four

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from what little experience she had been able to gather from her friends and her sister, maya deducted that the morning after was not fun. mel had always described her course home after a late night of 'boozing and banging', as she liked to call it, as a 'walk of shame'. maya could recall several instances clearly, a college-fresh melanie stumbling in before dawn clad in unfamiliar clothes, fixing herself an atrocious breakfast of straight, black coffee and plain wheat toast as she raved about her suitor of the previous night. at the time, maya had been slightly envious of her sister. she had seemed so mature and experienced at the time, and maya would soak up every bit of information that she could. melanie had always seemed to live an exciting and wonderful life. but now, waking up in an unfamiliar bed, surrounded by foreign pictures and the smell of tobacco, she had trouble finding the appeal that she had always imagined.

the ink-black walls were covered top-to-bottom in retro looking posters and signs, vinyl records hung precariously beside the doorframe, piles of used clothes strung across the small floor space. a chill breeze danced across the room, making maya uncomfortably aware of how undressed she was. clad in only a black bra and season-appropriate reindeer underwear, she shivered as she pulled the red covers up to her pounding head. her memory of the night before was faint, if there at all. she could remember leaving the bar with calum, and taking the bus back to his place, however she could not quite recall where they had gotten off, or what had happened after that. although she could make some deductions based on her lack of actual clothing.

examining the contents of the floor, she tried to identify anything that she could use to cover herself up, preferably something of her own belonging. spotting a pair of distinctly feminine, familiar jeans, maya pulled them up over her legs, eyes still scouring the floor for the top she was wearing the night before. cursing her sisters choice of tiny clothing, she settled on grabbing a large white t-shirt from the distinctly cleaner end of the room, hoping it wasn't too worn as she slipped it over the insufferably bedhead she was sporting.

she could discern that she was in fact, in calum's room. she admired the pictures on the bedside table, an older photo of a much younger calum smiling next to an older, tattooed girl as she slung her arm around his shoulder, and a distinctly newer portrait of him and three other boys, all frozen in permanent grins, holding each other together by the shoulders. she couldn't help but smile at the few photos, there was something distinctly innocent and truly happy about the frames, as if they represented an easier, happier era.

"shit!" she could hear the muffled shout quite clearly, although it seemed to be a few rooms over. curiosity taking hold of her, she slipped out of the comfortable, double bed in favour of exploring the hallway that lie behind the bedroom door.

the nearly too-white hallway lead into a larger open area, a few worn couches and a television crowded into one corner, and on the other side a small, cramped kitchen holding barely enough room for the small fridge and stovetop. from where she was standing, she could only really make out a tanned muscled back and a head of dark hair bent over, if the pungent smell was any indication, a pan of terribly burnt eggs. she could hear a groan of frustration as the boy tried to salvage at least a part of his breakfast, to no avail, and went to scraping it into the trash. she could feel a lump in her throat begin to grow as she examined his tattooed arms, she was sure he had explained to her a few of them the previous night, but she couldn't seem to remember.

that was the prime issue at hand, she could not, for the life of her, remember what had happened after leaving the bar. endless possibilities reeled through her restless brain; why was she in her underwear? had they slept together? was it good? oh god, was it bad? what if she had made a weird noise? why couldn't she remember?

"hey, sleepyhead." maya snapped herself out of her own thoughts, head snapping up to meet chocolate eyes.

"uh, hey." still feeling overwhelmed by her never-ending train of thought, maya could feel her heartbeat pick up lightly. although the kitchen still reeked with the stench of burning eggs, she couldn't help but admire the sleepy smile falling across calum's face, and the disheveled bedhead falling into his eyes.

"so, uh, i was gonna make eggs, seriously, but turns out i'm absolute shit at making breakfast." maya giggled, glancing towards the charcoal-black eggs sitting at the top of the trash can. "but luckily, i also made coffee." maya nodded, although calum had already turned to reach for two mugs in the small, wood cupboard above the stove.

despite the continuously growing feeling of tightness in her chest, she still could feel the familiarity from last night helping her along. calum was funny, and easy to talk to, even for someone like her. "shame, i was looking forward to burnt eggs for breakfast."

"you know, i know that you're joking but it still makes me feel kind of good about myself." maya prided herself on the slight laugh that escaped his lips.

"what do you take?"

"two creams and a sugar, please."

throughout her life, maya had mostly learned how to deal with and conceal the awkwardness she often felt inside, and there was an abundance of it. she had trouble remembering names and maintaining small talk, she couldn't count the number of times she had walked in on melanie while she was entertaining her male company, and even walked into a crowded men's restroom on new year's eve, twice. and yet she had never felt as out of place as she did sitting on a wooden stool in calum hood's kitchen. he was being so kind, and yet maya could not tame the discomfort growing inside of her.

she absolutely could not stand the blank space in her memory. it was as if someone had simply opened up her brain and taken them away in her sleep. melanie had often told her that her unending curiosity was a curse as much as it was a blessing. she could easily get herself onto someone's bad side, or learn things that she didn't want to by asking the wrong questions. unable to stop herself, the words tumbled across her lips before she had even thought them through.

"so, was it good?"

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