The Road Back pt 5

Based on: Unsteady by XAmbassadors

I’m alone
‘Cause this house don’t feel like home

If you love me
Don’t let go

Hold
Hold on
Hold on to me
‘Cause I’m a little unsteady
A little unsteady

Billy took a few slow steps, hesitating slightly before he sat down on the edge of the bed. “You think I don’t care?” He shook his head. “I don’t even know what to say to that…I don’t know how you could think that.”

She dropped her head, closing her eyes as she felt his hand on her cheek. Her mind was cloudy, the pain medication kicking in just as the doctor had warned it would. “I don’t know,” she whispered, struggling to raise her eyes to look at him again, “you seem to be ok…better…better than me…not like I feel…” Her head bobbed again and he gently reached out to pull the covers down.

He leaned her back, fluffing the pillows behind her as he covered her with the sheet and blanket. “You need to get some sleep,” he said softly. “We can talk about this later.”

Her eyes opened again, looking at him. It would be so easy to crawl in beside her, to take her in his arms, to feel her next to him as night turned to day, but he couldn’t–he couldn’t be sure it was what she wanted. She was hurt, vulnerable, medicated–too many variables that could change the course of events. He leaned down, pressing his lips to her forehead. “You sleep,” he whispered.

~
Billy sat up, sighing in total frustration. Sleep was clearly not a realistic goal tonight. He’d tried everything–reading, watching tv, wine–and nothing….Every time he closed his eyes he thought of her, he imagined her upstairs in his shirt, in his bed…. He thought of every time they’d been together, but also every time they’d had to part. Being with her was worth every goodbye, but the goodbyes got harder as time went on.

He rubbed his face, in part trying to scrub the memories from his mind. He cherished the moments with her and he survived on the mental images he kept, but he also tortured himself. Night after night he dreamed of her, of what their life could be….

The noise was almost imperceptible at first, but as he stood and walked closer to the stairs, he could hear her voice.

“Billy….”

He took the stairs two at a time, his breath catching when he saw her splayed out on the floor. “Phyllis..” He knelt beside her, his arms wrapping around her, lifting her easily. “Are you ok?” He looked at her, his eyes running over her bare legs.

“I’m fine,” she said quietly. “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“I wasn’t sleeping and besides I want you to call me if you need me.” His hand cupped her face, the look in her eyes melted him. “What exactly were you trying to do?”

“Water,” she whispered. “I’m really thirsty…I guess it’s the medicine or something…” She looked down at his hand which was now resting on her bare leg.

He followed her gaze and started to pull away when he felt her hand on his, gently stroking his hand. “I can get you some water.” His eyes locked with hers. It was hard to tell what she was thinking.

“That’s ok. I’m not really that thirsty anymore.” She shifted closer to him, turning her body towards him, her torso now inches from him.

“God I’ve missed you,” she whispered.

Billy froze. This is what he’d dreamed of. She was coming to him–not because of Jack, not because of revenge, not because he was confused, but because she wanted him.

“Phyllis.” He slid back, putting space between them for a moment. It was insanity to question her, but he couldn’t deal with another brutal bait and switch. He couldn’t listen to her tell him everything he longed to hear and then change her mind. His heart couldn’t handle it.

His hands moved to her shoulders, his breath deepened as he stared at her. “You know how much I want this…you know how much I want to believe that you want this, but before…what you said…”

She felt the tears begin a hot, wet trail down her cheek, his fingers wiping them away. “I know…I know I hurt you. I know I confused you, but I was confused. I was so confused…”

“I don’t want to upset you and I don’t want you to think for a second that I don’t understand what you’ve been through or that I expect or want you to tell me anything other than the truth about how you feel and what you want. It’s just…” He stopped, taking her hands in his before speaking again. “I need you to understand how much this matters to me…how much you matter to me. If this isn’t what you want. If you’re not sure…really sure–don’t say it…don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

For a moment she was silent and he was certain he had made her choice for her. He looked away for a moment.

Her hand gingerly touched his chin, turning his face back towards her. “I used to wake up in the morning and feel happy and content. The last few months that hasn’t been the case. I’ve been filled with guilt and anger and confusion, but .I’ve also been so incredibly unhappy. Even recently, staying with Summer, I wake up and I feel like Im watching someone else live their life…like I’m disconnected from everything and I didn’t know how to fix it.”

His eyes were filled with compassion as they watched her.

“Tonight…when I opened my eyes–in this bed, in this house–in your house…that feeling was gone. I felt like I was where I should be. I know I’m where I want to be. I know Ive said the words before and I know I’ve given you plenty of reasons to doubt that I’ll stick to my word, but I’ve never been this certain of anything. I’ve never felt more at peace, more content, more at peace, than I do in this house….”

There were plenty of questions he could ask, plenty of hoops he could make her jump through. He could keep her at a safe distance, protect his heart from a potential shatter….He could do all those things, or he could stop and look into her eyes. He could see the sincerity, the love, the emotion. He could pull her close to him, wrap his arms around her, bury his face in her hair, breathe in the intoxicating smell of her shampoo.

He could kiss her shoulder, her neck, her face. He could kiss away every tear, kiss her nose, and finally her lips. He could do this over and over again until he felt her hands on his–until he felt her place them on his shirt, until he heard her whisper in his ear, until neither of them could come up with a reason to wait any longer. He could take his time, knowing there was no need to rush this time.

And he did–he did all this and more.

She was his and he was hers. It was a long road but they were finally home.

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