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            Sometimes you're just so tired that you don't notice anything.  When your ears are ringing, your eyes are numb, your head hurts, your lips tingle, your fingers are three times their normal size, your legs weigh a ton, your heartbeat is so loud it's annoying and your feet drag like a druggie.

            You notice that about yourself but you don't notice when someone is standing right beside you, talking to you, asking if you're okay… because you can't hear their voice over the ringing and pounding in your head.  And when they finally reach out and touch you to get your attention, your head moves like its suspended in molasses and your eyes take a minute to look up and meet their overly awake and smiling green eyes.

            "What?"  You mumble, because your lips and mouth seem to be disconnected from the rest of your body.  The word echoes through your head like a foghorn and you wonder why you can't sleep forever.

            "What time did you get in last night?"  He asks again as he tries not to laugh.  You know that whatever time you got in, it was well after he did and he's just gloating because he can and he knows that you will have to think for a full minute before you put the words in the right order.

            "Six.  Morning.  Thirty.  Not night."  You don't pause to think; you say the words as they come to you.

            "You came in at six thirty this morning?"  His face registers surprise because he knows you're a zombie but he never would have guessed six thirty.

            "Don't talk."

            "You don't want me to talk to you?"

            "God.  Go'way."  You frown and realize that that takes more energy than you are ready to give.

            "Come on."  He touches your arm again and you can actually feel the ridges of his fingerprints.  Suddenly every sound, movement and sensation is peaked.  You can hear his eyelashes brush his cheeks as he blinks quickly.  "You need to lay down."

            "M'fine."  You insist out of habit.  You've all done the forty-eight hour thing.  Some of the guys do it better than others, but everyone does it better than you.  You haven't been flat for forty-nine hours and you honestly think your body is going to desert you in some run down alley somewhere just so it can lay still for a week or two.

            "I know you are.  But dude, you've been staring at your door for like, twenty minutes."  He smiles and takes the card key from your hand.  You had been meaning to unlock the door yourself but the message to move your arm never made it from your brain to your muscles, and you have no idea how you'll get inside once he nicely opens the door for you.

            The question in answered as he pushes the door open and waits for you to move.  When you don't he puts his arm over your shoulder and pushes gently.  Your feet move forward without lifting off the carpet and you both almost fall to the floor.

            "Don't make me carry your tired ass."

            "M'fine."  You say again.  You're not too tired to feel embarrassed but as hard as you try you just can't make your feet work.

            "Okay."  He grunts as he puts his other arm under your knees and lifts you up princess style.  You feel like a tool and slightly off balance as he somehow waddles to the bed with you awkwardly in his arms.  He deposits you most ungracefully on the bed and sighs heavily.  "I'll call Greg and tell him you're out of commission for the rest of the day."

            "Week."  You try to joke but he doesn't respond and you wonder if the word actually made it to your lips.

            "You gonna be okay?"

            You try to say that you'll be fine but the only thing you manage is to close your eyes and press your lips closed tightly.

            "Chris?"  He says your name and you almost don't recognize it, but coming from him it sounds familiar.  "Do you want me to take your shoes off?"

            Over the pounding of your heart and the sound of the bed settling under you, you hear his voice and want to answer.  You want to tell him that the only thing you want is to sleep and to get rid of this insane headache and to maybe... possibly… brush your hair which you can now feel pressing against the pillow.

            "Is that a yes?" He asks and without opening your eyes you know he's smiling again.  Because he's just that much of an asshole that seeing you completely incapacitated is somehow amusing for him.

            You don't answer and you wonder if you're now asleep and dreaming as he pulls your sneakers off without untying them.  He tugs at the socks and your feet are exposed to the cold air of the hotel room that you think might be blue, but you can't open your eyes to check and you just don't care.

            "Do you still sleep naked?"  He asks.  He knows you do.  That's one thing you know he knows so you don't justify it with an answer, as if you could.  He pulls on your waistband and works your sweat pants down to your ankles.  Your mind is conscious enough to wonder if he'll bother with the boxers then you realize he won't.  He doesn't even reach for your shirt.  You're snoring now, you can hear it yourself and you can't understand how you can be snoring and still awake.  Kind of.

            "Chris?"  You hear him say your name but you can't tell if you’re dreaming or not.  That's a sound you hear in your dreams a lot lately, Lance calling your name... his voice dropped low, just above a whisper as though he didn't want to wake you while getting your attention.

            "Mmm."  The sounds vibrates off your lips.

            "Chris?"  He repeats as his hot hands grasp your ankles and pick them up.  Erotic thoughts invade your tired mind and suddenly you feel like you might have a burst of energy, if he's willing.

            He moves your feet to the bed and kneels between them, you think.  It feels like his knees between yours, but you can't open your eyes to see for sure.  "Chris?"  You feel the pressure of his hands on the bed beside your shoulder and his warm breath on your lips and cheeks.  The first breath is from his mouth, and you can tell he's had not only a little bit of beer, but chocolate as well.  Dark chocolate.  Your favorite.

            Somehow the message breaks through the weariness surrounding you and your hands rise to rest on his hips.  "Thanks."  You mumble in barely a whisper. Had he been further than six inches from your lips, he never would have heard you, but he was closer than that.

            "Sweet dreams."  He whispers just as softly, then kisses you and you can taste the odd mixture.  His tongue lingers on the tip of yours, as if maybe he didn't want to leave.  But then you snore into his cheek and he smiles against your lips before falling to the side.  He leaves his hand on your stomach as it rises and falls to the tune coming forth from your nose and throat.

            Sweet dreams indeed.






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Copyright 2002, Amy Lynn