isn’t that what you do when Rick says he loves you?”
heart stopped. Maggie’s muffled voice reached his ears behind the partially
closed door of the Hilltop’s trailer she now called home. She had just asked
Michonne a question and her silent reply was loud and clear.
didn’t know what had prompted the conversation but he knew he couldn’t
interrupt them. He stealthily pressed himself against the wall adjacent to the
door, hoping to hear more.
haven’t said it?”
could hear Michonne respond defensively, “He doesn’t need to.”
scoffed. “Like hell he doesn’t. After everything you’ve survived together, he
should be saying it every waking moment, shouting it from the goddamn
a brief pause, the woman he’d come to adore reasoned in her soft voice, “I
don’t need to hear it to know it.”
sharp pain filled his chest at her defending his thoughtlessness.
sighed, evidently unconvinced. “Maybe but it still needs to be said. Life has a
way of taking away the people you love most. Then all you’re left with is
regret, regret you didn’t say it enough or at all.”
words clearly reflected the pain she was still trying to overcome. They were all well
acquainted with loss yet it didn’t make them impervious to it.
could hear Michonne quietly comfort her friend in their private moment of
vulnerability. He carefully rested his head against the wall behind him and
glanced at the partially open door longingly, their words resonating in his
had never heard him say he loved her.
swore he said it to her. All the time. Every time he looked at her, every time
she looked at him. The words beat in time with his heart.
I love you, Michonne.
knew he whispered it to her every night. When everything was calm and quiet, he
would hold her close, drawing peace from her slumber. He’d murmur it into her
hair, against her warm skin, and as a prayer into the moon drenched sky. He’d
say it repeatedly, his heart filled with a unique love meant solely for her.
I love you. I love you. I love
course, he had said it but never for her to hear. He’d spent his life saying
words to people that didn’t mean a thing because his actions always spoke
otherwise. This was different. She was different. What he held for her, he
wanted her to see it, to feel it, to taste it. He wanted to surround her with
it wasn’t enough. She deserved more. It was time for her to hear it.
night, entwined in each other’s arms, he patiently waited. The withheld words
hummed through his veins, buzzing and impatient to escape for the night. He
kept quiet and simply reveled in her deep, steady breaths.
eyelashes fluttered lightly, darkness quickly giving way to the dawn of a new
day. He felt her stir, her body stretching against him. He laid sweet kisses on
her shoulder, as per their morning routine. She reached back to caress his soft
curls. She inhaled deeply, her warm body contracting in his arms.
she was awake. A new day had begun.
sunlight bathed them in its baptizing light. His lips searched for the tender
shell of her ear. She sleepily smiled as he quietly rasped with everything
inside of him, “I love you.”
words eased her soul. He’d finally presented her with the final piece of the
carefully constructed structure he’d purposefully built inside of her.
breathed in the moment before saying her peace.