This was inspired by the fantastic song by Lady Antebellum, 'Need You Now'. If you haven't heard it, I suggest you give it a listen… fab track. And as SassyCop pointed out to me, very Callian ;-)
Disclaimer: Not mine at all.
Need You Now
She's never truly been able to identify what it is about the moments when her need for him hits her; it's not always easily explained. Sometimes, yes, the reason will be obvious – watching crackly footage of him thousands of miles away and with his life likely in danger makes her heart ache with longing to be near him; seeing the way he smiles at his daughter makes her want to reach out and embrace him, despite the million reasons she's always used to make herself hold back; looking at photos of them together makes her wish she could turn back time to the moment the picture was taken, the exact second that his arm was draped around her shoulders and their matching smiles were frozen in place. But a lot of the time, there's nothing specific to prompt it. She could be anywhere – strolling down an aisle of the grocery store, sliding a tray of cookies out of the oven, or just sitting here, as she is now, a glass of wine in one hand and music humming quietly in the background, and it'll wash over her. I need him. Now. She'll be flooded with longing to hear his voice, feel his presence in the room, hold him close to her and feel his heart beat strong and sure in rhythm with her own.
Sometimes, they can even be in the same room, and she'll still feel it. He's physically present with her within those four walls, but there are too many barriers between them, too many walls that need to be broken down before she can have the intimacy she craves. There's a distance, that however close they grow she doesn't think they'll ever be able to vanquish. Most of the time, of course, she's happy to work at his side, to share his life in the role of business partner and best friend, and slowly creep a little closer to the family scenario she yearns for as she spends more time with him and Emily.
But then there are the moments, like these, when it hits her. She's sat at home, sipping a glass of wine and watching the hands of the clock jump from hour to hour, nothing forcing her to retire for the night, even though it's now a quarter after one and she's got an early meeting tomorrow. The room is dim, only a small lamp by her side to cast any light at all, but her eyes have adjusted to the darkness, and she doesn't flick the switch to flood the room with light. She glances at the phone, and a couple of times her hand twitches as she considers calling him, before reason kicks in. She doesn't even know what she'd say, but just hearing his voice right now would ease the ache that settles over her sometimes. What she does know – what over ten years of friendship has taught her – is that if she calls, he will answer. If she asked him to, he would come.
She's thought about it, plenty of times, on nights like these when sleep has eluded her and his face is the only image that she can see when she closes her eyes. She could call and ask him to come over, and he would. She could hug him, inhale his familiar scent, brush her fingertips lightly over his cheeks, ask him just to hold her as she slept. And she knows he would. She also knows that there would be consequences. That even if she were to tell him not to ask questions, those questions will form in his mind. He might respect her, might say he won't ask why or try to read her, but his mind will be racing. And she won't be able to wipe what happened from his memory, won't be able to convince him that it was nothing, won't be able to stop him turning every word she said over and over in his head, desperately trying to assign some meaning to it. He'll try to keep his promise, but there are some things that can't be undone, and this is one of them. Allowing him to see her raw need for him will make her far too vulnerable; it will open doors that, for all the reasons she has reminded herself of over the years, need to stay firmly closed. So the phone remains in its place, and she remains in hers.
The minutes tick by and she stays, sitting with her back against the sofa, swirling the remains of the wine around her glass. It's now almost two; she knows she should go to bed, should try and rest her head on the pillow and wait for sleep to come, which she knows it will. Eventually.
It'll pass; she's been through this enough times before to know that. Her feelings for him won't change, but the intensity of her need will ebb and flow, overwhelming her at times when she doesn't expect it, and easing gently as she focuses on what she does have; the company, his friendship, a closeness that she cherishes, even if sometimes it doesn't seem quite enough.
She stretches out her legs, crosses her ankles, and lets out a long breath. Gently reaching out her hand, she softly runs her finger over the carpet, tracing erratic patterns and bites her lip lightly. Another glance at the phone, then she shuffles further down, resting her head back on the sofa and allows her eyes to drift closed.
Cal opens his eyes, transferring his gaze to the luminous glow of his bedside clock, the digits burning brightly in the otherwise dark room. 2.04. He rolls over, exhaling loudly. He doesn't always have trouble sleeping; sometimes, yes, his brain is whirring with thoughts that seem too big to fit into his mind, or the adrenaline from, say, almost being shot or blown up will still be coursing through his body, and it is not so easy to slide into gentle slumbers. Or if he is worried about someone, usually Emily, or worried about something to do with work, he might lay awake, finding that the more he tries to force his body to shut down, the harder insomnia clings to him. But tonight, none of these reasons apply. He has simply been struck by one thought that has haunted him intermittently for years; the thought of a woman with crystal blue eyes and radiant beauty and a heart so pure it makes him almost afraid to go near her, so certain that he could somehow taint her with his less-than-perfect attitude and behaviour.
Of course, he often thinks about her – they live their lives in close proximity, and the strength of their friendship means that she is often at the forefront of his mind. Still, it isn't a case they've been working on together making him lie awake thinking of her now, it isn't anything specific that she's said or done today that he's mulling over in his mind. It is simply a feeling of loss, which creeps over him sometimes. Which is ridiculous, he tells himself, since he hasn't lost her, and prays to God that he never will. But there is an emptiness in every room that she isn't in, a space on the bed next to him that is always there, even if some other woman is filling it. It had been there during the last couple of years of his marriage as well, and he feels guilty for even admitting it; that with his wife lying next to him, he could still feel as though there was a piece of him missing.
He just feels it, sometimes, more keenly than others; moments when hers is the only face he can see, the gentle tinkling of her laugh can be heard in the wind chimes that jangle in Emily's bedroom, and the desire, the desperate need, just to see her, hear her voice, feel warmth spread through his body as she smiles, overtakes him.
He could push for something more between them; he isn't unaware of his ability to be as subtle as a brick, or the fact that, if he wanted to, he could make his feelings for her crystal clear. He could let her see how much he needs her, how everything she does and everything she is has become an addiction for him. He could let her see, but he doesn't. Even if some of the reasons why he has always held back have crumbled – his marriage, and hers – he knows it is still not the right time. Perhaps it never will be.
He sighs again, glancing at the clock once more. 2.11. He could try and force himself to think of other things, but that rarely works. She'd tiptoe back into his thoughts somehow, pushing all else to the side until all that remained was her. Even if he is able to let his body and mind relax enough to fall asleep, she'll only appear in his dreams. Sleep may come like a thief to steal his conscious thoughts, but she will still be there, dominant in the images that flash through his sleeping mind or hovering like a shadow just out of reach. But he knows she'll be there. And, if he's honest, he wouldn't really want it any other way. It might hurt - the intensity of his need for her burning through him – in a way nothing else does, the silence in the room might be deafening, his throat might feel dry from swallowing all the words he's never had the courage to say to her, but it's something. And he'd rather feel hurt than feel nothing at all. And even if it isn't perfect, even if it isn't all it could be in an ideal world, she is enough, just as she is, just as they are. She is everything. Everything except here, right now. When he needs her.