I walked downstairs to find Kira cleaning up and putting things away. He wouldn’t look at me. “You sleep okay?”
I nodded. “Yeah. You?”
He didn’t answer. “We need to head back this morning,” he said instead. “I have to work tonight.”
“Okay,” I said, turning around. “I’ll just go pack my things.”
“You can have some breakfast first,” he said. He looked at me then. “Your eye looks better.”
I shrugged. “I wouldn’t know. I haven’t seen it.”
“You haven’t looked at it, at all?”
I shook my head. “No.” I scratched my not-sore cheek through the four-day grown stubble. “I haven’t been game enough to shave, so I haven’t looked at myself…” I let my words trail off because I knew how pathetic I sounded.
I suddenly wasn’t very hungry. “I’ll just grab a shower.”
I’d no sooner walked into the bathroom when Kira was behind me. He surprised me. “What are you doing?”
He put his hands on my shoulders and turned me around in the small bathroom so I faced the mirror. “Look at yourself.”
I kept my eyes down. “Kira,” I started.
“Look at yourself,” he said again, interrupting me. “Why won’t you look at yourself?”
Because I don’t like what I see.
Because I don’t know the man staring back at me.
I shrugged, still unable to look at my reflection.
He stood behind me and made me look up. I looked at his reflection first, his beautiful, sad and resigned eyes, and couldn’t bear to see the pain in them. It was easier to look at me.
My hair was a dirty mess, my face unshaven, and the left side of my face from my cheek to my temple was dark purple. I had a cut above my eyebrow and dark red grazing beside my eye. My nose was swollen and cut along the bridge, with dark purple bruising from my nose down under my right eye. My left eyeball was bloodshot, the whole area was still swollen and the skin stretched tight.
I looked like fucking hell.
Kira just stood there, behind me, watching me. He didn’t need to say anything. It was written all over his face.
I exhaled a shaky breath, blinking back tears. I looked at him and nodded.
I was a mess.
Kira turned me around, and I was expecting him to tell me I was a disgrace and that I’d ruined everything. But he didn’t. He leaned me against the bathroom counter, and turned the tap on with hot water to fill the sink.
He took the shaving cream and spread it over my stubble, then with a love that almost broke my heart, he started to shave me.
Without a word, he turned my face, lifted my chin and with such care and a gentle hand, he ran the blade over my skin. He concentrated on his task at hand, studying me, and taking the most gentle care with the left side of my face. There was nothing but love in his eyes, in his touch.
I fought tears the entire time.
He tapped the razor on the side of the sink one last time and pulled the plug. “All done,” he said softly. “Have a shower. I’ll start packing.”
I nodded again, and by the time I could finally say “Thank you”, he was gone.
* * * *