It's midnight.

The dog barks, and I freeze, listening hard, neck stretched to prick unprickable ears...

I hear nothing.

Then another dog, down the road, barks too, and I relax, certain it was one of those mystery canine choruses.

I settle into my chair to give Viper a look... my lover asked me to see what I thought.

The sound from the television makes the silence of my sleeping house louder, thicker, deeper...

...and suddenly there are footsteps in my house.

The tread is stealthy... measured... purposeful...

...and I am afraid.

I cannot move.

I can't... breathe properly.

All I can do is think... There's no way out from here. If there's someone in the hall, I cannot get out without passing him.

I sweat.

Then the door curtain rattles and he comes into the room.

He walks to me, kneels down, and wraps me in a hug.

"Happy Valentine's Day, Love"

And I cling and cuddle him, trying to get my breath back, and I say....

"Scare the shit out of me, why don't you!"

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