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We exhale, and she slips from between the soft and tangled sheets, draping an old shirt over incandescent skin that was, moments ago, so warm against my own. I raise myself on one elbow, quirking an eyebrow in question. She smiles, tossing her head, the dark curls drifting across her bare shoulder, and softly steps out of the space we have made in the morning light.

In her absence I am vulnerable. I take a moment to look around, taking in the walls that were so much background to the soft-focus intensity of the night. There are books everywhere, spilling across overstuffed shelves and piled precariously on available surfaces. Fiction, philosophy, politics, science, law, a collection of ideas. I wonder if she has read them all.

I lever myself out of bed, past the warm shadow she left behind, and, suddenly shy, reach for the sheet to cover my nakedness. Taped to her wall below the bookshelf are photos of people and places unfamiliar to me. She is small in the ones she is in, and hard to pick out, as though she was simply coincidently part of something greater. There are monochrome prints of morning in some foreign city, empty park-benches and the play of light through leafy trees.

The door creaks open, and I am startled out of my reverie. She is back, shyly stepping over the threshold to her bedroom, nudging the door closed with her bare foot. She has two mismatched mugs, steaming gently, taking up her hands. She crosses the floor and places one into my hands. "Morning". It's the first word either of us has spoken since the frenzied confessions of last night. Her hair is tousled, make-up smudged beneath her eyes, and in those two syllables I can sense questions and hesitation. I place the mug on her desk, littered with pages of angular handwriting, and remove the one still in her hands, placing it adjacently.

Her eyes will not meet mine, and so I place my hand on her cheek, and lean in to press my lips against her forehead. Surprised, she looks up, and I capture her lips with my own, tender from the excesses of last night. She sighs into my mouth, a sound of comic relief. "Morning". I retreat, and take a sip from the mug she had handed me. Warm chocolate, threaded with a spice that is rich and delicate on my tongue - cinnamon - gently counteracting the chocolate which would have been too sweet. I feel it lifting the weight of a restless evening from my shoulders, and I am revivified. She sits on the bed, and I join her, the spaces that used to lie between us filled comfortably as flesh mingles with flesh. We watch the sun rise from her bedroom window.

No one asks what the next day will bring.