It’s 6 o’clock and they’re back to being normal. Or as normal as they can get anyways. She’s sitting in her pink office chair, writing a paper and he’s on her bed reading for class. Neither speaks but instead enjoys the serene safety that lingers in the air around them like a blanket.

He turns the page, she minimizes the document window. A shift in weight, a light sleepy sigh. She bites her lip in concentration, he shifts and moves his face to rest on his hand. It’s the same boring…the same dull…the same comfortable routine that neither seems to deviate from out of fear.

If the routine changes, they change. They change more then they want to, more then they have. He wants to grow, she wants to hold on to things she still wishes they had. Yet, neither can move forward without the other. How? Because here they are, another school night spent together in silence. Him on her bed, her in her chair. Both lounging comfortably in the silence they created around them. The bubble of serenity they refuse to burst with words.

It’s so quiet she imagines she can hear his heartbeat and the feeling of tears and heartache tug at her senses. Everything about him, every breath, every heartbeat, every single quiet moment shared between the two sends an ache through her heart that it’s obvious will never heal. His simple, silence presence makes her heart ache for sweet kisses, caresses…love.

I want you to love me, she begs quietly, her eyes lowered to gaze at her keyboard, back to him as he turns another page. She lets her tears fall and welcomes the dull ache into her chest, letting it swallow her body completely. She’s so deep into her feelings of loneliness she doesn’t even notice her body begin to tremble, sniffle, sob. He looks up from his book.

“Why are you crying?” He breaks the silence, his voice incredulous and she snaps out of it. The ache retreats from her fingertips, her toes, arms, legs, body and back into her heart where it throbs as a constant reminder of loneliness. She chokes on her words and she hears him shift on the bed, standing and coming to her side.

“Why are you crying?” His voice is harsh, sharp around the edges and her body trembles out of fear. He must already know he’s the reason because there’s no other reason for her to sob so violently and without abandon. For the thought of the times when he was her everything, when she mattered…before she was irrelevant and cast aside like a rag doll. She longed for him to pick her back up, to smooth out the aches and sew up the tears.

But here she was, sitting here with his breath in her ear demanding to know the reason for her tears. Demanding to know why on earth she would even be crying. Why she even had the right to cry at any moment whatsoever.

“Tell me,” he whispers as he rubs her shoulders…presses his body against her back. His comforting warmth flows from his stomach into her body. Every single thing about him was perfect. If it wasn’t for the fact that he didn’t love her. If it wasn’t for the annoying fact that he never would. If it wasn’t…

Her heart ached again, deeply, throbbingly as he touched her shoulders, her back, her arms…her throat. Body shaking beneath his fingertips with an ache that only he could fulfill. He whispered her name and asked her again.

And She Still Wouldn’t Answer Him.