... And the room settled down. The objects within, even in the dimness, took on their normal aspects. No monsters, no creatures, no Black Towers, just... just furniture. A chair. Some reading material piled over in a corner.
Nothing. Just... nothing.
She let out a long, trembling sigh and flopped down in her bed. Her sheets were drenched with sweat as well, but she didn't have the energy to get up and change them. She lay there, staring up at the ceiling, unable to fall back to sleep.
Sheila awoke to hear the word "beautiful."
She propped herself up on one elbow, rubbing the sleep from her eyes, and saw that Leo was staring straight at her. He had an expression of total peace on his face, and he was smiling and saying, "So ... beautiful."
She felt herself blushing like a young girl, and couldn't quite believe it. "All the years we were together, Leo ... you never said I was beautiful. Not once. Pretty, that's what you said."
She rose from the couch and went over to him. Since it was dim in the room, she didn't realize that his eyes weren't really focused on her. She took his face in her hands and kissed him, and he seemed incredibly startled, jumping under her touch. He blinked and looked into her eyes in confusion. "Sheila... ?" he asked.
"I know, I know. You're wondering what I'm doing here."
"To ... say the least, yeah."
She patted his cheek. "We'll talk about it over breakfast. There's a lot to talk about, I think. May I use your bathroom 7"
He gestured toward the door, still clearly befuddled. She headed toward it and stopped once to look affectionately over one shoulder and say, "And thank you for the compliment."
"You're welcome," he said reflexively, and as she entered the bathroom and closed the door behind herself, he sat