Stand By Me, Part I


devon2_icon.gif emily4_icon.gif

Scene Title Stand By Me, Part I
Synopsis When the night has come / And the land is dark / And the moon is the only light we'll see / No I won't be afraid, no I won't be afraid / Just as long as you stand, stand by me
Date August 4, 2019


The sound is an interruption. A tap against Emily's bedroom window shuttered for the night. It's not abrupt, not persistent. If a noise could ask permission, say excuse me, that's what this sound is doing.


Again. The light sound beckons. Politely reminding still here, please look.


It even sounds like please.

4:27 am

Laudani-Epstein Townhome

Sheepshead Bay, NYC Safe Zone

Below and outside, Devon occupies a square of cement that's illuminated by a neighbor’s late night omelette fiasco and the moon overhead.

It's late. Normal people are asleep at this hour. Dev should be asleep also, but something had woken him up. He couldn't explain what exactly, aside from thoughts he couldn't quite nail down and identify. As it was, whatever had awakened him also wouldn't let him go back to sleep. So he resorted to habits of a lifetime ago and quietly let himself from the apartment to take a walk.

He hadn't intended to wander the empty streets for long. Nor go as far as he had. But sometimes, those things that wake you in the middle of the night distract so much that the autopilot takes over and you arrive somewhere familiar and comforting. He knew it was early by some standards and late by others, but his desire to see Emily holds firm against common sense.

He stoops down to pick up another tiny pebble.

It takes the second, no, third pebble for Kettle to stir enough by Emily's head that she rolls over. The fourth causes him to wobble on his haunches, making clicking noises at the noise. She mumbles, still half asleep, until the kitten engages in a fresh round after the fifth tiny noise at her window. "Kettle, I swear t—" she starts into a sit, groggy and halfway through a dream, blinking in the darkness. The light barely registers, and she sits for a moment in silence.

The dark, youthful cat sits in the sill of the window, pawing at the glass. He stares outside, looking at something (Devon, below,) before pawing more insistently. He mews insistently as well (why are you down there, and not up here, where he can bother you??) and Emily is instantly on her feet, shushing at him. His black tiny form shrinks, holding his ground until the last moment when he splinters away from the window just before she steps up to it. With a scoff, Emily just looks out over the dark street, tired but knowing she'll not be able to sleep now that feet have hit the ground.

Her gaze falls, and she notes the figure below on the street. Expression opaque, she blinks slowly, lifting one hand to her face to brush her hair back. Behind the glass, her mouth moves just slightly, like a breath.


For a moment, she visibly hesitates on her course, partly pulled away, partly in place. Emily ends up flipping the lock on the window, pulls it up. She doesn't wince at how it creaks, already committed to her course. Teo would have heard one way or the other, and if he lies awake now too, well, then they're all awake together.

Once it's high enough, she leans forward against the sill, arms folding. If Kettle hadn't already bolted, she might be more concerned with the arrangement, but here they were. She peers forward, head out the window. "Hey," Emily calls down, with barely enough to her voice to be heard. She looks back at her nightstand for just a moment, remembering all too late her phone she could have just used to text him. She turns back to Devon below, studying him. "You okay?" she asks softly.

Movement at the window stirs something. Hope flutters, even when Devon realizes after a second that it's the kitten who's answering. He waits instead of giving up the cause as lost and turning away, and a faint, lopsided kind of smile forms when Emily's silhouette enters the framed glass.

The expression dims when the window comes open. It's as though the hour finally registered. At least there isn't anger or annoyance in Emily's tone, at least not that he can tell.

But that slight falling produces hesitation. It takes him a moment to form a response.

“Yeah, um…” Dev tries for a grin and musters something apologetic. He rubs the back of his neck, eyes slanting aside briefly. “I just… I guess I wanted… needed to see you.”

Emily's posture slopes, her edges rounding out as she leans against the windowsill. She looks like she has every intention of responding, but no words actually come. She's not awake enough to experience emotion and be a remotely functioning human being at the same time right now. Slowly she draws herself up, almost hitting her head on the bottom of the window. In fact, she does, and then ducks down, head going to the back of her head as she scoots back so she can stand and better internally address the odd, overflowing state she's entered.

No big deal. Devon just came over in the middle of the night because he wanted to see her.

She doesn't have any recollection at all of closing the window, of how that might be considered a rude gesture to do wordlessly. The feeling of the wood flooring under her bare soles is hardly noted, dreamlike. A skimming rather than a feeling. He just wanted to see her.

He came over in the middle of the night and threw pebbles at her window like they're in some fucking Lifetime movie because he wanted to see her.

Her heart moves in her chest like it's drowning, slow, deliberate, heavy. It's getting more rapid the more she wakes up.

Is it a dream and she shouldn't wake up?

Too late to tell. Emily unlocks the deadbolt as quietly as she can, confused and bewildered at herself as much as anything else that's happening right now. She doesn't entirely shut the door behind her, but wanders out to the porch to peer at the sidewalk where she'd seen Devon before. Her arms draw loosely into a fold before her against the chill that's unseasonably been sneaking into the night air, nightgown shifting at her knees as she settles into the porch.

He waits outwardly patient, watching Emily framed within the open window. Inside sense and desire are battling for the MMA world title within his stomach. It's masked with a smile that fades following the light thump against the frame of the window.

A hand is lifted to the back of his own head in sympathy.

Then the window closes. His expression falls, hope crumbles slightly. It wasn't planned, showing up like this. Or maybe it was, unintentionally.

A sort of sinking feeling rests in his gut when Emily doesn't return to the window, not even to tell him off for the hour. Thoughts of heading home, of working out an apology later, are beginning to circulate by the time the sound of the latch murmurs a shifting from the house.

As Emily emerges from the house, Devon says nothing. He watches, waits, the corner of his mouth caught in his teeth. He moves forward to meet her when she sits on the porch, a shuffle of feet turning him to sit beside her. As he settles on the step, he cautiously draws an arm around her shoulders.

She shifts, presses her mouth into the side of his arm before she turns her body to better lean against him. Bare toes rest on top of his feet, and one arm slips around his waist. "I'm here," Emily murmurs, laying her head against his shoulder. Whatever she had planned to say is lost to that simple truth. She nestles her head against the side of his neck before her jaw works in a yawn that she can't hold back. Her throat clears when that's done, and she repeats with more confidence, "I'm here now."

Despite the waking up, her eyes slide shut so she can listen better, feel any telltale shifts he might make. The nearby song of crickets resonate through the air, coming from more than one direction. For a moment, everything shifts, and she's not in New York anymore, transported back a half-dozen summers ago to when she lived in Providence. If she opens her eyes, maybe she'll even see accompanying fireflies glinting across the back yard of her grandfather's home.

It's a strange hour, the pre-dawn twilight.

There's only so long Emily sits in silence before she lifts her head. Her free hand finds Devon's, loosely grasping the side of it. Her thumb grazes his knuckles as her eyes find his. "Tell me what's wrong," she asks, no longer giving him an out about it. People didn't show up at four o'clock in the morning unless something happened to cause it. Interrupted dreams, being unable to sleep. The future, the past, the present. She gives a small shake of her head, an action not brusque enough to brush away frizzy strands of tangled hair from her face. Don't lie. it conveys to him.

Devon doesn't respond at first, except to lean his head into Emily's and hug her shoulders more firmly. What’s wrong. So many things and nothing at all. Trying to explain that seems monumental, so he stares ahead, somewhere beyond the sidewalk that lacks definitive existence, introspective in his silence.

Eventually, he sighs, a quiet breath easing out as his focus returns to the here and now. “I don't know,” he murmurs. His tone carries the weight of honesty, and a faint tensing in his core implies a search for a better answer. Nothing manifests after a moment, and he shakes his head apologetically.

Emily's concern in her gaze holds, intensifies even, but breaks as she looks at him. The corners of her eyes soften, her expression mellowing. "Okay," she murmurs in return, because she believes him. She lifts her hand to cup the side of his face, resting her forehead against his. Her eyes close.

"Then I'll stay with you until you do." she promises.

And she does. When the predawn chill creeps over her skin and she leads them inside to grab a blanket and get more comfortable, she stays with him, his head on her lap. She stays with him, her fingers running through his hair, even after he falls asleep watching the television with her. She stays with him, right up until she drifts off, too.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License