Cooper never came back downstairs the night before, and by the time she went to bed, he was already there, curled on his side with his back toward her. Whether he was genuinely asleep, she wasn't sure, but he might as well have been. Charlotte hadn't been able to settle down and sleep for nearly two hours after she crawled in next to him, too preoccupied with yet another way she'd managed to screw up in this relationship. When she'd finally gotten to sleep, it had been fitful and restless, so that when the alarm goes off in the morning, she's groggy and headachy, and can't resist punching the snooze button. Twice.
As a result, Cooper is already showered and brushing his teeth by the time she stumbles to the bathroom. She looks at him through bleary eyes, reaching for the cup next to her sink and filling it with cold water. She keeps wakin' up thirsty these days.
Cooper watches her in the mirror, and she meets his gaze, their eyes lock as she gulps down the whole glass, sucks in a breath when she sets the cup back on the countertop. She can't read him, can't tell what he's thinkin' and it's unnerving.
She tries for civil. "Mornin'."
"Morning," he greets, evenly. He looks at her again for a second, and then says, "You should've told me. But you're right, it doesn't really change anything, and you shouldn't be stressed out right now. So I'm letting it go."
Charlotte feels the knot of anxiety she's been carrying since the night before start to unravel, and finally feels like she can breathe properly again. The relief rushes out of her in a heavy breath, and she tells him, "Thank you."
Cooper nods, then reaches over and squeezes her hand. "You alright? You look a little pale." He's being sweet, but it seems just a little forced, a little hollow. Right now, she'll take it.
"Didn't sleep well," she admits. "I feel like crap."
He reels her in slowly, hand over hand up her arm, then presses a kiss to her brow. "Take the morning off."
"I can't. You know that."
"Take the morning, and work later tonight," he reasons, and she leans back and lifts a brow at him. It's not like him to encourage her to work a late night.
"Are you feelin' okay?"
"I'd rather you work later with more rest, than be overtired the whole time you're there. You'll work the same number of hours anyway. Just work late at the hospital."
"What if they need me?" she reasons. "Somethin' goes wrong, the Chief of Staff needs to be there."
"Okay, then take an extra hour," he tries. "Just an hour. Go back to bed, set the alarm, and get up in an hour."
She wants to tell him no, but her eyes feel gritty and sore from lack of sleep, and her limbs all feel a few pounds too heavy. An extra hour sounds heavenly right now. "Alright," she relents. "But if I don't pee in the next minute, we're gonna need a new rug. So get out."
Cooper laughs, kisses her forehead again, and lets her go, retreating to the bedroom.
Charlotte feels like she's dodged a bullet, been let off light, but she can't shake the tiniest squirm of anxiety that this isn't an issue that will go so quietly into the night.