lix. love & soggy banana bread

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The soft percussion of raindrops hits the windows. Somber grey light casts through Ace's windows, greeting my heavy waking eyelids. I nuzzle deeper into the blankets, pulling them over my head. They wouldn't budge.

Moments later, the warm blanket envelops me. A hand trails through my hair. I look up to see Ace, gazing down at me in his arms, pulling the blanket over me. His hand tightens around my waist after he kisses the top of my head.

Dark rings encircle his eyes, bringing out the golden light that was nearly completely quashed a week prior. Ace had finally done it—he beat his brother. All of us, together, had finally apprehended Ian. Though now I learned the truth: his name was never Ian Lochland, but rather, Ian Blackwell.

Spots of color enter my vision. The clock on Ace's desk blinks 4:00 PM. I look at the Star Trek poster worn with age by his bedside, examining the rainbow spectrum sprawling, like traces of hope, behind the characters.

I'd been sleeping by Ace for the last couple of days. He often woke up with terrors, shaking until he finally found me, until he finally held me.

He gently touches my hand. "How long have I been sleeping?" I ask, toying with the cotton on my tank top.

"Two hours," he grins. "Although since that's your third nap of the day, it's been a total of twelve hours. Almost impressive, you sedated polar bear."

At least he's making jokes now. "And how long have you been sleeping, you giraffe working a twenty-two hour shift on crack?"

"Creative. But about an hour."

I sit up to look at him. "The truth, Banana Bread. Just because you can tell when people are lying by pulling that weird wrist shit, doesn't mean I can't as well."

Ace's gaze flickers away. "I haven't slept."

"You need to sleep, before tomorrow, okay?" He nods. I run a hand through my hair and get up to stretch. "I'm going to check on everyone else."

Except, when I get up, my legs forget how to maintain homeostasis, and I fall. Ace begins to chuckle at my fall. My middle finger rises immediately as his middle finger simultaneously rises as well.

"Well, I guess you do take fat naps. We did finally sleep together," Banana Bread chides.

I deadpan him. The cool floor causes me to shiver. He gestures to his drawer, "Grab one of my jackets. Emma is in your room, and you shouldn't disturb her."

My fingertips run through the various bomber jackets, sweaters, and leather jackets before landing on a dark-green hoodie. I raise an eyebrow in his direction. "Why do you have enough leather jackets to make all the movies Tom Cruise has ever been in?"

He shrugs. "Leather is the most protective material." My face sprouts red at the thought of him wearing the jackets, and I turn around without giving his smug face the satisfaction of knowing.

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