The room was cold but she didn't care. She wanted to shiver. It reminded her of when there were strong arms to wrap around and warm her.
Closing the door to her office, she looked around the darkened reception area. She was working late these days. Year-end reporting always took a ton of time and she put most of her life on hold for three weeks.
Walking down the long corridor to the front door, her hand poised on the handle. She wanted to go home and crawl into bed, but she didn't want to be there alone. It had nothing to do with sex. She simply wanted to be with someone, to have them hold her.
I don't want to cry alone tonight.
Locking the door, she made the journey down the block to her apartment. The lights were off and she stopped, wondering if someone was lurking in the shadows. It was a terrifying thought and she was unsure why she should be so panicky right now. With trembling fingers, she turned the key in the deadbolt.
The apartment was empty. Even a check of the closets proved so.
Collapsing onto the couch, she sat for a good minute before she could move or think. When she did, she reached into her pocket, digging for the paper within. It was folded into a tight, neat square. It was old, dingy, and stained with fabric fuzz and sweat. She unwrapped it slowly, like it was some sort of secret present with an unknown prize within.
“My phone is always on after midnight. I’m only a speed-dial away... no matter what happens.”
Her heart started to race. The thought of calling him had run through her mind a hundred times, but she was sure he wouldn't want to talk to her. She was sure he was still angry from their breakup... from her dumping him.
Then he had sent her the card for her birthday.
Turning to the clock, she stared at the red digits. 11:52.
“Maybe I can fall asleep in eight minutes,” she thought, prayed. Instead, she stared at the paper until the seconds ticked past.
It was 12:02 when she picked up her cell phone. She typed in the code to mask her number, just in case. She pressed the speed-dial, the one she couldn't bring herself to erase.
One ring, two rings, three rings.
She sighed in relief. “He’s not there.”
Then the phone clicked. “Hello?”
It was his voice. The sound caused her to gasp, but she quickly held it in her throat, afraid to make a sound.
Her mind screamed. I want to see you. I'm sorry. I was wrong.
“Hello?” the voice pressed.
I love you, her heart whispered in silence.
Her fingers trembled, a sole tear escaping her eyes.
He spoke again, in question... he spoke her name.
She closed the phone, her heart beating so fast she was sure it would pop out of her chest. Biting down on her lip, she winced as she felt the teeth cut through, the taste of blood behind.
“I better go take care of this,” she whispered, putting her fingers to her mouth.
Folding the paper back into a tidy square, she shoved it in her pocket and headed into the bathroom.