She has been thinking the past whole month. Thinking- really digging deep and trying to find the answer to the question that Billy had asked her all those weeks ago.
She could still vividly remember that day in the park, as she had with every day spent with him.
She kept trying to convince herself that he was not the man she wanted, but her brain would not allow her to erase the memories.
Every time she thought about Jack or dreamed about making amends with him, a thought of Billy would soon take over.
She wanted to forget- to make things easier. But she couldn't.
The path to forgiveness seemed a little bit shorter and Phyllis could see the light at the end of the tunnel after Jack had kissed her that day in the office.
She knew that he still had feelings for her even though he wouldn't dare admit to it.
In the moment, Phyllis was on cloud nine. She felt like it was a major step forward, and it was. But the closer they became to reconciliation, the more hesitant she became.
The more she thought about how this was really going to work between Jack and her. Their original marital issues still existed.
Summer's apartment was plenty big and she enjoyed bonding with her daughter, but she felt empty. This isn't where she belonged.
Phyllis sighed and flipped on the TV hoping that whatever was on would numb her mind from all that thinking.
She drifted in and out of consciousness- falling asleep and then waking back up when the rise of volume would occur, and the process repeated itself.
The itchiness of her work clothes she'd been wearing all day suddenly became something she couldn't ignore and she headed upstairs to change.
She rubbed her eyes as she walked up the seemingly never ending set of stairs and yawned as she entered her bedroom, as it was already 2 in the morning.
It normally was out of character for her to be awake so late, but she concluded that the 5 cups of coffee she had earlier were to blame.
She slipped into a silky, baby pink nightie and walked into the closet to throw her previously worn outfit into the hamper.
A box containing her wedding gown and even dried flowers from that same day rested on the shelf above the rack of her great abundance of hanging clothes.
But other items stared her in the face:
- the dress she wore while Billy was in the hospital
- the shoes that she wore on their first motorcycle ride together
- the jacket she wore on the stormy evening of their first kiss
- the blouse that she wore the first time they made love and the pants she wore on the last.
Countless other items caught her attention and each had a specific tie to Billy.
Each one serving as a stepping stone in the progression of their relationship, as if the wedding gown above no longer existed.
Her head stopped throbbing, her mind no longer clouded, and liveliness filled her once sleepy body. She knew what she wanted.
Billy had fallen asleep some time ago, there was nothing to keep him awake. His life has become dull ever since Phyllis excluded herself from it.
Now, his days were often filled with paperwork and countless glasses of scotch.
Phyllis' happiness was far more important to him than his own and he could live with the pain of not being with her and long as he knew she was happy.
But that was not the case. Jack didn't make her happy. Not anymore.
He tried so hard; to win her- to win the life that he wanted for them so badly. She gave him credit for the effort but was persistent in her claim of not wanting him.
It hurt, each rejection providing more pain than the last. The only option was to tryto let go, but it presented itself as a difficult challenge.
She turned off her headlights before pulling into the driveway, not wanting him to wake.
She pulled the key to the house of the glovebox and walked towards the front door.
She had attempted to return the key to him but he insisted she keep it- he would be there if she ever needed him.
She slowly turned the lock and quietly stepped inside before the nights wind that swept across her back could give her chills.
She knew that he never set the alarm, probably in hopes that something like this would happen, but mostly because the house was pretty much isolated.
She set her keys on the table in the foyer before their jingle could travel to his room and she tiptoed her way up the steps, her bare feet making no noise.
God how she had missed this house. The sight, the scent, the feel- simply knowing Billy lived here provided her with an odd sense of comfort.
She reached the top of the steps, his light snore becoming audible and she smiled at the sound that most people would consider annoying.
As she approached his room, she peeked through the crack of the slightly opened door and saw his peaceful body wrapped in the sheets that they used to lay in together.
He rested on his back, the navy blue sheet draped across his lower body leaving his bare chest exposed and his feet poking out at the foot of the bed.
She could watch him lay there forever, but that's not what she came here for.
She needed to talk to him. She needed to feel his skin on hers, his hands in her hair- it had been far too long without it.
As she walked over to the side of his bed, she could see the little details of his sleeping patterns. The breaths, twitches, blinks- not that she had forgotten them.
She wasted no time and pulled back the sheet just enough for her to climb under it.
She heard Billy's sharp intake of breath while her body simutaneously made contact with his, but she covered his mouth with her hand before he could speak.
She cuddled closer to him while her hand remained across his lips and she studied the plethora of expressions displayed on his face.
Confused, shocked, happy, excited, questioning- they were all visible.
His eyes softened as he realized that this was reality- not a dream. Consequently, she dropped her hand and laid her head familiarly on his chest.
She could hear his racing heartbeat in her own head and she wrapped her arms around his torso and hugged him tight- as if he was ever going somewhere else.
As her body was pressed tightly against his, he could feel the silky material she was wearing, her bare legs entangled with his.
He saw the single strap resting on each of her shoulders and knew that she had no intention of leaving before morning.
His body instinctively held her before his sleepy mind could process the situation in its entirety.
He stoked her back with his right hand and his lips rested on the top of her head.
He didn't know what he did to deserve this, but he sure as hell was not taking it for granted.
"It's been almost twomonths" Billy started.
Her eyes were shut- nature taking its course. It was now 2:45 AM and her body was begging her to sleep.
"Two months since I've last experienced this with you- holding you in my arms...
... And about a year from when I fell in love with you, from when I vowed to commit 100% of myself to you."
"Billy" she whispered, her breath warming his skin, "we don't have to talk tonight, we can talk in the morning" her sentence ending with a yawn.
He thought about arguing it- the human nature of seeking answers now becoming prominent.
"I need to know Phyllis"
"Billy" she pleaded, looking up into his eyes, "...please."
It only took that one word for Billy to relinquish his demand for conversation.
They were both tired and he could've sworn that through the dark room he saw her eyes gloss over in attempts to fight the tears.
He kissed her softly on the lips and allowed it to linger, the sparks still dancing between them.
And with that, the two of them slept better than they had in a very long time.