“You know that’s bullshit, right?”
Alex swiveled her chair around and raised an eyebrow. “I’m sorry?”
“’A Review of Hypnosis for Pain Management,’” I said, reading off the title of her article. “That right there. It’s bullshit.”
“A peer-reviewed study in the—“ Alex checked the journal, “--Annual Review of Psychology is bullshit?” she asked, quirking up an eyebrow. “Really now?” Her sharp blue eyes were teasing.
Somehow, despite the sarcasm dripping from every word, I wouldn’t have blamed someone for thinking it was an innocent question. Alex, with her short stature, blond hair, and soft, almost angelic features, could’ve made a conspiracy to commit murder sound innocent.
“Probably. It’s not like psychologists are known for always getting it right,” I said.
“No one in any science has ever had it right all the time. The whole point is that we refine what we know as we learn more,” she replied.
“Yeah, but some things are just more true than others, and that—“ I gestured at the screen again, “—that’s definitely bullshit.”
Alex laughed. “Okay. Was that it? Were you going somewhere else with this…?” she asked.
“Not really, I just saw you reading it when I walked in.”
“More like you were looking to bother me,” Alex said. Her eyes scanned up my body. “Your latest painting not going well?”
Nail on the head. Not that I’d admit it. I’d run out of steam to paint today. It was 7:00 PM though. It was time to take off anyway.
“It’s going great, actually. I got more work on it done today than any other,” I said.
“And that’s why you’re covered with paint?” Alex asked.
I wasn't covered in paint. That was overselling it. There was a fair bit of paint on my jeans and shirt, but that was fine. They were a part of my designated painting clothes. Other than my clothes, there was only a bit of pain on my face and upper arms.
“It’s a big painting. You should know that. It’s taking up my whole studio. Biggest one I’ve done. With lots of colors. I think the post-impressionist were onto something.”
Alex cocked her head to the side. Her eyes narrowed, in the way they only did when she was thinking hard about something. I frowned.
“What is it?” I asked.
“If you let yourself, I bet I could easily hypnotize you,” she said. “It obviously wouldn’t work if you didn’t, but if you chilled out, you’d go under fast.”
My heart skipped a beat. “What?”
“You focus on things so easily, enough that you manage to get paint all over yourself and work on your piece for almost ten hours straight. I think you’d be a perfect subject for hypnosis. That’s all.”
The implication and challenge were so obvious she may as well have come out and said it.
“You couldn’t hypnotize me,” I said.
“Yeah, that’s because you wouldn’t let me, but if you did let me—“
“See? That’s why it’s bullshit,” I said.
“Because you have to let it happen? I don’t think that makes it bullshit. Would you let me try?” she asked. She stood from her chair and walked over to me, putting her hands on my hips and looking up to meet my eyes.
The temperature in the room seemed to soar. I was frozen in place. She was the mouse to my elephant. I didn’t know it was possible to be so intimidated by someone who I had a foot of height and 100 pounds on. Alex inspired it with just a look and touch though.
It didn’t help that our relationship was…complicated. Sort of complicated? We were dating I think? Or maybe not. Maybe we were just really good friends. That could work too. We’d met in college and had been living with one another ever since then.
It's been 8 years now. We touched and sometimes slept in the same bed and cuddled and kissed a lot. No sex though. At least, not for me. I wasn’t into it. Alex might’ve been having sex with people but I never saw her bring anyone home or talked about anyone other woman’s house she’d been to. So I assumed that wasn’t happening. Maybe it was.
Regardless, even after all this time, whenever Alex touched me like this, my brain had to reboot itself.
“It would be a waste of time,” I said, swallowing hard.
“Would it make you uncomfortable? Is that why you don’t want to try?” Alex asked. She traced a finger up and down my arm.
“No, I just— it’s not that it would make me uncomfortable. I wouldn’t care.”
“So would you let me try to hypnotize you? It’d make me happy,” she said, her voice husky. “It’s not like you’re doing anything else tonight. I’m not either. I’m done reading for tonight and I’m off tomorrow. No clients. So would you?”
“We can try,” I said because I could never deny her anything. Because when her soft eyes met mine, I melted for her. I’d never understand what she saw in someone like me, with all my oversized, butch glory. She could’ve been with anyone, but somehow, she’d ended up with me.
Alex hugged me. “Great! Go take a shower and get changed into something comfortable. I’ll meet you in your room in an hour!” she said, skipping away. Leaving me standing there, knowing I just got played and helpless to do anything about it.
I headed towards the bathroom.
The shower didn’t do anything to calm my nerves, even though it did make me feel cleaner. At least my hair was dry. Getting my hair shaved into a buzzcut and keeping it that way for the past 10 years was one of the best ideas I’d ever had. I had no idea how Alex handled her waterfall of blond hair.
Getting out of my painting clothes and into a tank top and pair of loose sweatpants had helped my apprehension some. However, seeing Alex in her soft pink nightie, looking like a goddamn Victoria’s Secret model, destroyed what little comfort it provided. No one should be allowed to be so effortlessly beautiful. There should be a limit on how many things someone could be good at. It was total bullshit that Alex could have her PsyD and be gorgeous.
“This isn’t going to work,” I asked. My heart was in my throat. Alex smiled at me gently.
“We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to,” she said.
“I’m just telling you that it's not going to work,” I said.
“Well you said you’d try, didn’t you? If you let me hypnotize you, then it’s going to work. Also, if you’re so sure it’s not going to work, what is there to worry about?”
I bounced my leg. I was a mess of anxiety, while Alex looked completely at ease sitting in her swivel chair across from me. “You’re just wasting your time, that’s all,” I said.
“Do you want to go over what we’re going to do again? Would that make you feel more comfortable?” Alex asked. Like it was a foregone conclusion. As if this was going to work and she was going to manage to install the suggestion she had talked about in my mind.
“Fine. Do it,” I said, even though we’d gone over it less than 30 minutes ago.
“I’m going to hypnotize you, and once you're under, I’m going to suggest that, every time you hear the word ‘cuddle’ for the rest of the night, you’re going to want to touch and cuddle with me. That, and touching and cuddling me is going to feel extra good. And because I know you too well, I’ll make it so you can fight against the feeling as much as you want, but the more you fight against it, the more you’re going to want to cuddle me. All the suggestions will end when you go to sleep.”
“What if I don’t like it and I want to end it before then?” I asked before I could stop myself, as if it was going to happen like this was going to work at all. God, I shouldn’t give her the credit.
“Then I can always put you back under for a bit and get rid of whatever suggestions are there. Easy,” she said and smiled “But that won’t be a problem, because this totally isn’t going to work, right?”
“Exactly,” I said. As much as I hated to admit it, her words put me more at ease. Even if, by some miracle, this did work, it would be fine. We would just cuddle.
“So we can start?” Alex asked eagerly.
“Sure, but it’s not going to work.”
She smiled. “We’ll see. Now, can you take some deep breaths for me? Or no, how about you breathe with me.”
She took a deep breath. As promised, I breathed with her, held my breath for the few seconds she did, then let out a long exhale. We did that for a minute. My heart rate fell. I felt more relaxed. I always had so much trouble doing any breathing exercise when I did this alone, but copying her wasn’t that bad.
“Now, close your eyes for me and take another deep breath,” Alex said.
I obeyed. This one came as easy as all the rest.
“Good, now, can I touch you?” she asked.
“Sure,” I replied.
She traced the tip of her finger around my eyes then over my eyelids, then left it to rest on my cheek. “I want you to relax all those itty bitty muscles in your eyes. All the ones I just ran my finger over. Just let them relax and take another deep breath.”
“How am I supposed to do that?” I asked.
“Just try. Let your eyes get heavy like you do before you sleep.”
A finger touched my lips. “Stop thinking about it so hard. Your body knows what to do. Just let yourself relax. Or do you need to breathe with me again?”
I flushed. Breathing her sounded nice. “Can we do that again?”
“Sure. You can hear my breath, can’t you? Breathe with me now,” she said.
We did it again. It went on longer than the last one had. It was easier too, and each breath relaxed me more than the others had. She asked for me to relax my eyes again. Instead of focusing on trying, I just kept breathing and let my eyes do whatever they wanted.
She said to stop thinking about it after all.
“How do your eyes feel?” Alex asked. Her voice had grown heavier. More demanding, but also somehow more soothing. It was one I’d never heard from her before. I found I liked it.
“They feel okay,” I said.
“All the muscles nice and relaxed?”
“Mhmm,” I hummed.
“Good. I know so they’re so nice and relaxed and heavy and I know it’s not going to work. But I want you to try to open them anyway.”
I tried. Just like she said, they were far too heavy too. Before I could panic, Alex put a hand on my shoulder and hushed me, as if sensing my rising panic.
“Shh, it’s fine, you’re okay.”
“I can’t do it,” I said, abandoning the effort. My eyes had never seen so heavy.
“It’s fine. They’re relaxed. You did what I wanted. I just wanted you to relax. You’re going to do that more in a bit. You’re going to breathe with me again, and every time you exhale, that nice relaxation you feel in and around your eyes is going to go down your body. It’s going to relax all your muscles until it gets all the way down to your toes, and you feel nice and loose and relaxed. Okay?”
My brain was strangely quiet. It usually was sprinting at a mile a minute, but right now, it felt like I was painting. It was much easier to focus on her words than I thought it would be,
“Now breathe with me. And every time you exhale, feel that relaxation creep down your body, feel all your muscles loosen,” she said.
I heard her inhale. I inhaled with her. When I exhaled with her, I felt my shoulder loosen. As Alex had mandated, the feeling flowed downwards. My body had been frozen tight before, but now it was slowly melting and feeling warm and good, the tightness being replaced with a pleasant heaviness.
My hands settled themselves on my lap. My leg stopped bouncing. Everything was still. My only focus was Alex’s breathing. Distantly, I remembered we were supposed to be doing hypnosis. I wondered if that was going to start soon. I almost didn’t want it to. Being able to just relax like this was nice.
“Nice and relaxed. See, that wasn’t too hard. Now, I’m going to count down from three and say ‘open.’ When and only when I say ‘open’ you’re going to open your eyes. You’ll leave them open until I say ‘close.’ Whenever you close your eyes again, you’re going to become twice as relaxed,” Alex said.
I clung to every word. I tried to dissect some of them, a part of me insisted that there was something difficult to believe within them, but it was impossible to do through the heavy feeling of relaxation. I was glad she was giving simple instructions. I wasn’t sure I could follow anything much more complex.
Alex repeated herself a second time. I didn’t mind. She had a nice voice. She’d always had. Whatever she’d done to her tone just made it sound nicer. I could listen to her talk for ages. Once or twice, I’d even fallen asleep while she read to me.
“3…2…1…open,” Alex said.
I did. Light flooded into my eyes. I saw Alex smiling softly at me. She put her level in front of my face, then pushed down as she said close. I obeyed. Somehow, my body loosened more, just as Alex commanded it. It was as if she had found the command prompt for my brain. I was helpless to do anything but listen.
“3..2..1…open,” Alex repeated.
I blinked my eyes open. Alex leaned in close and pushed a finger against my shoulder. I flopped back onto my bed. I was glad I had gotten a king-sized one now. Whoever said it was a waste of money had been lying. Alex crawled onto the bed next to me.
“And close,” she said.
I did. My brain was dragged deeper into the strange haze Alex had thrown me in. Deeper and deeper, like I was swimming into an ocean trench. Alex had me open my eyes a few more times, though I couldn’t say how many. It was hard to keep track of anything other than her commands to open and shut my eyes.
Gently, I felt Alex pick up my arm. Without much ceremony, she let it fall beside me on the bed. I didn’t have any strength in it to try and resist or move it. I was too relaxed. Above me, Alex muttered something. She sounded a bit annoyed or maybe concerned, but it was easy to not worry about that. I was relaxed. I didn’t have to do anything right now.
“Good. In a few seconds, you’re going to count back from 100 for me. You’ll say every number aloud, followed by ‘relax.’ And every time you say you say a number, every time you count back, your mind is going to get more relaxed. Every time you count back, it’s going to be harder to remember what the next number is. When your mind is so relaxed and quiet that you can’t recall the next number, you can let them go. You don’t have to worry about it anymore. I’ll be talking to you while you count, but you don’t have to worry about what I’m saying. You just need to relax and count. Now start.”
“100,” I sighed, settling further into the bed. “Relax.”
Alex started to talk again, but I couldn’t focus on what she was saying and counting at the same time. She said I didn’t have to worry about what she was saying though. So I wouldn’t bother with that. Just numbers. Just counting.
“99. Relax,” I said.
She kept talking. I kept counting. Trying my best to get to 0, even though she said I didn’t have to. It was hard though. So hard. I hit 90 and what was supposed to come next seemed so far away. I eventually found 89, then 88, but what came next had slipped away. I was tempted to fight and search for it, but I didn’t have the energy to bother. The number was gone and my head was quiet. My body was loose, and Alex told me that when I lost the next number, I could just let the numbers go.
So I did. And it felt good. Really good. I basked in it like a cat would bask in a beam of light, letting it wash over me and pull me in so deep. So deep and good. Feeling so nice. I felt really nice. Really, really nice.
Above me, Alex was still talking. I could understand the words, and some part of my brain was processing them, but it was easy to just let that all go. If there was something she needed me to pay attention to, she’d tell me. I could act like I had the few times Alex had read to me when her words had lulled me somewhere nice and quiet and safe. Those times were the best nights of sleep I had in my life. I felt like I could've slept now. I think I would’ve if it hadn’t been the constant drone of Alex’s voice above me reminding me we were doing…something. I knew it was something. I couldn’t remember what though. I was surprised I wasn’t frustrated by that.
Alex kept talking. Instead of focusing on the content of her words, I found the rhythm of them, the nice cadence she took, and let it pull me down deeper like a siren’s song.
“…8 feeling more aware of your body,” Alex said.
It jogged something in my head. Like an engine gradually cranking up.
“…6 flexing your muscles, feeling them again.”
I moved my fingers, my toes. I flexed my biceps and straightened my legs. It felt good, like I was coming out of a particularly pleasant nap, the kind I always tried to take, but never quite managed to.
“…4 becoming aware of the room around you.”
Right. I was in my bedroom. On my bed. And Alex was sitting next to me on it with me. I could feel my comforter under my hands.
“And 1, wide awake,” Alex said, injecting quite a bit of cheer into her voice.
I blinked my eyes open. I saw Alex above me. She had the biggest shit-eating grin on her face. I glared, but my heart wasn’t in it. I still felt really nice. Not as good as I had the first time I’d gotten a massage, but something close.
“How do you feel?” Alex asked, as if she was reading my mind.
“Yeah, I told you you’d go under fast. And I was right.”
“Well I don’t want to cuddle you so I don’t know if it worked still,” I said.
As soon as the words left my mouth, I found that actually, I did want to cuddle with her. It sounded like a really, really good idea. My skin almost itched with the desire to. I fought down the urge. Sometimes, I did just want to touch her. That was normal. We had a…whatever we had going on.
“You really don’t want to cuddle me?” Alex asked.
Like a dog that heard its name, something inside me perked up at the word. The itching got worse. I sat up and moved so I was sitting back up against the headboard, crossing my arms to make sure I didn’t do anything. A familiar knot of desire was building up low in my stomach. I bit the inside of my cheek and shook my head.
“No, I don’t.”
Alex looked at me carefully, then stood up. “Okay, if you’re sure you don’t want to cuddle me, then you don’t have to. If you do want to cuddle me, you can find me in my room. I’m going to put on a shitty horror movie.” She paused and tapped her lips. “So you know, I think cuddling you would feel really good. But again if you don’t want to cuddle—“
“Can you please fucking stop,” I said, gritting my teeth. The itching had gotten so much worse. I twisted my hands together. Alex looked so fucking smug, sitting there in her sheer pink nightie, her pretty long blond hair thrown over her shoulder. Hair that looked so soft. I wanted to card my hands through it. I wanted to touch every single freckle on her skin, and press my forehead against hers so I could be close enough to see the flecks of green in her eyes.
“Why? If it didn’t work, you shouldn’t have any issues with me saying ‘cuddle.’”
“Oh my God,” I said. I dragged my hands down my face and took a shaky breath.
“So you still don’t think it worked?”
“You didn’t hypnotize me. That’s bullshit. You — it’s not,” I said.
Alex hopped off my bed. “Okay! Well, I’m going to my room then. You know where to find me,” she said, then skipped away, leaving my door open behind her.
I didn’t reply, choosing to instead focus on my breathing. In and out. Over and over again, trying to push down the urge to follow Alex. It was starting to feel impossible. The itching to touch was so strong and the knot of heat was starting to become oppressive. I got out of bed and started to pace. I kept my hands folded behind me as I did.
It didn’t help. My brain just kept playing a loop of all the times Alex and I had cuddled in my head. We fit so well together. I could sit her in my lap and almost engulf her entirely in my arms, like a dragon lording over its horde. She could lay on top of me and stay there for hours without it bothering me. When we spooned, our bodies slotted so well together.
I walked out of my room. I knew where my feet were taking me, even though I didn’t want to admit it. Maybe, maybe if I just saw Alex, that would be enough to soothe the itching. Itching that had nothing to do with hypnosis or whatever else she said she did to me. Because hypnosis wasn’t real. That wasn't a thing.
The sound of the movie drifted out from Alex’s open door. It was almost enough to make me turn around. She never left her door open. She was expecting me.
Knowing that didn’t stop me from walking into her room and shutting the door behind me.
Alex was on her own, much more moderately sized bed, sitting on top of her pink sheets, her back to her headboard. The lights were off. Her fairy lights, strung over the highest part of the walls around the room, pulsed with ever changing colors. Her TV was on. The movie was just starting. She paused it and smiled.
“Drake! Hi, I didn’t expect to see you! Did you need something for me? Or did you want to cuddle?” she asked.
I shivered. My knees felt weak. Fuck. I wanted to cuddle. I wanted to cuddle so fucking bad.
So looking at her wasn’t enough. That was okay. If I could sit next to her, our shoulders could brush. I could feel her skin against mine. That would hopefully be enough.
“No, I just wanted to watch the movie. I’m bored,” I lied.
“Sure! Hop up,” she said, patting the bed spot on the bed next to her. She turned the movie back on.
I sat next to her, leaving a bit of space. That lasted for all of two seconds before I forced myself closer and I touched my shoulder to hers. The contact was amazing. Touching Alex had never felt better. I couldn’t help myself from pressing my arm further against hers.
The relief that followed was better than cold water during a heatwave. I shivered.
“Feeling okay?” Alex asked.
I opened my eyes. I didn’t remember when I had shut them. Alex was looking at me. She looked worried. Concerned. I nodded rapidly.
“Yeah, I’m fine. I’m good. Just— I’m good.”
“Okay, I just felt you shivering. Are you cold?”
“Then why did you shiver?”
She’d walked me into a corner. With nothing to say, I shrugged.
“Sometimes, I just do. You know how it goes.”
“Mm, I do. Say, Drake, can I ask you a question?” Alex asked.
“Do you want to cuddle?”
My brain whited out, the combination of that bit of contact and the word sending my mind spinning. The dam finally broke. The desire that spilled out of me felt like it was bleeding off into the air. I felt like Alex should’ve been able to feel it just like she could with heat or mist.
“Please. God please, I need to cuddle.”
Alex kissed me on my cheek, then crawled into my lap, sitting with her back against my chest. I wrapped myself around her and squeezed tight. Bone-deep satisfaction, coursed through my veins. I squeezed her tighter and buried my head into her neck, breathing in the scent of perfume and skin. She was so warm. She fit so well on my lap. It felt so fucking good.
“There we go,” Alex purred. She reached back and carded a hand through my hair. Wherever her fingers touched, the itch vanished, replaced by a warm glowing heat that spilled down my body. Tension I didn’t realize I was holding drained away. I nuzzled her again, humming in contentment. Every touch was so beautiful. It was all the joy of painting combined with the simple pleasure of being touched.
“Feels good, huh?” Alex asked. She scratched my scalp firmly, right through the thin hairs of my buzz cut. I shuddered. The pleasure was white-hot and overwhelming, numbing for a second before it turned into that comfortable burn.
“More, please. Harder,” I said. “Back.”
“You have to let go of me then, baby.”
“I need to touch you,” I panted against her throat. “Alex, I need it so bad. I can’t—“
“Shhh, I’m not going anywhere. I promise. I’m going to stay right in your lap. I’m just going to straddle you. That’d be good right?”
“I don’t care so long as you touch me. Just wanna touch,” I mumbled. I was getting buried under the warm feelings she was giving me, dragged back down to something that felt a lot like the dark, safe place she had dragged me down to earlier.
“Yeah, you can’t think very well right now, can you? Your head is a bit soft right now, huh? That’s okay. You don’t have to think. Just listen to me. You can do that. I know you can.”
I nodded against her.
“Put your arms at your side,” she ordered.
I dropped them instantly. Obeying her felt almost as good as cuddling her. Alex rotated on my lap and straddled me. She slid her hands down my chest and grabbed the hem of my tank-top, then put her lips to my ear.
“Arms up. This is coming off.”
I listened. She pulled my shirt off in one fluid motion and cast it onto the floor. Alex took off her nightgown and set it beside her, leaving her in a simple pair of cotton panties and both of us shirtless, our breasts exposed. Then, she planted her hands on my back and pressed her chest against mine. It was pure ecstasy. I moaned, long and loud. Alex raked her nails down my back, digging in deep. It hurt in the best way possible. I felt tears build up behind my eyes.
“You can hold me. I know you want to,” Alex said.
My arms flew up and squeezed her tight. I never wanted to let her go. It was unthinkable. She was the only thing preventing me from falling apart at the seams. I realized that this whatever this was, was what I craved. What I wanted. I’d had sex with women in the past, enough to know that I didn’t like it. Enough to know that my fingers, maybe once or twice a month, were the only thing I was comfortable with between my legs. I’d thought there would be no replacement for it. That I was destined to lack whatever wonders that sex allegedly held.
I didn’t realize how wrong I was.
Someone screamed in the movie, reminding me it was on. I couldn’t bring myself to open my eyes to look at it or even pretend to care. I was too lost to the constant drag of Alex’s nails on my back and how good it felt to have her close. Slowly, I began to run my hands down Alex’s back, making sure to keep my nails away. Alex demanded to be treated delicately. She sometimes referred to herself as a princess. I used to think it was a joke, but it didn’t feel like much of a joke when she commanded me so easily.
“So what do you think? Did it work?” she asked, as her nails made another pass down my back. I rested my head against the headboard.
“Hmm?” I asked.
“Oh you are just out of it aren’t you? That’s so cute,” Alex said. There was a hint of something almost condescending in her tone that I hated that I liked so much. My biggest regret was getting drunk with her all those years ago and confessing that I liked being bullied. “That’s okay. I think I’ll just tell you how adorable you are now.”
My stomach dropped out. I shivered harder than I had any other time that night. Alex laughed. It made me feel so small. I loved it and hated it. Praise ruined me. Of course, she’d waited until now, when I was helpless to defend myself, to do it.
“Hmmm, where should I start? You never let me tell you nice things. I have so much to cover.” She reached up and scratched my head again. I leaned into it like a dog. “I’ll start with how talented you are. Your art is so good. Your pieces are in museums. You’ve made so much money. People know your name and you still act like it’s not a big deal. But it is.” Her lips touched the shell of my ear again. “I’m so proud of you, Drake. You make me so happy.”
The tears that had been building up spilled out. Every single word she said tore me apart, but it wasn’t reckless. It was like a surgeon draining an infection. When the pain of hearing them passed, I felt good. Loved. And that hurt in the best way.
“Are those good tears baby? You can just nod for me. You don’t have to use words,” Alex whispered.
I nodded. Alex cooed, then kissed away my tears.
“You work so hard. I’m so glad you let yourself relax for me. That you trust me so much. You’re amazing babygirl.”
Babygirl. The word somehow shattered what little pieces of me that still felt together. Alex had only called me that three times before. I remembered each occasion so clearly. This one though, no matter how fuzzy my head was, no matter how good I felt, I would remember more clearly than any of the rest.
“I wish you could’ve seen the way you went under for me. Watching you relax felt so good for me. All the tension draining away. Getting to see all your thoughts get chased away was so pretty. You were so handsome and beautiful. Such a good girl."
I cried more. Alex kissed those tears away too. She shifted from scratching my back to running her nails and hands along my arms, then up to my chest, touching me and leaving her heat and mark on me in as many places as she could.
“You’re beautiful now too. So beautiful. I can’t believe you’re mine. All mine. I’m so lucky. I love you, Drake. I love you so much. I should’ve told you before. God, now is the worst time, but tomorrow, I swear we’ll talk about it. We should’ve talked about it years ago because I—“ she kissed my cheek. “Love—“ she kissed my other cheek. “You.” She pecked me on the lips.
“Love you too,” I said. “Love you.”
She kept petting me. The praise kept coming. I let them drown me. Let them pull me, so, so deep. I was safe with Alex. Alex loved me. I loved her and she loved me. I was loved. loved. Loved, loved, loved, loved. Love.
God, I loved her.
Maybe I was saying that. It sort of felt like I was, but I was out of it and I didn’t want to come back up. Alex didn’t seem to care. She had me scoot forward and lay down on her bed. Her TV shut off. She adjusted herself so she cuddled into my chest, one of her legs thrown over mine, an arm draped possessively around my waist, with her head on my shoulder. She kept whispering pretty things in my ear. My own personal story instead of one she was reading from a book. She let me drift and drift and drift.
I was falling asleep, but it didn’t matter. I had Alex, and she had me. She was touching me. Cuddling me. And I felt good. I’d never felt so good.
“I love you,” I said, as the darkness of sleep began to claim me.
“I love you too,” Alex whispered.