Sara awoke hugging her pillow tight, the warmth of Rebecca pressed against her back, an arm draped over her waist, legs entwined. She felt an emptiness inside, like she's lost something important, and her nerves were still raw with the possibility of any of countless diseases rampaging through her body, but she also seemed lighter, as if a weight had been lifted from her. Perhaps it was the decision to end her strange plot, the pointless quest upon which she had set herself. She hadn't felt this good in the morning since… since the last morning she woke beside Rebecca. Maybe it wasn't her plan at all. Maybe there was something right before her eyes she had been ignoring all this time.
She shifted her body, rolling towards her sleeping companion. When she stirred, Rebecca leaned over and kissed her, no more than a peck on the lips, but it felt somehow suitable.
"I'll get the coffee going." Rebecca's voice was quiet and easy, and she slid from beneath the sheets and walked naked from the room.
Sara watched her go, wondering. Last night she had been near a nervous breakdown, she was sure of it, but Rebecca had calmed her, soothed her, made her comfortable. She had sat silently beside the bed the entire time Sara washed, handing her soap, running more hot water, and wrapping her in an oversized towel when she finally stepped out onto the cold tile floor. There was nothing sexual in her touch at all last night; Sara doubted she could have handled any more stimulation. She had merely remained close, her presence alone enough to relieve Sara's anxiety.
Rebecca had watched her dry off, wrapped her in the terrycloth robe, and steered her into the bedroom. She tucked Sara neatly into the bed and hung her robe on the door, then disrobed and climbed in beside her, but did nothing other than hug her close from behind, her warmth radiating out, her nearness pacifying Sara's disquiet until she fell into a comfortable sleep. The only other times they had shared a bed were on trips out of town when they were forced into the same queen sized bed in a hotel room, and the two nights they had shared everything with each other over hours of inspired lovemaking.
Sara couldn't help but wonder if this was what she wanted. Was Rebecca the woman for her, or were they just such close friends that there were no longer any boundaries between them. If that was the case, where was the line between friendship and love drawn? How could she tell if this was her perfect match, or if she were misinterpreting the solace she felt when she was with Rebecca as something more? Was it just comfort and familiarity, or was there more behind their intimacy?
The only thing Sara knew for certain was that this was the worst possible point in her life to be making romantic decisions about anyone. She needed to get her life back in order, stand again on her own two feet, and make peace with herself and her inner demons before she had any hope of being happy with someone else. She had to take the advice she had doled out countless times to myriad friends: you cannot love anyone else until you learn to love yourself.