I stared up at the ceiling for the longest time, pondering the question that seemed to have no answer. I adopted the practice since leaving Lunar Manor. The simple act of counting the cracks on the plaster centered me. Soon the aftereffects of the dream receded. The chanting no longer drowned out other more normal sounds around me, like the soft snores of the man beside me. I shifted my gaze to the window by my side of the bed. The heavy snowfall dulled the city lights. The weatherman expected fifteen inches to cover Crescent City this mid-February morning—one for the record books. But the weather outside couldn’t match the flash freeze inside my body. I barely felt my lungs inflate as I inhaled the chilly air in my tiny apartment. The steady hum of the radiator couldn’t compete with winter’s ferocity. Maybe I should add another heater, but then, what good would it do when I practically counted down the days until graduation?
Setting aside crazy dreams and thoughts of another heater, I focused on the most important thing: My final project. The looming deadline for the Spring Showcase forced me out of my warm bed. The springs creaked as I pushed up. The guy beside me grunted. I paused. He shifted onto his stomach. When his breathing returned to soft snores, I pushed aside the heavy comforter and shrugged into a wool robe. Not the sexiest of looks, but considering my state of nakedness underneath, it would have to do.
Shoving my quickly freezing feet into sheepskin booties, I heaved off the bed and stretched my arms above my head. The vertebrae along my spine popped back into place and I sighed. I rolled my head from side to side, unlocking all the kinks. A dull ache pulsed along my inner thigh. I must have pulled something last night. I rubbed at the tight muscle before shuffling out of my room into the living room for my morning ritual.