He woke up to find the bed empty.
In vain, his hand shot out to search for the warmth and softness of the body that had fallen asleep next to his.
When meeting only the cold fabric of his sheets, the movement of his hand ceased.
Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he looked around and found her sitting on the edge of the bed, back to him.
She flinched slightly at the sound of his voice and nodded without turning her face in his direction.
She shook her head no.
“Is everything alright?”
“I’m fine. Don’t worry.”
Her voice was raspy and uncertain. Something he knew it could only mean she was far from well.
“I’m sorry. But I’m not good at this “one night stand” thing.
I don’t know what to do or what to say. Or if I should say anything at all…
This is not me. It’s not the way I wanted…the way I imagined it to be…
Is this the right thing? For you…for me?
I don’t even know if I should have done this, in the first place.
I’m sorry. I’m rambling now. You probably want to go back to sleep…
Don’t mind me. I’ll be fine in a minute, really…”
“I love you.”
The words left his lips before he could stop them.
She looked so fragile and so beautiful at the moment…and he was so in love…he had been for quite some time now.
He waited for her to rise and leave the room.
But she only turned her head halfway in his direction and looking at the mattress, said:
“Did you say something?”
He pondered if he should repeat the words he had just uttered out of pure desperation that she would leave him.
Deciding she had far too much on her mind at the moment, he kept the depth of his feelings for himself, so as not to trouble her further.
And offering her his hand and a reassuring smile he answered:
“Come back to bed. You’re tired and you need to rest. We’ll talk tomorrow. I promise.”
Still looking down, she hesitantly took his hand and slid her body next to his, on the bed.
With his arms snugly around her and her face resting in his chest, he fell into a peaceful slumber once again.
But not before he heard a faint whisper slip through her soft lips.
“I love you, too.”