Ten

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Part 1

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Part 1

       I stare unblinkingly at my phone in hand until my eyes start to burn from the soreness of not blinking.

       Brine, are you awake?

       I read, and reread, and reread.

       It's probably my cunning mind tricking me, but no one calls me by my last name except for him.

       Without thought, I unlock my phone to open the message and my fingers type: Jake? However, I'm not so stupid as to send it. Thumbing the delete bottom, I watch as the letters of the name that I'm so fond of, only since it's his, disappear one by one from the reply box on the screen.

       Instead, I type: Who is this? There is a hesitation in my finger before it finally presses send.

       Now, the waiting game starts, which consists of an agonising minute or so of impatiently staring at my phone, checking whether I have signal, unlocking and locking it, all in anticipation of a response. After the minute passes, I sigh, locking the phone once more before dropping it in my lap and leaning back against the headboard of the bed.

       "You need to chill out," I say to myself, my heavy eye lids weighing down, forcing the closure of my eyes.

       Great, you've started speaking to yourself. This voice in your head is enough; you don't need to say things out loud.

       After a few moments, the vibration in my lap startles me. My eyes flutter open, shooting down to look at the screen again.

      It's Jake. So, you're awake? The message reads, and I cannot help but smile at it, mostly from the sweet shock that it's him.

       I text back: No, I'm messaging you from my sleep.

       I wait again, this time for not so long before getting a response.

       Sweet dreams or nightmares?

       His message makes my brows corrugate at the remembrance of this phrase, which he always used to ask when I couldn't sleep, when something in life, rather than in my sleep, was bothering me. It's like he knows I'm not alright, even though we are nowhere near as close as we once were. I can feel a tightening in my chest as my eyes roam the words.

       It's been nightmares for the past two years, not just in my sleep.

       Mostly nightmares with a few sweet dreams. I reply, and it's true. The sweetness has come from Aiden's company these past few weeks, and now Jake's text.

       Same. His message comes in almost immediately after he reads mine.

       I wonder what his sweet dreams and nightmares are.

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