California Hotel – A Flash Fiction

The sheet fell across his face, the white cotton cutting a line parallel to the hot sunbeam. Still, it took him a moment – three breaths filtered by the fabric – before he began to stir. He raised up on his elbows, and watched the denim slide up her legs.

“Hey.”

She glanced back at him, then pulled the sweat-top over her head. The cellophane crinkled as she picked up the pack of cigarettes, lighting one.

She blew smoke in his face. “Good to know you’re such an intellectual genius in the morning.”

“You don’t have to go yet, babe. Checkout’s not until noon.”

She took another deep breath, then blew smoke into the cheap light fixture. She stood up, stepped to the dresser. Her purse went onto her shoulder, her ring onto her finger. She looked back at him, and despite the sheets, he felt naked under her eyes.

She rubbed the ring around and around her finger while she spoke. “I have to leave, because if I don’t, I will.”

He was still trying to understand when she kissed him once more – just on the forehead like a favored child – then turned to go home from her business trip.

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