In the depth of night, something woke him. He listened for a few moments, all his senses alert. Then he heard it again. Smothered, suppressed moans.
Danielle. He was out of bed in a heartbeat and ran to her room, grateful that he had decided to wear pajama bottoms. He had been right, he realized as he came closer, the moans were now more audible. When he reached the door, he pushed it open, hurrying to the bed, where Danielle lay, again tossing and turning as she had that afternoon. He clicked on the bedside lamp, sitting down on the edge of the bed and taking her in his arms. Why take her in your arms? he rebuked himself. Just shake her awake, give her a glass of water. But he couldn’t bring himself to do it.
“Danielle?” he said gently. “Wake up. You’re having another nightmare.” She sighed deeply, then seemed to realize that she was in his arms, and hugged herself tightly to him. “Oh… Miguel…” she breathed against his chest.
“Would it help if you told me the bad dream?” he asked, deeply concerned for her. She moved slightly closer to him, and he felt her body tremble against his. She seemed suddenly to realize that things between them had gone horribly wrong, and she tried to withdraw a little from him, saying, her voice unsteady, “It’s such an unhappy dream. I’m in a fog, and I don’t know where I am, and I can’t find you. Miguel….I know you don’t want this, I know you hate and despise me, but please…”
He interrupted her, and said quietly, “No, Danielle, I don’t hate and despise you, but you lied to me, and I can no longer trust you. And, without trust, what is love? Only sex. Even so, I think we should declare a truce and try to live at least agreeably. But I interrupted you. What were you going to say?” Despondent, she whispered, “I was wondering whether, out of sheer kindness, you could possibly stay…? It’s such a big bed and I promise I won’t disturb you. It’s just that when I know you’re here, then the nightmare doesn’t come…”
Danielle – don’t do this to me—I don’t want this. But already he was hurrying to the other side of the bed, getting in, stretching out his hand to her. She gratefully took his hand, breathing, “Oh, thank you, Miguel… you’re so good to me…” She bent forward and briefly touched her trembling lips to his fingers.
He turned his head away and bit his lip, when he thought of his cruel words to her that afternoon. Not that they weren’t deserved, but— I should’ve made my points less abrasively. And she says I’m so good to her— Madre de Dios.
He remained awake until her soft, even breathing told him that she had fallen into an untroubled, restful sleep. Only then did he close his eyes and let sleep claim him, too. She awoke in the morning, her stomach churning, and hastily threw back the duvet so that she could hurry to the bathroom. As she glanced back, she realized that she was alone in the big bed. I know Miguel was here… He woke me from the nightmare, and then I asked him to stay, and he did. Well, perhaps he just stayed until I fell asleep and then he…
She quickly hurried into the bathroom and was, again, very sick. When it was over, she was grateful that Miguel had been spared this. She went again through the now-familiar ritual of rinsing her mouth, brushing her teeth, gargling with a pleasant-tasting new mouthwash. She stood by the basin, none too steady on her feet, and drank some water. Drained from all this activity, she slowly crept back to her bed and fell into it. Surprised, she heard Miguel’s footsteps on the hall’s parquet flooring. Moments later, he entered her bedroom, carrying a tray with a cup of weak, fragrant tea that had a thin sliver of lemon floating on top of it. There was also a rack of dry toast. He waited until she sat up, placing the tray across her thighs.
“Were you sick again?” he asked, his voice concerned. She nodded miserably.
“I’m sorry if I woke you,” she said apologetically. “Of course you didn’t. I woke up at about seven, and although you weren’t having bad dreams, you seemed a little restless, and your stomach growled, so I thought perhaps if I could bring you some tea and toast quickly, I might be able to stave off yet another attack of being sick? But unfortunately I was too late.”
Quickly, she said, “Miguel… that happens every morning, don’t you remember, Bill said that’s how it is, but it gets better after a while. It isn’t an exact science, of course, but by my own reckoning I think I’m probably three weeks pregnant. And apparently this sickness is bad only in the very beginning. Maybe I’ll be lucky and it’ll soon get better or be over?” He noticed the cloud that seemed to come over her eyes, and he realized what she must be thinking… ‘I’ll be lucky…’
Not too lucky, so far… he thought.
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