Elodie was asleep on the couch, her small body sprawled out in awkward angles. I sat my purse down on the floor, kicked my shoes off, and covered her with her favorite blanket. Her grandmother had made it for her when she was a kid. It was really worn now, almost threadbare, but she slept with it every day. Her grandma had passed a few years back; Elodie cried every time she talked about it.
I wondered if she missed her family. She was so far from them and pregnant, with a husband away at war. She didn't talk about her parents much, but I got the impression they weren't very keen on her running away to the U.S with a young soldier she'd met on the Internet.
I couldn't say I blamed them. Elodie moved a little when I turned off the TV.
"Did you want to watch that?" I asked Kale. I forgot that he would be sleeping out here and considered waking Elodie up to come to my bed.
"No, it's cool."
Oh, this man of many words.
I continued, "Well, I'm going to put this pie in the fridge and go to bed. I have to work in the morning."
Kale nodded and sat down in my red chair. Was he going to sleep there?
"Do you need a blanket?" I asked.
He shrugged and said, "If you have one," almost under his breath.
I grabbed an old comforter from the hallway closet and brought it to him. He thanked me and I told him goodnight again. I felt wide awake when I got to my bed. Through the night, I thought about how Kale had been with my dad and Estelle, how he somehow managed to make the dinner more bearable. I thought about the kind and unexpected way he filled up my gas tank and then, of course, because I overthink everything, I thought about how I should pay him back for the gas, even if he didn't want me to.
I felt so restless. I turned over, grabbed a pillow, and put it between my legs, hugging it close. I thought about how it would be really nice to have a warm body in bed next to me. At least then I'd have someone to talk to when I couldn't sleep. Unless it was Kale. I smiled at the thought, thinking how if it was him in my bed ...
I caught myself before I went any further.
What the hell was wrong with me that I was picturing Kale in my bed? I needed physical contact, that had to be the reason that no matter how much I tried to think about anything else—anyone else—I couldn't help but imagine him lying next to me, staring up at the ceiling the way he'd stared out the windshield the whole ride home.
It had been almost a year since I had slept with anyone. Hell, even kissed anyone. Brien and I had gone back and forth a little, still making out in his car after I promised myself I would never speak to him again. The last time I let it happen was in his barracks room, when I rolled over and something jabbed my side.
An earring. I'd felt like I was in a movie because, one, who loses an earring while hooking up and doesn't notice? And, two, I had been playing the part of the lonely, desperate-for-attention girl who knew her guy was hooking up with other girls, but it took a hideous hoop earring to make her admit it to herself.
We fought about it. He said it must have been his roommate's girlfriend's earring and had nothing to say when I reminded him that I had seen his roommate hook up with multiple people, not one of whom was female.
I grabbed my phone to scroll through social media to get Brien out of my head. I typed Kale's name in Elodie's friends list but nothing came up, so I searched for him again. I found a profile with less than one hundred friends, which seemed odd to me. I didn't talk to ninety-nine percent of the people I was "friends" with, but I still had almost a thousand. That seemed excessive, having a thousand people I didn't talk to have access to me.
His profile picture was a group shot of Kale with three other soldiers. They were all dressed in ACUs and standing next to a tank. Kale was grinning in the picture, maybe even laughing, that's how bright his smile was. It was weird to see him like that, his arm around one of the guys. But apart from his profile picture, I couldn't get any information from his page at all. Everything was private. I almost requested to be his friend, but it felt stalker-ish to send him a Facebook request while he was sleeping on my chair in the living room
I clicked out of his profile and started scrolling through my Facebook friends, unfriending people who I barely knew. I removed about a hundred before I fell asleep.