Good Morning, Sunshine

It was a chaste relationship.

It didn’t bother Mary too much. Of course, the books and films she devoured her whole life had painted romance in a much more... physical way. She just had different expectations. She knew to shift those expectations when she met Jin. He was fragile and for good reason. The wedding portrait of him and his late wife, Sabrina, was a reminder of it.


She couldn’t help but want more.

As the sky melted from pale blue to an orange and pink sorbet, Mary stared at Jin across his table. The setting sun painted everything in his home in an almost blinding orange light. Dramatic shadows stretched across his floor.

“Oh, would you like another cup, Mary?” Jin asked. “Please help yourself.”

Mary blinked. Oh, did he think that she was staring because of that? In actuality, she wasn’t sure why she was staring to begin with. Something just spun in her stomach and made her chest flutter. It was a different fluttering than she normally got when she spent time with Jin. Expectant. Eager. Yearning. These were all things she commonly felt with him. Right now? It just felt so much deeper. Fiercer. Red-hot in intensity, like the colour of the blood red sun that settled into the horizon.

As she poured the lemon and lavender tea into her half full cup, her mind wandered. A calming fragrance wafted in the air. What did she want?

She wanted more.

More of what?

Mary bit her lip as she put the pot back down on the cork coaster. Shakily, she brought the nearly full to spilling cup to her lips. The contrast in the calming, almost sleep inducing scent of lavender and the brightness of the lemon peel. It reminded her of this time of day and the moment before the sun rose. The inbetween.

It kind of reminded her of her and Jin in a strange way.

They were more than friends. Their first date was watching the stars in the sky. They were in a relationship. The both of them, or at least she hoped it was the both of them, felt that spark every time they touched hands. Whenever they had a spare moment, they spent it together. Of course, close friends could do the same things too. There was nothing wrong with it. There wasn’t anything Mary wanted to change about their relationship...

Except for the fact that she wanted more.

Her eyes drifted towards the photograph in the living room.

She couldn’t reasonably ask for that though. Not when she agreed to take things slow for his sake. They had been dating for three seasons at this point. The time of year when the air bit at your exposed skin as you watched the leaves shift from emerald to ruby and topaz. The days were shorter. Twilight seeped in earlier than before and daybreak settled in just a bit later. Sooner than later, it’d be winter. The season they got together.

She shifted in her seat. The wood creaked under her weight.

Would it be appropriate?

The shade of oranges and pink deepened to ultramarine and purple. Specks of glittering white and gold shone in the ink coloured sky.

“It’s gotten late. I didn’t even realize that time had gone by so fast,” Jin said with a chuckle. He folded the corner of his book—something that drove Mary crazy when she saw it—and shut it with a heavy finality. “I can walk you home, if you wish,” he said before reaching for the rest of his tea.

Something lit in Mary’s mind.

“A-actually,” she began. Sucking in a shaky breath, she closed her eyes for a moment before staring at him with that intense wanting surging inside her chest. “I... was wondering if I could spend the night.”

Lemon-lavender tea shot from Jin’s nose and blasted across the table. Coughing and sputtering, the doctor still tried to wipe up his mess in a desperate frenzy. Whether it was to save his book or simply to distract himself from Mary’s request, she had no idea. Regardless, she went to help.

“I-I’m sorry. If it means anything... I, ah, I didn’t mean it like that.” Her face boiled. Her stomach flipped and flopped on its sides. Her lips pressed tightly together in a hard line. She had made a mistake. “I... It’s alright, I can just go home if you’re more comfortable.”

Suddenly, Jin shot out his hand as he tried to gulp down a few lungfuls of air. “W-wait... wait wait wait wait,” he gasped out. “Wait.”

So, she waited.

Finally, Jin managed to get his breath back. “I... I’m not opposed to it. I think. We... Er, I... I suppose we have been dating for almost a year. Plus, it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve slept together. Technically.” Mary chuckled at the memory of them passed out in his office as they worked on the encyclopedia together. “We may live close to each other... But...” He furrowed his brow. “It might be nice. Would you want to grab a few things before coming back?”

She shook her head. “In all honesty, Jin, I... might lose my nerve if I do that.”

They chuckled.

“Alright. I’ll... I’ll sleep on the couch. You may sleep in my bed, if you wish.” He paused for a moment. “T-the left side, if you can...”

She blinked. Was he going to sleep with her? Her pulse quickened at the thought. Yes, this is what she wanted—

He shook his head. “Never mind, that’s a strange request. Regardless, I’ll be on the couch.”

Without thinking, Mary reached for his hand and squeezed it. “Sleep with me. Please. I... wouldn’t feel right kicking you out of your own bed.”

He stared at her. His eyes flickered towards the wall. Mary bit her lip. He wasn’t able to see her from this angle, but she knew that he was looking at it. The wall covered the living room. In the living room, there Sabrina was.

“...Alright. Forgive me, Mary, but I haven’t shared a bed with anyone in almost six years. I might turn out to be a blanket or mattress hog.”

She giggled at that.

Hours passed. The two of them did little more than sit in the living room and read together. Occasionally sharing words about their respective novels—and sometimes about Mary’s newest draft of the newly titled ‘Rune Factory’—but not much more. It was a comfortable silence. The comfortable silence that was normal for them. Eventually, Jin tried to convince Mary to go to her house and pick up pyjamas... She did not.

Now, she was dressed in a pair of flannel pyjamas that were twice her size. She didn’t realize Jin was this much taller and ‘broader’ than her until now. The scent of apple detergent clung to the comfy fabric. She swallowed as Jin stepped into his bedroom in his own pyjamas and was not drowning in his own clothes. His hand ran through his black hair and pulled out the elastic. His hair fell across his shoulders like a curtain made of midnight.

It was really happening.

Her heart pounded as they stepped towards the bed. He seemed just as unsure. He shuffled to the left side of the bed. He laid on top of the blanket and rolled onto his left side. A soft, frustrated ‘hmph’ escaped through his nose as Mary climbed onto the right side of the bed. She crept under the duvet, something easier said than done as Jin laid on top of it. Eventually he got up to turn off the light but he stayed on top of the blanket.

Maybe he got too warm at night?

“Good night, Mary,” he mumbled as he rolled back onto his side. He placed both of their glasses on the night table. Then stayed on his side. His back was facing her. It didn’t bother her... too much. “I... let me know if I bother you or anything.”

“You probably won’t but I’ll keep that in mind. Please do the same for me.”

“Of course.”

The night passed by uneventfully.

Three hours later, Mary woke up to an unfamiliar ceiling and weight next to her. She rolled onto her left side and was greeted by the sight of Jin’s back and he was still on top of the blankets. He shivered. She huffed. In her dozing state, she nuzzled up closer to him. Two hours later, Mary was awoken by Jin getting up. He mumbled to himself as he crawled back to bed almost immediately. This time... he slipped under the blankets. She sighed as he rolled back onto his side. Her eyelids fell closed within seconds even as he rolled once again.

The next time she woke up, the sun began to peek in through the sheer curtains. Tiredness still ebbed through her body but she figured it was best to wake up. The weight of something suddenly jolted her awake. She shot upright and turned to her side and was greeted by the sight of Jin who grinned at her.

“Good morning, sunshine,” Jin murmured.