Stacy rested on his chest, fast asleep. He listened to her slow breathing, thinking about her, about what had happened an hour ago, about them, about their love. All of it.
He loved it when she was this vulnerable with him. When she didn’t put up any wall to push him away. When they made love and later held each other until one fell asleep first.
He wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything. He held a few strands of her natural kinky hair and playfully pulled it stealthily.
Out of nowhere, Stacy furiously rolled away from his chest, resting on her back. It must have been a bad dream.
“Hey..hey…what’s wrong?” Lawrence asked, turning to her.
“Please hold me,” Stacy said, gasping for air. She’d had a terrible dream that shook her.
Lawrence held her close to him. “Sorry, Babe.” Her breathing was getting back to normal now. “Wanna talk about it?” She was silent for a while. He didn’t want to push it so he let it go. “I’m here Stacy. I’m here for you, okay?”
“There’s something I’ve never told you, Lawrence,” Stacy said.
He was not sure how to respond at first. He wanted her to carry on. She turned to look into his eyes then looked away, almost ashamed.
“What is It, Stacy?” He asked.
“I…I…I don’t know how to say this without upsetting you, Babe.” She held him a bit tight as the words came from her.
“What?” He was becoming more anxious now.
“I feel like you love me too much Lawrence. Too much.” The words finally came out.
“Huh?” He thought he heard her wrong.
“Yes. You love me too much and I’m scared of that.”
“That I love you too much?” He tried piecing this together in his mind but couldn’t quite understand what she meant.
“My Mum…..she once loved like you do.” Stacy turned to look at his eyes again. His brow creased, expressing some form of deep confusion.
“What does your Mum have to do with this?”
“She was right when she said that loving someone too much makes you weak.”
“What the fuck are you talking about Stacy?” This was twisted. He sat up on the bed-top cushioned with white pillows. “Help me understand what you mean. Please!”
“She missed her opportunity to be great in her career when she fell in love with her first husband, the man who calls me his daughter. She says that she could have turned out better if it wasn’t for being weak and getting pregnant with me. It changed her.”
Lawrence was even more confused, but he allowed her words to sink in before responding. “Do you think I’m weak for loving you?”
“Then what is it?” He paused as if finally figuring out this quiz then asked her, “Are you afraid to give me your all because you might lose yourself?”
The look in her eyes from that question gave her emotions away. It meant a yes.
“Why are you so scared to love me, Stacy?” He couldn’t help it, been close to her through this conversation made it even more hurtful.
“You know he used to beat her up Lawrence. I don’t remember everything but I remember parts of it. I was a kid. A small freaking kid for Chrissake!”
“Who are you talking about?”
“That man who calls me his daughter.”
He knew it was a sensitive topic and had to calculate his words before responding to her. He reached for his boxers, pulled them up and sat down beside the bed.
“Why do I have to live in the shadow of a man I might never meet?” Lawrence asked in a well-tempered voice.
“I have nightmares of their fights Babe. I never want to end up like my Mum and I’m only telling you this because I value what we have.”
“Do you, or are you just saying it?” There was some rage in his voice and he was done holding it in. “Is that why you treat me with indifference? Sometimes you love me and other times you mistreat me for loving you?”
“Now you are overreacting.” She got off the bed and sat on the other side of it. She had one of his baggy t-shirts on, their backs to each other. Stacy was glad that she was finally letting all this off her chest but Lawrence was heartbroken to hear this.
His genuine love for her was compared to weakness, and it was becoming clearer to him why he always felt a distance between them no matter how much he tried to break the barriers.
He felt hurt and didn’t know what to do about it. He stood up to leave the room, grabbing a vest. Been close to her was hard. It always seemed to him that the good times they had were short-lived with more pain and confusion at every turn.
“You know what Stacy?” He said, standing at the door.
“I love you and I don’t regret loving you too much, no matter how weak it makes me seem in your eyes. I love you.”
NEXT: No Valentine’s | 8