Rolling over in the sheets, your eyes adjust in the darkness until the blurry numbers fade into view: 2:55 AM.
You let out a sigh, not of relief but disappointment. The hot breath spewing from your mouth onto your pillow mixes with the fresh saliva. You sit up.
The darkness is still hazy around you. Making out shapes is about all you can do. You reach behind your back, feeling around in the covers. And that's when the true disappointment sets in. There's nothing there, and that's precisely the point. You're alone.
You start a little prayer, hoping your fingers are lying, but you know they're not. There's nothing in your bed, except for you. And, somehow, that makes you utterly sad.
This happens every night yet, for some reason, it troubles you each time. The pattern of realizing you're utterly alone slowly unravels you. You can scroll endlessly through your phone, or perhaps find some other means of distracting yourself, but the feeling always returns.
Then one night, no different than the others, you awaken to a different feeling. Your eyes shift from the clock through the darkness, your hand gliding across the sheets until it touches flesh.
Have your prayers been answered? Is this a dream? Your hand feels the sensation of another, gripping it ever-so-gently. Your head rolls over, as your eyes adjust in the darkness to a face resting on the once-empty pillow next to yours. It's easily the most gorgeous person you've ever seen; an embodiment of everything you've wanted in a companion. And, there they are. You stroke their hand as they stare lovingly at you, leaving your stomach turning and your lips speechless.
Stop touching them. Get out of bed and leave your house.
But you won't.
You'll lay there all jittery. Confused, nervous, but too invested in your feelings to care. This person makes you feel special. Complete. As if you'll never have another lonesome night again. Not with them around.
Who are they? Where did they come from? What do they want? You couldn't care less, could you? The questions on your mind are mostly about yourself, aren't they? Or, perhaps, what this beautiful stranger will do for you.
Short answer: anything. Literally anything. This person, whom you've never met mind you, would die for you. They have to. You'd call it love, wouldn't you?
They stare, not saying a word, waiting for you to make a move. Will you?
If you knew what was best for you, you'd already be gone.
But you're still in your bed, now trembling as you lean in for a kiss, the saliva from your pillow still smeared across your cheek. They won't resist it. They can't.
You'll have your fun with them…whatever that means to you. Maybe it's just that kiss…maybe it's something more. Only you will know about it, after all.
You wake up the next morning. They're still there, aren't they? They have to be. They won't leave. They can't. They're yours, and you're theirs. Romantic, isn't it?
Suddenly life begins to change. Coming home from a rough day isn't so bad anymore when they're at home. You begin to lose that feeling of isolation. In fact, you've never felt closer to anyone in your entire life. In a world full of such pain and dread, your special yet strange lover is the only thing keeping you off the ledge. You stop waking up in the middle of the night. You can sleep now, comforted by this stranger in your bed. They've never spoken a word to you, yet somehow you know that what you two have is special. Magical.
You wonder…is this true love? Have you found the one?
Years go by. You and your dream lover seem inseparable. They do anything for you, both in that bed and outside of it. And you love them for that. But, do they love you? That question eats away at your mind, but you know they'll never answer. So, what's the point in asking? They haven't left yet, after all. They can't.
Then you wake up. It's three in the morning. Was it all a dream? Your heart breaks. As your eyes adjust to the blackness, you can see a figure draped in the blanket covering your naked body. You aren't alone. But it isn't them anymore. It's someone new.
You try to pivot in the covers to catch a better glance at the stranger. You can't move. You try sitting up, but you can't. You try to say something…anything. You can't. All you can do is watch as this stranger rolls over, looking to you lovingly. They reach out, grasping your hand under the blankets. You smile at them, taking their sweaty palm, unable to resist as your paralyzed body shivers.
They smile, licking their lips, and lean in for a kiss. You'll let them.
You have to.