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A Shoulder to Cry On

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   After pulling the flaps to the tent closed, Arthur threw his jacket over his chest of clothing.  He sat down on the cot and removed his boot, setting them carefully at the foot of the bed. As he removed his shirt and pants, he eyed you laying on the cot.  You hadn’t moved since he had entered. You had rushed through dinner, only pecking at your meal, and you weren’t chatty with the other girls like you normally were.  Arthur kept his eye on you as he removed the rest of his clothing. Once stripped down to his union suit, Arthur pulled back the blankets and climbed in next to you. You didn’t stir.  He scooted over to you and put his chest flush against your back and his arm over your waist. He nestled his nose into your neck, just under your ear.

   “Hey...”  His voice rumbled, low and quiet.

   “Hey.”  Your eyes stayed glued to the side of his wagon not inches from your nose.  You felt Arthur’s whiskers tickled your neck as he pressed a kiss against the back of your ear, but you didn’t chuckle.

   “What’s wrong?”  Arthur asked, voice even softer.
   “Nothing…”  You shifted slightly under the weight of Arthur’s arm.  “Just tired.”

   “I know that’s not true.”

   You squeezed your eyes shut and curled a little tighter.  “I’m fine.”

   Arthur’s arm tightened around your waist as he coaxed you to face him.

   “Do you wanna talk?”

   You shook your head and fought to face the wagon instead of Arthur.  He could have easily manhandled you to face the opposite direction and forced you to speak, but his touches remained gentle.

   “Please.”  Arthur put another kiss on your neck.  “At least let me see your face.”

   You turned so that your chest faced upwards, but you kept your head towards the side of the wagon.

   “Sweetie…”  Arthur pressed a kiss into your neck.  “I love you.”

   You turned your face towards Arthur but immediately pushed it into his chest.

   “I just feel sad,” you said, voice muffled.

   “Why?”  Arthur soothed as he pressed a kiss on your head.  “Did something happen in town? Did someone say something to you? Someone at camp?”

   “N-no.”  You tried to clear your now running nose.  “I just feel s-sad.”

   “Sweetheart… don’t cry.”  Arthur pushed your hair back and shimmied down so he could see your face.  “It’s alright.”

   He wiped your tears away with his thumb before putting a kiss on your forehead.

   “I d-don’t know what’s wrong- what’s wrong w-with me,” you sobbed, leaving a wet spot of tears and snot on Arthur’s shirt.

   “There’s nothing wrong with you,” Arthur continued to comfort.  “You’re alright.”

   Arthur squeezed you tighter as you continued to sob into his chest.  He whispered sweet little things to you and pressed kisses onto your cheeks and head.  Slowly, the sounds of the night replaced your whimpers, and both you and Arthur drifted into sleep, still wrapped up in each other.