She has the worst cramps – the kind that has her rolled into a tight ball in the middle of the bed and has tears streaming down her cheeks. She has already popped as many Midol tablets as she possibly can but it doesn’t seem to be doing anything for her. Nothing seems to be helping her and she can’t remember the last time she has had them this bad.
Mark knows immediately that something is wrong with her when she meets him in the front lobby after their shifts but she plays it off as just being tired. And the instant they arrive home, she goes upstairs to lay down while Mark takes it upon himself to make dinner – which really isn’t making anything at all considering that they have only been in the house for a week and already, there is a drawer in the kitchen filled with takeout menus they have collected.
Lexie squeezes her eyes shut as another roll of throbbing pain hits her and she tightens the ball she has curled into. She desperately wishes for a heating pad.
“Hey,” Mark says, entering the bedroom. “I got us those mini-burgers you like so much with fries so it should be here in about-” he cuts himself abruptly upon seeing the state of Lexie in the middle of their bed. “What’s wrong?”
She shakes her head, not wanting to tell him. They may live together but for some reason, she isn’t sure Mark necessarily wants to hear about her menstrual cycles or the horrible aches that come with it.
“Lex,” he says, crawling onto the bed to join her, laying down on his side, facing her, propped up on an elbow. “You’re crying.”
She shakes her head again. “I’m fine,” she says but her voice is tight and shaky and she clenches her eyes as the cramps somehow manage to intensify before opening them again, her breathing wobbly.
He sighs heavily, giving her a look that tells her that she’s full of shit and both of them know it. “Tell me.”
“I have the worst cramps right now,” she whispered, looking away from him.
“Oh,” he says after a moment, glancing at her and then at a point past her shoulder, awkwardly clearing his throat.
“I’m fine, Mark,” she says again, rolling onto her back, thinking that a different position might help. “It’ll pass. Just… you can go down and watch TV or something.”
That makes him frown. She can see it from the corner of her eye. She ignores it though. She takes another breath and her hands go down to rest on her lower abdomen. Tears still sting the corners of her eyes and no amount of trying to take deep steady breaths is helping.
“Here,” Mark says suddenly and brushing her hands gently aside, he rests his own hand on her lower abdomen, right over where the cramps are the worst.
“Mark-” Lexie’s mouth falls open and she turns her head to look at him.
“Shhhh, Little Grey,” he murmurs. “Let me take care of you.”
She watches him as he slowly begins rubbing his hand in slow circles, pushing the fabric of her shirt up inch by inch until her bare skin is revealed and his hand is warm on her body. He watches his hand as it draws circles over and over again before looking at her.
“Does that feel okay?” He asks softly, concern and worry in his eyes – both for her and the thought that maybe he isn’t helping her at all.
She gives him a faint, slightly shaky smile, and nods her head. “It feels amazing,” she answers truthfully. The aches are still there but they are slowly fading away to dullness.
He seems pleased and he smiles before putting his concentration back to his hand. She watches him as he takes care of her in his own way and now, her eyes brim with tears for another reason, the smile still pulled across her lips. If he does this for her, she thinks that he must really love her.
And with that thought, the ache from her cramps disappear completely.