I didn't even remember nodding off. I just woke up to the TV blasting words in my direction. I must have fallen asleep while we were watching TV, I thought, How long have I been out? I glanced at my watch. It was 2 in the morning. The last time I remember seeing the clock was when it showed 11:30. Ugh. I sat up and stretched, which caused a stir on the opposite end of my couch. There lay Tom, eyes closed blissfully, all tension gone from his face. He looked so...innocent. Vulnerable. I only had time to marvel at his sleeping peace for a few seconds before his eyes slowly drifted open.
"What...Gabi?" he asked, "What are you doing here?" He's totally out of it, I realized, he has no idea where he is.
"I live here Tom. Remember, I invited you to spend the night?"
I saw the look of understanding cross his face, "Sorry, I guess I'm just-"
"Exhausted," I interrupted, "Come on, let's get you to bed." I helped him up and led him down the hall into the spare bedroom. It was dark in the hallway, and I had a bit of trouble finding the doorknob. Once I had swung the door open, I said, "Alright Tom, just yell if you need me." Suddenly, two arms encircled me, and Tom's face rested on my shoulder.
"Thank you," he murmured, "I don't know what I would do without you Gabi."
I was thankful for the darkness, as I felt the blood rushing to my face. "You're welcome Tom," I somehow managed to say without stammering.
Just as soon as they'd come, Tom's arms retreated from mine and he walked into his room. I hated to admit it to myself, but watching him go hurt. It was stupid. Totally stupid, I reminded myself. I settled in under my covers, and knew it was going to be a long night.
Four hours later, I was watching the sun rise. I hadn't slept a wink, kept awake by the shattering of my reality that was going on inside my head. And I couldn't stop that stupid question that Alice had asked from rattling around in my thoughts.
Tom sounds great, do you like him?
The tears started up for the third time since I got into bed, as I again concluded that I did like him. No, more than that. I was in love with him. Ugh. I wanted to scream. Everything made sense now: why I hated being apart from him, why he made me laugh harder than anyone else, and why his embraces were like sunshine on an autumn day.
I had to be better than this. I could get over it. I threw the covers off, wiped the tears from my cheeks, stood up, squared my shoulders, and walked into the living room to get breakfast ready.