Sera gripped the wheel tightly, thankful for the darkness that hid her eyes from him. Bright lights glittered there, not quite blurring the details along the highway as they coasted by cars, gas stations and closed liquor stores. Her jaw ached from being clenched tightly but she couldn't force herself to relax. Even her hunched posture betrayed the tension she wanted to keep hidden. She winced slightly a moment before she felt the feather-light touch on her shoulder.

Reassurance. She's still there. Her silence on the car ride home made him nervous, unsure. Even that made her cringe a little, made her feel overwhelmed with guilt. Quietly she inhaled a shakey breath and forced the tears back. Even that was hidden from him by the darkness.

"Are you okay?" he asked timidly.

She nodded. NO! The words were inside her, crowding together somewhere between her heart and her tongue. What do you want from me? Why are you with me? I don't want to be your "for now," can't you understand that? Stop telling me you want to be with me if you aren't sure. Stop taunting me with her name. Stop...

Pulling into the driveway she put the car in park and turned off the engine. Her hand rested on the gear shift as she schooled her face into something the street lights wouldn't transform into a monstrous display of pain.


Knuckles brushed the back of her hand softly, reminding her why she felt so guilty for being upset. He was so gentle, so sweet, often unaware he was hurting her - that he was playing into her insecurities.

"I love just being with you."

And with that the tension drained out of her like some cartoon thermometer dropping at a steady pace. The pain in her shoulder eased, her jaw unclenched and her face relaxed into a genuine smile.

Maybe one day she'd take it for granted, but not today.

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