she seemed a little nervous, for once, or maybe simply not as self-assured, and it unnerved him slightly to behold her this way, pulling the ends of her sweater sleeves over her painted fingernails as if trying to hide herself away.
“sometimes i forget to believe in the important things,” she finally said, chewing on her bottom lip lightly. “you know what i mean?”
“not sure,” he said, looking intently at her, the way she reached out now and then to lightly touch the lip of her wine glass with her index finger. she was quieter tonight, more subdued, a subtle glow rather than her usual buoyant radiance. in a strange way he rather enjoyed seeing her like this; a little more vulnerable, as though perhaps the world could hurt her after all, or maybe that there were walls she couldn’t scale entirely on her own, labyrinths through which she might be apprehensive to traverse without the feel of another’s hand clinging to her’s. it made him feel closer to her, as though her walls were a little less platinum tonight; as though her eyes were searching, rather than self-sustained and reflective. he could see a little more of her, a little less of her defenses, and he wondered what had caused the shift.
“tell me,” he said, searching her face. the restaurant was dimly lit and intimate and she seemed almost-his, the way this moment tucked them both away from the gravity of busy sidewalks and winter suns.
“sometimes i forget to believe in tomorrow,” she said softly, raising her eyes to meet his, catching him in the feather-weight of her lashes. “sometimes i forget i just might need my wings.”
they were quiet for a few moments and the jazz trio swept their thoughts along, bluesy and separate, two different streams flowing from one tiny table. even in her reticence, he wanted to learn the curves of her face and the secrets behind her eyes.
“i don’t think that’s true,” he finally said, looking at her profile in the thin light. she stayed that way for a moment, hanging in the echo of his words and lost in the heartbeat of the music before turning and meeting his gaze.
“no,” she agreed, smiling at him. “i didn’t think you would.”

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