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Take What You Need

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She knocked on his door just after two in the morning. He’d be awake, of that she was certain. They were both such creatures of habit in that regard. “Helen?”

“May I come in?”

He didn’t answer, just nodded and opened the door further. Entering his room, she instantly felt more at ease, smiling at the untouched bed in one corner, the lamp burning brightly on his desk, the ink shimmering wetly on the paper.

“Am I interrupting something?”

He shook his head. “Merely an attempt to gather my thoughts for the evening.” She could sense his worry, palpable in their shared atmosphere. “Is something the matter?”

Shaking her head, she faced him. The words she wanted to speak lodged themselves firmly in her throat, her mouth moving without purpose. He understood, however, taking the few steps needed to be by her side, to wrap his arms fully around her, to kiss her unbound hair. It would never be a romantic love they’d share, but one built on friendship, necessity, and loneliness. “Hold me, James.”

Neither would be who the other truly wanted, but they could take what they needed in the night to survive the harsh reality of day.