She slowly stepped towards him, almost as if she were approaching a skittish animal that had been backed into a corner. She was glad that he didn't flinch when she placed a hand on his arm and looked into his eyes.
"She's lost it," he thought to himself as he tried to rein in his panic, ironically induced by her calmness. She could feel his quickening heartbeat through the fibers of his sweatshirt - in the silence she swore she could hear it. Still she said nothing. The look of slight shock lingered in his eyes as she searched them. His lips had parted but no sound escaped from between them. He felt as though he was in a trance of sorts. She felt like she had cast a spell of some kind.
"Go ahead," he thought, willing her to get on with whatever she was trying to do. Maybe he wasn't completely in the clear, maybe she was just waiting for him to let his guard down. She thought she saw his ego returning to his body - a conjecture confirmed by a clearing of this throat, a stiffening of his shoulders and a straightening of his back. He suddenly appeared colder despite her warmth. She wasn't perturbed - she understood that he was trying to protect himself from whatever she was triggering him to face.
Finally she whispered, "Do you know what I see?" His eyelids fell. She heard the faint grating sound of his teeth as he clenched them tightly. She so badly wanted to kiss him in the hopes that it would cause him to soften his jaw and later his grip on his composure for the sake of his pride. She wasn't sure she still had that specific effect on him though.
He shook his head. He wasn't even sure he knew what she was referring to. She felt a wave of sadness wash over her. She couldn't tell if it was hers or his. He was trying so hard to find the logic in this interaction. It was not that there was none - it was more so that logic wasn't the only factor; the full answer or conclusion still seemed slightly obscured and out of reach. She reached up and held her hand to the side of his face. He surprised himself as he leaned into it. "The answer is not just in here," she said, tapping his right temple with her fingertips.
"Do you know what I see?" she asked again. "What's so important about what you see?" he replied. For the first time, her soft gaze and smile faltered and flickered for a moment - a twinge of pain as he attempted to distract her with his iciness. "I see..." she began. His breath caught in his throat as she slowly let her hand fall from his face to his shoulder and then all the way down his arm until she found the spaces between his fingers she used to frequent so often.
She sighed shakily, tears pricking and filling her eyes upon the heavy exhale. He wondered why she wasn't furious at him. She knew why she could never be, at least not for more than a moment.
"I see someone trying his best to be happy."