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To Wake A Sleeper

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“Do you dream about me?”

“No,” Lindsey finally says quietly, “Go.”

Oddly enough, he does. Not always, but sometimes. He only really notices after Angel asked him, and it's unsettling. At first it's the regular stuff, dreams not unlike the ones he had in College about that long legged blonde (shut up) that refused to go out with him, but with a twist, so when his dreams change, he blames the damn flowers.

***

When he comes out of the office building, late again, Angel is there, smiling a little and walking up to him.

“Long day,” he asks.

It's the tone that gives him away, the genuine interest.

“I'm dreaming,” Lindsey answers and wakes.

***

He tries to stay longer in the dream, tries not to judge and just see what his subconscious wants from him by having Angel pick him up from work, or calling at work, or meeting him at lunch. It's too different though, and he wakes too soon and then stays awake, disoriented and staring at his alarm clock. He gets less and less sleep which is why when Angel calls him at work, he does not say anything at first, waiting to wake up.

“Lindsey?”
“Huh?”
“Are you still there?”
“Well, yes...”

Angel is quiet for a moment, and Lindsey still is waiting. He breathes in and out and looks at his desktop clock. Waking never took that long, he wonders when the 7 becomes an 8.

“I just wondered... um.”
“Look, I'm a little busy here, can you say what you want without stuttering?”

And that was a little mean. Lindsey cringes.

“I wondered whether you want me to pick you up so we could have something to eat maybe,” Angel rushes out. It is all really one word and doesn't the guy need to breathe? Oh, wait.

“Uh, what?”
“Food, Lindsey. Forget it.”
“No!”

Angel pauses and is very quiet. No matter how hard Lindsey tries he cannot hear anything at all.

“What about 8?”
“Yeah.”
“Here at the office? No wait, you can't come here.”
“Your home.”
“Do you know where I live?”
“Lindsey.”
“Right. Alright. 8 then.”

Lindsey still sits in his car at ten past. This should be a dream, he thinks, it fucking should be. He should never have said yes. He should never even have accepted the fucking flowers, because the minute they had been delivered he had known Angel had sent them.

He gets out of the car, locks it, stares at his briefcase still lying inside. He unlocks the door again, grabs the briefcase, locks the door again.

“Nervous,” Angel asks and Lindsey almost drops his fucking briefcase. Instead he turns and, somehow, Angel looks almost nervous himself. He carries a brown paper bag and lifts it up so that half his face is hidden.

“I brought food,” he says.

Lindsey tries a smile. “So you're not taking me out,” he asks while walking past Angel and up to the apartment complex. He turns and smiles again when he sees that Angel follows.

“I thought you'd prefer it this way,” Angel says quietly.

They walk up to Lindsey's apartment in silence, and Lindsey tries to make sense of it all.

He still can't make sense of it all when Angel unpacks what's in the paper bag, starts cutting onions and tomatoes and herbs. Lindsey watches him put water on the stove, and a pan, cooking some red sauce in it while waiting for the water to boil. He hardly listens to what Angel says, some quiet, almost comfortable story about being in Italy or someplace like that, but instead he watches Angel, his hands, his sure movements. Lindsey finds himself waiting to wake up, suspecting that this is a dream, more elaborate and detailed, but still a dream.

He doesn't wake when Angel asks him to set the table or taste the sauce. He doesn't wake when they sit down to eat and not when Angel finally gets up again, after what were over two hours of a conversation Lindsey does not recall; he only remembers the half lit room and their hushed voices, the afterglow of the Shiraz Angel had brought, rich and dark red and tasting of berries.

He doesn't wake when he sees Angel to the door and touches his sleeve as a goodbye.

He only wakes the next morning and then stumbles into the kitchen, looks at the dirty plates and glasses, the pot and pan, the left over bread that's now hard and curling on the plate. He smiles a little then, at the impossibility of it all, the details he couldn't have come up with in a dream.