“Vegas,” he said, his voice rough. “You sleepin’ at the bottom of the bed curled into a ball because you’re afraid of me.”
“I didn’t go to sleep down there last night. I probably rolled down there when you jumped up. Out of reflex.”
“Out of fear,” he snapped, his eyes fierce. “How’s your wrist?” His eyes moved down to my hands. He lifted my sore wrist.
“Mostly better.” If I didn’t use it too much, but I didn’t say that.
He grinded his teeth tight.
“Maybe…” I mused and looked to his face for a reaction, “Maybe if we play some games, it’ll help you release some frustration, and…”
He took a step back. I stopped speaking.
We stared at one another. He clearly didn’t like that idea. My heart sank. His state of mind was worse than I thought.
“Zack is sending me some information for a guy in the UK. He’ll do video appointments. I’ll give it a shot. See what he says. Ain’t taking sleeping pills or baring my soul or anything like that. Just wanna see if there are some things I can do to make sure I don’t hurt you in the middle of the night.”
“I could sleep with a taser under my pillow. You get unruly… zap.”
His face split into a smile. He moved towards me and put his hands to my jaw and held it while kissing me. My hands came up to rest on his chest.
“Love you,” I whispered.
“Love you, baby. No games right now. I’m not in the right frame of mind. Okay?”
I nodded and snuggled against him.
My initial chat with Ol
iver wasn’t too bad, but I can’t say the conversation did much. I used the fake name. I wore a ball cap and then blocked the camera two minutes in. Didn’t like being on the guy’s screen, not knowing who else was there.
He didn’t balk about my blocking the camera, didn’t ask a whole lot of questions. Maybe that’s because I was on the offensive from the word hello. Told the guy I’d experienced some family trauma, lost my father recently, and was having dreams and waking up in a rage, didn’t want to hurt my girl. Told him my future was uncertain at the moment.
He suggested journaling. I laughed. He shrugged, looking like he was rolling with it (I could still see him on screen), not offended. He asked what the dreams were about. I lied and said I didn’t remember.
He didn’t get frustrated, seemed like a patient guy, so by the end of the video call, I said I’d write down the dreams if I remembered them, told him I’d think about what I wanted from my future, and we agreed to talk again a week later. I figured at the end of the call it was maybe a waste of time. I hadn’t fully decided.
I found her on the rooftop terrace by the pool. She was playing a game on her tablet, sitting on a lounger, facing the water.
“What ‘cha doin’?” I asked, lifting the back of the lounger into an upright position. “Scoot a bit.”
She shimmied forward enough for me to climb in behind her.
“Nothin’. Gonna watch the sunset.”
“You didn’t invite me?”
“Sorry.” She leaned back against me.
The sky was turning orange and pink.
She let out a happy purr sound as she squirmed back and tipped her head back to see me. I leaned forward enough to kiss the tip of her nose and then we stared ahead at the sky.
“This place is amazing,” she said with a sigh. “I like watching the sun set with you.”