In itself, the room was tiny.

The paint curled, as if it were nervous, all yellow. Bits of it had fallen on the carpet, a lukewarm sort of snow. There was an overall quietness to it. A humility. Anybody could tell the place had seen better days, but at least it didn't claim to be something more. Adam ran a hand along the metal framework of the bed, the sharp cold biting his fingers, the frame groaning, tired.

It was quiet. And that was okay. Adam liked quiet, he had the capacity to cope with the quiet.

People always talked about him like he was stubborn. But he was just passionate. The red umbrella wept on the floor. Sky blue T-shirts and the dark of denim were suddenly so out of place. What did they mean away from the places he'd found them? Had he lost validation by moving away?

The entire room shook as a train rattled past the window. It was raining outside and Adam sighed airily. Had he lost his validation when she left him? Her. He couldn't stop feeling things. Couldn't turn it off, in all of his spite, or all of his love.

Katherine Marlowe. The 8th Katherine Adam had dated, loved, and been rejected by. This Katherine had short blonde hair, wide starry eyes and a soft, kitten voice. As he always did when dating a Katherine, he'd declared his love for her. And as Katherines always did, she left him.

The bed shook from the force of the passing train. Adam felt as if he'd been awake since the mid-70's. His hands shook with cold, and the rain was loud and rivulets ran from his damp hair. tracing patterns of fault on his faces. Where emotions left their little scars. Of little deaths, of joy and the agony of another Katherine let go. He must have loved her so incredibly hard, and longed for her so truly on nights like those, alone in the cold, in the chlorine of that room.

The walls were thin in substance as air. Voice drifted in from two doors down, like spectres in the plasterboard. Adam held back his shivers. Unpacking came first. No time to reconsider. To think of Katherine Marlowe back home, under her blanket, warm and safe and free. And completely alone.

Adam threw these shades of blue and black into drawers, the smile of her rising, of all the times she'd worn his shirt, or been near him, so close he could feel the electricity of her skin burning him. The red of her lips exploding and the blue of her eyes making coffins of candied hearts. God, she was --Katherine Marlowe was the most beautiful creature to want Adam.

And Adam had wanted her.

He rested his head against the thin of a pillow and closed his eyes.


Adam never really fell asleep because he was never really awake. Too tired to rest. To lively to function. He'd no slept since Katherine had sighed and messed with his hair.

"You're really great, Adam." She said, twirling his hair. "I just think --like, maybe we should be fri-"

And his heart began to crack. A vessel that was letting in water. Slowly sinking to the inky depths of the pacific. Adam froze, the weight of her hand in his hair suddenly discomforting, sinister. He couldn't breathe from claustrophobia.

"I love you." It slipped out in a moment of panic. he loved her soft and true and so dearly there was a tearing where a scream or a sob might have torn through him. and Katherine's hand stopped twirling and she sighed. Like he was ridiculous, silly. Whimsical.

He longed to hear her match his sentiments. But she wouldn't. Katherine Marlowe was the 8th in a long line of Katherines, and they all had the innate characteristic of being dumpers, heart-breakers. Temptresses.

"It isn't working out,"

And he dragged that thought away, all the way to L.A. Because there was no hand in his hair or lips or his. She was gone from him physically.


Adam woke sharp at three. The trains outside howled. The wind wailed against the single-glazed pane and his duvet was icy on top. His eyes were sharp with weariness, and the smell of Katherine wouldn't leave him.

Down the hall, he heard voices that had crawled through his door, and there was a ghost between his lungs that made him sigh.

There was no chance of sleeping. Why try?