“Do you remember being dead?” Rana crouched, and pressed coffee into Matthew’s hands. The fingers that brushed hers as she pulled away were cold.
“No,” Matthew’s voice was quiet, even. “I remember before, and I remember after, but nothing in between. I remember you, but I don’t remember why I came here.”
He turned his head towards her, owl-like, and if he saw the hurt flicker in her eyes, he gave no sign. His eyes reminded her of gas flames burning low—blue ringing orange and gold. Rana rose, and crossed her arms.
She was conscious of the weight of her gaze on his cold flesh, even if he wasn’t. She thought of Matthew’s funeral, and the days before and after; a blur of time bleeding together, like the rain-shadows running over her dark skin as she watched him.
First had come the call, after midnight, with Jena’s broken sobbing on the other end; then the funeral in the rain, cold mourners filing past the casket; a flicker-frame reel of a car crash playing out in Rana’s dreams, and last—Jena running away as though she could outrun the pain. And Rana, left behind to pick up the pieces and try to explain.
Now there was this—Matthew dead, but at her door. She had let him in, and in the moment she couldn’t have said why. Perhaps it was something in the cold rain dripping from colder skin, something in his smile, in his strange burning eyes, something in the way he had pronounced her name, softly.
Just that. Just her name, and his flame-strange eyes watching her from behind drops of water gathering in his hair, making it into points before falling away.
Out of everyone he could have gone to, he had chosen her. And she couldn’t say no.
Watching him, Rana frowned and chewed her...