Liz had settled herself down onto the couch with a bowl of popcorn and a glass of soda. Next to her she had placed the ubiquitous bottle of Tabasco and a glass of cherry coke and she sat waiting for Michael to come out of the shower. As usual he had neglected to clean the place up, but the mess was somehow charming, almost reassuring. Sometimes a little normality was called for in their lives, and remembering that they were just teenagers was always good.
Michael stepped out into the hallway in a dark blue terry cloth towel, water still dripping down his skin. Liz had the sudden urge to lick him. She couldn’t help but stare at his muscular physique, though not nearly as toned as Max’s, Michael exuded power in the mere breadth of his shoulders, almost as if he could carry the weight of the world on them. His chest and abdomen were surprisingly lean. Liz wanted to rake her fingers down his chest.
She sat up straighter. Where were these thoughts coming from.
Michael hadn’t even noticed Liz’s interest. He was frantically looking for something clean to wear. As any typical male he never thought to do laundry until he ran out of underwear, and although he still had a pair or two left, clean shirts were presenting a different sort of dilemma. Finally he found a pair of shorts, and decided to eschew using a shirt. Liz wouldn’t care.
When he turned to her she was staring at the tv screen her face red and decidedly neutral.
“Something wrong?” he asked.
“Ahem. No…I just…er… was waiting for you. We’re all set here.” Liz managed to stammer out.
“Cool.” Michael threw himself on the sofa next to her and hit play on the remote control. Soon the images of the movie were playing across the tv screen. Lights flickering as the camera shot through clouds and houses before focusing on Lester Burnham.
Liz seemed to be wrapped up in what Lester was saying. The words were so true to life. Felt so true to their lives. Her profile was beautiful. She smiled at him and leaned her head against his shoulder. Michael shifted their bodies so that they were both reclining on the couch, Liz almost completely lying across his chest. He placed his chin on her hair, quickly dropping a kiss on the top of her head before getting caught up in the movie.
They had been sitting that way for almost an hour when the phone rang. Michael pressed pause and got up to answer it. Liz watched him worriedly. It was almost one in the morning, she could only pray nothing was wrong.
“Hey...no. Watching a movie. No…Liz is here. What?” Liz watched as Michael nodded into the phone. He turned and caught her looking at him. He mouthed Maria and rolled his eyes before continuing to talk. “Ok. No. Maria…I’m sorry. Yeah it sucks. Ok. Ok. Ok. I’ll talk to you tomorrow then. Yeah bye. Bye. Bye.”
He placed the phone on its hook, before turning to Liz. “Sorry about that.”
“Don’t worry about it. Is everything ok?”
“Yeah. She just wanted to gripe. It seems that she and Kyle have been roped into this camping thing with Amy and Valenti. They’re leaving early tomorrow so I promised I’d go over and see her off.”
“Oh. Do you want to hang out later? The Crashdown is closed tomorrow. So if you’re not doing anything…I mean it might be cool to keep hanging out.”
“Sure. But don’t you want to see if Max is free”
“He has to work tomorrow. So I’ll be alone most of the day. I think we are supposed to go out on a date for Chinese food and a round of pool, but that’s late. I thought we could maybe go back to the lake for a swim or something.”
“That sounds great. I’d like that. Liz, it’s really late do you want to head home now?” Michael asked.
“No, I really want to finish the movie. Would you mind if I crashed on your couch tonight?”
Not at all, I’ll even let you have the bed. You can borrow a t-shirt to sleep in.” Michael smiled at Liz before hitting play.
“Thanks Michael. You’re a good friend.”
They settled back into the position they had been sitting in, Liz leaning against Michael. Michael holding Liz. Her hair smelled really good. It struck him that she was like the beauty they spoke of in the film. She was so understated. Subtle. But truly beautiful. Inspiring. Breath-taking. And he’d much rather watch Liz than a paper bag floating in the wind.
Tomorrow would be fun.