Word Count: 368
He's watched the minute hand fling itself, spasming, past two hundred and fourty notches. Four hours punctuated by nothing but the rhythmic tick of the clock's weighted pendulum swinging back and forth, an impatient foot-tap sounding heavily in the silence. The window beside his bed is open, but the night air beyond it is quiet; there's not a hint of wind to rustle the curtain. Its blue lace is a ruffled and damp, not unlike the woman who sleeps next to him--who should be sleeping here now. The absence of her breathing is a white noise buzzing in his ear, and he knows he won't sleep until she returns. No, rather, he mustn't sleep, not until he knows where she's been.
She doesn't tell him anything anymore, but even he is far enough removed from his naiivety to guess. He knows how to categorize the scents she leaves in her wake; the sour odor of sweat and smoke and sex, how every one is a different man's. He knows the hum and rattle of every engine, the timbre of their voices. If he concentrates, he can taste each one's lips when he kisses hers. He knows them all as intimately as they've known her.
The car's engine is whisper-soft, but it makes his temples throb as it approaches. It's low, purring like a hunting cat. Keichi. The engine cuts and he hears their shallow breathing. She's faking skillfully, withdrawing just enough to make the poor boy work for it. It works, it always does, and he's drawn to her kiss. The sound of their lips pressing together is a cymbal clash, unbearably loud. Almost as soon as it starts, it ends abruptly. Through the reverberations, he can hear the weariness in his sister's voice. She's tired of the game tonight, but being the clever girl she is, she strings Keichi-kun along with the promise of an excursion tomorrow night.
He accepts; how could possibly do anything else? He leaves her at the driveway and his car rumbles to life and fades away as Kozue opens the door. "I'm home Miki," she whispers, "Did you miss me?"
Miki turns away from her, onto his side. "No."