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Right Here With You

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       You’re woken up by a sound, so soft it could have been the wind outside.

       You cock your head to the side. There it is again.


       You carefully get up from your makeshift bed on the couch. You tell yourself it’s to watch for danger, but the truth is you’re scared Shaw will disappear in the middle of the night.

       You pad across the room on silent feet. The bedroom door is open. Shaw had insisted on it.

       “Sweetie, are you okay?”

       The figure lying on the bed is writhing, sheets tangled around her body. Wherever Shaw is, she can’t hear you. She’s muttering and you creep closer to listen.

       “Is that all?” She sneers , her face a mask of derision and rage. “Do your worst.”

       The muttering soon gives way to whimpers. It’s not long before Shaw’s screaming, twisting around in an attempt to get away.

       “Sameen, wake up.” You put a hand on her shoulder.

       Bad move.

       Shaw’s eyes fly open and her hands wrap around your throat.

       “Fuck you, Martine.” Shaw snarls.

       You pull at her hands, but that seems to make her madder. Her grip tightens and you stop.

       “Sweetie, it’s me. It’s Root.”

       Shaw shakes her head. “No. No. Root’s dead. They’re all dead.”

       “Sam. Look at me.”

       She does look at you, but her eyes are glassy and unfocused.

       You’re starting to feel dizzy. You have to get her to stop.

       You lean forward and kiss her, biting her lower lip lightly. The pressure around your throat lessens, then disappears completely.

       “Root?” Shaw asks.

       “I’m here, sweetie.” Your voice comes out as a croak and you watch as realization dawns in Shaw’s eyes.

       “Oh, God. Oh, God.” She exclaims, staring at you in horror.

       “It’s okay.”

       “It’s not okay.” She snarls. “I could have killed you.”

       “But you didn’t. Look at me, Sameen. I’m fine.”

       Shaw abruptly lies down, pulling the covers over her head. “Go away, Root.”


       “Just stay away from me. It’s not safe.” A brief pause. “You’re not safe.”

       You sit at the edge of the bed and pushes at her. Shaw pokes her head out and stares at you. “What are you doing?”

       “Proving to you that the safest place for me is right next to you.”

       Weak as Shaw was, you’re still panting by the time you manage to push her over enough to make room for you under the covers.

       Shaw has her back turned to you, staring at the window. She flinches as you spoon her from behind, sliding an arm around her waist, mindful of her injuries. You raise the other hand to Shaw’s head, smoothing her mussed hair.

       You stay like that, one hand on her belly and the other tangled in her hair.

       “Root.” Shaw finally says, her voice sleepy.

       “Yes, sweetie?”

       “Your hands are cold.”

       For the first time since she’s been back, Shaw sleeps through the night.