Jonny announces himself with a suppressed yawn and the settling of weight on her shoulder. His arms wind around her, an early morning display of affection she acknowledges with a fond nudge of her head.
"Is that all you can make?" he asks and presses a kiss to her neck. His voice is raw, barely audible above the sizzling oil.
"Are you questioning my culinary expertise?" Batter sprays from the ladle Harley brandishes like a weapon, daring him to agree.
He shrugs and crouches down to take out a carton of orange juice out of the fridge below the hotplate. "It‘s just that you make pancakes every time you stay over."
"It ain‘t like I can do much with the distinct lack of groceries around here."
Carton hovering an inch from his mouth, Jonny's eyes then fall on the boxer briefs she's wearing. "That‘s my last clean pair," he says and tugs it from its resting place around her hips. It drops onto her feets, and her toes curl, resolute not to relinquish it just yet.
"So forward, Jonny." It's actions like this that remind her her libido is dormant out of necessity, out of fear, not because she's made that way.
"Kindly move your feet. I gotta get to work."
Harley complies this time, wondering if Jonny has ever had moments of doubts, moments when his sexuality wasn't as absent as he thought it should be. Then again, doubt is nothing she'd associate with him, ever. He's so certain about everything. She used to be like that. Carefree, unburdened.
Until that one pregnancy scare in high school, the result of both her inability to stand up to her boyfriend at the time and his disregard for her wishes. Sex lost its appeal after that, overshadowed by the very real possibility of creating new life. Harley's not ready for that, and no amount of contraceptives could ease her mind. She might have felt safer with a girl at her side, but well, it's not like you can influence who you fall in love with.
And Jonny is good to her, good for her. She has to worry about none of that with him, except that sometimes she does, out of habit.
She flips the pancake and groans. It's a little singed, but salvageable. She's been spacing out for too long.
"Shall I pack some for you?"
"I'll take one for the road," he says, now dressed in black slacks and a faded Pennywise T-shirt, ready for his job at the record store, a remnant from his days as resident punk kid at Gotham High. He rolls up the pancake on top of the pile and takes a bite. His face twitches and he chews slowly, trying not to spit it out again.
"Sure that's enough?"
"The amount of sugar in them is going to last me all day."
After a greasy parting kiss, he leaves her alone in a tiny apartment crowded with her thoughts and the smell of pancakes.