He was pushing her away. He did that. She wasn’t having it. It was difficult to convince him that she wasn’t like the others. She didn’t want to own him or change him or make him into something he had no desire to be. She wanted him the way he was when she’d met him; flawed and trying, a little angry, a lot funny. He’d been curled up reading in his chair all afternoon, ignoring her as she quietly finished a crossword in her own corner of the den. Sun fell through the slatted blinds and dust motes danced in the beams of light. Part of her desperately wanted to cross the room, close the gap between them in a few quick strides and lift his face to hers; place a gentle kiss on his mouth. The other part of her wanted to pull him from the chair and down to the floor and take him into her and fuck him until he had to pay attention to her again. Instead she sat and just watched him turn the pages in the worn paperback he’d been reading all day. She must have sighed, because he looked up and their eyes locked. Anger was poorly hidden and she knew it wasn’t anger at her, but anger at himself because he saw her as another mistake waiting to be made, rather than what she was; a safe place to rest his worries. She got up and hesitated, then crossed the room. His eyes never left hers and the anger slowly gave way to sadness. He was resigned that they’d make the mistakes he imagined, but she was resolved to leave him whole. She touched his face and closed his book. Bent close to look him right in the eye, inhaling the scent of him, clean and fresh and man. She touched her lips to his forehead. He touched her hands as they cradled his face and she felt him giving in. She stood up, and for both of them, she turned and walked away.