“Why do I have to love you?” he whispered.
I blinked and tried to make out the outline of his features, failed and traced it with my fingers instead. “I don’t know,” I whispered back. “Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re just lonely and tired of being alone and I come along and…”
“Don’t say that.” He grabbed my wrist and nipped it.
I shifted, laced our fingers together. “What do you want me to say then?”
He was silent. The room was silent. For a moment I thought I could hear his heart beat but then realised that it was my own, thumping in the anxiety of hearing what I didn’t want to.
“Just stay,” he said softly. “With me. Here. Just don’t go away.”
And there it is. The request that I knew I couldn’t fulfil. The promise, once made, I knew I’d break. So I did what I had to, what I could.
“I love you.” I said, with surprisingly sincere certainty and finality. “I’d never leave. I’d hold you forever and be here for always.”
He laughed then pouted, “Why are you lying?”
“Because that’s what you want to hear.” I whispered as I kissed his lips.
He’d slept in my arms as I stayed awake, staring out into the darkness. Praying for it to hide my lies and hoping, as I do sometimes, that I can somehow delay the coming of dawn.
Because maybe if I believe it hard enough and stay long enough in the safety of the dark, I might remember how to love again.