Lincoln awoke with a jerk. Michael could hear him twisting around, groping blindly through the drawer in the dark.
“Nightmare?” he asked.
“No. Go back to sleep.”
Lincoln's hand located his pack of Marlboros. He sat crosslegged, naked, and fumbled with the lighter. Figuring that it was pointless to try to sleep at this point, Michael sat up and looked at him expectantly.
“It’s nothing, ” Linc explained. He’d finally managed to properly light the cigarette and sighed deeply as he took his first deep drag. He closed his eyes and absent mindedly ran his hand over his shaved head, still crew cut though it had been three months since they had escaped from prison.
“You've been up every single night since we got here. It’s time we talked about it.”
Lincoln took his time, rolling the cigarette between his fingers, slipping the lighter back on the nightstand.
“I’m not used to waking up next to, you know, a naked man. Freaks me out, “ he said at last, before taking another drag. “Just feels wrong.”
Michael cocked his eyebrow.
“I thought I understood that this is not the first time you have done this kind of thing.”
“It’s not.” Another pause. “It’s just that I never made a habit of staying overnight.”
Michael mulled over that for a bit.
“But we have slept in the same bed before.”
“That was before…” He didn’t have to finish the sentence. The silence hung between them like a deep dark blanket.
“Do you love me?” Michael finally said.
During other circumstances Michael might have been amused by the undertone of panic in his brother’s voice.
“You know what I mean, “ he stressed. “How, why, how much?”. And don’t give me any of that OfcourseIloveyouyouaremybrother crap, he added in his mind and looked away. Somehow the rain drumming against the window and the half drawn drapes had become the most fascinating thing in the world.
Lincoln stared at him, taking the the words and trying to process them. Then he sighed again and moved to put out the cigarette. Michael could feel the shift of the mattress as Linc crawled towards him, till they were almost side by side. Propped up on one elbow Lincoln’s hand started to trail the contours of his face.
“I asked you a question.”
“You're pretty, “ Linc said, his voice distant as if he was thinking of something else. His brow furrowed, like in deep thought. “I don’t like that. Makes me want not to trust you.”
Slowly, his hand moved over to Michael’s forehead, now drawing the shape of Michael’s eyes. “You are smart. I do like that. I’m just not sure I understand any of it.” Linocln's hands were not gentle, then again, they rarely ever were.
“I know everything about you. I don’t like that. Creeps me the fuck out.” He leaned his head against Michael’s shoulder.
“I love it when we fuck, I just hate waking up next to you.”
Michael flinched at that admission.
“Great.” He knew he sounded terse and he didn’t bother to hide it. He let his head fall to the side again. A bug was making its way across the floor. Cockroaches and insults. What a way to start an early morning.
“Anything about me you do like?”
Lincoln paused, almost as if insulted. He swung his leg over Michael’s torso and straddled him. Touching two fingers to Michael’s nose, he coaxed him to look at him again. He placed his palms flatly against Michael’s chest. His fingers slowly circled the left nipple and he leaned his forehead just below Michael’s shoulder. He remained like that, unmoving.
“I love your heart,” he finally said.