Not My Territory - Chapter 11

He's not human... I don't care. What happens between Emerson and Adira now?

Remembering my father and all that I've experienced with him came back as if it was just yesterday I was being tossed around like a rag doll. The memories carried the same haunting quality they always did but I had to overcome them. I needed to make an effort to move past these experiences and free myself if the control they've established over my life.

So suddenly I hear my voice sound from what seemed like miles away, "I was at Stone Death Cliff that night because I had just escaped my drunk and high father, who after insisting that I was hiding food from him wrapped both his hands around my throat and squeezed until he felt the bones crack," Her face went white.

My wrist quaked as if a warning and a lightness spread in my chest followed by a pulsing in the back of my mind. Fear wouldn't win. I gulped a bit staring off straight ahead not looking at anything in particular.

"Still holding me by the throat he threw me down the stairs and insisted that I cooked food... food that was not there and hasn't been there for weeks. See it's funny," I looked up at an unapologetic Justine, "because what happened that night had been the least of the injuries and traumas I've sustained from him but something happened. I hit this... mental block of frustration that continued to suffocate me even while unconscious. So, once I gained consciousness, I was determined. Crawling out of the house, a bit disoriented, into the 30 degree weather I just.... ran. There wasn't a set destination or survival tactic in mind I just ran."

Looking back it was as though I admired myself for doing that. For darting the pain and endless cycle of my life and...running.

I continue with the story, "By the time I stopped running I was at Stone Death Cliff and had no energy.... or reason to keep going." She couldn't make eye contact with me, "So I decided that he wouldn't be able to take anything else from me if I wasn't alive anymore. That's where I was found and the remainder of my story you're aware of."

She greeted the conclusion of my story with an unaffected silence, coupled with an annoyance of sorts that awakened something in me. Soon my anger rolled off like tidal waves. She forced me to come face to face with this ugly reality just so that she could disapprove once it was revealed?

"Happy?" I taunt angry now, "Or was that not quite the story you were looking for?"

Her lip twitches in annoyance and though she opened her mouth to speak, nothing came out.

I then realize that was the first time everyone's heard anything about my past in detail. I begin to reconsider the extent of my reveal but considering the day I've had, I couldn't stop the outflow of words. Or emotions. I've been betrayed, pushed around and made a mockery of my entire life. That ended now.

Emerson had made it his duty to change my perspective of myself, but that couldn't happen unless I wanted to change. Now, I'm taking that initiative. I'm going to hold on to what's good and let go of what's not. Biologically, my father will always be my father but that doesn't mean I have to be his submissive weak slave.

Emerson, despite his lies, was a new light in my life. He hid things and betrayed my trust and surely had sum of explaining to do but amidst all this his intentions are pure.... his heart, and his love are... real. He cares for me, I knew that but I hated what he did.

Refocusing on Justine I felt as my anger festered. What was her issue? I had questions for her dislike, I needed to know where the roots of her problems lied.

"I have a question for you," I direct it to her, the statement seemed to stun everyone, including Justine, "Why do you hate me so much? I... I get that I came here without much explanation but everyone else acted differently to that. You took it really personally. Why?"

Her eyes lit up in anger, as if I shouldn't have asked. At this point however, nothing scared me. I ripped off a bandage that was so painful just now that my chest pulsed anxiously. I've been living in constant and growing fear forever since I was 2 years old and now at 19 I was sick of others taking advantage of me. I wanted answers and deserved them. My mind was tired of fear and my body was exhausted of living in it.So with this new resolution in mind, I swallowed my fear and hid it deep within me as I met Justine's glare with a stare of confidence and an eyebrow tilt that I knew pissed her off.

"Well you little twit," she spits and I smile at her adjective as I drink some water, "It's because before you came along, Emerson was my mate."

I couldn't stop the short laugh that leaves my lips, and I cover my mouth quickly. I shouldn't push my luck too much, but this feeling was exciting!

"All this anger and hate because of Emerson?" I ask, "I mean I get that he's attractive but why get upset at me because of his feelings?"

Her face goes red, "There's more to it than that." She insists through her teeth. Her weak argument provided me with many opportunities.

I sit back in my chair smiling slightly at her, "Fair enough, I'm new to this whole wolf thing, so there's probably something in this equation I'm missing." I place my hands on the table, "quench my ignorant thirst with an explanation." I'm ready to listen.

"I-it's," For the first time since I met her, I saw Justine stumbling, and I was the cause. For a minute pride swelled my bones. But suddenly her posture went erect and her hateful eyes glistened. My timidness returned and I felt my voice go away with a bit of my confidence, "It's hard for me to understand why he'd go from this," She gestures at herself, "To you, oh so quickly. Such a hefty decision."

I see Charice ready to defend me but Chelsea stops her in time for the words to leave my lips, "Just a personal preference I'm sure." A protectiveness filled me. My head swirled and I was faced with a fight or flight situation, boy was I ready to fight! So I allowed the words to slide from my tongue, "Some dogs like bones, but from what I'm learning wolves seem to like meat." She gasps and I challenge her anger with a glare like none other.

The princess jumps to her feet, "What did you just say?" She starts to march over to me.

I jump up as well, "You hear me loud and clear," Gavin steps in front of me stopping my pursuit and Chance holds Justine by her shoulders.

"Okay let's all calm down," Vince says stepping forward. Justine shrugs off Chances hands and I take my seat.

"I might be very out of line by saying this," Gavin says raising his hand, "But, Adira, that was a good line!"

I laugh before taking a breath and returning my plate to the sink.

Emerson walks over to me timidly now, "Do you still want to wait until tomorrow to talk about all this?"

I appreciate the fact that he didn't bring up my comment, but I am reminded of his lies of all the secrets he's held from me and the ones he still has, "Yes."

"Very well," he says with his hands up in surrender, "But... Can I talk to you on the porch please?"

I think it over. "Why?"

"Just to mention some smaller things that I feel need to be said," He's driven by this.

I wanted to hear him out but, looking at him right now got my blood boiling. It was as if the deceit the lies all re-entered my mind. Despite this, I guess a short introductory explanation wouldn't hurt so i agree. He guides me outside, grabbing a coat on the way to the porch, placing it expertly over my shoulders.

Outside the wind continues to blow softly but the snow stays still. The moon was bright largely looking down at the artful nature below. Sitting on its throne that was the constellations that man interpreted, depended upon daily. In this moment envied the moon, it must've had the perfect view, seeing the tops of trees bowing to it, the scurry of animals hiding from it's truthful light, conducting the orchestra of the waves globally. It was powerful.

Under its gaze were Emerson and I. His physique should have been a warning enough of his other-human-ness, the width of his shoulders, and the build of his mid section. He very stance indicated a leader, but he was also my boyfriend, if not then a friend, someone I trusted with a part of me I had never handed over and though he still held it delicately in his hands, I now felt the need to take it away from him. He isn't who he said he was. Or was it who I thought he was?

His voice interrupts my thoughts, "I know I have so much explaining to do, and it's not fair to ask you to stay here and listen to me, or hear me out, because I haven't been honest to you," He speaks slowly, thinking carefully of every word, "But Adira I really do care about you-"

"If you cared you wouldn't have lied," I insist looking down, "How can I know that you meant all those things you said before when it was so easy for you to hide all... this?"

"I know it might look that way," he steps closer, " But I care about you too much. I admit I was being selfish, I didn't want you to run away from us... from me, b-because without you around everything changes for the worse. I've told you before, that you're the source of my happiness and my joy and I meant it," he tilts my chin up and our eyes meet. I see the pure honesty, the sincerity written in bold capital letters over his irises, "When you're not here the air gets thin... the world spins around me in confusion, my whole life just flips upside down and my heart aches. And I know that's a selfish reason to not share this, but Adira I was so scared of losing you. And that's the truth."

My baby! My heart jumped out to this man... wolf. To Emerson. My Emerson. I knew there were things I didn't know, things that couldn't be explained by anyone but him. I knew that I couldn't go back to my father and I didn't want to. But what I didn't know, was how to move past this.

He was basically begging me, and I couldn't say no. That frustrated me. I can't let him off the hook this easily, what he did really hurt. But despite it all, I loved him and realized just then that I didn't love him any less because of this incident. I cared for him and didn't want him to go to sleep thinking he'd wake up without me.

Ever since Emerson became a part of my life I've been stronger. Sure it's been 3 weeks but look at the results. I was faced with something fear gripping today, something that would normally let me shut down providing so many opportunities to be weak and defenseless, the way I've been raised. But instead, what did I do? I fought for answers, I refused to be pushed around, I stated how I felt. I stood my ground. That's never happened before. He's helping me grow, just like he said he would and he made me fall in love with him. And he fell for me too, I saw it in his eyes, they spoke to me clearly.

He isn't human.

But I don't care.

I looked up at the moon and saw its power and strength, fueled by the sun's light, even when the sun wasn't there. That's what I wanted to be for Emerson. The source of his light, the source of his happiness and joy and strength. But did he deserve it?

I took a shaky breath and refocused on him, he gazes at me nervously. I'd been quiet for a really long time. "Y-you won't lose me," My voice is soft, but sure, "I- I just," I pull the coat closer to my skin, "wished you were more honest. I don't know if I can trust you as much as I did initially." His eyes lose their shine as he takes a step back. I'm not pushing you away. His reaction breaks my heart enough to pull him close, "But we can fix that."

"We can?"

"We can," I affirm wrapping my arms around myself, "You just have to... be honest with me from now on. I appreciate you and your family and all you've done for me this far, but now that you've told me this you can't hold anything back."

"Done," He smiles timidly. I see the want in his eyes to comfort me, to pull me in his arms and kiss me, tell me he's sorry in a way that words can't translate, but I stay my distance. I can't let him think that everything can be fixed that way.

"A-and give me time to move past this," I add staring in his eyes, " I will open up to you with time, but I need to be able to trust you with my past and that's a lot in itself. I need to be able to trust you with our future."

He agrees with a smile, "Of course," He takes a step forward, "And it wasn't that I didn't want to tell you but there are certain things we can expose to human regarding-"

"Tomorrow," I remind him quickly.

"Tomorrow." He nods and steps away respectfully, no feelings hurt. I appreciated it. He opened the door for me and removed my coat, placing it on the rack. Chance dressed my wounds again after my shower and I watched a movie with Charice before deciding to go to bed.

"See you tomorrow," Charice says still engrossed in the plot. I smile and walk up from the basement, a bit easier now, to the living room. I take a break at the top of the staircase and begin to hear voices. I wasn't planning on eavesdropping but Emerson's voice made me reconsider.

"No, I'm just happy she's still here." He laughs, "That was the most terrifying thing I've ever had to do." He sips his beer easily.

"I think you're more whipped than Anthony at this point," Gavin's jokes gets a laugh from everyone.

"And I'm really whipped," Anthony agreed taking a swig of his beer, laughter building.

"Call it what you want," Emerson says with a relieving sigh, moving a bit uncomfortably in his seat.

"If you mean factually, then whipped is the correct terminology," Chance adds and the laughter increases.

Cody mimics the sound of whip and Emerson shakes his head as his friends laugh.

I nibble on my bottom lip. They were really putting him through the wringer. I ignored the thoughts and continued on my journey up to my room. I yelled a goodnight to all the guys and they shouted back.

I'm not sure what compelled the actions that followed, but it was too late to stop it. I walked over to where Emerson sat, and stood behind the couch as I tilted his head far back, "This changes nothing understood?"

I don't give him much time to react before I lean in kissing him tenderly. He was unsuspecting and the power gave me goosebumps, all along my arms. I wasn't for PDA, he knew that, but I felt compelled to do this especially as I initiated another savory kiss.

When I pull away it was to speak, "You are by no means off the hook,"

"Uh...yeah I-I get it," he's stunned.

"Good," I leaned down to his lips for one final kiss, biting lightly on his bottom lip as I pulled away this time, "This was selfishly to soothe my needs and with that I say, goodnight," I feel the goosebumps on his neck as I whisper.

"G-Goodnight," he stutters and I smile softly looking up at who was now audience. The guys all had sly smirks on their faces still sipping from their beers pretending to not have paid attention.

No one laughs at my baby.

I continue up the stairs and was able to feel his smile despite the distance.

"Okay not sure what that was but can she teach it to Charice?" Anthony laughs.

A warm feeling spread in my chest as I walked up to my room. I quickly slid under my covers after kissing Chester on the head. I couldn't let Emerson get away with lying t me for so long, but, he couldn't forget that I loved him still.

That night I dreamt of wolves. It was as if any memory or knowledge that I retained about them over the years, found their way back to the forefront of my mind. I saw snippets of a program on national geographic, I saw the wolf in the woods, the one who lured me out. I saw Emerson shifting and his wolf walking over to me, eyes ablaze analyzing its environment with a sniff, hearing the rush of the water miles and miles away with a hearing like none other. Could he hear so keenly that my thoughts would be easily audible? Of course not. These thoughts were private.

Just like this life that Emerson had lived. My thoughts are secrets written in invisible ink and stored away in a treasure chest tossed to the sea. His life as a wolf must've been interesting, filled with a color and vivid imagery that I could only dream of. No fear of contracting the next viral disease, no fear of the cold and it's witty dark humor, no fear of kidnappers. Because wherever you went, you weren't alone You had the company of a giant. A powerful giant.

What did I have? My experiences? My abusive past that has left scars that go deeper than a physical level? How can that protect me? Does it even have a lesson? Is that the strongest weapon in my arsenal? I woke myself with these thoughts of self-doubt, I looked down at my hands and they were shaking vigorously. I sat up in my bed for the fourth time that night and gave up on sleep. I looked at the clock. 5:24 am.

6 on and off hours of sleep was enough right? Or was it 4 hours? Either way I gave up on sleep and thought of what to do, to put my mind to ease. I then remembered my solitude, the danger I was in. I'd just been kidnapped and beat the day before and now that it all settled in fear rose. With a blast of energy I jumped to my feet and slipped into my slippers as I wrapped my robe around my body. Chester didn't hear my shuffling and I appreciated it as I tiptoed past him and out the door into the even darker hallway.

I remembered where Emerson's room was and found myself there and slid inside. I heard the sound of his breathing and felt guilty for waking him up. I removed the robe and threw it on a nearby chair. I slipped out of my slippers and pulled the sheets back as I climbed into his bed. I felt immediate relief even though he didn't realize I was there. I was safe here and my mind could go to rest.

I was about to slip into slumber when I felt him pull my body into his. I gasped at the immediate contact but soon relished in it. He kissed my shoulder and wrapped his arms around me, "Are you okay?" He asks a bit awake.

"I-" Should I tell him?, "I keep having nightmares."

His body is more responsive now, "They're only dreams baby. No one's going to touch you while I'm here."

I wanted to mention my kidnapping but knew that would be a low blow.

"What if the kidnappers come back?"

"They won't."

"What if my dad finds me?"

"I already told you, he'd better be ready for a fight." He pulls me even closer, "You're mine. Sure you're upset at me, but you're still mine. No one is touching you but me, and only if you want me to."

I smile and turn to face him, "I love you," I say suddenly, "But you really hurt me Emerson,"

He sighs. "I know, and I'll never forgive myself for it but I love you so much," He kissed my forehead.

Despite the circumstances I sighed and happily fell asleep. When I woke, it was 7:30 and I knew I wouldn't be going back to sleep.

"Awake?" Emerson asks with his head right above me.

I nod and stretch turning to face him. We gaze at each other for a long time and he reaches forward to sweep my cheek. Finally I speak, "I don't care that you're a wolf. I don't care that you're not human. Last night I made a decision, a decision to be more confident to gain some strength despite the ugly past I have."

"That's amazing," he says truthfully, "and I really want to help you get there,"

"I know you do, and I want you to, b-but," I can't look at him, "I can't let you help me, until I know you, or until you know me and we know about us."

He sighs, "You're right. That's fair." He moves a few strands from my face and kisses my cheek, "We're going to talk about a lot today, and I want you to know that I'm willing to stick close to you and always be here for you."

"Okay," I smile and lean into his lips for a soft kiss, "I'm going to shower and change my clothes, then we can talk?"

"Definitely," He glances at my lips and I watch him as his internal struggle for power take place. I see him ready to move forward and take me but his conscience holds him back. I find myself at the same point, wanting so much, but knowing I shouldn't. We shouldn't.

"I want you to kiss me," I admit staring at his lips, "But not yet."

He nods and I see his carnal desires disappear with the shake of his head.

"Where do you want to talk?" He asks now. I shrug as I start to rise from his bed, "No one's coming around till like noon, so we could use the living room space. I could make us some hot chocolate and we can talk in the couch."

"That actually sounds perfect," I smile at him.

After arriving to my room I shower and slip into a pair of gray leggings and a loose top. I glance my reflection as my fingers combed through my hair and for the first time decided to do a reasonable analysis of what I saw. I looked down at my chest, my stomach my thighs and legs and realized that I wasn't fat. Sure I had curves and my stomach wasn't perfectly flattened into a six pack but I wasn't hideous. Amidst the creases and stretch marks I saw a beauty. For the first time I saw a... beauty. I looked at my reflection and it didn't look morphed. I sighed and felt relieved.

Chester was still fast asleep and I smiled at my little pumpkin as I quietly left the room. I walked (limped) down the stairs to the living room which was dimly lit by the lamps, yet warm and cozy. In the kitchen Emerson was pouring out warm milk in two mugs that had powdered chocolate. I smiled and stirred mine before heading over to the couch.

"So I was thinking that since we're sort of reintroducing ourselves to each other we should start with questions as it pertains to who we are to each other and then get into details individually. Does that sound okay?"

"Sounds perfect actually." I smile and turn to face him in the couch, "Does that include me asking questions about you being a wolf and how that plays into us being a... couple?"

He smiles and nods, "Yeah it does. Go for it,"

"Okay, so I know what you are now and what I am but I don't get how those connect. And people keep saying that we're mated or we're each other's mate. So I'm confused about what that means?" I say looking down at the hot chocolate in my hands, "I know you said it's an equivalent to marriage, but there's more to it right?"

"There is more to it." He takes a sip from his mug, "Being a wolf comes with some abilities that set us apart from different beings," He spoke precisely, making eyes contact that made me feel comforted and safe, "For the sake that you are human I'll compare how humans and wolves experience things okay?" I nod, "Good so as wolves we experience emotions like pain, heartbreak, joy and love at a much deeper level than humans do. Emotionally speaking 'being in love' is the same concept in the human form as it is in the wolf form, which is to have an amorous passion for another person, but unlike wolves, for humans that's where it ends. The connection is merely emotional, you can connect on a physical level through sex, but there are more limitations with how you can show and feel love."

"Do wolves not have these limitations?" I ask.

"We have limitations, just much fewer." He sits upright and makes eye contact with me, "For a wolf to fall in love or mate with another individual, expounds the human boundaries you've become accustomed to. I-it doesn't just mean that I care for your well-being, it means I'm affected by it. Physically when a couple has mated they both experience the world through each other's eyes. They can hear each other's thoughts, they experience the pain they're feeling, the joy they have, the memories they've made. It's all intertwined and wired together as one thing.Throughout history there have been wolves who were so closely mated that even their physical characteristics would resemble each other's, and with these changes came power."

"I'm confused," I say honestly, "How would their physical characteristics resemble each others?"

He thinks for a moment, "There was a case in Germany around 1831 of a mated wolf couple, who'd mated when they were pretty young like around 17 or 18 and were now in their 70's. Their bond was so centered, so powerful that their fingerprints were identical." My eyes went wide, "It sounds ridiculous but it's true. I only used that example because it exemplifies just how intact mates can get. There isn't a standard on how much you should mate with your partner or how to act. As long as you find them then you're good."

"You make it sound impossible," I say still stunned at all this.

"Well sadly, many people go through their lives having not met their mate so it is possible."

" Is there a specific person? And how do you know if you've met them?"

"Hm okay," he thinks for a moment, "each family line has a trait that is activated once you've met your mate."

"Like a genetic trait?"

"Yes, a genetic trait that remains dormant until you've met your mate."

"How is it activated?"

"Basic interaction will be enough, so like talking to them in line for coffee, or brushing by them at a club."

That was mind-blowing!

"And through those interactions your genetic trait activates?"

"Yep," He smiles gently at my excitement.

"What's your family trait?"

"Well family traits are usually passed on paternally but ours is maternal, coming from my mother's side, where our eyes, become blue." I put away my hot chocolate and looked in his eyes and saw the specks of blue here and there, that only became more prevalent as time went on.

"Your... your eyes a-are..."

"They are," He smiles timidly, "But I don't want you to feel pressured because of it."

"How are you sure it's me?" I verbalize my fears.

He looks at me confused and put his mug down as well, "Because we can do these really amazing things. I can appear in your dreams and you in mine. I can feel your pain and read your fears like a book. Not to mention they only became blue when those things started happening."

"And you've never experienced that with anyone else?" I look down but his hands cupped my cheeks.

"Not once," He lifts my chin, "Hey, you're it. I know that and I'll never doubt it for a second, but I'd never force you to think similarly."

"And you're not... disappointed?"

His eyes went wide in shock, "Disappointed? At what? That I got the honor of mating with only a goddess?" I blush but look away, he delicately redirects my vision, "Look at me, I couldn't be happier at having you as a mate."

"Really?" My voice is shriveled.

"Definitely," he placed his head on mine and kissed my cheek, "you're perfect."

"That's not true," I give a short laugh with a sigh.

"To me you are," he adds my eyes close as I tilt my head toward the ceiling, "and I promise you, that is what I will spend my life proving to you."

My eyes filled up behind my closed eyelids. I hated that he knew what I wanted, knew what I deserved and was more than willing to provide it. He leaned in but I moved away slightly.

"I'm going to show you something," He promises and I open my eyes.

"Okay," I agree gently and watched as he hopped closer to me. The proximity was dangerous.

He leans close and soon his lips are right above mine and for a moment I feel every skin cell on my lips, on his lips, "Do you feel that?" He whispers in my mind. I nod, "What about this?" He opens my mouth slowly with his tongue and I feel each of his taste-buds against my lips. I gasp softly as my stomach fell and it all felt like so much, all at once. His hands travel to my waist and my mine went up behind his head pulling him closer.

In my head I heard his voice, "This is a mere hint of what we can feel together."

"A-are you feeling... anything?" I ask in his mind timid of the answer.

"Everything," He smiles on my lips and I get a tingly feeling inside.

I could get used to this. My senses seemed to be hyper engaged with his and I loved each second of the pleasure he was providing. I pull away from him slowly, still holding him close, "Am I only able to feel like this with you?"

"Yes and me with you," He says gently, "What do you feel?" His eyes are excited.

"I felt y-your taste buds, your fingerprints on my skin, the chocolate on your breath." He smiles at me and I return the favor, "It all feels... amazing."

"Mates are known to not be able to control these desires once they are found out." He smiles and wiggles his eyebrows softening the mood.

I giggle and reach forward to finish my hot chocolate, "Is that why Charice and Anthony are always making out?"

He laughs and finishes his as well, "Basically," He sweeps some hair away from my face and leans in again but I backed away with a smile, "Come on," His voice was so deep, it seemed to rumble, "Please baby,"

"Gosh there has to be a way to resist that," I crumble underneath him. I looked around and there was no sign of anyone coming by or coming inside. We have other things to talk about, other things to reveal about ourselves, but for now all I wanted to do was soak in him, and all that he was to me. I had to resist this.

"Until you figure that out," He smiles and bites on my lip gently and the tingly flows from my stomach to other places.

"No," I pull away and sat more upright to face him. He wore a perfect smile and stared at me happily, "Now that you've shared your part, I should share mine."

The atmosphere darkened just a bit.

"Okay," he took my hands in his, "remember only things relating to relationships and stuff you think might affect ours."

I nod, "So my upbringing wasn't the best," I start, "And based on the horrible relationship I had with my father you'd think I'd choose my boyfriends wisely," I gulped a bit and he gave my hands a light squeeze, "I got my first boyfriend at 16 I think and that was... terrifying to say the least. His name was Trevor, we dated for like 7 months and to this day, no one else scares me more than he does. It was an extremely abusive relationship only ended because he went away for college and didn't want baggage." I rolled my eyes at the thought, though my wrists trembled in his hands.

"What about after him?"

"I dated 2 other guys but they weren't as bad. Still fairly horrible but more verbally than in the other ways that Trevor was."

"Verbally?" He asks.

"'You should really lose some weight' , 'You can't ever make it in the singing business unless there's a pole and dollar bills involved' , 'You're such dead weight sometimes always complaining'" I mimicked their idiotic voices.

Emerson was stunned, "Assholes," he sighed.

"I became so accustomed to hearing it from them and my father that I just started believing it."

"But you know it's not true right?" He moved a bit closer.

I shrug, "I...I don't know. It's becoming easier to see beyond the lies," I think about getting dressed this morning, "But after hearing things like that.... a... all my life," My eyes filled up despite how hard I tried to hold back the tears.

He didn't say anything but pulled me in and I rested my head on his shoulder and pulled him close.

"It's a good thing that part of your life is over then," He pulled away and looked at my wet face and red puffy eyes, "Because now I can start showering you in truthful compliments on the daily."

Despite the pain in my chest I laughed at his silliness and wiped my tears, "And know this," He started speaking again, "No one is ever going to speak to you like that ever again, or treat you that inhumanely. Got it?"

I nod and put some hair behind my ear but the tears hadn't stopped yet. Emerson rose to his feet and returned with a small box of Kleenex tissues and a bin. I thanked him and he held me close.

"We don't have to talk anymore," he says, "I think I know enough."

I nod and rest my head in his lap as the tears roll. He rubs my shoulders and arms, kisses my cheek while whispering encouraging words constantly. Finally when the trembling stopped and my mind rid itself of the toxic nightmarish reminders of my past, I looked at the clock. 11:26.

I sat up and threw all the tissues I'd used- probably half the box- in the bin and turned to face him.

"You okay?" He wasn't being condescending or mean and I loved that about him. I loved him.

I can't believe I loved him. It's been 3 weeks, but here I was confessing that I loved this guy. Did I really? I did. There wasn't a doubt present in my mind. Maybe it had to do with the supernatural element that was at play here, like the dreams that has lasted months even before our actual meeting, or the fact that we've been mad to one another. Whatever it was, this feeling I had, was love.

"I love you," I confess, "I mean it, I really do love you. You really hurt me but... I still love you and I hate that I'm able to forgive you so quickly."

A boyish smile fills his face, "I love you too."
Published: 5/16/2017
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