Chapter 49

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My body is tucked behind his in the long bath, my chin rested on his shoulder. He's silent- completely silent and I'm trying so desperately not to push him to talk but it's hard. I run my hands over his chest and throat, leaving behind the white bubbles of his body wash.

My nervous instincts have taken over. I don't even know if he wanted to take a bath but I made him, hoping it would calm him down. He didn't fight- didn't say anything really which, of course, made me even more nervous. I glide my hands through his hair gently with his shampoo and as I rub it in, massaging his scalp, I finally get a soft hum of appreciation.

And that hum is enough for me to keep doing it for a long while. After it's rinsed and I'm able to see his golden streaks again, I press my lips to his neck softly. "You told me once before... that you've had nightmares. Was this one like those?"

His deafening silence is all I need to inform me of that answer. It hurts to know that he's gone through something like this alone- probably with that bitch in the other room- no idea to what's going on with him. I take a deep breath and try again.

"Did your medication-"

"I stopped taking it... I thought- I had gone a couple weeks without a dream. I thought they were over."

"You have to take them, Tristan. Please, your nightmare- it was so strong..."

His answer is quick and sharp. "I know I do."

"... Okay," I whisper, nodding although I know he can't see me. I feel off balance. His nightmare was powerful enough to manage to affect us both. I continue rubbing my hands over his chest, not wanting to at least break the closeness. I don't want him to shut down on me tonight.

My fingers freeze as his hand comes up to clasp mine.

"I'm sorry I scared you before. I know you were worried."

I wrap an arm around his neck, cuddling my face into his wet hair. "Don't think about it."

...

Reaching down, I grab the comforter that was pulled to the ground and set it back onto the mattress. Tristan's drying his body in the bathroom beside me; it's taking everything in me to stay in this room away from him.

When he makes his way in, completely bare, the gray towel in his hands, I stare at him, clutching my robe tighter. I realize quickly that he's not going to look at me so I grab the comforter and get in.

A part of me, a very large part wants desperately to ask him if he wants me to leave. I'm so worried about the rest of the night that I don't even dare ask. I know he would never ask me to go.

As he gets in naked beside me, turning to face the window, I stare at him silently, slightly shocked although I shouldn't be. I consider saying something but nothing that wouldn't sound completely ridiculous comes to mind.

I resort to silence. My eyes are one with the ceiling, wide-awake as the time ticks by slowly. I'm unable to sleep- too nervous he's going to have another nightmare. By the time an hour rolls by, I finally see Tristan's breathing soften as he drifts back to sleep.

My restless mind denies me peace and so I move closer to him for comfort, resting my cheek against his back.

It's not long before soft light shows through his windows, bringing in a new day. I blink, realizing I've stayed up all night. Detaching my arm from under his, I sit up, glancing over to the clock.

5:30 A.M.

I'm going to pass out on my desk today. My eyes flicker down to the quiet man beside me. I resist reaching out to push back the soft blonde lock that's shading his full lashed eye.

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