It had always been that look in his eyes she was drawn to. There was a fire, a hunger that she’d never seen elsewhere. And it captivated her so, when he set that look upon her.
The weight of the years hung on him like chains. Maybe he’d never been the carefree boy she imagined sometimes. Laughing and running wild, bringing home the kind of critters that would make his mother grimace as she pointed out the door. Had that woman kissed his scraped knees when he tripped on broken concrete? Had he been the boy to climb high and taunt those less brave?
She found herself wondering of his life. Far too often. His presence had invaded every part of her mind and heart. And all she wished was that he would stay there.
But he was never hers to love. This sweet man who she’d come to love more with every meeting would never hold her and spin her around in joy. He would not bring his fears to her in the night, so she could comfort and console him. Even the barest of touches was denied her. Those small touches she longed for the most: the feel of his hand around hers, her fingers delicately stroking his cheek. The briefest kiss with smiling lips.
She took comfort where she could. In making those lips curl ever so slightly. In bringing a spark to those deep haunted eyes. She would love him, honestly and truly. Until his use for her no longer remained. Sometimes, she longed for that end as much as she longed for him. To be broken by his hands would sear him into her heart forever, and she would bear that pain with a gritted smile.
Till then, she let his gaze roam, as she never did with anyone else. She would let him take her in. She would not cringe away from him. All she knew of him that could hurt her, she welcomed. She basked in him. In his his broken presence, she felt momentarily whole. And for that she would endure it all.