Alice stared at the time on the clock, absolutely disgusted to see that it was already 7 am. Sunlight was streaming in the window, dustmotes dancing in it's rays. Okay, that's a lie. It's Canada, at 7 am, November 29th which meant that it'd be gloomy for another hour or so, then it'd be a bighter murky overcast and then there'd be snow.

She hadn't gotten a single blink of sleep. On the one side it was because her nightmare had had its a** kicked by that kiss. On the flip side that kiss had knocked every chance of sleep right out of her head. Why had he kissed her? Did that mean he liked her? It couldn't mean he liked her, he was saying good bye to go back to his girlfriend. But then why had he kissed her? The questions tumbled around inside her head and Alice stared up at the ceiling with no answers to any of them. Just because he kissed her didn't mean he liked her. She was young but no longer naive; she knew that he was angry and most guys need to do something that made them feel in control when they were angry. When the person you're mad at is female, there are a couple of easy ways to do that. He'd physically overpowered her, even if he'd never hurt her, and then he'd stated his dominance by kissing her. She'd read enough on behavioural psychology to get that this was pretty standard, but cold facts did absolutely nothing to settle the hot tingles she had pounding from toes to hair when she thought about that kiss.

She rolled over onto her stomache and grabbed her cell phone. Maybe the collective mind would be better at figuring this out?

Need your opinions: fighting w/ male friend about his g/f. Were angry but then he kissed me. Then walked out wtf?

She sent the mass text to her friends, figuring that between Kim, Justine, Sammy, Theresa and Butch there should be at least some kind of clue. And some well rounded perspective. Kim was outgoing and a risk taker, Justine was a gossip but she seemed to have a good head on her shoulders, Theresa was reserved and cautious, Sammy was shy but romantic and Butch was... well Butch. He wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed but he was honest to a fault. And a guy, so his opinion might make the most sense. And she was still worrying about it! Gah! She couldn't get that kiss off her mind.

Alice flung the blankets aside and quietly slipped into the washroom. Salali's apartment was a top loft in a six story building. Meant that it had more space than most two bedroom apartments, but got hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Right now the tiles of the bathroom floor were stingingly cold as her bare feet shuffled over it. She turned up the hot water and waited until it would be pleasant before she stepped under the spray. Like always, the drumming of water against her skull, neck and back helped her body relax. There was just something so theraputic to a good shower, when she was not in a rush and could just enjoy the pummel of water massaging the aching muscles caused by dancing and silence the turmoil in her head and heart. Alice was getting angry with herself now, so everytime her mind started to wander back to Malcolm and his troublesome mouth, she jerked her thoughts away and focused on counting backwards from 999. Like always she'd feel the calm cocoon her thoughts and for a brief while she'd be relaxed and without worry.

Her enforced calm held while she scrubbed, shaved, shampooed and generally soaked in the shower and even lasted while she toweled off. But when she cleared the steam from the mirror, it all came flooding right back. Ace was looking at her reflection, hair wet and tangled, eyes wide with surprise, lips a little flush from the shower. Her tattoos were partially exposed, the one down her arm bare to the world, and the towel around her torso concealing most of the dragon down her back. She stared through the tattoos to the scars beneath, memory more than capable of finding the edges of the scar tissue. The tattoo artist she'd found had viewed covering her burn scars as the ultimate challenge. He'd been great about it, telling her the difficulties in tattooing the scar tissue, how it could keloid, the ink might not take etc... So he'd started on her arm where the scarring was lightest and played with the technique and type of ink until he found one that covered the scar tissue almost flawlessly. And a neat side effect was that the slightly metallic ink he'd ended up having to use made her tattoos always look wet and fresh, tricking the mind into thinking that these were fake tattoos.

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