Stay With You

He set his briefcase down and brushed a kiss on her forehead. "Hi, honey."

She looked up and smiled. "You're back early!" Then, more somberly, she said, "I missed you."

He yanked at the knot in his tie. "I-I know you did."

He couldn't lie. And she was too proud to ask.

Her searching eyes met his. "I've always loved you. You know that, right?"

Her eyes were rimmed with black as usual, he noticed with a small smile. She always wore too much eyeliner.

She was looking at him expectantly. Had she said something? He couldn't remember.

The conversation on his return always played out in the same manner though. Like a favourite song on repeat, he knew what she must have said.

"I love you too," he replied automatically.

The sincerity was there but the emotion had been lost somewhere along the way.

Her pride gave way to the misgivings plaguing her anxious mind.

She sighed. "Just tell me. Please."

He smiled munificently. "I'm afraid I don't quite know what you're talking about."

"It's just...I hate not knowing," she pleaded.

Letting her know was out of the question. It had been from the start.

"There's nothing to tell, sweetheart," he brushed her doubts off.

She looked relieved.

She believed him.

She always did.

"Maybe you should rest for a bit," he suggested.

She nodded. He helped her up and settled her onto the bed gently. Slowly, he pushed the wheelchair out of the way.

She clasped her hands above the covers. Her green eyes regarded him sleepily.

He returned her gaze for a long moment. She looked away first and looked him over; reassuring herself he was truly back. Her gaze strayed to his hands and almost reflexively, he shoved them into his pockets.

He turned around and began walking towards the en suite bathroom.

"I'm going to go take a shower," he told her, over his shoulder.

She yawned and picked up a book from the side table. "Okay."

He turned in the doorway and saw her snuggle deeper under the covers, wincing at the movement. He closed the door behind him and leaned against it.

He told her they were just business trips. Every single time, she worried until he came back. Sometimes, she grew suspicious. Every single time, he convinced her otherwise.

He always came back home and tried to forget about smudged eyeliner, green eyes that looked like hers and silky, long hair so much like hers. All those others that reminded him of her. Except they didn't fret if he didn't call when his flight landed. They didn't imagine all sorts of things that could have befallen him. They didn't love him unconditionally

It was tearing him up inside.

It was becoming a sickness.

Maybe it already was one.

He would strive to forget about what happened when he was away. He would try to make her happy.

He would contrive to stay longer this time.

He reached into his inner jacket pocket and looked at the ring in the palm of his hand. He slid the white-gold band back onto his finger.

It felt good to be back home.

Author's Note:

The idea came into my head at half 2 in the morning. I wanted it to be abrupt, not deal with any issues but merely address them and have imperfect characters. Feedback of any sort would be appreciated.