I shot straight up, falling out of the chair in the process.  My breathing was strained, like I had just finished a distance run.  I didn’t know how long I had been asleep, long enough to have a kink in my neck, I guess.  As I picked myself up off of the floor, I recalled the thing that woke me in the first place.  The deep growl of the C chord on my cello being plucked.  I peeked over the top of the desk expecting to see David shaking his head and quietly laughing at me.  But he wasn’t.

I rose slowly, undecided on how to respond to Alex standing in front of my cello, flipping through my sheet music.  Anger might have been an appropriate reaction, but I couldn’t scrounge the emotional energy to care.

“So we’ve progressed from stalking to breaking and entering, huh?” I walked to the office door to check for David’s snoring.

“He’s still asleep,” Alex assured.

I turned to find him regarding me quizzically.  “You’re not surprised to see me.”

“This wouldn’t be the first time you’ve popped in unannounced,” I muttered. “So, you’ll have to excuse me if I’m fresh out of surprised.  Thanks for not vaporizing this time, though.”

Alex smiled gloriously in spite of my cutting sarcasm.  His eyes burned into mine like they were in search of something, and I suddenly wished there was something left to offer him.  The silent gaze grew uncomfortably intense as we stared at each other wordlessly.  The devastating green still had that dazzling effect on the tremble in my chest, forcing my eyes to avert to anything else.

What?” I demanded, shuffling to my cello to turn the sheets of music back over.

“I don’t stalk, I merely observe.”

“Under the guise of invisibility?” I rolled my eyes. “You’re a first class candidate for a restraining order.”

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