The next morning Olivia woke. She glanced towards the bedroom but found it empty and no sign of their guest. Liv was in the kitchen brewing coffee.
“Morning,” Liv said plainly. “Coffee?”
“Yes thanks.” Olivia was very aware that Liv was dressed in nothing other than a thin white snug t-shirt and her knickers.
“Hope you slept okay and I didn’t wake you.” Liv’s statement was the antithesis of an apology.
“No. The couch was quite comfortable. Thanks.” Olivia was relieved, hoping that perhaps Liv had not realised she was awake after all. She quickly busied herself, seemingly focussing on retrieving a coffee-mug from the cupboard. She did not want to give Liv the opportunity to notice her awkwardness.
“It’s funny to think you have all my memories,” Liv said. She stood leaning against the kitchen counter, hot coffee-mug in hand. She was observing Olivia, over the top of her mug as she took sips, in a way that made Olivia exceedingly uncomfortable.
“I only have some of your memories,” Olivia said, “and they have mostly faded already.”
“Still though, at least you have the peace of mind that no one was digging around in your head.”
“No, they were just messing with my head.” Olivia grabbed a mug.
Liv seemed to take her point.
“Look Liv, if it helps, I really cannot remember anything very clearly. I think, other than a knowledge of the factual differences in our past, it did not give me much else.” Olivia was not sure why she was explaining this to Liv or why some part of her wanted to make Liv feel better. “It’s not like I still have access and can read you because if it.”
“You’d like that though,” Liv said. She took another sip of her coffee.
“What?” Olivia felt confused.
“…to get into my head, again,” Liv said casually, but still observing Olivia very closely.
“No,” Olivia shook her head.
“You are curious though,” Liv paused. “You are curious to know how alike or different we actually are, in our thoughts and emotions.”
“Look Liv, you live your life. I live mine.” Olivia tried to shrugged off the conversation and focussed on pouring herself a coffee.
Olivia suddenly felt a hot presence right behind her.
“You are curious,” Liv said inches away from Olivia’s left ear. “I bet, at this moment, you are wondering if I am thinking the same thing you are.”
Olivia closed her eyes and tried to block out the hot breaths that were tickling her neck and the feeling of heat radiating from Liv’s skin—the same as hers, right behind her. If she leant back by a hair’s breadth she was sure she would feel Liv’s pert breasts against her back. She swallowed. “We are very different,” she managed to say.
“Oh, I don’t think so.”
Olivia could hardly breathe. She closed her eyes tightly. Waiting.
When nothing happened for a few moments, Olivia opened her eyes to find Liv gone. A few seconds later she heard the shower run.
Olivia willed her legs into action and she returned to the living room where she sat and drank her coffee waiting for the shower to be free.
When she was sure Liv had finished in the bathroom, Olivia drained her cup and headed through the bedroom to the shower. As she entered, she saw Liv sitting at her dresser with her towel loosely draped around her waist. Again Olivia was drawn to the beautiful sight of Liv’s toned bare back and automatically her gaze followed the line down to the top of her buttocks, which was just visible above the folds of the towel. When she finally looked up, she saw Liv’s face in the mirror. She was sporting a skew smile and she was looking straight at her. She had been busted.
Olivia swiftly turned and fled into the bathroom closing the door behind her.
The hot water of the shower massaged her back and neck—a necessary caress she had been craving since she set foot in this universe. She was enjoying her brief private relaxation so much that she did not notice the door open.
Olivia started when she finally noticed the extra presence in the small steamy room. Liv just stood there with her towel draped around her hips, exposing her bare breasts, observing Olivia. Clearly she was very comfortable with her own body.
What made Olivia cringe with awkwardness was the fact that Liv’s eyes were roaming up and down her own body. Olivia had to clench her jaw to stop the overwhelming instinct to cover up and hide. She decided in that instant that if Liv was so comfortable being naked, she was not going to give her the satisfaction of seeing her own vulnerability and shyness. After all they were effectively identical and it was like being naked in a mirror.
“You did not hear me,” Liv said continuing her unabashed appraisal. “I said, since we can’t go out, how about we watch a few movies today?”
Olivia replied as evenly as possible. “Hope you’ve got a few new good ones.”
Having received an adequate answer, or perhaps, having seen enough, Liv grabbed a hairbrush from the bathroom-cupboard and with one last up-and-down glance at Olivia, she left.
Once the door closed behind Liv, Olivia leaned against the cold wall, and let out a huge breath she had not realised she was holding. Why was she feeling like this?