers upstairs to get ready for bed, and as she turns that corner at the top of the case, grinning like a madwoman, eyes now vibrantly sparkling with mischief, and her hair splays out behind her in a fan as she twirled effortlessly, then falls back lightly onto her shoulders without a strand messed up. When you're there you always trail slightly behind, no matter what efforts she goes to to get you to join in. You prefer to watch this nightly ritual as she gets her younger siblings into bed, laughing and playing as she goes, before they're finally tucked up to sleep. You sit on the floor in the corner as she reads them a bedtime story, her eyes widened with empathy, the way she twists her pretty features into every expression, hands pulled up like claws or waving about like a fairy, the way she does every single voice, from gnarly troll to simpering princess, and each time it's dead-on. You sit and smile to yourself when they giggle at her antics, and she tickles them for being cheeky, and they screech with laughter and writhe though they can't get away. And when she's done she will calmly close the book and put it back on the shelf. The boys immediately get snoozy, as she pulls up their covers and kisses them goodnight, and you silently pad out of the room behind her as she slowly closes the door, turning out the light as she goes. Then you both tiptoe along the corridor to her room, silent as a mouse. You know every inch of this girl. You know that she shines, just like those star earrings. You know how graceful she is, how majestic. You know.
The sun slowly creeps higher over the world outside, the chink of light moving down onto her forehead, almost as if she was an alien being. Sometimes you think she might be - no member of the infamously flawed human race could possibly be this perfect, this beautiful both in and externally. Yet as it appears, she is. You close your eyes for a moment, and allow yourself simply to feel your hand on her warm, soft cheek, the rise and fall of her chest as she breathes softly beside you.
You wish you could be like this always. Just be here, without worrying what people might think.
Or, you remind yourself, what she might think.
You think back to last night, after you were back in the sanctuary of her room. It's not a fancy room - no TV, no technology at all really, except for her battered old cd player. The discs for it are scattered across the floor, things like The Used and Biffy Clyro mixing with oddities like Mariah Carey and Dolly Parton. Your girl always was an odd one. You know that everyone always says it, but there really is no one quite like your girl. If, that is, she ever was yours. Ever is. Ever will be.
Her bed is in the corner of the room, pained bright yellow to match her personality. If you had a choice, your room would be black. What a funny couple you'd make, you smile. Bumblebee colours. The quilt on the bed is patchwork, jumbled together from many different parts - hacked off odds and ends, bits that no longer had a home, different peoples memories and feelings, all stitched together with different coloured threads to make something new, beautiful and exciting. It occurs to you that everything in this room matches her to a tee. When you walk in it is dark, so she puts the lamp on, lighting up the room in a glow that is pink through the "Forever Friends" lampshade she's had since she was six. Without a care she peels off her black spaghetti-strap top, and tugs down the faded blue jeans. Her underwear, like everything else, is mismatched - a black silky bra and white, strawberry-pattered cotton panties, indicating that she, like you, is still in the transition stage of girl to woman. At seventeen you are both behind your peers in the growing up stakes, but you suppose that's why you became friends in the first place. Apart you stood out from the crowd, put together you could blend into the background, losing yourselves in your own little world where imagination still rained free and nothing was expected, at least so far as boys where concerned. Her long, honey coloured hair was caught in her short, pale blue nightie as she pulled it over her head, and the static made a few strands fly out after she had pulled it free. You stand quite still and watch all this before reaching into your overnight bag for your own wears. Your jeans are old and baggy, having once been your mother's, but faded just the same, and your tee-shirt is a plain black affair, bearing the emblem "Today, I am wearing mainly black" that your father got you last Christmas as a joke. You pull both of these of then crouch on the floor self consciously, not standing tall and proud like her. You lean forward so that your long brown hair masks you from her critical eyes. Your tee-shirt, again black, is baggy, and matched our mood completely. This time, all it says is "AFI". This you pair with baggy boys sleep shorts. You never try with your clothes - it's your life’s work to blend in.
At this point, one would expect a long story about what happens next, but no. Nothing, nothing really, happens next. She got into bed and you lay in your sleeping bag on the floor, awake, listening to her breathing. For a long time you thought she was asleep, for she did not speak. Then you heard four words, spoken softly out of the dark, but audible - just clear enough that there was no chance they were spoken in sleep.
"I love you Anna."
Your breath caught in your throat, but you said nothing in reply. You heard her sigh bitterly to herself, then roll over softly. You waited, but she didn't say any more. After another hour, her breathing became regular once more - she was asleep again. Slowly, and oh so painstakingly carefully, you peeled back your sleeping bag and stood up. There was no light now by which to see, for the lamp had long since been turned off - but there was just enough light from the street outside that you could make out the bed and the dark shape of the body between the thin sheets, for summer. Carefully you crept the few feet to the side of her bed, and lowered yourself softly onto the sheets beside her. For a moment the old, tired springs creaked, and you froze, your heart hammering in your throat for fear that you might have woken her up. Your breath shuddered when you let it out in relief that she was still asleep. You laid down beside her, gazing at her silhouette, and eventually fell asleep.
Relief washed over your when your eyes opened once more - if she had woken first, you never could have lived it down. And that is how you come to be lying here now, next to this angel whom you love so much. Through slyness and secrecy - you blush at the shame of it. If you were a decent person you would tell her - should tell her - what you had heard in the night, and that you felt it too, but you know in your heart of hearts that no matter how many times you tell yourself you will, you won't. Not when it comes to the crunch. You lay there and gazed at her contently until the first rays of sun crept through that gap, and you lie there still, just waiting. What for, you're not sure. But you know that you must move soon.
Then she shifts. Your heart leaps and you tumble backwards off the bed, crashing into the bedside table and setting fireworks loose behind your eyes. Sleep-bleary, she sits up, rubbing her eyes with one hand. She smiles bemusedly, her brow creased slightly.
"Anna? What are you doing?" The sentence trails into a yawn.
"Er, er, nothing." You scramble to your feet, tugging down your tee-shirt.
"Yes you were," she smirks. Then, "Were you in my bed?" A girlish grin spreads across her face.
Horror of horrors. "No, I was just checking if you were awake," you say. You are surprised by the casual calmness of your voice as the words tumble from your lips unbidden, like a panic reflex. "You know, before going down to breakfast."
"Oh," she says. The smile fades from her lips, and her eyes dim. You recognise that look. It's...disappointment? No. You mentally shake your head. Not disappointment. Just...
You swallow. "Coming?"
She smiles at you resignedly, that look still in place. "Okay then."
Your turn to smile now. "Why would I be in bed with you?" You laugh with fake disdain.
"I don't know, I just..." she shakes her head. "Never mind."
You smile and take her hand, pulling her upright from her bed. "Come on, silly. It's lovely day outside. We can go down to the river, huh? Take a breakfast picnic, what say you to that?"
She smiles, some of her sparkle coming back. "Sounds good," she nods, and inside you breathe a sigh of relief. Normal, everything's normal. No need to worry, she doesn't suspect. So your own eyes reflect the joy normally reserved for her, and hand in hand you go downstairs to back before dressing.
Today for you will be a good day. You will stroll, laughing and talking, down to the stream, when you will eat breakfast and bathe your feet, and talk about nothing for hours. At some point something inside of you will realise that there was something you missed, but you will not care enough you figure it out. For now, you are happy enough, and it will be just you, and her, sun shining off her hair like a halo, just being.
In the summer.