33- not so fearless anymore

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I wish I could say that I wasn't afraid of anything. I liked to pretend that that was true, with each reckless decision making me feel more badass than I actually was.

I also wish I could say that when something bad happened, it didn't haunt me. That I didn't get nightmares or flashbacks of the traumatic event, sometimes so bad that they paralyzed me. I wish I could actually be as fearless as I portrayed myself, but the truth is, I'm not.

That night, I had the kind of nightmare that gives you cold sweats, leaving you gasping for air and thrashing about in bed. The kind that seems impossible to wake up from, one that feels so real because it is. It happened to you and now you get to relive it in your most vulnerable state.

I woke up to Tyler straddling me, with his hands gently holding down my wrists. I looked up at him with panic in my eyes, struggling to escape for a bit before I realized what was happening. It wasn't his uncle that was on top of me, looking to hurt me. It was Tyler, someone who wanted to do anything but.

As soon as I stilled beneath him, Tyler loosened his grip and climbed off of me. I felt tears spring to my eyes as the recurring pain came back in my stomach, the dull ache made worse by my sobs. My mind flashed back to the memories of what happened not twenty-four hours before, to the sharp feeling of a knife slashing my stomach. I turned on my side, keeping my back to Tyler as I let myself silently cry with the hotel blankets hugged to my chest.

Tyler didn't say anything as I felt him shift closer to me. His hand touched me first. I felt it on my shoulder, gently rubbing it in an attempt to calm me down. Then he moved even closer to me, pressing his front to my back in a way that was not sexual at all, making sure to keep his junk off of my butt. His hand moved to my arm and he started rubbing that, the heat from his body slowly drying up my tears. His breath was close to my ear and it made me shiver, but in a different way.

With his body pressed against mine, I felt a kind of security that I hadn't in a while. I felt like just being there with him was the safest place I could have been and suddenly, all of my nightmares disappeared. I kept my focus on his hand, on the slow circles that he was tracing on my skin. I sunk deeper into his embrace, nuzzling into him and embracing the intimacy.

In my emotionally exhausted state, I didn't question it. I just settled into him, closing my eyes and falling into the deepest sleep I'd had since Tyler first stepped into my life.


We awoke still holding each other, and it made me feel just as panicky as I thought it would.

Quietly removing his arm from around me, I slunk away from him and over to the edge of the bed. I immediately felt vulnerable again, the kind of feeling I've always had right before a guy crushes it. I took steady breaths as I looked at his sleeping face, so innocent and peaceful. I narrowed my eyes at it, though I had no idea why. It's like I was trying to figure out his motives just by the expression he had when he slept, which made no sense at all.

A shrill ringing from the bedside table woke him up. I turned onto my back and watched as Tyler blindly grabbed for his phone. Glancing at the clock, I realized it was already ten.

"Hello?" Tyler's voice sounded husky in the morning, a sexy sound that I tried not to enjoy. "He did? Awesome. So you're all in the safe house?"

There was a pause as I sat up to watch him. "Good."

Another pause. "They made us a deal. Twenty thousand to leave us alone for good." Tyler glanced over at me quickly before lowering his voice.

"I've teamed up with someone. She-" He cut himself off, changing it quickly, "He, I mean, is working with me. We're staying at a hotel to ride it out."

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