You don’t have to like it

She squints against the shaft of sunlight streaming through the broken slat in the blind.

“There’s sun in my eyes,” she says.

The hint of melanin, the strands of collagen bounce the light around her iris, pulling the light waves this way and that so that her eyes resemble the clear, turquoise depths of the Aegean Sea. He tries not to be affected by it. He maintains his dour aspect, his unshaven face grizzled by greying stubble.

“You don’t have to like it,” he tells her, liking her all the same.

She hums distractedly as she fiddles with the blind, pulling on the useless strings, trying to close the gap. She squints up at the blind in its high window. The strings twist around each other, but the slat stays broken.

She sits down again and sighs, shading her eyes with one hand, balancing her book in the other.

“Sit somewhere else,” he tells her, enjoying the curve of her arm and the angle of her wrist. She has fine wrists. He would touch the bone that rises from the curve, but he isn’t touching her today.

“I like the warmth,” she replies.

He smiles, but she doesn’t see him.