She woke up in the dark.
Felt her face. It was wet with tears.
Then she saw him sitting on the edge of the bed, in the dark, next to her.
"What ...?" she said.
"Shh...you're dreaming. Dreaming about me again," he said.
She leaned back onto her pillow.
She could see his eyes in the dark. He reached out and wiped her face gently with his thumb, tracing her tears.
"Do I always cry?" she said.
"I don't think so. I've only seen it a handful of times. And you dream about me a lot," he said.
She reached out her hand to him. He took it. He was ....different. So was she. There was no fear. No pretense. She just wanted his hand, so she took it. And he gave it gladly.
"How are you here? Are you dreaming about me at the same time?" she asked in a whisper.
"Maybe. I know I do sometimes. I don't know how I'm here. I just know I'm not really. I mean, I am, but I'm not," he said.
She closed her eyes and turned onto her side, holding his hand to her cheek against the pillow.
"I think I'm here to comfort you. I don't know. That's just what I feel," he said. His hand was on her back.
Her tears were drying. "I'm so glad you are here. For whatever reason," she said.
His other hand went to her back.
"Are you ok? I mean, really?" he said.
"Yes. I am now," she said.
"You know how I feel about you, don't you?" he whispered. He said her name.
"I think I do. I'm not totally sure," she said.
"Move over," he said.
She moved to give him room, and he stretched out on the bed next to her. For the first time in a long time, she didn't think about fucking him. She didn't think about anything physical. She didn't want things. She just felt things. Felt them running through her.
"Hold me. Will you?" she said.
"Of course," he said.
They were face to face on the bed. She had no idea what she looked like. She didn't care.
Neither did he. His hand stroked the side of her face. "I think I'm supposed to tell you how I feel," he said. They were eyes to eyes. Face to face. His hands moved to pull her to him. Her hands moved around his neck. Still, she didn't want to rip his clothes off. The pull was somewhere else. It was in her heart.
His mouth grazed hers. He gave her a soft, gentle kiss.
He said her name.
"I think you are amazing. And talented. And brave. And honest," he said. He touched her face.
"And beautiful. Inside and out," he said.
Her eyes filled with tears again, but they didn't fall.
"Shh. This is supposed to be helping," he said.
"It is. It is," she said.
"I don't know what there is to do. Or what we should do. Probably nothing. I just wanted to tell you how I feel. I think you needed to know tonight," he said.
She closed her eyes and smiled. She was all right with all of that. " I don't want you to be sad. You should be happy. All day. Every day. You deserve it," he said.
She put her finger to his mouth.
"Thank you," she said.
She was so exhausted.
"Will you hold me until I go back to sleep? I think I can sleep now," she said. She could breathe him in with every sleepy breath. It was intoxicating. A spreading relaxation moved through her arms. Through her back. "Of course," he said. He pulled her to him. Her head was at his chest. She could hear his heart beating for the first time. He stroked her hair like she was a child.
She was so warm in his arms. She realized that she felt amazingly safe. It was one of the best things about him. He always made her feel safe.
She drifted off to the most relaxing sleep she had felt in months, his hand strong on her back, his other stroking her hair, surrounded by him.
She whispered his name.
"Yes," he answered, saying hers.
"I am so fucking in love with you," she said.
There was a moment of quiet.
He pulled her back for a second to look in her eyes one more time.
"I know," he said.
He kissed her forehead.
"Now sleep," he said.