“I need you.” Her voice was soft, but strong. “I know this isn’t fair, but please.”
“It’s okay,” Clark answered, “it’s okay. Just a second.”
He let himself into her apartment with the key he’d never given back. He always used the living room as a judge. If the place was still put together, then it had just been a sad night. If it was torn apart, then it had been an angry night. They were better in some ways, worse in others.
Either way, he made his way back to her bedroom. The bed was always stripped, so he dropped to his stomach and looked under the bed. Her eyes peeked out from a cocoon of blankets and pillows. “I needed to be in a small space,” she offered.
“I know,” he smiled kindly, propping his head up on one hand, and reaching out with the other. She shifted slightly, unwinding some of the blankets so she could interlock her fingers with his.
For a while, they laid there, hands clasped, the only parts of her exposed were her eyes and nose and their clasped hands. They didn’t say anything, they just laid there, watching each other and waiting.
But then she would sigh and shift again, and he would give her hand a little squeeze in response. “Okay,” her voice didn’t sound so strong this time around. “Okay, I think I’m ready to come out now.” He’d let go of her hand and pull himself up. He waited near the door as she emerged from under the bed, pulling with her a couple twisted blankets or a squashed pillow.
“What do you need?” He always asked. “What do you need me to do?” She shrugged and kicked the edge of a blanket only half out from under the bed. “Let’s get some sleep then, yeah?” She nodded.
They didn’t completely re-make the bed, because he always knew that she would want to wash the sheets and clean the entire house after days like this, give the impression of a fresh start. Instead, they just pulled enough of the blankets and pillows back onto the bed to make a little nest of comfort to sleep in. He always let her make the first move. Sometimes, she just took his hand again. Sometimes she curled into his side, pressing against him as much as she could. She’d told him once it was because she sometimes wondered if he was really there, and some days she needed more reassurance than others. Because the nights she called, the nights she said she needed him, it was always because she felt alone in the world. And he would never allow her to stay that way. Not if he could do anything to help it.