The Road Back pt 4

Based on : Let Me Help You Work It Out by Charley Pride
There is something in your heart weighing heavy on your mind
You need gentle arms to hold you like these gentle arms of mine
You need love and understanding and the shoulder you can cry on
You need someone to rely on you don’t have to be alone
Let me help you work it out help you face the situation
Count on me for consolation let me help you work it out

Let me help you work it out I’m the one who’ll always care
When you need me I’ll be there let me help you work it out
Let me help you work it out…

~

“Billy,” Phyllis sighed as he struggled to open the door and maneuver her inside. “I really don’t think this is a good idea. I appreciate it-I really do, but you don’t have to do this. I’m not your responsibility. This not your problem”

Billy deposited her on the couch, huffing as he pushed the ottoman under her foot. “You’re a nice problem to have and this is absolutely a good idea–and even if you don’t agree with that, you have to agree it’s necessary.”

“It’s not necessary. The doctor didn’t say I needed someone with me.”

“Well, he said non weight bearing which means you won’t be claiming stairs very well and unless Summer’s apartment has some secret elevator I’ve never seen…”

“Tell me smart guy, where’s the elevator here?”

Billy stood, raising his arms and dramatically taking a bodybuilder pose. “You’re looking at it,” he grinned.

She smiled back at him, her eyes drooping and he sat down beside her, satisfied he’d made his case.

He gently brushed the hair away from her face as he watched her yawn. “It’s been a long day..why don’t you let me take you upstairs?”

Her eyes widened immediately as she looked up at him.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” he stammered. The second the words left his lips he’d heard the way they sounded–as if he was somehow taking for granted they’d be sharing a bed. He’d never be that presumptuous and he’d certainly never want Phyllis to think that word his expectation, or even worse, his motive.

“It’s ok.” Her voice was soft. The panic in his eyes warmed her heart. He was so worried about saying the right thing, acting as he should, doing what was right–he was as nervous as any junior high boy on their first date and she found it nearly irresistible. “I know what you meant.”

He nodded, relieved. He easily lifted her, her arms forming a loose ring around his neck. She let her head rest against his shoulder as he carried her carefully up the stairs. They reached the bedroom and she was surprised when he turned in the doorway of his room.

“You take my room,” he said softly, “the bathroom’s attached and there’s more room to move around the bed. It’ll be easier.” He placed her on the edge of the bed. “I’ll get you something to sleep in.”

The shirts hung neatly in the closet and, as he stared at the choices, he couldn’t help remembering the way she’d looked that day. They had just come back from a disastrous ride and she’d gone upstairs to clean up and put her clothes in the laundry. The sight of her walking down those stairs in his shirt had caused his heart to pound only he’d never let on–not to her, not to Jack, not even really to himself.

Now as he remembered the moment again, the sights and sounds as vivid as they were the moment they occurred, he couldn’t recall a time he didn’t gave feelings for her. He pulled a shirt off the hanger, the feel if the fabric in his hands sent thoughts flying through his mind. He wondered how the fabric would feel against her skin, how it would fall to the floor in a heap or if it would delicately waft–if the buttons would undo easily or if they’d require assistance, like her shirt on their first night together

He shook his head. He had to stop this. She was here because she needed his help. She needed someone to take care if her–not lust after her like a dig in heat. He held out the shirt to her and turned his back.

“Just let me know if you need any help,” he said, trying to be respectful.

“Ok,” Phyllis was confused. Billy was running completely hot and cold. One minute she’d swear he was moments away from asking her to move in again and the next she expected him to give her a bill for home health care. It was all very strange.

“All done,” she said quietly, her voice full of resignation. Maybe she had finally pushed enough…maybe this time Billy was through coming back.

“You need anything else?” He asked, moving towards the door, barely even making eye contact. Billy drew in a deep breath as he waited for an answer. He had to set boundaries, respect limits–part of that was keeping his distance, both physically and emotionally, but when he looked at her–Jesus–all those boundaries, all the limits, every ounce of resolve he every had disappeared.

“One thing,” Phyllis said flatly. “Please tell me what I did to make you like this.”

“Like what?”

Phyllis swallowed, already feeling the barrage of emotions that wanted to well up within her. “You’ve managed to figure out how to stop caring…how to stop being affected by any of this.”

There were no words. His brain felt as if it could explode. How could she think he didn’t care? How could she possibly believe?

“I get it, ” she continued, “I didn’t expect you to wait for me to change my mind. I know I’ve told you time and time again that we’re over but I don’t know….I just…”

Billy stared at her. Tears filled her eyes as she struggled to find the words to explain her garbled feelings. “You just what? What?”

“I just wish I could be more like you…it would hurt a lot less if Zi could just stop caring…if I could just stop loving you so damn much.”

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