"You sure this time?" I hear a voice ask anxiously.
"Yes, She should be awake in a couple of minutes." There’s uncertainty.
A pain sits in the crevices of my mind and I groan. I almost stop myself remembering my injuries, but my throat, doesn’t hurt. I open my eyes and the light is still there, my eyes squint and I’m barely able to see anything clearly.
It suddenly goes off and my eyes try to adjust to the sudden switch of brightness in the room. The back of the chair begins to rise and I feel the fogginess of my mind clearing up.
"Adira if you can hear me clearly nod your head." Though the person has a slight accent, I nod. But the room is still spinning, still blurry.
Someone reaches forward and takes hold of my hand, and though I’m unable to see anything clearly, I know it is Emerson. I grip on to his hand tightly and turn my body to face him reaching out to grab him. I reach for where I imagined his face would be but it’s much hairier than I thought. I jump back a bit. He takes hold of my hand again, but by now it’s trembling.
There’s a sigh and I feel like I’ve let him down for some reason. Someone around, maybe further in a corner begins to speak in a whole other language. I barely pay attention as I reach for Emerson’s face again and pull it closer to mine. His forehead touched mine and though he may have grown a really large beard I didn’t care, he was still my Emerson. My hands fell to his shoulders then up back behind his neck pulling him closer. I'm trying to see him but the world remains completely blurry.
"Emerson," I breathe. He nods in my hands. I spoke perfectly, my voice was released into the air for the first time in over a week, I missed it, "I can talk." I smile.
He nods again and despite my inability to see, I couldn’t miss that smile he gave me. I smiled back.
Wait, if he grew a beard and I regained my ability to speak, exactly how long have I been knocked out? Weeks? I begin to panic and turn to Emerson for answers but he’s not there anymore. I felt a sharp pain as I was injected. There was no time to react before my already blurry world went to darkness. Everything was still.
"Hey," I hear a voice. Emerson.
My eyes open slowly, I’m laying next to Emerson. I look around and notice that we’re in his room.
I open my mouth to speak but I feel the restraint that normally follows, along with the pain that would linger. I can’t speak? My disappointment peaked.
"Hey, hey, don’t get sad. What’s wrong?" Emerson asks.
I begin to mouth the words, "I can’t speak."
"Well you’re still healing remember?" He finger rubs softly against my cheek.
But what about what I saw before? Was it all make believe? No! It wasn’t. What happened? I jumped up
"Adira, you have to be careful." A pain radiates in my lower back, my hip, my thighs. The usual spots, "Lay back baby." He holds on to my shoulders and lays me back slowly.
"You heard some of the local wolves howling and went into a unresponsive state. You panicked and fainted for a while and Chance did his best to wake you up. After a couple of moments, he said you’d wake on your own and so I brought you up here." He recalled for me.
I believe him, but there were bits and pieces he wasn’t mentioning. Why was he lying? Why would he feel the need to?
"Hey, are you okay?" He asks now and in the pureness of his eyes I see the care he holds.
I nod, there was something else, and I’d find it out sooner or later.
"What do you want to do now?" Emerson asks me quickly, "I know you had a great day, I don’t want it to end with you feeling all sad."
I shrug at his question, "Want to watch a movie? We could go to the basement and watch something!"
I nod at his excitement, and it seemed like a really good idea, a way to get my mind roaming, "Do you want to change into anything more comfortable? Or are you good?" He asks again.
I mouth, "Something else," and he nods and leads me to my room where millions of my bags are waiting to be unpacked. But I’ll do it tomorrow. I go through some bags before I find all that I needed. I grab them and slide into the bathroom where my hair products are already laid out. I slip into a tank top and a pair of long fuzzy zebra print bottoms, I take a small scoop of my hair product and run it through my tangly hair. It begins to look like normal and I sigh happily. Once finished I exit the bathroom to find Emerson waiting, already in his pajamas.
"Ready?" He smiles looking at me. I nod.
We head downstairs and past the kitchen. Where Victor and Chelsea were, "Hi honey!" Chelsea sings walking over to me as any mother would (I suppose), "How are you feeling?"
I smile at her, nodding, "Better," I mouth.
"Well that’s great to hear?" Victor asks looking more at Emerson than me. He had two bowls of ice cream in his hand and gave one to Chelsea. She smiled up at him, like a child at a candy store.
"We’re going to watch a movie in the basement." Emerson responds.
"Mhmmm," Chelsea sings making my eyes widen in shock.
"Mom," Emerson scolds.
Victor laughs and they both walk away, "Just so you know Anthony and Charice headed down there earlier. I’d announce my presence before walking in if I were you." Chelsea sings as they head upstairs.
Emerson groans and we make a sharp turn and head down the stairs leading to the basement. When we were a couple steps from the bottom Emerson pauses and begin to speak, "Alright any clothing that is not on your body, should be on in a couple of seconds."
I go red-faced at his accusation but in fact did hear disappointed groans and shuffling around. Soon Anthony opens the door in nothing but swimming trunks, he was soaked from head to toe also, and steam was radiating from his skin, "May I help you?" He asks unentertained.
"Adira and I are going to watch a movie." Emerson explains, "You guys can continue whatever you’re doing we just have to get to the movie section."
Anthony smiles and steps aside so we can enter, "So watching a movie huh?" He winks at Emerson and nudges his shoulder.
Emerson smiles but shakes his head at his friend’s silliness. I step in the area and I’m completely taken aback. It was beautiful and huge! The wooden fixtures seemed to glisten under the amazing silver-like lighting all over. To our left Charice was soaking in a large enough Jacuzzi which was slightly raised on a rocky fixture with towels and a small bar set-up at the side.
Emerson and I went to the right and I waved at Charice as we left. We walked along for a while and made a left and walked into a room that had a humongous TV set, it took up at least 80% of the wall and had fancy movie chairs and a comfy looking bed/ sofa at the front. To the right of the screen there was a wide variety of movies and Emerson gave me my pick.
I looked over all the options for a while before choosing Zootopia. He looked up at me and chuckled quietly, "What?" I mouth.
"Oh nothing," he responds with his hands up in surrender. He goes to the back and places the DVD in as I settle in one of the chairs in the middle.
The movie starts and he hops in the seat next to me. We’re halfway through now and he takes hold of my hand. I look over at him but he’s engrossed in the movie. I smile and lace our fingers and rest my head on his shoulder.
The ending credits roll over the screen and Emerson does a quick stretch. "Okay my turn to choose!" He frolics over to the endless list and pulls out Deadpool. I smile approving.
After setting it up, he resettles next to me and takes my hand in his again, "How are you feeling?" He asks.
I nod and mouth, "Better."
"Great." He smiles and kisses my forehead softly. My skin seems to shiver underneath his touch. He pulls away slowly and our eyes meet. I feel his finger lifting my face by the chin, to stare in the fire of his eyes. It wasn’t an overwhelming one like those I saw before, no. This was a fire that consumed me in my entirety yet soothed my skin with the fan of its flames. I feel myself moving forward, closer to the warmth of Emerson.
He takes my mouth with his and my limbs go weak. The movie plays on before us but at this point I couldn’t care less. He brushes my hair back from my face and I lean even more into him, feeling myself losing any control I always pride myself in having around him. He notices and matches my need with his passion. Pulling away he stands to his feet, I’m confused as he reaches out his hand for mine but I go along with it anyway.
He leads me down the sofa like bed in the front of the room and we stand there for a moment. He looks at me from head to toe and it was as though I felt him holding back his desire to rip my clothes to shreds. For a second I wasn’t self-conscious, I didn’t care that the bottom of my shirt was rolling up a bit, that my hips may have been a bit too wide matching my thick thighs. He remained there silent and the movie plays, watching us. Emerson steps closer to me and pushes my hair back, over my shoulder exposing my neck.
"If for only I second I could just," he whispers this and leans into the crook of my neck. There he works masterfully, making me want things I shouldn’t, and never thought I did. I feel my head fall back further, allowing Emerson more access.
I pull away, "I’m sorry," He apologizes immediately, "I was going too fast and-"
I shush him with a kiss and pull him down to the bed with me. He’s shocked by the action, maybe just as much as I am. But I couldn’t help it. He settles next to me and soon I pull him close and we kiss as if each of our lives depended on it. It wasn’t rushed, it was slow and torturous. He reached down and grabbed my leg, throwing it over his hip as he slowly pulled his body in. The moan that leaves my lips sing nothing but true ecstasy. Still kissing him and running my fingers through his hair.
He pulls me even closer by the hip, touching a sensitive bruise. I make a disgruntled sound and he backs away instinctively. I encourage him to come back, by pouting and pulling him in more. He smiles and though he comes closer I know it’s not for the reasons I want.
"We should stop," he smiles kissing my nose, "I don’t want to hurt you or wear out your injuries."
My pout gets bigger I suppose by the grin that covers his face, "Once you feel better. We’ll go non-stop." On that note, he lurks into my atmosphere.
I smile and wrap my arms around him and proceed to kiss his amazing lips. For a minute I fear that he will push me away but he doesn’t. I pull him closer until he’s hovering just above and I hold his face gently in my hands. He pulls away ever so softly.
"Baby, your injuries," He sighs, "I promise we’ll pick this up in a couple of days after you’re fully healed." My pout gets larger and my eyes follow, "Oh come on, don't give me that look. Don't I get some credit for resisting my carnal desires?" He jokes.
I laugh and pretend to think about it for a second, before holding out my pinky for him to latch on to.
"I pinky promise." he smiles wrapping his pinky around mine. He leans in for a final peck and I smile.
"Alrighty beautiful let’s actually watch the movie now."
I blush and he pulls me upward and soon I’m sitting between his legs, my back against his chest his hands in my lap as we watched.
We both fell asleep that way. When I woke up, it was due to my growling stomach. I soon realized I had to pee. I carefully slide from Emerson’s arms without waking him. Once free I walk back up the stairs and past the kitchen to head to the bathroom on this floor. While heading there I begin to overhear a discussion.
"Well you’ll all have to tell her sooner or later." An unfamiliar voice says softly.
Poor soul, she seemed so pained when we first saw her. She looks healthier now though. Very speedy recovery if I must say so." A female’s voice said now. Were they talking about me? I remained still.
"That’s our worry," Chelsea’s voice sounds.
"What do you mean?" The first voice spoke.
"We haven’t used anything different in her medication. All she’s being given is painkillers and other meds to suppress her hunger."
"That’s fast for a sape." The female comments astonished.
"Well that’s our concern. We don’t think she’s fully sape." Victor states this, "There are…... certain things that don’t add up."
"Well when will you get them answered?" The male voice asks.
"Once she can speak we’ll ask. We don’t want to jump down her throat. Her and Emerson’s bond is getting closer by the day. We don’t want to hurt her or push her away." Chelsea shares scared, "I already love her as if she was my own."
"She’s a strong girl. I’m sure she can handle it when the time is right." The female soothes.
What’s going on?!
I was panicking but took a deep breath and proceeded to walk past the door to the bathroom further along the hallway. I finished my business and decided to head back down to the basement. I tried my hardest not to think much of anything I’d heard, but there were so many questions in my mind. Who were those people and how did they know me? By the sounds of it they’d seen me before then otherwise I wouldn’t have looked, "healthier" according to the lady. They didn’t seem to want to cause any harm, so at least that part of my mind was at ease, and Chelsea and Victor wouldn’t let that happen to me. Right?
I carefully walk back into the movie room cautiously sliding back into Emerson’s arms. As soon as I settle there, his arms tighten around my body, keeping me firm in his grasp. I snuggle in his chest, still bothered by the conversation I overheard. The following morning I wake next to Emerson and he kisses my head softly.
"Want to go for a walk today?" He asks quietly, "I promise we’ll be safe, it’ll just be us." I look up at him unsure for a minute, until I see a spark in his eyes that I wasn’t accustomed to. He really wanted to do this.
For this reason and this alone, I nod to his request. I smile up at the happiness in his eyes. We walk upstairs and I bump into Gavin on my way out of the staircase. I hadn’t seen him in a couple of days and it was actually a relief.
"Sorry Adira, didn’t see you there." He apologizes.
I nod telling him it was fine.
"Where’s Emerson?" Justine asks looking past me.
"I’m right here," his sleepy voice was still very present and it truly gave me chills.
"So you guys spent the entire night down there huh?" Cody asks with a curious smirk.
My face goes red despite the fact that we really did absolutely nothing. Emerson holds on my waist gently and pushes my body forward, kissing the base of my neck softly.
"Mhm," he replies to Chance’s statement.
"Ouuuuu!" Anthony, Chance and Gavin chime.
"You’re all immature." Emerson smiles as we walk past them fingers interlocked.
I look up at the stairs from the base then back at Emerson.
"I know that look," he sighs before bending a bit, "Hop on."
I looked at him extremely thrilled. A piggyback ride?! Yesss! I was instantaneously excited.
"You sure you want to do that?" Justine asks Emerson leaning against the couch with her arms crossed. She looked exceptionally beautiful today for some reason. Her eyes shined brighter levels of grass green and her layered brown hair seemed to shimmer under the light.
"What’s that supposed to mean?" Charice asks her for me. I was honestly confused.
By now Emerson was standing upright turning to face Justine.
"I’m just wondering if lifting princess Fiona here, every time there’s a flight of stairs is a good idea. You know for your back and all," she responds.
My eyes go wide and my excitement falls. Princess Fiona? Like from Shrek the movie?! The Ogre?!
"Don’t talk about her like that!"
"What the hell Justine!"
"You’ve got to be kidding me!"
"That was messed up."
Were the reactions that seemed to come up all at once. Despite this Justine kept eye contact with me, and my fury must’ve been visible considering my facial expressions make me an open book. As if he sensed I needed it, Chester rushed down the stairs and rubbed his fur gently against my leg. I smile at him and pet his head, smiling down at how easily he could make me forget about what’s going on around me.
"What’s up with the complaining?" Victor asks jogging down the stairs with Chelsea behind him.
I shake my head at Victor smiling. I didn’t want this to be discussed any further, but everyone else was not having it.
"Well, Justine just basically called Adira, a fat, ugly ogre." Cody says glaring at Justine from across the room.
"Pardon me?" Chelsea says wide eyed, "And what triggered these lies?"
I really wished we could drop this topic. I looked over at Charice and it was as if she felt my self-consciousness oozing from the pores of my skin. She looked over at Justine with a hate filled glare.
"Not sure probably because Emerson and Adira spend the night in the basement, doing stuff that Justine only wishes she could do with Emerson but never actually will." Charice says boldly for me.
That’s when the jaws dropped. My eyes widened extensively as I looked back and forth between Charice and Justine. Even Justine was taken off guard by that answer.
"You little bi-"
"Alright." Victor sends a warning glance to both the girls, "Justine we’ve said this to you before, Adira is our guest, and even more than that now, she’s basically family. If you have an issue with that refrain from visiting or if you do visit be nice about it."
"She’s been here for like a week and a half. How is she granted the title of ‘family’ when you’re all sitting here lying to her?-" Justine asks now, drawing my attention.
"Enough," Victor warns her but she continues.
"Is that what a family does? Lie? Maybe her experience is like that but not mine.-"
"He said enough!" I hear Emerson roar behind me, "Now listen and listen well," He takes a step toward Justine, "You do not, DO NOT, talk about my girlfriend like that ever. Not in front of her or behind her back. I don’t know what you’re going through right now in your life but don’t use her as an outlet and think I’m going to sit back and watch you take advantage of that fact that she can’t say anything to defend herself."
Everyone was stunned to silence, including Justine, who looked as if she was shocked that this conversation was even happening, "Like my father said, you either respect our choice to keep Adira here or you don’t show up here at all. Stop sulking and get over it."
My stomach felt light after seeing Emerson stand up for me like that, but for some reason I think him standing up to her had more significance than I could tell by just observing. But I trust that Victor and Chelsea, even Emerson would tell me about it sooner or later.
Everything fell quiet now and Emerson returned to where I was standing. He easily scooped me up in his arms and proceeded up the stairs, without giving Justine time to say much. We get to my room, where all my shopping bags are still scattered around.
I look up at Emerson and he’s still tense from what happened. I couldn’t express in words, just how much I appreciated him standing up for me. So I went with the next best thing, I sank into his arms. Despite his shock at my reaction, slowly his arms found their way around me. He breathed in my hair and I looked up at him, tipping to reach the corner of his mouth where I gave a soft peck.
Looking around now, I found my whiteboard and markers. I erased whatever was written on it and wrote, "Do you want to help me unpack? We could listen to music and stuff or you could just watch me unpack and judge my fashion sense, or lack thereof." I gave a cheesy smile and that broke his serious demeanor.
"Sure, I’m going to freshen up a bit then I’ll be right back." I nod, mentally agreeing to do the same. I turn to find where I put my facial scrub, when Emerson held me by the elbow, "Are you okay? Don’t put up a front or anything."
Little did he know I was accustomed to girls saying things like that and worse. I’ve lived through a multitude of Justine’s in my life, I doubt there’s something she could tell me that I haven’t heard someone else say in a worse way. I give her an 'A' for creativity though.
With my whiteboard in hand I nodded, "I’ve heard worse." Was all I said. I didn’t want to focus on that.
He sighs and leaves the room. I take a deep breath and kneel down to give my Chester some kisses. I missed him and he always knew how to make me feel better.
He jogged up to me and rested his head on the crook of my neck, I easily wrapped my arms around him and snuggled him in. He sat in the spot between my legs and I felt weak around him. My best friend.
I smile pulling away to make eye contact, "You’ll love me even when you’re an old cranky dog with like arthritis or something right?"
He gives me an expression of confusion and I smile. I head to the bathroom after finding my facial scrub and toothpaste. I then remember that my toothbrush was in Emerson’s room. I decide to get it later and now hop in the shower and take a long and steamy shower. I step out of the fogged bathroom with my towel wrapped around me and my hair dripping wet. Now that my body was clean my mouth felt awfully disgusting, so I decided to slip into a pair of black jeans with a loose ¾ sleeved gray top. I applied my necessary hair products and quickly wrapped it up in a bun to soak and set the way I wanted. With all this done I went over to Emerson to get my toothbrush. I knock on the door, not comfortable with just barging in.
What opens the door is nothing short of a God. A polyester blue towel wrapped around his lower waist, I allowed my eyes to roam and I saw the outline of his muscles. With a perfectly sculpted caramel brown midsection and broad shoulders that still had drops of water here and there, I was in the presence of some unearthly being. Standing at 6’3", his entire physique made me pant in awe, looking up at those hazel eyes with a twinkle of blue that made my legs feel like jelly and I’m sure that even if I could speak I’d still be staring him down like a prime rib at a cookout.
"Can I help you?" He jokes taking a step closer to me.
I open my mouth as if I could speak, but am still mesmerized by what exactly I’m looking at. I find myself nibbling on my bottom lip as I do one last sweep from head to toe and back up again. I sigh happily and shamelessly before finally addressing his question. I point inside his room, knowing better than to gesture wanting a toothbrush, considering his current state.
He steps to the side and allows me to walk in, he leaves the door open and watches as I go to his bathroom to take my toothbrush.
Once I have it I head back out to where Emerson was still standing, currently talking to someone, "-just stop. I will not be apologizing for what I said. I meant every word of it." Emerson says now.
"None of this is fair." Justine complains.
"Life isn’t fair," Emerson shoots back.
I decide to stop eavesdropping and leave before I hear something I shouldn’t, so I walk out from the bathroom.
"You can’t tell me that you don’t feel-" Justine then sees me walking out of Emerson’s bathroom and stops speaking, she glares. Emerson looks back at me also but I don’t make eye contact as I slide between them to head back to my room.
"Hey," Emerson takes hold of my elbow gently, "I’ll be over in 5 minutes okay."
I nod, "Take your time." I mouth carefully. My heart was racing and my mind was all over the place, but I didn’t want to be that girlfriend.
I walk back to my room and head to the bathroom. I brush my teeth then begin to unpack my things,not wanting to think too much about the conversation I overheard. But I can’t help but linger there even for just a second.
Why was Justine so against me and Emerson? I guess it’s because I never really told them what actually happened that night. Would that make things better? If she heard why I ran away and was found there, would that appease her, so that she’d stop attacking me with every breath I took? The thought of my father then re-enters my mind.
Chester feels me panicking and rushes over to my side. I sit among my hundreds of bags on the ground and take a deep breath. Emerson said he didn’t want me to cry over this horrible man anymore. He can’t come in and see me like this, but I can’t hold back either, that’s not healthy.
My panicking increases and I take a deep breath. It doesn’t hurt as much as before. Remembering the words I heard that lady say last night, I must admit that I was getting healthier and quicker than before at that. Less than two weeks ago I was incapable of even breathing without pain, now I could make certain sounds. I moaned last night didn’t I?
Shaking my head I push all these thoughts from my mind and continued to unpack. A couple of minutes later Emerson walks inside. He finds me in the midst of all my bags and smiles.
"Still need my help?" He jokes.
I smile up at him. And he falls amongst the bags, "How does one person purchase all this in a day?" He seems shocked.
I shrug nonchalantly. I hope I’m acting normal enough for him not to question me.
"You okay?" He asks after 5 minutes. Shoot.
I nod not looking his way, but he walks over and lifts my chin to face him. He looks into my eyes and I know he sees things he shouldn’t. He opens his mouth to speak. Suddenly Chance enters the room, "Adira,"
He stops after seeing us at the proximity we were, "Sorry, but I have good news."
I look up at him confused, "Your voice. It’s back."