I open my eyes to see Michael's relaxed face. I feel his hand holding mine tightly, as if it was him who had bad dreams. When I shift my body underneath the blankets, his hand moves to my thigh, and his eyes open.
"Michael, I'm hungry."
"You're warm. Stay." He finally removes his hand from my thigh, but he puts it back when I move closer to him again.
"So what do you wanna do today?" I ask, sighing. Michael smiles.
"Do you want to learn how to play the guitar?" He pushes back a piece of my hair. My eyes widen.
"Fuck yeah!" I sit up and jump out of bed, causing Michael to groan.
"You were supposed to stay."
"Fuck that Michael, you're teaching me how to play electric guitar." I grin and open his dresser, then throw a pair of skinny jeans and a 'Sex Pistols' shirt at him. I exit his room and jump down the stairs, three at a time. When I walk into their bathroom, I see a collection of hair dyes on a shelf by the sink. I pick one up that has it's original label crossed out and replaced with 'it's fucking black'. I giggle to myself, then strip down and shower.
When I step out of the shower and glance at the hair dye again, I stop. From experience, you're supposed to only shampoo your hair before dying you hair. I think. At least that's what I read last time I dyed my hair brown for a couple months. I pick up 'it's fucking black' and pick up a pair of plastic gloves from beside the sink.
I squeeze some into my hand, then massage it into my wet hair. Halfway through, I realize that I forgot to put a towel around my shoulders and sigh in annoyance. I better not get any on my skin then.
I sit down on the toilet and throw my gloves into the trash can. I have to lean my head back in order to not get any on my back and shoulders. Which is a pain in the ass if you have nothing to do but go on your phone. Which is upstairs.
What the fuck.
Well what am I supposed to do for fifteen minutes? Sleep?
Just then, Michael knocks on the door. "Hurry the hell up, woman!" He calls to me. "Can I at least come in?" I grab a towel and wrap myself with it, then yell back.
"You may enter." When Michael walks in, he raises an eyebrow at me.
"You're dying your hair. And you're naked." He leans against the wall and looks at me.
"Stop staring at my boobs, dork." I pull the towel higher on my chest. Michael lifts his gaze to my face.
"You can wash it out now." He says, then helps me rinse my hair in the sink. When it's finally dry and brushed, and my eyeliner in a black ring around each of my eyes, we go to the garage and I pick up a guitar. "So what do you want to learn?" Michael picks up a white and black electric guitar, decorated with two x's.
I watch him plug his guitar into an amp with a long chord, and I do the same. When he strums, I do. His finger flattens against the strings and pressed on others in a chord I can't manage to copy.
"It's a barre chord." Michael chuckles at me, then pushes my finger down flat against the sharp metal strings. Raw from all of the previous chords, my throbbing finger refuses to do what I tell it to, so I put down the guitar, turn off the amp, and stand. Michael follows my actions, and raises his eyebrow.
"Wanna go for ice cream?" He smiles and tugs at my hand. I feel my lips tugging up at the corners, and can't help but say
I run out of the garage, and before he can set foot outside, I'm sitting on the leather seat of his motorcycle with my helmet on. He smiles as he turns it on, and drives away in a loud burst of speed. Michael parks in front of a home-made ice cream shop. When I'm about to open my mouth to order at the counter, he cuts me off and orders for me- a scoop of mint and bubble gum ice cream, bubblegum on the bottom because it tastes better.
As we sit down by the window, I hear twelve year old girls shipping us.
"Did you see him order for her? That's so sweet!"
"I want a boyfriend like that!"
"Ohmigosh I have a new OTP!"
I giggle and whisper in Michael's ear "those girls behind us think we're dating!" I lean back and watch a smile spread across his lips. Before he can talk, the ice cream lady sets our orders on the table and smiles sweetly at us before leaving.
I don't hesitate to tear through the minty goodness, and when I'm eating my last spoonful, I notice Michael watching me, amused. "What?"
"You just ate a large double scoop ice cream in less than five minutes. Aren't you girls supposed to be in some kind of health kick?" He inquires, thoughtfully tapping his chin. I roll my eyes.
"Michael. I listen to Slipknot to go to sleep, and would rather die than get a manicure every month. I'm not a normal girl." I point out, and Michael smiles, wide.
"That's why I hang out with you, Erik. There's a band playing in the park near my house. Wanna go check them out?" He asks, and I start to nod, then stop and chew my lip.
"I want to take you somewhere for once. Drive me to the mall, I'll buy some things, then you can drop me off by the abandoned gas station." I say, and walk out of the ice cream shop, Michael trailing behind me.
I walk into the mall, and I hear Michael trying to sneakily follow me. When I turn to face him, he frowns. "Please Erika? I won't look at what you're buying." He pleads, and I sigh.
"Fine, whatever." I continue walking until I reach a store I want to browse. I make Michael sit outside on a bench before I start to shop. I pick up a dress with a red plaid skirt and black top, then a skull earring for one of my cartilage piercings. When I walk out of the store, Michael eagerly jumps to his feet.
"Glad that's over. You were in there for ages!" He dramatically gasps and leads me out of the mall.
Michael stops at the abandoned gas station, as I requested. Reluctant to leave me alone, he grabs my arm before I can walk away. When I turn, his hand falls apologetically, and he hugs me.
"See you soon."
"Michael you're making it seem like I'm going to Africa forever. Go home and meet me when it's almost dark." I giggle and ruffle his hair, then skip away. I stop when I reach a small area of trees.
Michael let me touch his hair.
"Holy shit." I lean against a thin tree. He didn't even flinch. I wonder if he has feelings for me. Now, that seems like I'm jumping to a conclusion.
"No, he hasn't dated anyone in years." I say aloud to myself. But he hasn't let anyone close to him in years either, me being the exception. I sit down and count the things he remembers that nobody else would even think of.
My favorite color.
How I clench and unclench my fists when I'm angry.
How I cringe whenever someone tells me to do something differently.
How I scratch the walls with my nails when I'm frustrated.
The list could go on forever. An absentminded smile appears on my face. I hope he likes me. Because I know for sure that I like him back.
I change into my dress (which by chance looks great with my combat boots) and walk down to a stream. It is only two feet wide and struggling to make it over the rocks. The water is clearer than freshly cleaned glass, and ends in a water fall that pours into an underground tunnel. It makes me happy, knowing that I may as well be the only person who has been here.
I lay on my back and stare at the sky. It's the same color of blue as Michael once dyed his hair. I relax my muscles and close my eyes, listening to the sounds around me.