Kate’s eyes slowly open to a new world. Morning casts the bedroom in a soft glow that matches one that pulses within her. She’s wrapped in a warmth and comfort deeper than the blanket can reach. It goes beyond her bones and into her soul. The sensation is new and wonderful and she lays still to explore it.
A slender weight presses against her middle. The touch stirs a heat she doesn’t understand but welcomes. Carefully, she moves her left hand to touch the weight, sparks of joy and nervousness bouncing in her chest as she does. Warm skin greets her fingers, confirming what she knew but doubted.
Only then does she turn her head to gaze at what she was afraid was a dream.
No, not what… WHO.
Blue hair fading toward white covers Chloe’s brow and eyes. Kate’s fingers ache to move the hair so she can better see her friend.
For now, she contents herself with studying the slopes and angles of Chloe’s face. She watches Chloe breathe with the gentleness of sleep. There’s something about the way Chloe looks: the softness of her eyes, the relaxed cheeks, the smooth brow peeking through her hair. Thoughts come together and Kate realizes what’s different: gone is the hardness Chloe normally wears, erased by the tranquility of sleep.
No… Not sleep. It wasn’t there last night either, before we went to sleep.
Her chest trembles as she grasps the significance of the thought. Part of her rebels at its meaning, trying to thrust it away. The other part rejoices and wants to burst into song.
Studying Chloe makes her understand the difference in herself. The hawkish awareness that everything she does or says could cause unwanted attention from parents or Church is gone. An emptiness exists where normally a mind-gnawing doubt lurks. In their place is something she can’t quite identify. Her body seems to hum as she lays next to Chloe, shoulder pressed against breast and stomach.
Slowly, her fingers climb Chloe’s hand to curl around it. Her eyes close as she savors the absolute rightness of the contact. She wondered whether this is what it felt like to be touched by angels, or perhaps by God. Her stomach quivers the longer she lays there, trembling from fears it will end, that she’s dreaming, that it’s some cruel joke yet also elated by Chloe’s touch and presence.
One thing Kate knows beyond any doubt: she's longer the person she was yesterday. Chloe awoke a part of her she didn't know existed. It courses through her, an uncontainable energy feeding and being fed by a certainty of self. At that moment, Kate promises she'll never hide or deny herself.
Kate opens her eyes to find Chloe studying her. Her heart flutters and she coughs as her entire body tingles under the blue gaze. All those sensations and emotions flood her chest and want to burst forth! She’s never seen anything or anyone as lovely in the morning as Chloe with her head propped up and watching her with a slight smile.
“G’morning,” Kate whispers.
“Hella beautiful morning,” Chloe replies, then tilts her head and gently presses her lips against Kate’s.
The moment their lips touch, the sensations and emotions that roil in Kate’s chest explode! Her body twitches, and she has one last thought before the rush of joy and excitement and newness overwhelms her.
Better than heaven.