((10/19 Announcement: No more Falling Leaves chapters until December, as I will be writing something else for National Novel Writing Month. Look it up; it’s pretty super neato and can be a good motivator to get your stuff written down.))
For a long time I stared at the unfamiliar ceiling. And off-white one with a fire sprinkler off to the side. One arm supported my head under my pillow while Jun held the other hostage. In the night she curled up next to me and pulled my arm to her, locking her thighs around my leg as if I wouldn’t be there when she opened her eyes. I felt my sweat-damp skin stick to her cheek and soft chest. The sun started shining through the window a while ago, reflecting off her messy brown curls. A strand got stuck in the corner of her mouth.
I ran my fingers through my greasy hair and sighed. “We have work today, don’t we?”
Before I could jostle Jun awake, she mumbled some dreaming gibberish to herself, shimmied closer to me, and twitched her ears in tandem with each other. And just like that I didn’t have the heart to wake her up
A painful emptiness in my stomach audibly writhed around my innards, kicking in my survival instincts. Carefully I extracted my arm from between her boobs and put on my boxers. She flopped onto her stomach and mumbled something into the pillow, arms jutting out at odd angles.
We managed to kick her comforters off the edge of the bed. In addition, our activities last night left a path of discarded clothes from the door to the sheets and covered the floor in the fallout. Thinking about it didn’t help suppress my morning wood. I closed the door to let her sleep a bit longer.
With all the power of a fully equipped kitchen, I started making something resembling breakfast. She had a few eggs and bagels available, though the latter were a bit stale. Nothing her toaster and some butter couldn’t fix, though. If I knew how to use her coffeemaker I would’ve made some of that, too. I recalled that she needed the stuff to wake up. Or was that Sylvia?
The clock on her oven read 6:47 AM. Her alarm must have been set to 7:00 or something. Both of us started at 8:00, so we had some time.
As I poked at the eggs in the pan, my thoughts turned to work. Given the current situation, there was no way I could get to my place, change clothes, and get to work on time. Then again, if I went to work in the same clothes I wore yesterday from the same direction as Sylvia, people would’ve taken notice. On the topic, however, Sylvia probably had the power to excuse my tardiness for the day. I needed to talk to Jun about it.
Speaking of Jun, I heard her clamor around her bedroom. After a few moments of bumping around the room, she tore open the door, wrapped up in a sheet from her bust to her ankles. She stood in the doorframe, eyes staring unblinking at me, her ears flattened against her head, and panting with uneven breaths.
I poked the eggs again. “Uh, hi. Sorry, did I wake you up?”
She took an uneasy step toward the kitchen, never taking her eyes off me. “No. No, uh, I— are you cooking?”
“Yeah. I got hungry. Just eggs and bagels, though. Didn’t really ask permission, so, how about you? Are you hungry? Should be enough for both of us.” That might have been stretching the truth a bit; she only had three eggs left.
In the living room, her legs wobbled a little. She had to use the wall to steady herself.
“Whoa, you okay?” Setting down the spatula I went to help her.
She let herself slump to her knees, the sheet covering all but her head and the tip of her tail. “Yeah, just—” When Jun blinked, a gleam of tears shined in her eyes. Oh God she was crying. “Heh heh. This feels a little familiar.”
Kneeling down, I echoed, “’Familiar?’ Seriously, Jun, you okay?”
She smiled wide. “The first time we met, I covered up like this, too.” It took me a moment, but I remembered her sitting in my apartment wrapped up in one of my sheets, desperately trying to explain herself despite how drunk she was. “But now you’re calling me by name and— and making me breakfast at my place. Heheh.” Her weak laughs continued, only for tears to slide down her cheeks. “S-sorry, I’m such a crybaby. Ugh.”
I put a hand on the back of her head and pulled her to my shoulder where she quietly sniffled and nuzzled.
After a long hard sniff, she whispered, “When I woke up I thought you left.”
Crap. “Uh. Sorry.”
“No, don’t. Thank you for staying. And everything else— F-for giving me a chance like this.”
I stayed quiet, feeling that anything I said would have ruined the moment.
While she wiped her eyes with the sheet and gathered herself, I turned off the stove and returned to the living room.
“You okay?” I asked. She nodded, biting her lips as if to keep herself from smiling. I leaned down to her and put a hand on her chin. Though surprised at the contact, she let herself smile as our lips touched.
“G-good morning!” she laughed into my mouth.
“Morning.” Then I remembered our work predicament and itched at the back of my head. “So, about getting to work today.” She snapped to attention. “I could go change at my place and come in later if you want. Don’t think it’d be a good idea to go in with the stuff I wore yesterday. How do you wanna handle this?”
“Uh.” For a second Jun stared at me, then laughed to herself. She put a hand on my shoulder, stood on the tips of her toes, and kissed me again. The warmth of her lips lingered on mine when she pulled away. “What do you think about having the day off?” For a moment her eyes looked toward her bedroom.
I cleared my throat. “I can be convinced.”