She softly strokes his hand, her fingers brushing the grazes on his knuckles that she can't ask where they came from. He winces a little, but whenever she tries to pull away he subtly presses his hand closer to her, so she keeps stroking. It's like he's a cat or something.
"You're a mess," she murmurs involuntarily, and he just smiles.
"I know," he says, his other hand gripping the wheel of his chair until it turns pale and white. She wants to say that must hurt, but the words get caught in her throat.
"Tell me what's going on, Artie. Tell me what's wrong. All of it, please?" she asks, offering herself on a silver platter, and he looks like he might just die.
"In brief? …I hate myself," he says, and she bites her lip. Hold his hand properly, and looks him in the eye.
"I love you," she replies, and both of them notice it's the first time either of them have said it.
"Why?" he asks.
"Because I'm abrasive and awkward and ugly and I say stupid things; I'm clingy and sort of cruel to you, I have inferiority issues, I've crippled and pathetic, and honestly, always complaining."
She holds her breath for a few moments. "You're amazing," she says, and he flashes her a dubious look.
"You don't need to pity me," he sneers, and she doesn't bother repressing the urge to roll her eyes.
"Okay, that's abrasive and complaining… -y. But anyway. I love you."
"How am I meant to know?" she says with a small smile. "But if you hate yourself, okay. I'll love you for you."
He avoids her eyes, and she bites her lip. "Do you think that's enough?"
He sighs deeply. "No, Tina," he says.