The first rays of sun are barely peeking over the horizon as your alarm goes off. You groan and rub your eyes. The messy lump of blankets next to you shifts, and you feel a smooth purple arm drape over your chest. You smile, and gently move it off as you sit up on the edge of your bed. You take a moment to wake up before facing the rest of your morning. Too late you realise your mistake though, as a pair of arms wrap around your shoulders and you feel a series of soft kisses move down your neck.
“Come stay in bed- I’ll be lonely without you…” Her voice is sleepy, and it takes all your strength to not simply lay back down and cuddle with her. Instead you take her hand and give it a quick kiss.
“I have to get to work Ali.” Her muffled noise of protest reverberates through your chest. “Hey, I’ll be back before you know it.” You step off the bed and turn around to find her lying down once more. With a final goodbye kiss, you bring the blanket up to her chest and she sleepily murmurs, snuggling further in to the bed.
Work is long and arduous. Such is life in Iron City. Still, it eventually ends, and you make your way back home through the throngs of people. A street Motorball game has blocked off an alleyway which you normally cut through, but you know these streets well. Your apartment is in a quieter part of town, and when you arrive the Iron City crowd has predictably thinned. Your musings on the day are a distraction as you climb the stairs up, and after dumping your bag you head to the kitchen for an afternoon snack. So distracted are you that you don’t notice the smell permeating the room until you’re at the doorway. Alita stands in the middle of the kitchen, holding a tray with two glasses on it, each filled with an orange, pulpy liquid.
Then the smell hits you and you properly take in the room for the first time. There are pieces of orange everywhere: strewn across the counter, in a little pile on the floor, and finally there’s little streaks of orange all over Alita’s hands and face. There’s even orange on her top; standing out starkly against its sky-blue colour. She beams at you as she gestures for you to come in.
“I read today about orange juice and I wanted to try it so I made some.”
The worries of the day fade away as you fall in love all over again with her earnestness. So you sit, the two of you, sharing the orange juice. It’s a little warm and pulpy, but that doesn’t matter. You swear you can feel the love with which it was made as you drink it. You share bits and pieces of your day, and you watch in turn as she tells you all about her next Motorball circuit game. The afternoon sun illuminates her face and body, and you find yourself lost for words as she speaks. Eventually the glasses are empty, and with a quick glance around, you address the carnage.
“That was the best juice I’ve ever had, but we should probably clean up.”
She looks around and her shoulders drop.
“I’m sorry about the mess. I got a little carried away…” She looks down, abashed and you lean in to give her a comforting kiss on the forehead.
“Don’t worry, it won’t take long. Then you definitely need a shower too.”
Her smile returns, and together you get to cleaning. With two people the process is quick. Before you know it, Alita takes your hand and leads you to the bathroom. It’s just as cramped as the rest of the apartment, but at least nothing leaks. Yet. When inside, she turns back to you and shyly speaks.
“Do you- do you want to join me?” A blush starts to spread across her cheeks, and she quickly tucks a stray strand of hair back behind her ear. Your heart soars.
“I’d love to.”