Wandering around John's room, wrapped in a dark dressing gown, he adds deductions and guesses, scents and mental pictures to his file.
His little world of knowledge all about John.
When he will decide to go shopping for new dress pants based on the way his socks are curled in the hamper.
How many whiskeys he drank at the pub with Stamford by the state of his sweater.
Images too, of the way he must have leaned against the closet door when he peeled them off.
The tilt of the alarm clock where it sat on the bedside table, and the creases in the pillow were a film reel of the night, and the way he rolled on his side to sip from his glass of water.
The way he buried his head under the pillow at the first glimpse of morning light under his tired lids.
He breathes in deeply, his eyes closed, and he catalogues odors. Rhododendron. The park. Currant scones. The bakery.
The tube, the Chanel worn by the secretary at the clinic, and Stamford's favorite scotch.
Suddenly, John is in the doorway.
At first, John is in the doorway to a room that only exists in his mind, where he is bottling essences, labeling them in unbroken calligraphy and placing them carefully on shelves that stretch to the vaulted ceiling.
Then he remembers that his eyes are still closed, but he knows that John is really there.
He can smell him now, and hear him breathing, but most of all he can feel him just like he can feel the sun when it shines on him.
Think of something. Wait until John speaks.
Think of something. Something within character. "To be fair," levels John's teasing voice in his mind, "that's a rather wide field."
He opens his eyes and slowly turns to face John, his internal monologue stuttering unhelpfully as he focuses on John's face.
The slight dimple and eye crease of a sardonic smile that John is trying to suppress.
Does he know?
"Fine," he replies at last.
John lifting one brow slightly seems to unleash reason again and each thought clamors for attention.
He tries to behave as if his mind is placid, as if he just wandered in here unthinkingly while he organized his thoughts on some complicated and obscure matter of consequence only to himself.
"What time is it?"
Damn! That sounds guilty, suspicious, as if he knows that John was still meant to be on shift.
"It's only two but they didn't need me after lunch, so I got some shopping and came home."
"So," John prompts after a moment.
Both brows raised this time. He isn't quite suppressing the smile any longer.
"What are you doing in my bedroom?"