"Tell me something."
Her fingers comb through your short cropped hair, and you can tell she's messing it up on purpose, but you don't mind. Even so, you decide to whine, "You're ruining my hair."
"I already knew that," she says, making no move to stop her hands. "Try again."
You can't help the smile on your lips. "I don't actually hate when you sing in the car." She scoffs. "I know, it's unbelievable. Tell me something."
She tugs on your hair as she thinks. "I used to be obsessed with Zac Efron," she admits, turning her face away in shame. "I had a shrine in my closet."
You laugh. She smacks you, but you can see the smile in her eyes. "That's... Unexpected. How old were you?"
"Sixteen," she mumbles, and you cover your mouth to keep from snickering. "Whatever. Shut up," she huffs. "Tell me something."
"I ran away from home once. Tell me something."
She gives you a look.
You shrug. "I was like six. Barely got out of the neighborhood."
She smirks. "You're such a nerd. I'm afraid of birds."
"I know that, choose a new one."
She sighs. You both glance out the window as a particularly strong gust of wind rattles the frame. Without thinking, you nuzzle closer to her.
"I think I might be in love," she says finally.
You feel her tense, and suddenly you can hear your heart beat drumming in your ears because you think you know who it is, but you still have to ask, "With who?"
She chuckles, continuing to twist and pull on your hair as if nothing had happened. "That's not the game. No questions. Tell me something." You don't miss the nervousness in her smile, but you nod and let her keep her secret.
"I'm afraid of storms," you say, your breath catching when a flash of lightning bursts through the sky.
Her eyebrows quirk up. "I can see that. Choose a new one."
"I'm afraid of the dark?"
She glares and it barely takes a breath before you spit out, "I broke up with John." You don't know why you chose this moment to tell her. Your mouth had said the words before your brain could stop them.
She's silent for a long moment. When her hand finds yours, you let her hold it, and when her soft voice asks you "Why," you stare blindly at the wall.
Hoping to draw the attention away from yourself, you clear your throat and say "Tell me something."
She doesn't have time to answer before the power shuts off. You whimper, clutching at the blankets. The radio blinks out and the sound of pouring rain floods the room.
"Hey," she whispers in your ear, her arms wrapping securely around your waist. "Hey. It's alright. You're not alone."
You turn around, burying your face in her neck. You can hear her talking, but you don't bother to make out the words. You know she's reassuring you, and that's all that really matters.
You feel pathetic. You're nineteen, a sophomore in college, and you're cowering in fear from a thunderstorm. But she doesn't tease you like John did or tell you to grow up.
She doesn't know why you're like this, but she doesn't look at you with pity or annoyance. She never asked for an explanation. She never asked for you to change.
"When I was in high school," you mumble against her neck. "My mom and dad got divorced." You can feel her pulse racing against your lips, and you know you should move, but you don't. "They were always fighting, ever since I was little."
When you pause, choking on your breath, she tells you she doesn't need to know. But you want to tell her. You want her to know.
"Eventually one of them would storm out. The other usually left right after that, presumably to go get drunk or fuck somebody. Maybe both."
It takes you a minute to finally admit, "I was always alone."
She sniffs, and you know she's trying to be strong for you. She knows you're broken and she's trying to be whole for you. "But now I'm not alone."
She agrees, and you can hear the tears in her voice.
So you sit up and grab her face in your hands. "Now I have you."
You've been crying, and you know your mascara is ruined and you probably look like hell, but the lights are off anyway, so you meet her gaze. You can barely see, but you know she's staring at you.
"Tell me something," you whisper. Your voice cracks and her arms tighten around your waist.
"I love you," she says.
You smile, no longer shaking from the storm. "I know. Choose a new one."
Comments (11)See all