Chapter also found on tumblr
Day 4: Watching
The green digits on Ben’s alarm clock flash 05.47 a.m. into the quiet room. The sun is not yet up, but a thin, greyish light is beginning to leak into the room, illuminating the bed. Bea has been awake for some time now, but she doesn’t feel like falling back asleep or getting out of bed. Because the light that precedes the dawn has lit up the face of her boyfriend, and she can’t seem to tear her eyes away.
Ben is sleeping on his side, facing her. His brown, curly locks are falling onto his forehead, with a few strands standing right up in the back. His jaw is slack and slightly open, resting against his pillow. No drool, though, Bea notes, and she’s oddly grateful for it. If he was drooling, she’d be obligated to make fun of him for it, and she’s not feeling up to teasing right now. She just wants to savour this moment of gazing at Ben without interruptions, cataloguing the way his nose curves and the structure of his cheekbones.
He is so beautiful! The thought runs through her head before she can stop it. She’s always found him attractive, but when his face is at rest, she’s got the time to really study him. Hey eyes sweep across his visage, beginning at his eyes. They move around in his sockets, proving to her that he’s really asleep and probably dreaming. She tries to count his eyelashes, but gives up because she got distracted by them; they are so fine and long. She is, however, able to count the few freckles scattered across his nose and cheekbones. She tries to remember the constellations to see if any of them fit, but the only one she can recollect is the Southern Cross, and none of the freckles match that one.
Ben lets out a soft snore, and her eyes dart down to his mouth. His full, red lips almost blend together with the dark blue pillow case in the dim light. She marvels at how those lips are the same ones that make her body tingle and her head soar when they press against her own. A memory of those lips wandering across her neck sends shivers through her, and she briefly considers waking him up to make him repeat that motion, but she dismisses that thought. Being allowed to just look at him is still so novel that she can’t bring herself to do it in public – the teasing of their friends hadn’t helped matters either – and she doesn’t want to waste this moment.
Another snore makes it way out of Ben’s mouth, and Bea smiles. Usually, when people snore, she fantasises about strangling them so they choke on their incessant racket. If she tries to fall asleep somewhere she can hear people snore, it’s like rusty chains are being dragged through her head. Her first night in Auckland, before she’d gotten her own room, and thus slept in Hero’s, she had walked into Leo’s room and clubbed him with her pillow to shut him up. But right now, with Ben’s snores, she finds they don’t bother her at all. Instead, she finds them quite cute, adorable even; it almost sounds like the purring of a cat. She wonders how he would react if she were to scratch him behind the ears. Would he jerk away and act affronted, or would he turn into her touch and cuddle?
A ray of sunshine breaks into the room, and Ben’s face is lit up by it. Surprised, Bea turns her head slightly to look at the clock on his bedside table. The digits are now showing 06.42 a.m., and a blush stains her cheeks when she realises she’s spent almost an hour, doing nothing but watching her boyfriend sleep.
“Guess I had Nothing much to do!” runs through her head, and she tries to stifle a giggle. The sound makes Ben’s eyelids flutter, and he opens his eyes to look at her sleepily. After the few seconds it takes for his brain to comprehend the picture sent by his eyes, his mouth stretches into a wide grin.
“Hi” he whispers, his voice hoarse. There’s a note of surprise in his voice, like he still can’t believe she would stay the night with him. The vulnerability inherent in that, and it makes her reach out and tangle her fingers into the hair that curl in the nape of his neck.
“Hi” she whispers back, and leans her forehead against his. And as the morning sun fills the room with a warm glow, for one golden moment, everything is perfect.