By Web Bard (copyright 11/2000)
Beth looked over at her lover who was still sleeping soundly. She quietly slid out from under Reeses arm draped lazily across her waist. She walked to the closet and pulled out a warm housecoat and wrapped it around her nude body. She glanced one more time at the tall beauty who shared her bed, then walked to the kitchen. Beth grimaced as she reached for the bottle of pills in the cabinet. She felt a familiar burning in her chest and stomach and poured a tall glass of chocolate milk to wash the pills down.
Reese stretched out and then patted the empty space beside her. Where did she go? I never knew she even moved. She rolled over and quickly felt a twinge of pain in her chest. What was that about? Reese sat up and reached for her shirt and pants. After fastening the buttons, she walked out of the bedroom to look for her partner. What she saw in the kitchen startled her. Beth was holding on to the edge of the counter and was doubled over.
"Beth!" Reese ran to her lovers side and wrapped her arms around her. "Honey, what is it?"
Beth slowly moved into a standing position and leaned against Reese for support. "Ill be okay in a few minutes. Just have to wait until the medicine starts working."
Reese tilted her friends face up to her own. "What are you not telling me?"
"I have a stomach problem."
"I can see that," said Reese as she ran her fingers through her friends hair. "Do I need to take you to the doctor?"
"No. No, really, Ill be fine," said Beth, taking a deep breath. "Its that acid reflux stuff. It just burns like hell and makes me want to puke."
"Ive never seen you like this before," said Reese. "Why did you keep this from me?"
Beth dropped her head down and looked toward the floor. Reese sensed the hurt in her friend and cupped Beths face in her hands. "Im not angry with you, sweetheart. Well, maybe just a little. I just thought we werent going to keep secrets from one another. If youre hurting, Im hurting. In fact, while I was waking up a few minutes ago, I felt a twinge in my chest and knew I had to find you. Quick."
"I didnt mean to hide anything from you," said Beth as she looked. "I can usually control it with medication. But when I get overly stressed, it tends to flare up. With you gone all week and all those stupid feelings I had "
Reese placed a finger on Beths lips to stop her from talking. She then leaned down and kissed her softly. "Cmere. Lets go sit on the couch. I think we need to talk about a few things."
Beth took Reeses hand and they made their way to the couch. She curled up in her favorite position and nestled into Reeses shoulder. Reese wrapped her arms around her friend and kissed the top of her head. "Feeling any better?"
"Yes, thanks to you."
"Beth, I cant have you getting sick because of me," said Reese.
"Reese, its not your fault," said Beth. "Ive had this a long time. Way before I met you. It has more to do with how I process my feelings. Ive never had anyone to share my problems or concerns with. Until now. Until you."
Reese pulled Beth a little closer. "Why didnt you call me last week? I have a cell phone, you know. You can always reach me when you need something."
"Beth, Ive been thinking about something and I want to talk to you about it."
"Okay," said Beth as she pulled away from Reese. Her friends voice took a serious tone and Beth wanted to look at her face while she was talking to her.
Reese hesitated and cleared her throat. "You and I have been going back and forth to each others apartments for four months. Maybe thats why youve been feeling a little insecure about things. I think we need to consolidate and find something for both of us. I mean, if thats okay with you."
"Ill start packing right now," said Beth as wide grin spread across her face. "I was thinking the same thing last week, but was afraid to bring it up."
"Okay, thats it," said Reese as she abruptly stood up and walked away from the couch. She walked toward the window and stared into the parking lot.
Beth sat on the edge of the couch. Stunned. "What? What did I say?"
"Its what you dont say."
"What?" Beth felt another twinge of pain in her chest.
"Are you afraid of me?" Reese continued to stare out the window.
"Afraid of you? No. I just dont handle rejection well. If I had asked you if you would live together with me and you said no, I wouldnt have been able to handle it."
Reese turned around and angrily faced Beth. "Do you not believe me when I tell you that I love you with every fiber of my being? Do you not believe me when I tell you that you are the best thing in my life? I dont think you realize how hard its been to open myself up to you with all my heart. Ive never done that before and it leaves me wide open for the possibility of being hurt in a way I could never recover from. But it also gives me the ability to love someone like I never have before. Completely and unconditionally. But, if youre going to be afraid of sharing your feelings with me, this will never work."
Beth sat in silence and looked at Reese and the pained expression on her face. She wiped the tears that were now streaming down her cheeks with the sleeve of her housecoat. This was unbearable. She slowly stood up and walked over to her friend. She stopped in front of Reese and looked into her eyes. "I do believe you, Reese. I guess Ive never felt worthy of being loved. Ive been rejected in one way or another in every relationship Ive ever had. Its a defense mechanism that rears its ugly head whenever I feel myself starting to trust someone again. Im sorry I upset you. Youre just going to have to help me through this. Please."
Reese looked at the tear stained face standing a foot away from her. The fact that Beth was standing that far away from her meant that she was still afraid of being turned away. She could no longer stand the separation and pulled Beth into her arms. Beths body was rigid under hers for a few seconds and then melted into the familiar comfort that she knew she could offer her friend.
"Ill help you," said Reese as she gently swayed her friend into a gentle rocking motion. "Just dont shut me out anymore, okay? I didnt mean to get angry with you. But you are the most important thing in my life. I want you to trust me. I dont want you to get sick, just because youre afraid to talk to me. You dont have to be afraid of anything ever again. I love you, Beth."
"I love you, too." Beth caressed the side of Reeses face and looked into her deep blue eyes. "Completely and unconditionally."
Reese reached behind Beths knees and lifted her into her arms. She walked toward the couch and sat down, pulling Beth into her lap. She brushed the hair away from her friends face and let her hand rest on Beths cheek. "Hows your stomach?"
"Still hurts. But not as bad as when I first woke up."
"Can I do something do help?" Reese kissed Beths forehead and stroked the back of her hair.
"You already are."
"Beth, about the shared house thing. Im serious about that."
"Do you feel up to looking at a few places today to see if we can find anything we like?"
"Id love to," said Beth. "Can you wait for an hour or so? Id like for this medicine to kick in, okay?"
"Deal. Now, do you feel like you can eat anything? Ill make breakfast if youre up to it." Reese placed Beth on the couch beside her and stood up to walk to the kitchen. Beth grabbed her hand.
"Dont go," said Beth.
Reese dropped to her knees and faced her friend. Beth cupped Reeses face in her hands and kissed her. "I promise that Ill do better with this trust thing. I really am sorry that I upset you. When you hurt, I hurt, too, you know. Forgive me. Please."
Reese took Beths hands and turned them over. She placed a kiss in each palm and then covered the smaller hands with her own. "Nothing to forgive. Just give me a chance to earn your trust. Ill do everything in my power to keep you from being hurt like you have in the past. No more secrets."
"No more secrets," agreed Beth. "I promise."
Reese leaned in and kissed Beth. Well, there was one more secret. But it was a good secret. She just had to work out all the details first.
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