Their eyes were ringed red and bloodshot, staring blankly into the half-empty cup of cooling tea.
“How many times are you going to do this, Cal?” she asked.
A lazy shake of the head. “Shut up, Jane,” they muttered.
She leaned forward to speak, then sighed and relaxed back into her seat. Cal’s thumb drifted back and forth across the lip of the mug. Jane tried again. “I’m just sayin…” she began.
“No you’re not,” Cal interrupted.
Cal’s eyes turned deliberately away from Jane, out to the window. Out to empty darkness. “If you have to tell me that you’re just saying something, that hundred percent guarantees you’ve got something even worse that you’re not saying.”
Jane leaned back in her chair and folded her arms. “Like what?”
They gave a lazy shrug. “Fuck if I know.”
She rose, snatched up Cal’s mug, and carried it to the sink. “I’m helping you, aren’t I?” she asked. “I’m letting you stay here, right?”
“Don’t make it sound like such a threat.”
Jane leaned wearily against the counter, head low. “What do you want, Cal?
Cal’s eyes were wet with unshed tears. “I don’t know, Jane. I wish I did.”
* * *
Story by Gregory M. Fox