Sometimes I wonder why you stay with me. <3
They are in bed.
It’s different though.
Now, everything has changed. It’s cold, distant in a way they have never been before. They lie far enough apart that they can’t accidentally touch while moving in their sleep. Aaron is lying on his side, turned away; Robert can hear him breathe, not quite calm enough, as if he is pretending.
It seems like that’s all they do lately.
Robert wants to reach out, wants to hold him close and kiss his neck, show him how much he loves him, whisper ‘I love you’ in his ear. Robert wants him so much but he feels like he can’t. Like he shouldn’t.
He is lying on his back, staring at the ceiling. He isn’t tired; his is mind going through every detail of the day, every detail of them, trying to figure out how to make it better. He wants to read but Aaron switched off his light and so Robert followed, wanting to make sure he doesn’t disturb. All he does is disturb Aaron, his life, his happiness.
Aaron says he has forgiven him. Robert put the ring back on his finger and kissed him, and Aaron held him until his pieces started to fit together again. Then the sun came up and with it came reality, destroying the already fragile foundations they had created. They hadn’t really touched since.
The need for it burns through Robert’s body though. He’ll see Aaron fresh out of the shower and his fingers will itch to grab his skin, pull him close, make him come apart at the seams. Aaron will say goodbye in the morning and Robert wants to beg him to stay, to sort this. But sorting it means more pain.
Their impasse is unbearable.
Robert is just about to move, just about to reach out when he hears Aaron grumble.
“I can hear you thinking.”
He turns, rolls over on his other side to face Robert, soft curls resting against soft pillows. He looks exhausted. They both are.
“Sorry,” Robert mumbles. They look at each other, Robert taking in his beautiful features, the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with and he feels tears prickling at his eyes. How can they make it better?
“Out with it. No use bottling it,” Aaron speaks softly, his voice gruff but quiet. Robert can see the walls he is building, the distance between them growing.
“I…. Sometimes I wonder why you stay with me,” Robert says. Aaron freezes, eyes moving from Robert’s. He doesn’t move any closer.
“You’re my husband, I -”
“Don’t say it,” Robert interjects. “I haven’t touched you in weeks, we’re distant and cold and we’re drifting apart. I don’t know how to stop it. If you’re just with me because we’re married then I don’t think you should stay.”
Even in the darkness Robert can see Aaron’s eyes shimmering with unshed tears.
“I don’t know how to get past this,” Aaron whispers. It’s a punch to the gut and it’s all Robert can do to not lose his breath.
“I don’t want to lose you Aaron.” It feels like an admission but how could it be when it should be the most obvious thing.
“I don’t want to lose you either Robert… but sometimes I feel like I already have.”
It’s too much now. He can’t stop himself - he moves over and pulls Aaron close, feeling wet tears on his shoulder as Aaron’s head rests there. Robert holds him tight, lips pressed to Aaron’s forehead.
“I love you so much,” Robert whispers, feeling Aaron nod into his chest. “You are it for me Aaron, nothing’s changed. Nothing will change that.”
“I love you more,” Aaron whispers, “but there’s a baby coming, your baby. We need to talk about this.”
Robert’s stomach clenches; he hates it, he doesn’t want to talk about it, but this is Aaron. His Aaron. His beautiful husband.
“We will, tomorrow ok?”
Aaron nods and presses a kiss to Robert’s skin. It’s fire and ice and Robert can’t help feeling slightly more whole.
Aaron’s wrapped around him now, legs intertwined and arms around his waist. He can smell him, the faint smell of sweat and aftershave and that musky smell of Aaron that makes him lightheaded.
“For now, can we just sleep?” Robert asks. Aaron tilts his head up, looks straight into Robert’s eyes and nods. It’s tentative when his glance flickers down to Robert’s lips and his breath catches in his throat when Aaron leans in, kissing him gently, drawing it out and making it last. His lips are softer than Robert can remember, gentle, grouding. He practically whimpers when Aaron draws back and rests his forehead against Robert’s.
“Let’s sleep,” Aaron whispers. He lowers his head back down and nuzzles into Robert’s neck. Soon enough his breathing evens out and Robert keeps holding him close.
He can’t remember the last time he felt whole.