The glass was cool against the side of her head, she could feel the surface, pressing and pulling against the skin of her face. She woke up at some point around three in the morning, after lying in bed, in the comfort of her jumbled thoughts. She finally decided to get some work done, but as soon as the papers were in front of her, she couldn’t seem to make any sense of the words. Sleep had left her by then. She settled for sitting by the windows, in the dark, watching the city below her.
It was almost five now, a few more cars were cruising through the streets, and a few more lights had flickered on in various buildings. The moon was still out even though the day was considerably brighter than it had been two hours ago. The soundproof mode was on so she couldn’t hear anything that happened outside her window, not the car honking or the birds chirping on the tall trees that line the front of her apartment or even the neighbours, some of who she knew would be awake at this time.
Her cell phone was on the floor by her feet, the small glow of light flickering when messages filtered in. The light would fade after a few seconds, and she would once again be in the dark. For the first time, Eight was not there. She took a quick guess that he was asleep, something she never really thought about much. Another tear slipped down her cheeks, and she scrubbed it off, hugging her knees deeper into her chest.
There was a soft sound in her ear, the faint rustle of sheets ruffling together, and she lifted her head away from the window. Eight appeared, on the cuddler chair, at the far end of the window, the curtains, blowing over him.
“Morning.” She rasped, tucking her hair behind her ear and picking up her phone to check for the time. “Hope I didn’t wake you?”
He laughed, stretching out, standing to his feet. “Nah, I don’t…I don’t sleep much these days.”
Coty adjusted herself, she rested the back of her head on the window, turning away from the city view and facing Eight who sat on the bed. She wondered if what she saw was a reflection of how he really looked because she was in doubt. Aside from the tiredness in his voice and the exhaustion in some of the sounds he made, his hair looked perfect, his eyes bright wide and open, his clothes changed and fresh.
“I have never woken up to you not there before.”
He smiled, “I have never seen you awake so early.”
She snorted and sniffled. With her hands, she pushed to her feet, picking her phone up and tossing it beside Eight. “You know I have never really thought about it until today.”
“Thought about what?” He yawned.
“Sleeping. I piss, I moan, and I whine about how rough my life has become, how changed everything is. I feel so overwhelmed and so scared yet today is the first day after this whole thing began where I find myself unable to sleep. The first day I actually took notice of the fact that you sleep too. All the time, when I wake up, you are awake too, and when I go to sleep, you are there. This is the first time that I opened my eyes, and you were just not there.”
“Yeah. As I said, I don’t really sleep much these days.”
“Do you have nightmares? The things you know, the things you have seen?”
He looked down at his hands, his shoulders sagging when he shook his head. “No. Not really. I don’t sleep because it wasn’t like it used to be before. Back then, I was single, so I was always alone, to begin with. The only people I ever mixed with were my colleagues from work, and I would occasionally go out to drink with them, but even that I didn’t do too often. Rarely dated, it’s hard to point out, as I have been told, but I am potently reserved, not easy for me to put myself out anywhere.”
“Yeah. That is hard to believe.”
He chuckled, scratching the base of his neck. “Anyway, this loneliness feels different than having no one. I don’t have the words for it, and trust me I have been looking. All I know is that sleeping on my bed feels like there is a hollow point on both sides and if I turn one way or the other I would fall into a hole, drowning in some unknown substance. I seat at my table to eat and I just, I look into the bowl for hours wondering when I would ever seat with someone again.”
He looked up at her. “It’s not nightmares for me. It’s the loneliness that keeps me awake.”
She smiled teasingly, kneeling down in front of him. “On the other hand, you now have me. The girl who curses you every day for being in her eye.”
He laughed, “Yeah. It is not the worst sound trust me.”
She unfolded her legs from beneath her, hugging them to her chest again. “Did you find anything? You know, from the folders you got?”
Eight yawns again, a hand going behind his neck, he massaged the muscle with slow circular movements. “Nothing out of the ordinary. Just some files on the patients he sees, a few personal emails. I tried not to read those, side note, I failed on a few. There is too much on there, so I am trying to use keywords to search through the folders.”
Coty didn’t know how to feel about anything, she was just as lost as when she woke up hours before. If everyone is guilty until proven innocent, but there was no way to know who was innocent, then everyone remained guilty. She wasn’t sure why, on her list of people to mistrust, Eight was absent. He had still not given her his name; she didn’t know his full sorry, and yet he knew everything about her. He was the only one that knew what the contacts could do, and she didn’t know if he had sincerely cut out all the other mysterious functions that he had told her about.
“This is going to sound selfish and probably cruel but… of everyone that has come into my life because of these contacts, how do I know I can trust you?”
Eight didn’t look offended, but she couldn’t be sure because it wasn’t his real face, it didn’t always carry his real emotions. “We have been down this road before. I’ll say it again... you don’t.”
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