Chapter 8

Dean was already awake when Joe got up at five the next morning. He was quite grateful to be able to unfold off the cramped sofa.

“Such a gent.” Joe smiled. “Is Tilly OK?”

“She's fine. Like I said, just needed a bit of company.” Dean threw the blankets from off the sofa, behind of the sofa. “Shitty night.”

“The appointment she had?”

“Didn't go well. I don't know Joe, don't ask. It's her business, not ours.”

“Yes of course.” Joe nodded. “You really are good to her, Dean.”

“Well everyone needs a friend, Joe. Some people find it easier to make them than others. If all it takes is my being here then that's not so difficult.” Dean shrugged.

“Nope, not at all.” Joe said. “You can go get in my bed for a few hours if you like. You look shattered.”

“That's OK thanks Joe. I'll wait and see if Tilly wants a lift home. Car's too big for her.” He smiled. “Seat up to the windscreen so she can reach the pedals, then she can't see over the bonnet or the boot.”

“Isn't that cute?” Joe smiled and wrinkled his nose.

“Piss off to work.” Dean sniffed.

Dean was dozing on the sofa when Tilly peeped round the door. Dean opened one eye and smiled.

“OK my guilt trip needs a passport. You look shattered.”

“Well you don't.” He complimented. “Need me to drive the tank?”

“No need, i have a change of clothes at work. Dean I really do appreciate this. I think too much when I'm on my own.” Tilly said awkwardly.

“Any time. I don't mind at all, I've told you that.”

“Yes but I mind. I know how this could look, me coming back here with you. I wouldn't want people to think I'm using you or anything. God I'm a sap.”

You using me?” Dean laughed. “I seriously doubt anyone will think that. None of anyone's business anyway.”

“I know it isn't. You've been very good to me and it seems like I'm pushing it now I know you aren't going to try and cart me off to bed. I'm sorry, that came out arse ways fist.” Tilly floundered.

“Listen to me.” Dean sat forward on the sofa. “If I want to help you then it's because I want to help you. OK? It's probably my own fault for having such a ... tarty ... reputation. I don't expect any sort of repayment at all, let alone that sort. That what you're trying to say?” Tilly nodded and looked at her feet. “I like you. Get over it.”

“I'm trying to.” Tilly smiled. “I don't react like normal people when it comes to closeness. I can't help it. I can't understand why people would want to be close to me and I push away what I don't understand. I know, that's so ignorant.”

“No not really, we all do that to a certain extent. Tilly the thing I don't understand is why you should have such a low opinion of yourself, or where you got such an opinion from. You're intelligent, you're funny, you're unbelievably kind and understanding, and you're physically attractive. I know there's more to it than that. I got a glimpse of your upbringing last night. I might be wrong but I doubt closeness played a bit part in that.”

“None at all. I was a ward of court from the age of seven. I suppose that's why it's a huge fight for me to build up a trust in people. I'm not really sure how or why I built it up in you. I just don't want to scare you off with my little oddities.” Tilly smiled. “I very much regret exposing you to my past like that. It didn't occur to me that it could be embarrassing and awkward for you and that was selfish of me.”

“Surprised and shocked, not embarrassed. Shocked at him, not you. You were incredibly brave to meet face to face like that. I'm absolutely sure I wouldn't have had the balls for it. You were pretty high in my estimation ranks anyway, Tilly, that pushed you up a bit further.” Dean nodded.

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