Wintery days when there is snow about and the air is cool upon waking up always seem to be a little less productive than the rest. At least, that is how he feels as he wraps an extra blanket about himself. The heating works well, the house is not all that cold but anything that is lower than a certain temperature reminds him of things he would rather not recall at all. On those wintery mornings, Quentin finds himself preferring to add an extra blanket to his morning routine when he knows he has to get up though staying in bed where it is warm and absolutely toasty would be best.
When he finally eases out of bed, finding socks for his feet though he much prefers wandering around barefoot when he can, he steps out of the bedroom. Yael has been out of bed for an hour already at least and when he’d gone, Quentin had rolled into that warm, comfortable hot spot.
He wanders out of the bedroom and goes straight for the living room where the fire is crackling, safely protected by its screen settled and locked into place. He figures that his companion is more than likely up in the garden, doing his daily rounds and for all of a few moments, Quentin ponders joining Yael up on the second floor. The garden area is warmer than the rest of the house, one of the corners of the whole place is under heated spotlights so it’s even hotter than summer all year round in that particular spot.
Shaking his head, he settles in front of the fire, letting his toes get most of the heat first so he can take off his socks. He knows that he cannot keep on living with these memories, he cannot, at the very least, keep on letting them control him this way. Every time he wakes up in the slightly chilly mornings of winter, he recalls where he grew up, he recalls being cold all year round and it leaves a terrible taste in his mouth.
“There you are. I thought you might still have been in bed but I guess the fire might actually be hotter.” Yael settles next to him as Quentin finishes tugging his socks off. He’s toasty warm now though he still has his blanket over his shoulders.
“I guess I got tired of being alone in bed.”
“No, that’s not what I meant. I guess I got tired of being in bed, period. I couldn’t sleep anymore and I knew I had to get up eventually anyway. At times I tell myself I should have gone down to live somewhere warmer, close to the equator.”
“Chances are, if you’d done that, we wouldn’t have met, though. I know you probably wish you could forget all about your childhood at times but I don’t know how safe that would be, while it was unpleasant, I’m pretty sure that it has shaped you into who you are now and taking that away from you might change you completely.”
Quentin frowns, uncertain if he’d ever really mentioned his desire to forget about his past in any way at all. Yael smiles at him, a gentle, loving smile.
“You talk in your sleep and we both know I’m a light sleeper. No, don’t apologize, I’m just saying. There’s a reason why I set the electric blanket on in the evenings before we head to bed, so the sheets can be warm and that you can be comfortable setting in to sleep. I love you, Quentin, I do all I can to make sure you’re as comfortable with the life you have now, with me, as I can. I can’t take away those memories of your past, just like you can’t take away mine. We just really have to do our best to accept those memories and move on from them.”
Still somewhat confused, Quentin sighs and opens up one side of his warm blanket, Yael moves and settles across that lap and the blanket is pulled securely closed again, trapping heat between them.
“One of the kids at the orphanage, when she came to live with us, she was like a blank slate. She was almost my age, maybe even closer to Sterling’s age than mine but she was so slight it was hard to know. She didn’t know her name, didn’t know where she was, didn’t know if she liked this or that. It was like someone had erased her completely, except for the basic things. She could walk, she could feed herself just fine, wash herself just fine, at least I assume on that last one unless the nuns helped her and all. But she looked so sad all the time, like she wanted to remember but she couldn’t.”
Quentin, still staring into the fire, tightens his arm lightly about Yael’s waist and leaned back a bit more against the couch he was leaning back against for support. “I guess memory loss wouldn’t be such a great thing but now and again I wish I could forget the terror or the fact that I didn’t know if I’d survive another day or not. When they snatched me again two years ago, I think I was more terrified of not coming back to you so I could get to know you better than I was of them doing anything to hurt me.”
He laughs, the sound a little rough and he shakes his head. “I was so curious to know more about you, to understand who you were and what was going on in your head, though I wasn’t ready to admit any of it to myself.”
Yael chuckles softly against Quentin’s throat as he closes his eyes and nestles a little closer. “At that point, I was more afraid of you coming home and finding out that I’d gone places I shouldn’t have gone, I didn’t know what to do with myself so I didn’t go much of anywhere, mostly my bedroom and the living room. I spent most of my time curled on the couch, just waiting, hoping and wanting you to come home. Then you did but you were so troubled. It broke my heart to see you this way. I didn’t know you well enough to try to help you, I didn’t want to push you and end up back in the street.”
“I didn’t know what to do with myself when I came back from there, I just wanted to forget the world existed. When you gave me that journal though, that changed my life. At least once I stopped telling myself it was stupid and I started using it. I’m so thankful for that. You’ve saved my life, Yael.”
“I think we saved one another’s life.” Yael laughs softly again and relaxes where he’s at. The crackle of the fire, the presence of Quentin against him, their almost matching breathing pace. He could have slept where he was though he knew he had a world of things to do still before the day was over. For a little while however, he knows that he can just stay where he’s at, until the heat becomes a little dizzying. Then he’d move but until that very point, he was staying right where he was at.
“Thank you for giving me a chance, Quentin. If you hadn’t invited me in to come live with you, at least for a little while, I wouldn’t be here anymore, I’m pretty sure. I don’t know how I’m supposed to repay you though I’ll figure this out in time.”
“Yael, every second of this life that I get to spend with you is enough as far as payment is concerned. I just want us to be together in the end. I want nothing else. Just us, every morning, every afternoon, evening and night until the end of everything. I’m not complete without you and that won’t change any time soon. I can promise you that much.” He pauses and sighs, a soft, content note. “Being with you helps me forget the bad.”