Aline was on the porch again when Candre came down the stairs. The house was all tones of gray as night slowly seeped away and she looked like a black and white painting wrapped in a dark blanket, with her blonde hair snaking down her back, and her pale bare shoulder peeking out where the cloth had slipped. She wore her sleeveless undershirt and the over sized breeches she liked to sleep in, but her hair was still combed and knotted into its tail.
Shaking his head, Candre finished wiping the sleep out of his eyes. He wandered into the kitchen, listening to the floorboards creak in their familiar way, and poured himself a cup of water. It was cool from being left out over night and the first few swallows did most of the work in waking him up. Then he splashed a little on his face to finish the job. He collected an apple from the cupboard, closed the cupboard door with his elbow and slid out the front door.
Aline looked up at him with a quiet smile. Candre sank down beside her on the front step.
“Good morning,” he said. He went to take a bite of his apple, but ended up yawning against the back of his hand instead.
Aline yawned too. Candre wasn’t sure how the motion could be so different on her, how it could be so obvious in the small motion that she hadn’t gone to bed yet, while he was just stumbling out.
“Still can’t sleep?” he asked mildly.
Aline shrugged, smile stretching as if it were a funny joke. “No,” she said. She returned her attention to horizon where it continued to warm with yellow light behind the next line of houses. There was very little focus in her expression, and no awe to speak of. She paid as much attention as she might to her favorite song, if someone were to play it for her for the hundredth time.
“Giving up on it?” Candre asked.
Aline seemed to weigh that thought. “Maybe,” she said lightly. “I’ll be on the night watch again when we leave port. I’m only here for ten more days…” She shook her head a little and glanced at him sideways. “It would be a pretty insignificant battle to win.”
Candre snorted. “Like that’s ever stopped you.”
She smiled to herself, then shrugged again. “They always said that sailing would change us forever.”