I didn’t bother hoping to conceal my mortification at the recollection of how exposed I felt when I realized he had been there while I showered.  We stood awkwardly silent again before I turned back to him.

Alex rubbed the back of his neck as he whispered insistently, “I would never dishonor you like that.” He pulled in his bottom lip, and then slowly released it.  Any hint of jovial was traded for sobering.  “As tempting a notion, I swear I have never set my eyes on your bare form, and I’m very sorry for any discomfort it caused you.”

I glanced down at the floor, partly wishing I never brought the subject up, and partly flattered that anything about me could tempt him.

“So, are you going to tell me why you’re here, or are you going to insist that I’m imagining this whole conversation?” I asked, forcing a subject change.

His expression was not his usual brooding.  It was more, like he was torn by some inner wind as to how he was going to tell me, rather than if he was going to tell me.  Alex reached into his pocket, hesitantly taking from it a black satin pouch.  I stared curiously at his long slender fingers tightly gripping the bag as if it contained a most precious item.

Alex took a timid step towards me, focusing uneasily at the clenched fists dangling at my sides, and then lifted his eyes to my face.

“I was worried,” he answered at last.  “You don’t answer your phone, don’t return calls, e-mails.  I needed to know that you were okay.”

My stand-offish-ness began to melt under the concern echoed in his voice.  I wondered why he cared how I was.  I certainly didn’t deserve it, especially after I displayed such little regard for how he felt when I stabbed him in the hand.  I cringed at the thought of what I had done, feeling remorseful for it still.

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