A CALM DAY WILL COME
Billy DeFeo & Mia Gillespie
|For two hours he’d lain there, unmoving so as not to disturb her where she had stretched out across him, waiting for an opportunity, a window. It had presented itself when she’d stretched in her sleep and rolled over enough for him to carefully, so carefully, slide out from under her, making sure not to jostle her as he went, slipping off the bed quietly, picking up a shirt as he went and waiting until he had stepped quietly all the way out of the bedroom before pulling it on over his head as he walked down the short dark hallway to the next door.|
It was raining outside, sheets of it tearing down with rivers streaming down the glass. Billy glanced at it only for a moment before swinging the desk chair out and sitting down. His headphones sat on the desk, quiet and still, and the computer took only a few seconds to boot up out of hibernation. When the screen came to life everything was just as he’d left it, he’d shut it down so quickly earlier he hadn’t taken the time to close all his windows and do things properly. It had been eating at him a little ever since.
Billy liked to get things done, he didn’t like to leave a job half finished, but when Mia had stuck her head in the door and asked him if he was coming to bed -- at a reasonable hour, she’d made sure to add -- he’d done the sensible thing and followed her. He’d slept for a little while, dozing more than anything, able to keep track of Mia’s closeness as she started off first nestled against his side and then slowly made her way on top of him for all intents and purposes, ending up as a kind of living blanket. Billy had felt every movement she’d made not because she was noisy or bothersome when she moved but because he hadn’t been able to switch off. That was one of his problems, he was well aware, he couldn’t let put things down, set them aside and leave them for later. Why put off until tomorrow what you could do today?
The clock in the bottom corner of the monitor read a little after three.
It was almost three-thirty before the door opened enough for Mia to step inside. She was wrapped up warm, some might say unnecessarily so considering they were in Los Angeles but Billy had noticed early on she liked the layers when she was sleeping. Clothes, comforter, him. It helped her to relax. He should have known his absence would wake her up, bring her padding down the hall to investigate what it was that had pulled him from the bed. She must have known as soon as she’d stirred that he’d wandered off to work. It wasn’t the first time and it wouldn’t be the last.
“Hey,” she mumbled, wiping at her eyes, stepping closer and getting a glance at his screen as he paused in what he’d been doing. At some point he’d put his headphones on but they hung around his neck now.
“Hey yourself,” he returned with an apologetic smile, shifting slightly in his seat. “Sorry.”
Mia smiled and shrugged a little. “How’s it coming?” she asked. She knew him well enough by now to understand just how tough it was for him to switch off once he’d started focusing on something. She set one hand on the back of his chair.
Billy made a low thoughtful noise in the back of his throat, working his bottom jaw a little from side to side as he thought it over. “About an hour,” he said, “give or take.” He looked up at her, shaking his head. “You can go back to bed.”
Her eyebrows went up and she smiled again, her gaze drifting across the room to the little nest she’d made for herself in the corner a few weeks back, close to the window. A comfortable chair, one she could fold herself up in, and a small table in front of it. On the table sat a sketchbook that was, for the time being, closed, but she walked over and flipped it open, getting herself comfortable. Billy watched her, narrowing his eyes, feeling the smile spread across his face. “It’s three-thirty in the morning.”
Mia nodded. “Yes it is.” She wriggled to get herself settled properly, propping her sketchbook on her folded legs, pencil in hand.
Billy chuckled. After offering him another smile she got back to work on whatever it was she’d been drawing earlier in the day. She’d let him see it when she was finished and she’d pester him into returning the favour. Billy pulled his headphones from around his neck and set them back on his head just as Mia set her pencil to the paper, content to keep him company while he worked in the middle of the night until he was finished.