When the residue was fully removed and her hair silky and soft, she turned in the tub with a small splash of water, resting her elbows on the edge. She peered up at him, drinking in his warm and indulgent smile. His eyes were soft and and his cheeks flushed, making the hard planes of his face far less severe than usual. He thumbed through her wet hair a few times, before cupping her cheek.
“You look happy,” she said, feeling her heart flipping over in her chest a little.
It was the wrong thing to say, apparently.
“I…” He broke off; the warmth and softness fading within an instant as his hand dropped from her cheek. The change was sudden, and when he went to lift himself from the stool, she had the thought that at the moment he wanted nothing more than to escape at this very time. “Ah, my apologies, perhaps we should-”
She put her hand on his knee to coax him back to her. He stopped, though her touch was light enough for him to break with the slightest bit of effort.
“Nothing wrong with being happy,” Ashanna said softly. Her lover carried a lot of pain and she didn’t understand why. It became evident the more time they spent together, because of times like these, where the peace their companionship brought each of them would chase away the distance in his eyes that no one but her seemed to notice.
“Thank you,” he said after a long moment that seemed to stretch forever.