The Night My Heart Stood Still . . .

The night my heart stood still, you came to me in tears. The rain had soaked you through, but your tears were clear as day, shining in your eyes. The moment I opened the door, you rushed into my arms, bawling like a baby. So stunned, was I, that I hadn't heard what you were saying. I steered you to the couch, after closing the door, and sat you down. You let go of me at that point and I mourned for your touch.

You looked miserable, like a drowned rat, one would say. Hair plastered to your skull, sodden clothes sticking to your thin frame, eyes bloodshot, pain evident in your features . . . Whomever had hurt you, I swore to repay them ten-fold, if not more. More importantly, I wanted to make you smile again.

That smile of yours . . . bright as a summer's day and twice as cheerful. I would die for that smile . . . but I digress.

The night my heart stood still, you came to me with your heart in pieces. Someone had cruelly broken it and you didn't know how to fix it. You were babbling, incoherent thoughts running into each other and spilling out your mouth. I wanted to kiss you right then and there, but I dared not. It wasn't the first time I'd wanted to kiss you, and it certainly wasn't the last. Why ruin a perfectly good friendship over . . . There I go again. Where was I? Ah yes . . .

The night my heart stood still, you had bared your soul. Not to me, of course. Once you had calmed down, you told me the whole story. You had finally worked up the courage to confess your love to your long-time crush. She just sat there as you poured your heart out, your confidence shrinking as she stared at you. At your most vulnerable, you waited for her reply, having finished your lengthy confession of love. She said nothing. She said nothing, but the pitying look she gave you told you all you needed to know. She did not love you back.

That . . . dare I say it? Yes, I shall . . . that bitch didn't know what she had just let slip through her fingers! True, I had hoped . . . but that's beside the point.

The night my heart stood still, you cried in my arms and I held you as tightly as I dared. I held you as you cried yourself into exhaustion. I had mixed feelings, that night. I was hurt that you were in pain. I was angry that she was the cause of your suffering. I was happy to hold you, to feel you in my arms, to feel your heart beat against mine . . . I was upset at myself for thinking of these pleasures when you heart had just been shattered. And yet . . .

I brushed strands of your hair out of your face, gently, so as not to startle you. Your sobs had subsided and your hiccups were tapering off. I had started rubbing your back at some point and I continued to do so. I whispered meaningless words one is suppose to say when trying to comfort someone. I could have said anything. It was the tone that was important. I doubted very much you actually heard what I said, anyway. You were falling asleep, exhausted from crying and lulled by my whispering and back rub.

I've dreamt of you sleeping in my arms, your head resting on my shoulder and your arms around my waist . . . Of course, my dreams never included sopping wet clothes, but then that's how I knew that it was real, that I was not imagining things.

The night my heart stood still, you nearly caught a cold. I should have had you change out of those wet clothes first thing, but I didn't. I apologize for my thoughtlessness. I had half carried you to the bathroom, telling you that you needed to change. You mumbled in your semi-conscious state. You didn't want to, you were too tired. You even asked me to help you. The pleading in your eyes . . . I almost kissed you right there and then! I swear, I almost did! If you hadn't sneezed just then . . . Never mind. I left you to change, with towels to dry off with and a (my) bathrobe to change into.

It was a simple system, we had. You would remove a piece of clothing from your sodden self and hand it to me, and I would wring it out over the tub then hang it over the shower curtain rod. I wrung and hung your underwear without thinking about it. If I had, I would have realized that you were naked behind me. I'm glad I hadn't.

The night my heart stood still, I saw an angel in my bathrobe. It was tight across your shoulders, but fell nearly to your knees. Your hands were lost in the folds of the sleeves. You looked like a child in his older sibling's robe. In a way, you still were a child. We're still young, though our days of romping in the sun are long past. I wanted nothing more, at that moment, than to cradle you in my arms and tell you everything was going to be okay. But I'd already done that, hadn't I?

You chuckled, startling me out of my revery. You were holding up one arm, the tips of your fingers barely poking out of the sleeve. I chuckled with you and rolled the sleeve past your wrist. As I rolled up it's twin, I thought about how you almost always seemed to find something to smile about even when the chips were down. There you were, heart dashed to pieces and laughing at how my bathrobe didn't fit you. It was surreal, yet comforting. I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised. After all, your optimism is one of the few things I can rely on. Which is why seeing you so distressed disturbs me.

The night my heart stood still, I helped you into my bed. It wasn't the first time you had lain in my bed, but it was the first time in ages. You looked so small and fragile. My bed seemed to swallow you as you sank into the soft mattress. Tucked away amidst pillows and blankets, you drifted into slumber. The innocence in your features only added to the illusion of a child.

I couldn't help myself. I felt like a mother wanting to comfort her sick child, and what's more comforting than someone stroking your hair and giving you a kiss on your forehead? You didn't seem to mind, just kept on sleeping.

The night my heart stood still, I said I love you. I was kneeling beside the bed and stroking your hair when it just slipped out. I hadn't realized that I had spoken aloud till your eyelids fluttered open and you looked up at me quizzically. I feared your questions, but I could not deny you the truth. I said it, now I had to live with it.

I merely nodded to your spoken question, indicating that you heard correctly. I love you. I didn't expect you to feel the same, of course. I hadn't even meant to tell you that night, I'm not sure I was going to tell you at all! I kept my head bowed, not quite able to look you in the eye. You asked more questions to which I answered as simply and as quickly as I could.

Yes, I'm sure. For longer than I can remember. I know what it means. No, I'm not happy she rejected you. Why? She hurt you when she did. I don't like to see you hurt. I don't know how you feel. I'm not sure . . . I don't presume . . . I mean, I never expected . . . I-what?!?

You surprised me. You chuckled and said I looked cute when I blush. Did I blush? Yes, I guess I did. I felt the warmth in my cheeks spread further, embarrassed at the unexpected compliment. You laughed at my apparent self-consciousness, smiling brightly. I couldn't help but return it, even shyly. Your smiles are always contagious and I feel that my life has been blessed to have witnessed so many of them. Ah, but I'm drifting, again.

The night my heart stood still, we laughed together. I was so happy. It did not matter if you loved me back or not, we were still friends. That was good enough for me. And yet . . . I still wanted to ask you, ask you how you felt about me. It was like waiting for the second shoe to drop, my confession being the first. But I was afraid of what your answer might be. Afraid you didn't. Afraid you did. I also feared not knowing. Hell, I was such a bundle of fear when it came to you, it's any wonder people didn't think I was afraid of you!

When our laughter started to die down, I stood up and told you to get some rest before you got sick. I turned off the light as I left the room, leaving you alone in the dark. Slumping on the sofa, I hugged my knees to my chest, wishing my arms could hold you again. My yearning overwhelmed me and despair took hold. I refrained from crying, not wanting to disturb you. I must have made some noise, however, for I was not long in my wallowing when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up to see you standing above me, still wrapped up in my robe.

The night my heart stood still, I saw fear in your eyes. Or was it just uncertainty? No, it was both. Uncertain of what you were doing and afraid of the result. I've been there before. Can't say I liked it, either. You asked if you could sit down. How uncharacteristic of you. I nodded my assent. I guess we were both a little out of character that night.

We sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity before you spoke. You stuttered, at first. It was kind of cute, actually. I stayed silent, giving you time to speak. You couldn't sleep. You kept thinking about what I had said. You gulped. You didn't mean to, but you did. You nervously wrung your hands together, too. Something I hadn't seen you do before. You said that I deserved to know how you felt about me, that it was only right. You paused, perhaps gathering the courage to say what you needed to say. I held my breathe.

You didn't know. I said, whispered really, that I understood. I don't know if you heard me or not. You continued, saying you probably shouldn't look for another relationship so soon, considering. I nodded again, trying to keep my tears at bay. But then you said you didn't care and that you never were the sensible type anyway. You didn't know if our relationship could be anything more than what it is, just friendship, but you said you were willing to find out.

And my heart stood still.

My story could end there, but it doesn't.

The night my heart stood still, you kissed me. Cautiously. The gentle press of lip against lip, timid yet eager . . . I brushed my tongue lightly across your lips, inviting you to deepen the kiss. You hesitated but a moment before accepting my unspoken offer. You held nothing back this time. I could have died right then. The passion was overwhelming . . .

All too soon it ended, both of us gasping for breath. We clung together as if our lives depended on it. Maybe they did. Maybe they still do . . . As my head rested on your chest, I heard your heart beating a million miles an hour. I was certain mine was just as fast, as it was no longer still.

After a moment (or was it hours?), you picked me up in your strong arms and carried me to my bedroom. You laid me down gently onto the bed, then sat down beside me. Before I could ask you what you were doing, you looked me dead in the eye and asked, with all seriousness, if this was alright. I blinked. I knew what you meant, but I was surprised at what you said. I said yes, if you were serious and not just doing this to get back at a certain someone. You laughed, saying you've never been so serious in all of your life. Knowing you, I didn't doubt it. I smiled and pulled you into another serious kiss.

The night my heart stood still, you made love to me. No, that's not quite right. We made love to each other. We took it slow, being our first time, we wanted to do things right. Of course, not knowing what was and what was not right made things a little . . . interesting, to say the least. Our entwined bodies melded together as our passion ignited and hearts became one. The room appeared to melt away as my world shrank to just you and me. The euphoria consumed me, spiraling me into an ecstacy I'd never felt before and hoped to never loose.

I barely managed to hang onto consciousness and found you were spent as well. The look on your face was both content and possessive as you held onto me. I sighed happily and snuggled against you. I found that saying I love you is easier after the first time, for I said it again just then. You surprised me once more, before I fell asleep.

The night my heart stood still, you said you loved me too.

A/N: I decided to try a different style of writing. What'cha think? ^^;; I realize that the two people could be just about anyone, and I kinda like that. Makes it more mysterious. ^_~ I did have two specific people in mind when I wrote this, but I won't say who. Not here, at least. :P Depending on where you're reading this from, you may already know, anyway, so why bother?