Pale sunlight filters through the blinds, gently pulling Laurey out of her sleep. Birds chirp in the tree near the window, and she can hear a rooster call from the yard. She blinks a few times before rolling over, careful not to disturb the man next to her.
His face is tucked into his arm, his hand tangled into his own curls. His other hand sticks out awkwardly from under his pillow— she has no idea how he sleeps the way he does. Though most of his face is obscured by his arm or his dark curls, she can see one eye, peacefully shut. He looks relaxed for once, not caught up in making some smart remark and puffing his chest out like that damn rooster. Light shines across his face in stripes— it falls right over his eye, but he doesn’t budge. Man sleeps like a rock.
She gently moves a curl away from his eye, her fingertips just barely brushing against his cheekbone. Though his hands are calloused and rough from a lifetime of work, his face is still soft and young. Tragically young. Too young for all of it.
The circles under his eyes let on to it, though.
She trails her fingers down his cheek, slowly tracing a path of red from years ago. Something so vile on such a sweet face. Something she wishes she could just wash away. If she closes her eyes, she’s sure she could feel it there, still wet and warm.
His eye flutters open once she reaches his jaw. A look of confusion, then recognition, and then adoration. It takes him a moment to unfold his arms before he can prop himself up on his elbow, his other hand drifting down to rest on her hip. There’s that smug bastard face of his.
“Funny seein’ you here,” Curly coos, just a bit of a drag in his voice.
“Funny,” she echoes, voice softer than she expected. His smile drops, catching the distant tone in her voice. His eyebrows scrunch together and he tilts his head, looking like a confused puppy with those big, sad eyes of his. “I don’t want to talk about it.” Don’t. Can’t. Won’t.
The confusion becomes… she can never pin it, exactly. Sadness. Regret. Tiredness. They’re so tired. He pulls her close, pressing his face against the top of her head. He holds her tightly, and she holds him tighter. It feels like if they held on any tighter, they’d stay stuck like that, like marble statues. The house would fall, the crops would die, all their friends and family would pass. Nature would reclaim it all, and they could lay together forever. Maybe even long enough for it to not matter.