Peter’s spent the last few nights in the bed and it’s been nice. We haven’t done more than kiss from time to time and I’m glad. I still can’t get the movies out of my head and how I’d even be able to do those things with him. At least he hasn’t pushed it and I haven’t had to try.
I’m getting used to feeling him sleeping next to me. I didn’t think I’d be able to sleep with another body in the small bed and I couldn’t, at first. But I’ve slowly gotten used to it and the warmth of him against my back is comforting, along with hearing him breathe. The fear of those first few nights when he first came here have finally faded away. I actually like the fact that I can fall asleep, knowing he’s right here with me. Thank god he can’t read minds, not sure I’d want him knowing all that.
Morning sun hits me in the face and I grumble. Peter didn’t shut the curtains again, figures. Rolling over to give him a hard time, I open my eyes to nothing. He’s not next to me and my heart gives a slight thud. I put my hand out and the spot is still warm and I let out a breath. He must’ve woken up before me for once and went out. If he were in the apartment, I’d hear him. Sitting up, I yawn, stretch and look around. No sight or sound of him but that doesn’t mean much either.
Crawling out of bed, I use the bathroom, then pad into the kitchen. The absence of smell makes me frown. The first thing Peter does every day is make himself coffee but he didn’t this time. I know we still have some. Giving my head a shake, I put the tea kettle on. He probably went out to get something first, to make for breakfast to surprise me or something. It’s…nice, that he’d want to do that.
My water’s ready and I make my tea, sitting at the table and drinking it while looking out the window. He’s not back by the time I’m done and my frown deepens. He wouldn’t have gone to work on the wall without his coffee, would he? I go over to the window, opening it but I don’t hear the sound of the hammer hitting the bricks and my heart gives another lurch. Where the hell has he gone? He wouldn’t have left without telling me, would he?
Moving quickly into the bedroom, I get dressed and grab my coat on the way out the door. I’m trying not to let panic take over, there’s probably some logical explanation. At least, I have to keep remembering that. It’s hard though when the streets sound so empty, like they did…before. Shoving my hands in my pocket, I walk fast towards the wall. I can’t think like that, he’s here somewhere; I just need to find him. He’d be laughing his ass off at me right now, he knew.
But he’s not there. I turn the corner and there’s no one there. The sledgehammer is leaning against the bricks where he left it yesterday when I came to drag him home to eat and there’s no sign that he’s been here. Panic is starting to rise and I can feel my stomach starting to roil. Pushing it down, I start to jog, then run, to the places that he might be at.
The coffee shop is empty, as is the movie theater, the video place and the closest grocery stores. Running faster, I go further out, trying to think and failing as I start to get scared. He’s not at the pool and I struggle not to yell for him but after checking the sixth grocery store with no sign, I can’t help it. “Peter!” I yell as loud as I can. My voice echoes off the buildings, heightening the fact that I’m alone and Peter’s not here anymore. “Peter!” I yell louder, almost scream his name. Nothing. The silence is pressing down on me and it feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest. I know its panic but that doesn’t help.
Peter’s been here for years, he can’t have disappeared! He can’t have left me alone again! I’d gotten too used to him being here, I don’t think I can handle being all alone again; I really would lose what mind I have left. “Please, answer me!” I race through the streets, not really even looking as panic sets in.
Still nothing. There’s no sound but the pounding of my heart and my heavy breathing. I finally collapse in the middle of the street, falling to hands and knees while I try to catch my breath and slow my heart before it bursts out of my chest. He’s left me and I’m all alone again. Sitting up on my knees, I throw my head back and half howl, half cry. I can’t do this, not now. I need him and without him here to keep me anchored, I will go insane. I’ll be in hell again, worse than before because I had someone that cared about me and I’ve lost them. It’s my fault, I chased him away somehow.
“Peter, please…” I sob, my hands covering my face as I feel the tears starting. There’s no hope. I’m alone again in the hell of my own making and I have no one to blame but myself. Maybe he wasn’t really here, maybe he was just an illusion to try and keep my sanity but it hadn’t felt like it. He’d been real, he had to have been. Maybe Parkman woke him up, that’s why he disappeared but he won’t leave me here alone, will he? He said he needed my help but what if they won’t let him come back? I’m here, in my own personal hell forever.
I can feel his hand on my shoulder, his voice in my ear whispering something but I can’t understand him. I look over my shoulder, knowing he won’t be there but I still have to look. No one’s there and the whispering is getting louder. Maybe this is it, the final crack of my mind. “Peter.”
Warm hands are shaking me and my eyes fly open and I struggle to get away before I realize they’re Peter’s hands and he’s saying my name. I look at him, eyes wide in fear before everything sinks in and I slump. “Peter.”
“Yeah, it’s me.” He looks down at me, worry on his face. “You were having a nightmare, you wouldn’t wake up.” He lets go of me and I wish he wouldn’t, I need to feel anchored right now. “Scared the hell out of me when you screamed out. What the fuck were you dreaming?”
I sit up, leaning back against the headboard, rubbing my face with my hands while I try to forget what I dreamed. It’s already fading some, getting that dreamlike quality that nightmares turn into once you’re awake but I know this one is going to stay with me for a very long time. “Nothing, I…” I shake my head, fingers running through damp hair while I try to shake off the dream. “I don’t really remember.”
He’s giving me a disbelieving look. He can tell I’m lying, that I remember something but he doesn’t push it. Getting out of bed, he goes and brings back a glass of water, handing it to me before crawling back into bed. “Okay but if you want to talk about it, I’m here.” He’s studying my face and I wish he wouldn’t. I don’t want him to know what I dreamt.
“Thanks but I’ll be fine.” I take a few sips of water before setting it aside. I curl up, back to him while I stare at the wall. I doubt I’ll get back to sleep tonight but there’s no reason he needs to be awake too. I can feel the bed dip slightly as he shifts and then his arm goes around my waist and he snuggles against my back. I should tell him to back off but his warmth and the weight of his arm around me is comforting. Reluctantly I close my eyes, hoping that I’ll fall asleep and that when I wake up, he’ll still be here.