She was curled up on her side clinging onto her pillow for dear life. If she could squeeze it hard enough, maybe she wouldn't fall apart. The man next to her wanted to help but was at a loss as to how.
'It will pass you know. The pain. I know it doesn't feel like it at the moment...' Knowing his words held no comfort for her he stopped speaking and turned toward the door. He had known her for a good chunk of her life and seeing her this way was torture. He had always felt the need to protect her but this was something he couldn't protect her from.
'Stay. Please.' She reached out for him weakly, betraying just how vulnerable she was in the midst of her heartbreak.
'A bit of fatherly affection, yes?' He was not her father of course but at ten years her elder, he had always acted in the role in a way. He had been there for her to confide in, always willing to give advice as well as disapproval when she ignored it or did something she shouldn't.
She shuffled over on her bed to make room and he looked at her uncertainly.
He hesitated before slowly sinking onto the mattress next to her; though not too close. He silently thanked whatever god existed for the pillow she was still hugging to her chest then silently cursed the same deity when she cast it aside.
He felt her eyes on him but couldn't bring himself to look at her while a battle raged internally. Half of him wanted to run out of the room, out of the house even and the other half, he couldn't begin to allow the thoughts of the other half to take him over at the moment. Not when she was so clearly helpless.
There was no denying he had caught himself with certain thoughts before. It was clear that she was no longer a little girl. She hadn't been for some time.
His entire body tensed as he felt her fingers lightly touch the inside of his wrist. The gesture was a simple yet intimate one that he found hard to ignore.
She looked at him with wide, pleading eyes.
'I'm not asking for anything you can't give.' She told him softly.
'I'm not so certain of that.'
She moved closer to him and pressed her lips to his cheek in a soft kiss.
'I'm not a child anymore, Eric.'
He turned allowing her to see the hunger in his eyes which to his surprise was reflected back at him from her own.
'I am well aware of that.'
She put her head on his chest and sighed quietly as she listened to the rhythm of his heart. He wrapped his arms around her and held her. However they might feel, he would not do anything while she was heartbroken that she may later regret but he would not deny her this small comfort.