“I love you.” He whispered in her ear.
And she gasped (unintentionally audibly).
“What is it?” This time he unfolded himself from her and stared her directly, with a fierce glare mixed with hurt and anger.
“I don’t know. I’m….I’m sorry. I have to go.”
And the truth was, she didn’t know. She didn’t know if she loved him. She didn’t know if she didn’t love him. She didn’t know if she ever cared for him.
“No. Stay. Tell me. You can’t just leave me here, wandering.” He pulled on her hand, begging softly with his eyes for her to stay and yet keeping a firm command in his voice.
No one had ever asked her to stay. Everyone else had turned and walked away: fearing more rejection, more confrontation, more heartbreak.
“He’s so different.” She thought.
So she stayed. And she told her fears.
And he listened.
And she cried.
And he kissed away her tears.
And whispered something perfect, “You don’t have to love me. I love you anyway.”