He had just left. Without a hug to reassure her, without a kiss to quell her fears. Only an "I still love you," as he registered the horror in her eyes, the wash of cold seeping through her like ice as he had refused her open arms.

Still?

The time passed like molasses out of a bottle.

What if. . .?

Her world seemed to wither and wilt, shriveling to the size of a pea and only encompassing the outcome of this encounter. How could they recover from this? It was unimaginable for things to be scarred between them; nobody can continue to harvest a relationship on such a ravaged foundation. Although, nobody could disregard what they had. Love.

She tried to retain her cool composure as he came back into the room.

What will happen?

After those twenty minutes of waiting, the anxiety and worry eating at her heart like acid. . . Or termites. Yes, termites, leaving the pulpy, fleshy remains behind to stutter and fester inside of her. No way would she let him realize how much she cared. Never mind the infinite 'I love you's that had cascaded over her lips, saturated with the emotion that had powered those precious words. If things were ending, she would not let him see her break. She had feared this; somewhere in the back of her mind, she had dreaded this. She couldn't help but doubt herself, to indulge her self-doubt; it was a dance she knew well, a routine unto itself.

Why would he want me?

And yet. . . She knew things weren't over.

"I love you," He sighed, his warm, familiar hands touching her as always. I love you, too. She fought the urge to relax. There had to be more. He had seemed so upset. . .

"And?" She asked, her icy tone so obviously forced that it killed her. She knew that he was reading her as easily as always- he could sense the wary relief pumping through her veins like a drug.

"I'm not mad at you." His presence was getting to her, the balmy, soothing love that emanated from him, the scent and touch and being that completed her and kept her sane.

Then why did you leave like that?

She would not let that frenzied anger and hurt go so quickly. She focused on the beige-blue-charcoal fibers of the sofa.

"I upset you?" He asked softly, his voice caressing the frayed hems of her spirit like a mother smoothing back her child's hair. His concern was palpable, his sincerity certain. She nodded reluctantly, not wanting to relinquish her shield so soon. If a battle would ensue, she would still need her defenses, and her heart needed all the protection it could muster.

Yes, you leavng me here, uncertain and confused, and dreading an outcome that seemed likely due to my ignorance of what was going on upset me.

"I'm sorry," He said, and she knew that he meant it. "I was just. . . Confused. I needed to think. Please look at me. . ." His voice flowing, hitting the same pitches as always. His eyes locked on hers, the effect like that of a plug in a socket: the flurry of sparks that had passed was channeled into a smooth, sultry current like a summer breeze: Everything is okay.

We are okay.

Her stomach dropped, her arms entangled in his, a release of all the tension and trepidation that had been coiling between her shoulder blades.His touch was everything it always had been and more, something that she had been craving from the moment he had left. A touch like a guilty pleasure, like the last piece of chocolate cake, a touch to be anticipated like Christmas morning, a touch to be cherished and coveted like so many treasures.

I love you.

His arms felt warm and perfect and stable, and his body felt both charged with the same emotions she felt and sure and constant, like the confidence she so terribly lacked. She held him fast, absorbing the love he radiated greedily, as a plant consumes rain after a drought. She was reassured.

"I love you."