“Welcome to my humble abode,” he said, leading Maxie into his apartment. He dropped his gym bag at the door, kicked off his shoes. Maxie took hers off, too. His white carpet was spotless. The whole place was spotless.
“You live here?” she asked, peering around. It was as clean and as plain as a hotel room. “I could have guessed you were a neat freak.”
He scoffed. “You wouldn’t be saying that if you saw the kitchen. It’s an absolute wreck.”
“I’m not one for decorating.”
“Have a seat. I’m just going to hop in the shower.” He yawned as he made his way to his bedroom. “Watch some TV. I’ll just be a few minutes.”
She took a seat and turned on the television. She only got through half of a sitcom before he emerged again, looking rejuvenated and smelling fresh. He only wore a tank top and sweatpants, beads of water still decorated his muscular arms and shoulders.
“Are you ready for me to take you home?” he asked, but she couldn’t reply right away. Not while her eyes played on his perfect, bare arms. “Maxie?”
“Huh? Oh, no, actually. I mean, I’ll go, if you have something to do. But I’m not going home yet.”
“I have nothing to do,” he said, setting down beside her with a grin. “I’m glad you came to see me today.”
“I’ve missed you,” he said.
She blinked, and then barely audibly replied, “Me, too.”
He smiled, placed his arm on the back of the couch, behind her head. “How’s Alex? Did you two have a good night?”
“Ha-ha,” she said, rolling her eyes. He laughed. She was glad he could laugh about it. “He ended up just passing out in my bed. I slept on the couch.”
He leaned forward a bit, looked her in the eye. “You could have slept here.”
She inhaled sharply. Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe. She lost all sense when he looked at her like that. Exhaling, she turned away from his gaze. “It doesn’t look like you have many guests.”
“Nope,” he admitted. “None.”
“Ever. I think you’re maybe the fifth person that’s sat on this couch since I got it last year.”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I’m just wary about bringing people into my personal space.”
She chuckled. “But Isaac, there’s nothing personal about this space.”
He smiled. “Are you hungry? Can I make you something?”
“You mean another peanut butter and jelly sandwich?”
“They’re my specialty.”
“Sure, I’ll take one.”
He went to the kitchen and came back just a few minutes later.
“Dinner is served,” he said, bringing her the sandwich. She smiled as she took it, and he held onto the plate for a moment longer than he needed to, just to look at her. “Movie?” he asked.
“Sure,” she said, biting into the sandwich. “Mm, this may be your best one yet.”
“Funny or scary?”
“Scary, of course.”
He put on a movie, turned out the lights, and sat beside her again. Even closer than last time. Her body tensed at the proximity of his. She looked straight ahead at the television, ate her sandwich, said nothing, barely moved. How long did she manage not to look at him? How long was she able to sit there without touching him, despite his large body and long limbs outstretched? She wasn’t sure exactly how much time passed, but by the time she finally dared steal a glance in his direction, he was asleep.
When Isaac woke, Maxie was still next to him, still curled up in the corner, asleep, with one of her legs draped over his lap. He blinked, still a bit disoriented from sleep. What time was it? How long had he been out? He looked at her again and sighed, annoyed with himself. How the hell did he fall asleep? Finally, time alone with her again, and he fell asleep.
The movie was still playing. It was just a few minutes in. Maybe twenty. Just twenty minutes, that wasn’t so bad. He carefully moved her legs and stood up. He glanced at the time on the cable box and gasped. Had he thought only twenty minutes had passed? It’d been two hours. He had fallen asleep for two hours.
“Fuck,” he groaned. He wanted to wake her, but he was afraid to. How upset would she be? How annoyed? He contemplated just letting her sleep. After all, she’d let him sleep. For two hours, at that. Sighing again, he picked up her empty plate and went to the kitchen. Turning the corner, he nearly dropped it.
The kitchen. It was spotless.
Shining spotless. Eat straight off the counters spotless. There wasn’t a dish, not a crumb, not a single piece of trash to be found anywhere. No wonder she was asleep. It must have taken her the entire two hours to get the job done. He took a step inside. It even smelled clean. The dishes were stacked neatly in the cabinet. The garbage was tied up under the sink. The countertops glistened. Even the refrigerator was wiped clean.
He let out a disbelieving chuckle and went back to the living room. He sat down beside her, and she stirred and opened her eyes. “You’re up,” she said, smiling.
“And you’re crazy.”
Her eyebrows furrowed. “Huh?”
“You cleaned my kitchen,” he said, barely able to get the words out. His heart was so full for her, so full he could barely stand it. “You crazy girl.”
“Oh, yeah,” she said, as nonchalantly as ever. “It was a mess.”
“I know that,” he said. “It was a fucking trainwreck.”
She smiled. “You were so tired. And your eye.” She reached up and touched it. It took all the strength he had not to turn to her open palm and kiss it. “How does it feel?”
“It feels fine, Maxie.”
“You were only working out so hard because of me,” she said.
“Stop blaming yourself for everything,” he said, taking her hand. “I can’t believe you cleaned that fucking kitchen.”
“Well, I felt so energized after that sandwich.”
He laughed. She simply lay there, smiling, gazing up at him. “What am I going to do with you?” he asked. Then he stopped laughing, dropped his eyes, squeezed her hands. “What am I going to do with you, Maximilienne?”
Pulling her hand away, she sat up. “I should probably go.”
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