Alice curls up on her couch, in cotton-knit girl-pajamas with a little pink ribbon at the neck and her collarbone showing, holding the Criminal Code in her lap. Nancy leans in, across the book, and kisses her. Just a soft mouth, but hands on either side of Alice's shoulders so she can't escape. Nancy says, "You had chocolate on your face."
"How long's it been there?"
"You let me go into court like that?"
"You didn't ask if you had anything on your face."
"People were making *faces* at me. I thought I'd violated some kind of social rule."
"You did have chocolate on your face. This is why you should stick to granola bars."
"I'm going to have to. You ate all my cookies."
"I did not!"
"Yes you did. I could taste them. When you." Alice leans in and kisses her back.
Sometime after the Code hits the floor and Nancy's settled into Alice's lap, Alice wonders whether they should go to bed or just build a kind of pillow-and-blanket fort in the living room.
A bird flies into her window and plummets down to street level. Alice takes off Nancy's very-clean navy blue socks and rubs a hand over her foot's arch.
"Oh, hey. No."
"You're just daring me now."
"I'm being *intimate* and *open* with you. If you violate my trust now, I'll be ruined. And then I'll be homeless and sit outside your office begging for change." She pauses. "I could shower at the gym. I'd still have clean hair. I'm dedicated to being a better class of stalker than we represent." Big earnest eyes.
Nancy's pajamas are navy satin. She looks strange without anything pink on. Alice unbuttons a couple of the navy blue plastic buttons and rubs her fingers over Nancy's skin until it pinks up.
Another bird hits the window. It got warm and now the birds are insane, crying all night and flocking up, eating fermented berries and pooping all over cars and flying drunk into buildings.
Nancy says, "Can we make them stop doing that? Like, turn out the lights or put something big in the window to scare them away?"
"Would you be scared of a plastic thing in a window if you were drunk and flying?"
Nancy sits up. Her pajama blouse is unbuttoned almost to her waist. "I wouldn't fly drunk. I'd wait until I was sober."
"I'll remind you of that when you grow wings."
Alice looks down at her exposed belly and preens a little. "Did you still want to know why I chose criminal law?"
"No, that's stunningly apparent at the moment."
"It wasn't because of *you*."
"Sure it was." Alice ducks in and finds a plum-coloured nipple in the navy tangle of Nancy's blouse.
"Very mature." She decides to suck on it.
Nancy likes that. A lot. Outside, two birds collide in mid-air.
As it happens, they make a fort in the living room, out of all the blankets off Alice's bed. The birds don't stop singing the entire time.
[29 March 2004]