I can't believe this, I'm staring at the clock and it's four AM. We were done making love at one. I could handle one. That meant that I'd get seven hours of sleep at least. But now it's four, and that translates into four hours of sleep and a very grumpy Ken. I feel Aya's hand touch my shoulder. I look over at him with blood-shot eyes. He is looking at me intensely like he's expecting me to say something.
"Well?" he asks at length.
"Um... well what?"
"What do you think I should have done?"
Shit. I was supposed to be listening? And now he's asking questions. I felt like I used to on those pop quiz days. I roll over and stare up at him trying to look serious. "Well... um...," I suddenly remember the last thing I actually heard him say. "I think you should have gone ahead and dyed it blue."
I know immediately I said the wrong thing. Aya's eyes get all narrow and pissy. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"Umm... your hair. We were talking about your hair, right? About how you had an identity crisis in middle school because your hair was red and you wanted to dye it. Well I think you should have."
Aya gives me that look again. I crumble, but don't really care, because if all he does is glare at me I can go to sleep. "Ken, we were talking about that over an hour ago."
"Oh?" I say weakly. What's this 'we were talking' stuff? I haven't said anything since Aya started up.
"I wanted to know what you thought I should have done that time in band class when I got a reed stuck up my nose."
I squeeze my eyes shut and feel like crying. "What?!"
"See I was so embarrassed that I couldn't tell the teacher and tried to hide myself in one of the music closets and then blah blah blah...." Aya's deep voice drones on and on. I roll over again and stare at the ceiling.
This is why we never knew anything about Aya. Why he has always been so quiet, never talked about himself, just nodded and made mono-syllabic sounds. The reason is that Aya is only talkative after sex. And oh God, when he gets going it never stops The first time Aya and I were together, (oh sweet memories), I had been surprised as we lay in each other's arms and Aya suddenly started talking... and talking, and talking. He didn't talk about anything in particular, mostly just stream of consciousness rambling that veered all over the board. Everything from elementary school memories to his personal philosophy on quantum physics came pouring out of his mouth in no particular order.
The first time I found it painfully endearing. Startling and sweet. I lay on the bed, holding Aya close and hanging on every word the redhead usually never said. I thought that it was just aftermath nervousness. Even the second time it had been sweet. The third time it was still endearing, but I was beginning to wonder how long it would take Aya to get used to being with me. It wasn't until a month had gone by that I realized Aya's random rambling wasn't going to stop.
It wasn't a nervous reaction to our intimacy... it was just Aya. He talked after sex. Some people smoked, some ate cheesecake, some ran blocks, some snuggled, Aya blathered. About everything and anything.
I hear the words, "... like the time I stuck marbles in my nostrils...."
"RAN!" I cry. Aya stops mid-sentence and looks down at me. He knows I'm seriously buggin' when I use his real name.
He glares and says, "Yeah?"
"Waaah, it's past four o'clock in the morning! It isn't that I don't want to listen to you, but please can't we talk about your problem with sticking things up your nose tomorrow?"
Aya narrows his eyes and then crosses his arms across his chest. He looks away. Shit, I offended him. I reach out and touch his hip gently. "Aya-kun... please...," I nearly sob in exhaustion.
He inhales deeply and then starts up again. "You know what, Ken? I listen to you all day long. I listen to you talk about your soccer kids, and your laundry, and how the game between Brazil and whatever went, and how you hate rose thorns, and how you love sweet and sour pork even though it isn't really even Chinese food, and your favorite music groups, and your favorite songs, and your favorite TV shows, and your botched romances with girls in middle school, and your botched romance with Yuriko, and how much you love jerseys, and how green apple is your favorite shampoo scent (but you'd settle for ginger lime in a pinch), and what you've been reading lately, and how mexican food disrupts your digestion, and your preference in colas (Pepsi by the way), and how your head hurts, and about your old friends back in J-League, and your get rich quick schemes, and the celebrities you like and hate, and your motorcycle, and your trip to the dentist's office, and how your last physical went, and what you dreamed about the night before last, and how you hate those little toothpaste globs in the sink, and how you want to go to Hawaii, and how much you love the park, and the type of moisturizer you like to use, and how much you weigh, and how much you love flexing in front of the mirror, and how you can never find your socks, and the best type of shoes to buy for cross training, and everything else! But every once in a while I wanna talk about me. Not very often and not with everyone, but every once in a while I like talking with you, alone, about myself. Is that so much to ask?" he says still looking out into the room.
"But it's four o'clock in the morning!" I cry helplessly. I don't want to push him away, but for the love of God! Aya doesn't say anything he just pouts silently. I begin to feel bad, I always do. Then I start to think about what he said, and warmth starts to settle in my veins.
I wriggle closer to him and wrap my arms around his body. I rest my head on his chest. "You actually listen to me when I talk at you like that?"
Aya snorts. "Of course I listen to you!"
"Well, I don't really talk so that you have to listen. I just talk to talk, just to fill up space," I say. "You don't have to pay attention, I don't really expect you to."
Aya turns onto his side and puts his arms around me. "I know. That's why I always make sure that I do."
I blink at him, and even though it's going on four thirty I can't help but smile. I lean closer to him and kiss his lips gently, and nuzzle my nose against his cheek. "You're a good actor, koibito."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Well," I say, tucking my head under his chin, "look how many people you've got believing you're a cold bastard."
Aya chuckles and pulls me closer. He runs a hand down my back and rests it on my hip. "Just don't tell the others," he whispers into my ear.
"And blow your cover? I wouldn't think of it," I say nipping his neck slightly. I can hear the hiss of breath between his teeth. Too bad it's four thirty. I tuck my head under his chin again, able to hear his heartbeat. He strokes my back idly with one hand.
"Will you marry me?" I ask giggling.
He thinks for a moment, "Sure. Now where was I?" he asks quietly. "Oh yeah, so anyway that year I decided it would be a good idea to join student council...."
I can't suppress a slight groan as I bury my head deeper into his chest. But actually it isn't so bad. If I just lay there with my eyes closed and listen to his voice rise and fall it's kinda nice. I know that I don't have to pay attention. That's not why he's talking. So I just lie there, warm in his embrace and realize as I begin to drift away that listening to him talk is more like hearing a lullaby than anything else. Funny how I never thought about it like that before. Just like a lullaby, soft and low.