Diana left her boots at the door, dropped her purse on the kitchen counter and ascended the stairs, her knees and hips aching every step of the way. Her body hadn’t been included in her radical lifestyle change and sometimes it reminded her that she wasn’t as young as she felt. The bedroom door was ajar. Charlotte was here. Sometimes that made her smile and others she didn’t care. Tonight Diana wasn’t sure which way her feelings drifted.
Overhead the fan whirled at a dizzying pace, ruffling the papers on her vanity and causing the waterfall light to clink like wine glasses. Jesus it was cold in her room. This was entirely unnecessary. It was September for christ sake.
Her gaze drifted to the woman on her bed. Long wavy red hair spilled over pale bare shoulders. She was cocooned in a rose patterned comforter, the tips of her toes barely visible at the end of the bed. "It's late Diana." "Your point?"
She yawned as the seat of her pants met with the naked sheets of the bed. "You knew there would be late nights."
Diana pursed her lips tight against her teeth. Charlotte knew she hated crawling into a cold bed at the end of long, dirty day, and yet here were her bare sheets, the feather down of the comforter draped messily over Charlotte's hips. Fantastic. “That doesn’t make it easier. I like to see you sometimes to you know.” “I am in a tough place right now, with the transition out of school and everything. I barely have time to think let alone worry about when I make it home.” “I know... I am not trying to make things more difficult for you, Diana. I--” “How many forty three year old women starting fresh in a veterinary career do you see?”
Diana folded one knee over the other and leaned down to peel the damp socks off her feet. “None. Not a single fucking one Charlotte. It’s just me.”
She didn’t regret it. None of it. Leaving a job she hated in a career that had stagnated and left her habitually short on hours. Enrolling in university, struggling through the first two years as her mind and body rebelled against the rigor of the veterinary program. At times being older than her professors and feeling angry about the vast differences that separated her from her peers. She was trying to do what she loved, and when days like today rolled, she barely had the strength of will to pack up her gear, get in her car and drive the hour and a half home to Twinbrook. And what for? Four hours of sleep and the occasional booty call with her girlfriend of the last six months. “Hey.”
The other woman leaned across the bed, her hand touched her hip with a light squeeze. “I am here if you’ll let me be.” ”I just want to go to bed, Charlotte.” ”Fine. Be an ass.”
Silence was Diana’s answer. Nothing she could or would say was going to make Charlotte feel better, but a hot shower might help her. Sleep could wait just fifteen minutes more.