"Marolo?" I mumbled before my eyes were even open.
An arm tightened around me and I rolled onto my side so my head was resting on someone's chest. "Who's that?" a voice whispered and I tensed up.
It took me a second to get my bearings, but when I did, I frowned as I was met with Desmond's face just inches from mine.
"Desmond?" I asked as I slowly sat up. The world started to spin and I groaned as I placed a hand onto Desmond's chest to steady myself.
"Who's Marolo?" Desmond was asking again, his arm that was around me loosened fell to his side.
I shook my head as my head started to throb. "How'd we get back here?" I asked instead of answering him when I realized we were back in my cabana.
Desmond lifted his head, he was frowning and asked the same question again, this time sounding angry. "Who is Marolo?"
Hitting him in the chest with the hand I was using to stabilize myself, I heard him let out a quick puff of air. "Some kid I used to look after on the streets. On cold nights I'd keep him in my arms to make sure he'd stay warm," I snapped at him. "How'd we get here?" I added more force to my voice. The more upset I got, the worse my headache was getting, but that wasn't the worst of it.
"I brought you back here once you passed out. Doctor Neville looked you over and—"
"You got a psychiatrist to check me after passing out? Do you have a brain?" I was annoyed and hurting, and I was taking it out on him.
"Hey!" Desmond objected as he sat up and placed a hand to my arm.
I jerked back as I felt a shock between us and I wrapped my arms around myself. My own touch felt like steel wool.
"I helped you out. He got you something for the headaches," he was explaining as he reached over to my bedside table and passed me a bottle of Tylenol.
I hit it out of his hand. "Seriously? Tylenol?" I objected. "That isn't going to help!"
"Help what?" Desmond and I were now shouting at each other.
It was all getting to be too much. I squirmed as my shirt turned against me and it felt like acid. I let out a soft cry as I finally grabbed the bottom of it and pulled it off, throwing it across the floor. My hands ran up and down my arms and along my stomach, "It hurts," I finally sobbed out as tears fell. Even the feeling of the wind on my skin felt like millions of daggers stabbing me all at once. My legs weren't as bad, but I kicked the sheets off of me anyways.
Desmond stared with wide eyes as I started to dig my nails into my skin, on my right shoulder, I pushed so hard that a trail of blood followed behind. "Stop!" Desmond finally protested as he wrapped his arms around me, pinning my grip where it was.
I whimpered and started to shake at his touch, getting multiple shocks. "Stop, stop! It hurts." A steady stream of tears rolled down my cheeks, and his skin felt like electricity. Every inch where he touched me, my skin jerked and contracted before releasing and a wave of pain followed. "Please," I finally sobbed.
He didn't let go, his grip only tightened and I relaxed a bit. My headache was almost instantly gone, but the pain remained. "It's okay, I've got you," he mumbled as he ran his fingers through my hair to try to calm me.
"It hurts," I whimpered.
"I know," he cooed and slowly released his grip from me, but kept his hand on my arm. He reached across the bed where the Tylenol had rolled off to and passed it to me. "Take two of these," he spoke calmly, but his eyes read how frightened he was. He shook two out of the bottle for me and held them out.
Shaking my head violently, I flinched away from them. If I couldn't handle air touching me skin, I didn't want to know what it felt like to actually hold a solid object. "I don't- I don't want to," I stuttered. I was scared and in agony and at this point everything seemed like a bad idea. Desmond refused to stop touching me with his one hand despite me trying to pull away, and eventually he grabbed my wrist. "No!" I was screaming over and over again as I fought him.
"Val, please!" He was begging me as he pulled my wrist out and forced the two pills into my hand. I hesitated as they dropped and brought no pain. Desmond and I exchanged glances and he loosened his grip just enough so I could take the pills, dry.
There were very few things that didn't hurt me right now, and I tried to focus on those small areas of peace. In the bed I found comfort in the silk sheets, but everything exposed to the air also stung. "Let me go?" I whispered to Desmond as I reached out with one hand and covered my legs back up with the sheet to hide them from the air. That helped, but nothing else worked. Where my skin touched itself was the worst and I was constantly shifting and squirming, trying to find something which didn't hurt.
Desmond's grip tightened around my wrist again, forcing that arm still. "You need to calm down, Val," he said seriously and I pulled at my wrist again. "Just stop!" he shouted, and it was then I started to notice the sweat forming from his brow as he fought me. He was easily overpowering me and the night time air was almost chilly so it didn't make sense as to why he was so exerted.
Shaking my head again, I hesitated as I saw him reach back and grab my bottle of cream.
"Here, maybe this will help," he whispered as opened the bottle with one hand and held my arm still.
"Desmond, don't," I begged him.
He paused, his eyes meeting mine and they were filled with sorrow. "I'm sorry, but I am trying to help you."
"No, no, no, no!" I objected as he squeezed the bottle and I expected the worst. The cream was cool and my breathing slowed as he started to rub it in. Tears continued to build up in my eyes, but none of them fell as I watched Desmond.
His eyes looked everywhere except for my face as he methodically started to apply cream everywhere when I didn't object. "I'm sorry, Val," he was mumbled as he shifted closer to me.
The thing that hurt the most was him applying the cream over the self-inflicted cut on my shoulder. I chewed my lip and focused on calming my breathing. The lotion eventually started to tingle like my skin was about to fall asleep; the same feeling I had on the beach. This time, it stopped. When Desmond released his grip on my wrist, I noticed he had left a bruise that I didn't even feel.
"What's wrong with me?" I asked, my voice breaking.
Desmond finally glanced up at me as he set the cream down, "I don't know," he whispered, almost out of breath. He wrapped his arms around me and slowly pulled me back to bed. "Let's figure it out in the morning," he suggested, but when his head hit the pillow, he was already sleeping.
I couldn't sleep; couldn't even try. I stared up at the thatch roof as I tried to calm myself down. We weren't far apart and before, I could remember feeling his breath on my skin, the heat produced by his arms, and his muscles as they clenched around me. Now, I felt none of that. I just felt numb.
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Perfection - The Oasis Project Book 1 (Complete - Being Edited)Science Fiction
When Valentina Linkin is offered a free trip to a tropical island, she takes up the offer without hesitation. Under no pressure to cut her vacation short, she hopes to enjoy the sun before starting her life over. However, the longer she stays, the m...