he reaches for my knitted cap and pulls it off my head. i shake my long black hair. it is as straight as bone. Kanute takes me by my hand and i follow him up the winding staircase. we stand infront of a door. he pushes it open with his hand. i go inside. there is a bed with sheets and comforters. there is a fireplace in the wall. and a window to look out. Kanute comes in and shuts the door. i peel off the rest of my clothes, except for my undershirt and i jump into the bed of cozy sheets. Kanute takes off his jacket and his hoody and his shoes. he lays on the bed. he sits up and his shoulders are against the headboard. i scoot closer to him inside the covers. i lay my head on his arm.

"do i make you thirsty?" i ask. i look up to see his expression. he stares at the wall. his blue eyes piercing it.

"you make me a lot of things," he says. he chuckles.

"i like being with you," i say. he frowns at this. and i don't understand it.

"are your father and mother treating you any better?" he asks.

"don't send me home," i whine. "i don't want to go back."

"you cannot live here," he says.

"you said i could stay with you," i fuss.

"i shouldn't have said that. i wasn't thinking about you. i was being," he sighs. "selfish. i don't want to make decisions based on how you make me feel. if i did that, then i will eventually end up harming you."

i sigh deeply. i don't know what to say. what could i say. go against my own safety? i felt defeated. i lay my cheek against his arm.

"fine. you win," i say.

"this isn't a game," he mumbles. his voice serious.

"lay with me," i say.

"i'm already too close," he says.

"and you are doing fine," i say as encouragement. he slips into the covers without taking off his shirt or his jeans. and i don't push him to. his head lays on the white pillow next to my head. he stares at the ceiling.

"what is the point. i can't ever fall asleep. i belong out there in the night. not in here with you," he says softly.

"you belong where you want to be," i say. i let my arm fall across his chest. but i don't close my eyes. i try to stay awake as long as possible. because he never sleeps. i eventually slip. and find myself forcing my eyelids back open.

"don't fight it," i hear him say to me. "you need sleep."

i don't like his words. but my mind can't ignore it any longer, and so i shut my eyes and let the darkness take me into the dreamworld.

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