I wake to her clawing at my chest, a frantic look in her eyes as she leans over me. There's no need to ask why. I've had another nightmare and I know that I was screaming or thrashing around or something.
But I can't talk about it tonight.
Instead, I swing my legs out of bed as she moves aside, probably looking at me, still scared for me. I just walk away from the bed and into the bathroom, shutting the door behind me.
I don't bother to look in the mirror, I already know that I'll be met with a tired face, damp from sweat, and haunted. My face.
I don't expect her to come in. I never do, not really. Usually we can just talk loudly from one room to the next, my apartment is so small. Not entirely my fault, the size of the apartment, I mean.
My hands are on either side of the sink, my head bowed, eyes closed. This is the first time in a while that I've awoken to a nightmare. And the first time in a while that it's been this bad. Last few times, I was able to at least stay in the same room as her. Sometimes even talk, but tonight... I shudder with remembrance.
I hear the door open and the soft pad of her feet as she walks up behind me. She slips her arms beneath mine, hugging me from behind. I feel her head rest on my back. I wonder, vaguely, if her eyes are closed.
"I'm sorry," I say quietly. "I shouldn't have woken you."
"It's not like you had a choice." Yes, I decide, her eyes are closed.
"I'm sorry," I repeat. She doesn't respond. "Go on back to bed. I'll be there in a minute."
"You sure?" she mutters against my t-shirt.
"Yeah." She removes her arms from around me and rubs my back once before leaving, closing the door behind her. I sigh and finally open my eyes, turning on the tap. I wash my face with cold water, trying to wash away the remnants of the nightmare, but I know I'll still think about it later. I always do.
When I return to bed, she spoons up against me, throwing an arm over me. I close my eyes and smile. "Thanks, Liv."