After a long day of only tangentially relevant career seminars, and struggling to keep Eliza on task, Henry looked forward to crawling into his provided room and going straight to bed.
Despite his multiple warnings, Eliza believed she’d get her own room. Henry was also aware that no one else in the company would actively choose to room with her unless lives were at stake. So he shouldn’t have been surprised when Eliza dragged him off to room with her.
Still Henry felt the cosmos must simply have it in for him.
Why else had he sat as Eliza counted her brushstrokes through her hair, and obeyed Eliza’s directive to either plug his ears or wait in the hall for her oral care routine.
“Because you will not listen to me spit, or gargle, or floss. Our friendship is not at sharing dental care level.”
Henry was too bushed to stand in the hall, nor did he want to risk that Eliza might conveniently “forget” him out there, so he jammed his fingers in his ears.
He did not miss her “eww” as she retreated to the ensuite.
When she emerged, in a silky tank and shorts combo that had him wondering what it feel like as he slid that fabric up over her torso and down over her hips, and her hair did look touchably soft after all that brushing...
“Henry!” Eliza snapped his fingers in front of his face, yanking Henry back to reality. “I’m done now,” she said, which he translated mentally to “the restroom is free if you’d like it,” for his own mental well-being.
He headed briskly to the sink, splashing cold water over his face to rein in his errant thoughts. Admiring the view wasn't an option when he would be spending the night feet from Eliza.
He unboxed the hotel’s soap and lathered up his hands, before running them over his face. For a blissful moment there was peace in the warmth of the water, the tropical scent of the soap, until a sharp gasp sounded over his left shoulder.
Eliza called his name and sounded horrified, so Henry stepped on the bottom of the pedestal sink to get his feet off the floor.
“What is it?” he pivoted a quarter turn putting Eliza at the edge of his vision, still clinging to the sink for purchase.
“You’re using soap...on your face,” Eliza delivered this with the horror appropriate for uncovering a dead body, and Henry bit back a laugh.
“I have moisturizer,” she held out a bottle, giving it a tiny shake for emphasis. “It's tinted,” she added which Henry gathered was supposed to make it more appealing.
“Eliza, do I look like I need a tinted moisturizer?”
Eliza pouted. “Henry Higgs, I'm trying to be a good, unselfish person and share.”
Henry sighed heavily. “That's good, Eliza. But I like the soap.”
She nodded, but not before leaving the bottle on the sink, and Henry finished the rest of his bathroom activities with the door locked.
Upon returning to the main room, Eliza had taken over the bed, scrolling and tapping away at her phone. After a moment’s debate between the merits of sleeping in the wing chair versus the floor, Henry spread his jacket next to the bed, covering the unappealing green carpet.
He got as far as grabbing a pillow off the bed before Eliza looked over. “Henry, what are you doing?”
“Making my bed,” Henry answered while hunting for the room’s spare blankets.
“Oh,” Eliza said. “So you don't want to stay up here? Are beds like moisturizer?”
“No, they're not.” He abandoned his search and joined Eliza, who vacated his side of the bed. He knew all they would do here tonight was sleep and yet, he couldn't help but feel self-conscious. Eliza, apparently more comfortable, fell asleep in minutes.
Henry, despite the drugedy of the day's events, remained awake, stealing glances at Eliza’s sleeping form. She wasn't at all the kind of bed mate he expected. No tossing and turning, no flailing limbs, no crowding his side of the bed or kicking him in the shins. Perhaps, he theorized she’d used her allotment of self-interest during the day time, allowing her to share easily at night.
Most surprisingly, she snored. A soft purr that was undeniably cute, and ultimately lulled him to sleep.
In the morning, he awoke to Eliza’s weight draped over him, drooling into the crook of his arm. Snuggling further into her embrace, he thought just maybe he’d misjudged last night after all.