After dinner, Xyla cleaned up the dining table and went upstairs. She filled the bathtub with warm water, pampering herself with peaceful music and a clay mask while taking a bath.
She was playing the piano cover of ‘Castle in the Sky’.
After a long day, a hot bath with some soothing melodies was exactly what she needed. Sheer exhaustion invading her body and mind had instantly disappeared.
After the bath, she dried her hair, put on some skincare products, and then plopped down on the bed. She stole a glance at the clock. It was already one o’clock in the morning. However, Stanley had not come back yet.
Turning off the lights, she pulled the blanket up and went to sleep.
Stanley came home soon after Xyla fell asleep.
After parking the car, he went straight into the house.
Instead of heading upstairs to find Xyla, he shuffled to the living room and sank into the couch.
He rolled up the white sleeves. The new injection mark on his left arm was exceptionally obvious in the light.
Buzz buzz buzz…
An incoming call disturbed his thoughts. Once again, the number ending in triple nine popped up on his phone screen.
Pinching his brow in exhaustion, he picked up the call. “What’s wrong?”
“Please watch your diet. Give me a call if anything happens. You mustn’t take it lightly, okay?” The young man’s voice rang in his ear again.
“Got it.” With that, he hung up the call apathetically and headed to the staircase.
Just as he went upstairs, his phone vibrated once more.
The screen showed ‘Grandpa’.
He leaned against the wall and answered the call. “Yes, Grandpa…”
“How are you doing now?” The old man’s tone was full of concern.
“Pretty good…” Stanley slowly massaged his forehead as he responded.
“I think I’d better go back to Atlantis tomorrow unless you come to my place.” The old man still sounded worried on the other end of the phone.
“Nah, I’m fine.”
“Are you sure?”
Bidding a brief farewell to his grandfather, Stanley hung up the phone and returned to his bedroom.
The room was so quiet that he could clearly hear Xyla’s soft breathing. The faint rosy fragrance of her shower gel permeated the air, filling his lungs and soothing his mind.
Stanley did not turn on the lights. He approached the bed with the guidance of light coming from the corridor and carefully sat down beside her. His hand slowly lifted, finally landing on her head and gently stroking her hair.
Meanwhile, Xyla was in a light sleep. She woke up as soon as their skin touched.
She immediately opened her eyes and found Stanley before her. She stretched her back lazily and leaned forward, putting her head on his lap. “What time is it now? Did you just get home?”
“Yeah… It’s three o’clock…”
“Were you hanging out with your friends?”
Xyla stopped asking questions and wrapped her arms around his waist. “Take a shower and get some rest. Otherwise, you’ll have trouble getting up the next morning.”
“Xyla…” He called her softly, but the words soon stuck in his throat.
“Hmm?” Xyla covered her mouth in a daze as she yawned. She could barely see him in the dim light.
“Go to sleep. I’m going to take a shower.”
Xyla reluctantly released him and closed her eyes again.
Stanley ran his fingers through her hair once more before getting up from the head and going into the bathroom.
The door was closed, and the running water soon hit the ground with a mighty splash.
Xyla dozed off with the splashes in the bathroom.