Eight – 02

[This post is from Thom’s point of view.]

Thom closed his eyes for a moment, exhaling, forcing himself to stop twisting the shirt between his hands. He tore his gaze from his sleeping wife and turned, starting to tug the shirt on, down over his head, wincing slightly as sore muscles twinged and pulled.

He could still put himself back into that time and place—the day the world had ended, the time around it. He’d decided not to go to Chicago for a job interview, decided not to go visit his parents. In hindsight, the decision had been easier than it probably should have been. The logic behind the choice had been sound—but only if he’d admitted to anyone that he was still hopelessly in love with Marin Astoris. Still, back then, there wasn’t any way he would have missed saying good-bye to her. She’d been supposed to leave for graduate school two days after the world ended.

He never would have seen her again.

Thom sank down on the edge of the bed, sighing. Behind him, Marin shifted in their bed, making a soft noise in her throat as she edged toward waking. He closed his eyes. Her fingers crept up his back, warm beneath his shirt.

“Come back to bed,” she whispered, her voice husky, still heavy with sleep. “It’s early. Stay with me.”

Forever.

He exhaled, head drooping. His knee throbbed. He tried to ignore it. He was already dressed. She laid her palm against his spine, the touch stirring fine hairs on his back.

A shiver shot through him.

“What’s wrong?” she whispered.

Another sigh and he shook his head.

“Nothing,” he whispered.

He started to take his shirt back off, started to stand so he could take off his jeans. Marin edged closer.

“Thom,” she said softly, “where were you going?”

“I don’t know,” he murmured. “A walk, I guess.”

“It can’t even be close to dawn yet,” she said. “Why?”

“I don’t know,” he said again, scrubbing a hand over his face before he stripped out of his jeans and crawled back under the covers with her. Her arms closed around him and he tangled the fingers of one hand in her hair as she nuzzled his collarbone.

“Rest,” she whispered. “Whatever it is, it’ll be okay.”

Will it? Thom wrapped his free arm around her. All he could do was hope she was right.

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