She came in, still walking gingerly, her hand still bandaged up, her hair in a crazy mess, utterly exhausted. I suppose I couldn’t blame her for wanting to avoid me a little–but I also couldn’t just let her keep on ignoring this. I had to figure something out–just for my peace of mind.
“I know, okay, I know,” Priya started, almost uncharacteristically jagged in her speech, “I owe you an explanation–probably several. But, is there any way I can convince you to let me rest first? Just for a little while.”
“I–yeah,” I looked at her again, and I just couldn’t press for answers now. Not when she looked like this. Not when she really needed the rest. “You fought hard today. I know that. But, Priya I’m just–” I cut off, not sure how to describe what I was.
“Confused? Angry? Scared? Unsure?” Priya offered for me.
“All of the above?” I smiled back.
“Yeah,” she laughed. It sounded like a chorus of angels. “Yeah, me too.” She shrugged off her dirt covered jacket and sat down on the edge of her bed. “Come here. Rest with me. You could use a nap too, I’m sure. And when we wake up–we can have a frank and forthright conversation until we are both satisfied? Deal?”
A nap did sound pretty amazing, to be honest. Priya might not have let me go out on the front lines–but it didn’t mean I didn’t spend most of the day fighting as well. Sleep would–I don’t know–calm the nerves, maybe? Something.
She laid down, scooting so that she was closer to the wall, giving me plenty of room to lay down next to her. I took off my muddy jacket and pulled off my boots so that I would drag too much dirt and grime into her bed, and then I laid down next to her, turning so that we could look each other in the eye. So we hadn’t gotten the chance to have our conversation–so I didn’t know what she was thinking or where she stood–but damn it was nice to be here with her, in this moment of calm, in this quiet understanding–I felt safe. For the first time in a very long time, I felt safe laying her beside her, questions answered or not.
“Anna Belle, I want to ask–I mean, I don’t have any right to, I know but… Would it be okay if I kissed you again?”
“I–uh, you, well,” I took a deep breath and tried again. “Yes. Yes, I think it would be alright if you kissed me again.”
Priya smiled wide, sliding a little bit closer to me on the bed. She reached up and wrapped her hand around my neck pulling me in slightly so that my lips met hers. It was a mostly chaste kiss, lip against lip, gentle pressure. But it made me warm and it made my stomach pull flip flops all over the place. Priya sighed against my lips, and pulled away. “Thank you. I wanted the chance to kiss you properly. You know–to make up for my haste earlier.”
“O-kay,” I mumbled, because that was all I could think of to say, and what I really wanted to do was pull her in closely and kiss her again–and again and maybe even do something more than just kissing her, but I could see her eyes closing, and now that I was laying down, I could feel my eyelids getting heavy too. A nap. Yes. a nap first, and then we’d figure out what was going on.