After putting the little baby down in her bassinet, Olivia used the very tip of her finger to stroke the chubby cheek, a tender smile on her face while she watched the little one ball her tiny fists and stretch.
“You must be tired, huh,” she asked, her voice no more than a gentle whisper. The infant grimaced and whined, her body curling up in a little ball much like how she would have slept if she were still in the womb. She watched her for a few more moments before chuckling and moving her hand to stroke her head, the fine hairs on the baby’s head sweeping across her palm like tiny feathers on a bird. Immediately, the baby stopped mewling and calmed down, her eyes closing completely while her limbs relaxed against her tiny bed.
Olivia had to exhale sharply from the intense emotions she was feeling. Joy, overwhelming amounts of love, protectiveness…it all hit her as soon as she saw the little one’s lips curl into a sleepy hint of a smile. Using her free hand, she rocked the bassinet from side to side and hummed to her, keeping her eyes on the baby for a few minutes until her little one fell fast asleep, her mouth slightly ajar and her chest moving up and down rhythmically. Standing up, she kissed her on the forehead and smiled against her skin, happiness filling her to the point where she knew nothing could ever come close.
“I love you, Miyuki.”
Her and Shiro hadn’t fallen asleep in each other’s arms this time (or at least, after the third or fourth time that night), opting to just face one another from opposite sides of the bed, but their fingers still remained interlocked, his wrapped firmly around hers even though he was fast asleep. With her baby needing constant attention, it was impossible to stay in a comfortable enough position to cuddle without the disturbing one another, so they settled on being closer to their side of the bed so either one of them could get to the child easily. Olivia watched as his chest rose and fell with his steady breathing. Up, down, up, down, like an ocean’s calm surface. Rubbing her thumb over the knuckles of his fingers, her eyes scanned the features on him, and she couldn’t help but smile. He’d gotten into another fight with his best friend, so the small cuts and the minuscule bruises could be easily seen over the clean skin of his face but hardly noticeable on his tattooed torso. She chuckled to herself when she thought of how upset she was when they’d gotten into their first real brawl – knives and everything – and only pressed her lips to the back of his hand, pausing when he stirred in his sleep and muttered something incoherent.
Moments like these where she could take him in without a disturbance in the world was one of her favorite things to do. It was the only time she could look at him and not feel that burning in her cheeks – the one he always laughed at when she got pouty as he called her adorable for the shade of pink her face turned whenever that happened. There was also the pressure in her chest and absolute joy she felt when he flashed her that damn smile of his. Every single turn of the corner of his lips made her weak at the knees and she knew she could keep control of herself, if only for a few hours, if he was sleeping peacefully. Earlier that night, they were having a good night – one could say a perfect night – and then he’d done just that: looked at her in a way that caught her off guard and made her shut down almost completely. Of course, she felt bad about leaving him to go to sleep confused and worried he’d done something wrong, but she couldn’t exactly tell him what was on her mind at the time. Not when she couldn’t even admit it to herself.
That was the thing about him; Olivia never had any sense of control around him anymore. Being someone who was always in charge, always the firm one, and always the one who could think clearly, she was never any of that when it came to him. Not even close. As soon as he looked her way, she’d want to fall to her knees and beg whatever god in the heavens to let her breathe. Let her be in control. But gods are not known for their mercy, and her silent pleas were ignored. Her breath was stolen from her each and every time she was with him and there was nothing she could do about it – nothing she could do to gain control of herself again until he was gone.
He stirred once more and she slid closer to him, a smile forming on her face when he instinctively wrapped his arms around her body and held her close while her own arm rested on his waist. The skin on her forehead tingled where he pressed his lips before he drifted off again, and she waited until she knew he was completely asleep before burying her face in his chest, that feeling of safety and security washing over her as she breathed in the cologne that clung to his skin even after he’d showered for the night. She knew what this was – she’d known for a while now – but she never dared to admit it, never dared to allow herself this feeling of peace. It was suffocating. Formidable. Blissful. Any and every intense feeling one could have when faced with something so adrenalizing came to be when she looked at him. And as she opened her lips to tell him a final goodnight, three other words fell from her lips before she could even attempt stop them.
“I love you.”
It took her a moment to process what she’d said, her eyes blinking rather rapidly in confusion. Had she actually said that? When she finally realized it, her eyes went wide and her breath caught in her throat, praying that he was still in a deep slumber and had not been awake to hear her words. Though it was only a whisper, a hushed breath that only a mouse could possibly hear, those words rang in her hears louder than a church bell. For a few moments, she just stayed where she was, her heart pounding in her ears and her hearing sharpening to see if he’d shown any signs of having caught what she said. An intake of breath, tensing of the muscles, or anything to give him away would have done, but he never moved.
A sigh of relief and a couple of minutes later, she finally let it sink in what she said. I love you. It felt so right on her tongue when she said it. So fulfilling. All of a sudden that feeling of heaviness in her heart was gone and she felt light, like she was floating through the clouds. An enormous weight was lifted from her and she couldn’t help the tiny giggle that slipped through her lips. She covered her mouth to not disturb both the baby and the man sleeping next to her, but after that, she beamed so hard, her laugh lines she developed through the years would probably have a few more to accompany the ones she already had.
The more she thought about it, the more she felt comfortable knowing she had nothing to hide from herself anymore. She’d had a feeling for a few weeks that it was definitely something more than the typical ‘I really like you a lot’ saying they said to each other. However, she knew that come time when he woke up and she had to explain her behavior the previous night, the only thing that would come out of her mouth was silence. The very thought of telling him made her blood run cold with fear and her hands shake.
“Stop it,” she scolded herself, shaking her head to rid herself of any negative thoughts she was starting to feel. She was happy, and she damn well deserved to feel that way after such a long life of being anything but that. She allowed herself to smile and willed her body to calm down, snuggling closer to him.
Just as she was about to close her eyes to fall asleep, a faint mewl could be heard from behind her. The baby had woken up from her nap, and probably wanted some attention from her, so she untangled herself from his arms and slid over to the bassinet, chuckling when Shiro stirred in his sleep, most likely to check on the little one since she’d done it last time. Touching her hair to his head to stroke his hair, she leaned down to give his forehead a kiss.
“I got it this time. Go back to sleep.”
After mumbling something incoherent in his sleep, he settled for resting his hand on her lap and fell asleep almost immediately after. Snorting, she just shook her head and reached over to pick the baby up from her bed, hushing her when she began to get too fussy. “I’m here, little one, don’t worry. Mommy’s here. You want some attention? Huh?”
Looking over at his sleeping form while she played with the child, the smile on her face widened and that familiar warm feeling came and erased any doubt in her mind.
She could get used to this.
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