There was something special about this guy, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. Maybe she was still reeling from the feed at the bar, but Elend had now been making out with Joel on his couch for almost an hour. She couldn’t remember the last time she acted like such a schoolgirl or had locked lips with a human, but she had no urge to stop.

Joel didn’t really know what he was doing either. He wasn’t in the habit of bringing home women he had just met at bars.

Or bringing home women.

Or meeting women at bars.

Well, not the kind that one would want to bring home, especially not at his local spot.

Joel’s stomach gurgled. He ended up drinking more milk and staying at the bar later than he usually did on a Monday night knowing he had to be back to work in the morning. Staying up late and drinking a ton of milk was an easy sacrifice considering the position he was in now.

Elend could carry on like this indefinitely, never tiring (although she would have to be in bed before the sun came up anyway) but did not wish to impose or overstay her welcome. Why was she so concerned about his well being? She still didn’t know but envied him for his ability to get a few hours of peaceful slumber during the night, in exchange for the enjoyment of warmth in the daylight. Pulling her thoughts back to the present moment she mumbled against his mouth, “don’t you need to get up for work in a few hours?”

Joel tore himself away from her and looked at the digital clock on the bookshelf through desire-clouded and drowsy eyes. “Oh, yeah. It’s okay.” In reality he was glad that she stopped him he thought as he smoothed his hand over his rumpled hair. For one, this whole situation seemed too good to be true. And two, he had absolutely no idea what he was doing with a woman in his apartment or how far to take things. Joel was a gentleman by default because he never had the opportunity to be anything otherwise.

Elend looked at the clock. It was late. If he would be okay with her daysleeping this could work. What was she doing already factoring this man into her life? She still had a few hours to figure it out before she turned in.

She then became distracted by the number of books on Joel’s massive bookshelf covering the wall of his apartment. Awkwardly she said, “I see you like to read, ” and stood up, walking towards the books. The relief Joel felt about Elend ending their little session quickly faded as she left his side. It was the first time he noticed the warm flush he was experiencing, as if an oscillating fan pushing cool air had turned away from him.

Elend ran her finger tip along the bound titles and chose one. Moving back to the far end of the sofa, she curled up and cracked the cover without making eye contact with Joel as he watched her, ignoring her selection. The oscillating fan was aiming at him again. A deep sense of comfort and peace overwhelmed him in the sudden absence of awkwardness.  A welcome and heavy sleepiness eased his head back on the couch cushion and he fell asleep.


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