The Rocking Chair

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I knew what was wrong even before my eyes opened. The warmth that I had become accustomed to over the past few weeks was no longer sleeping beside me. Instead, only the cold air wrapped me in it’s embrace.

“You’re awake,” I heard him whisper. Softly, as if not to wake the only other person in the room. He was sitting in my grandmother’s rocking chair, which had been given to my aunt when she’d had her first child. She, in turn, had given it to me, since my own mother was not disposed to rewarding my behavior.

“You look beautiful,” He said with a small smile.

I let loose a sigh. “Nick, what are you doing out of bed?”

“Thinking,” he said simply.

“About?”

“What you said earlier,” Now it was his turn to sigh. “You’re right. We’re too young.”

“Nicholas, that’s not what I said,” I got up from the bed and sat myself across his lap. The rocking chair protested to my added weight. “That’s what my father would say.”

He held one of my hands for a moment, a thoughtful expression playing across his features.

“Well then your father’s right,” He said and kissed my hand, one finger at a time. “We’re much too young Alice. We’re not ready for this.”

“Nicholas...”

“My father’s money won’t last forever, and then what? There’s no more family to lean on. We can’t do this Alice, we’re not ready.”

“Nick don’t say that. We’ll be fine. You’ll get that job, they love you down there. You’ll be there for us. It’ll all work out-”

“And if it doesn’t?” He asked suddenly. “It’s not going to be just you and me, Alice. There are bigger repercussions if something goes wrong.”

“Then what do you suggest we do Nick?”

He looked away from me, choosing to watch the night sky out the window. His face visibly paled in the moonlight. I stood up, suddenly sick.

“Nicholas, you can’t seriously... it’s not... you’re not...” the words caught in my throat.

“There are always options, Alice,” He said softly, still not looking at me. “There are always options... you just have to know the right people. I know someone-”

“No!” I screamed, clutching my stomach. “No! Nicholas, it’s not right! I can’t believe you would even suggest-”

“What’s necessary isn’t always right!” He cut me off. He was clutching the armrests with white knuckles.

I stared into his eyes, which shone with a mix of fury, panic, and worry.

“It should be,” I said, calmly holding his gaze. “If it was, the world would have far fewer problems.”

At that he seemed to deflate, he slumped in the chair, letting his head fall into his hands.

“Alice-” he started.

“You need to leave,” I interrupted. “You’ve said too much. Go.”

He sat there for a long second, still as stone. And then he stood, hanging his head. He refused to look anywhere except the floor. I watched him cross to the door, where he paused.

“Alice, I’m scared,” he said without looking back, and then he was gone.

I collapsed onto the bed, suddenly devoid of any strength. Tears fell unbidden, leaving small, wet trails on my cheeks. I curled into a protective ball and somehow, though I’m not sure when, managed to fall back asleep.

The next morning, when I woke, I found a pillow under my head and a blanket around my shoulders. Nicholas was nowhere to be found, but i knew where he was. Where he always went when he was upset, the couch. Gathering the blanket around me like a cape i got up and poked my head into the living room. Sure enough, he was there, sleeping stiffly against the back of the couch. The T.V. was on a low but audible volume, the usual sign of his wanting to clear his mind.

You couldn't tell he was cold, though I knew he was, he doesn’t like letting things like that show.

I went and laid beside him, shuffling back until my back rested against his chest and the blanket covered us both. without seeming to move anything else he wrapped an arm around me and let his hand come to rest on my stomach. without thinking, I put my hand on top of his.

"I love you," he whispered softly.

"And I love you," I whispered back, and then revised, "We love you."





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