I glanced at the clock as I made my way through the cramped kitchenette of the tour bus; 3:29 a.m, it read. I sighed. Frank was trailing behind me like the caboose of a train, exhousted out of his mind.
I stopped to open a shoddy cupboard for a mug. When I did, I felt the force of a small body impact the middle of my back. It stumbled backwards a few steps.
I turned to see Frank rubbing at his tired eyes with sweater-covered knuckles; blue and black stripes, oversized, which made him look more like a child than ever.
Not to mention his Star Wars pajamas.
"Watch where you're goin', sleepy head," I said, laughing hypnotically. He sure was, too; his hair was tumbled all over the place, red and black swirled unnaturally around his puffy cheeks.
"Whatever," he moaned lackadaizically, "You're comfy."
He wrapped his noodle-of-an-arm around mine, and leaned his head against my shoulder, eyes shut. I grinned, letting the warm breath from between his teeth depress into my skin.
"I gotta make this, though," I said quietly, "Why don't you go wait for me at the table, 'kay?" I brushed his shoulder persuasively.
He lifted his head as if it weighed a hundred pounds, and looked up at me through completely closed eyes.
"Mm'kay," he mumbled, dragging his little bare feet to the table near the window. He scaled one of the bar-stools and slumped onto the cushion like a sack of potatos.
I turned again to focus in front of me when a hard knock called from behind. I swiveled back to see Frank with his temple against the wood.
"Ow," he slurred.
I rolled my eyes with a dopey smile and snatched a mug from the cupboard. I filled it with water, got out a package of 'Sleepy Time Tea,' and slid it in the microwave above one of the counters. I set the time as directed, and turned toward the table in which Frank sat waiting.
"Aww," I whispered, smiling. Frankie was sprawled out over the length of the table, his chest rising and falling silently and smoothly. His nose was tucked between the bend of his elbow.
I sat down across from him as soundlessly as I could, keeping my eyes on him with bated breath.
Steeling my lungs completely, I reached out and tenderly engulfed his tiny, tattooed hand. Still, he made not a sound or movement. There was something absolutely precious about the way his lips were parted, and the way his head was turned, and the way his hair fell around his plush, rosey cheeks, and the way his silent breaths fogged up the surface of the table, and the way his pretty little eyelashes quivered as he slept; everything. He was absolutely precious.
I took a final, achey note, and rested my head against the table's cool surface, shutting my eyes. A triple beep rang from the microwave, but I ignored it.
I nodded off, his delicate little hand in mine.