Towel-dried, still damp hair. Shirtless to let the brand breathe. Pajama bottoms and bare feet. Fragrant Old Spice coiling from the bathroom. Soft piano melodies playing from his phone. A tranquil hotel room. Lamps dimmed to their lowest setting. Bedsheets drawn, fluffed pillows beckoning a head in need of rest.
Keitaro combed his messy black hair from his forehead as he ambled to the wall window. Overlooking the romantically enchanted downtown, the glow of street lamps spotting the glass and the mystic moonlight from above, Keitaro fantasized the lady in blue. In his imagination, her fingers would brush the skin of his shoulders as she glided from behind him to face him. Empathetic eyes would gaze up at him. She would brush the back of her hand against his puffy face, gently, lovingly.
“My heart looked like your face.”
What kind of coward would hurt someone so defenseless? That she would understand Keitaro’s pain because she once experienced it…what a tragedy.
Even a greater tragedy that she slipped away. What had scared her? That apology in her eyes before she had turned and hightailed it had hurt Keitaro more than the crippling agony of his ribs. She wanted to stay with him, but something compelled her to go.
“What have I done?” she had whispered.
The gasp of shock, almost as if she had been caught with Keitaro.
The apology in her eyes as she abandoned Keitaro on the couch.
She was protecting me, he thought.
Protecting him from what? From who? The same villain who pummeled her heart?
If she’s protecting me, then she’s already in danger, he thought.
His blood got to pumping, his mind started racing. Don’t get worked up, he told himself.
Keitaro relaxed sideways against the wall, staring out the window for comfort to his curiosity-driven anxiety.