A crash of thunder woke me up. I startled, but I lay there as quietly as I could until I realized what I’d heard. Yawning, I pulled the covers up under my chin and rolled over, reaching for Cordin. The bedspread and sheets were pulled back on his side; he wasn’t in bed. I opened my eyes to the sound of the downpour on the roof. I glanced at the door; of course it was open. It was always open when we slept. Lightning showed the hallway in relief.
Thunder cracked as I flung the covers off of me. Involuntarily I yelled, “Oh shit!” startled by the house vibrating around me. Rubbing my shoulders, I tried to fight off the chill but the cold, wooden floor thwarted me. I’d look for a pair of socks first.
It was unusual for Cordin to get up in the middle of the night; he slept heavily, woke up slowly, though he was always the second of us to drift off. There were exceptions, but I couldn’t think of any recent ones.
The bedroom opened straight into the living room, an expanse of space compared to the rest of the house. The room took up three-fourths of the house’s square footage. That alone was the reason we picked it. No one lives in the bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom. As a couple, we spent a lot of time together, but the large room made us lonely for the other while we both occupied it. It was a peculiar feeling. It was as if the distance wasn’t just physical when I could look over and see him reclined with his feet up in his favorite lounger, a chaise that he refused to replace.
Lightning flashed again as I kept a hand on the wall, trailing my fingertips as a guide. In the brief light, I didn’t notice him. “Cor?” I whispered, my eyes readjusting to the darkness. The pour increased to a loud rumble that ran down the roof and into the ground outside.
His voice came from by the biggest window, “I’m here.” He was quiet, both now and before. He had a deep voice that only rose when he cursed or laughed. But his voice always found its way to my ears. He sat leaning forward, both feet square on the ground, his chin in his hands, elbows on his knees, staring out the largest pair of windows at the area lit up by the street light. The water pooled in the street, a river flowing down into the storm drain.
“Hey, what are you doing up?” I asked him, coming behind him and wrapping my arms around his bare chest. He was warm, always warm. Placing my chin on his shoulder, I pressed my cheek to his as he leaned into me.
Running a hand down my arm, I felt his jaw moved against my face, and took comfort from it. “Nightmare,” he whispered.
I squeezed him, and pressed my lips into his neck. “The same one?” I asked, and he nodded against me, “The rain makes it worse.”
A flash cracked the air, thunder rolled through the house, and I jumped, startled again.
He stood, pulling out of my embrace, chuckling quietly. He gave one last look out into the storm, and then his face rolled and lifted. His eyes met mine, and he wrapped his hand around mine, stroking my arm again. “Let’s go back to bed.”
Our soft footsteps on the bare wood were eclipsed by the storm. Passing the kitchen, halfway to the bedroom doorway, thunder cracked again, the light illuminating the room. The tree’s shadow silhouetted on the wall struck me as out-of-place.
I felt the wind kick up before the sound of the storm. Cordin tackled me to the ground as a mist of rain covered us; the rustle of leaves and the shattering of glass reached me. His weight lifted from me, held up by his straining arms. “Are you alright?” he rushed, water dripping off his face onto my back.
The sky was open and black above him, the rain drops catching the streetlight’s glare as it entered our home. The tree had missed us, thankfully, because we had moved away from the window. For some reason, the thought that struck was whether Cordin would be upset or not about his lounger.
He helped me up, “Watch the glass, okay babe?” with a hand on my hip, the both of us dripping. The roof over the kitchen was intact, and that’s where he led me, flipping the light switch as he entered. Turning me to face him, he ducked his head and scanned my face, holding it in both hands.
“I’m fine,” I urged him.
A moment longer, and he nodded, a slow, rolling movement of his head up and down. His eyes didn’t leave mine but he grabbed the phone from the cradle on the wall. “Who do I call first?” he asked, his voice remarkably calm though he had to speak up over the din of noise our house allowed.
I looked at the tree, realizing half of it had been sliced off by the bolt. Broken limbs and branches and leaves took up the living room. Water coated the floor already, sluicing under the couch, like water breaking on a beach.
He squeezed my shoulder; “Vicente, babe, who do I call?”
He gave me a small shake, bringing me back to him, “The police, first, I think. Or the electric company. Though, we still have power.”
“Small miracle,” he said, with the smallest upturn of the corner of his mouth. “Can it wait though? We’re fine; you’re fine. No injuries. We’ll need to call the insurance guy.”
I pulled him into me; I fought to keep my breath even, I didn’t want to cry in a storm. He was so good at taking things in stride. “Our house is destroyed,” I told his shoulder, pressing my cold skin into his wet chest, shivering.
The lights in our kitchen flickered, fighting a battle to stay on, and I didn’t move from him. After a moment he told me, “Let’s get you a jacket. It’s cold.”