I was gasping. Air. Precious air.
The light went on. He was hovering over me. His face was bewildered. I was gasping, choking, still kicking…in an absolute state of terror.
He pulled me up into his arms. “Oh fucking shit! Shit! Talk to me, Athena. Talk to me.”
I was sputtering and choking. He was rocking me. I wanted him off of me. I tried to shove away, but he wasn’t letting go.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so fucking sorry.”
I pushed and shoved while I kept coughing and crying. He wasn’t letting me go.
“Baby, please…” He croaked out.
I finally went limp in his arms and he loosened his grip. That’s when I pushed away and pointed in his face and I hoarsely screeched at him. “Please, please get some fucking help!”
I stormed out of the room, downstairs to the kitchen and drank a bottle of water, choking on it.
He was behind me.
I spun around to glare at him.
His eyes were filled with horror. Both of his hands were in his hair and he was just shaking his head.
“Get some fucking counseling, Tommy, before you kill me and wake up alone with nothing but your fucking demons!”
I stormed past him, knocking him with my shoulder, and then I was back up the stairs and in the bedroom farthest away from ours, the one that Lisa and I had slept in the night before my wedding.
I climbed into the bed, under the covers, and bawled my eyes out. For a long fucking time.
A while later, he was climbing in, and it woke me. It was dawn.
“Hey.” He curled into my back. His skin was warm and he smelled like bodywash. He’d just had a shower.
“Let me guess,” I mused hoarsely. My throat was very sore from all the screaming, I guess. Sore inside, sore outside. Another bruised throat, courtesy of Tommy Ferrano. “Half the night on the roof punching the punching bag and swimming your frustrations away?”
“No,” he said. “Half a bottle of whisky and a call to my counselor.”
I jolted in surprise. “Your counselor?”
“You woke up your counselor in the middle of the night?”
“It was office hours already in London.”
I said nothing.
“I did a quick sesh just before our wedding, to get a feel for the guy. Wasn’t convinced I’d do a second call. Slept good for a few nights, even with the house full, even with the wedding hubbub. Was busy in the boathouse, building stuff, fixin’ shit. Figured that helped, thought I’d found a way to get my mind off shit, you know?”
I nodded, not saying anything.
His arms were around me; he was spooning me. He kissed my neck. “But, I don’t know what the fuck. Clearly, I’m not past it. Gonna get you that zapper. Not jokin’. Sleep with it under your pillow until this thing is under control.”
“Maybe I’ll just sleep in here. Safer that way.”
“Fucking no!” he barked. My body jolted.
He sighed and kissed my jaw. “I need you beside me, baby. Honest to fucking God. Without you beside me at night, who the fuck knows how bad it’d be. You have any idea how much better my nights have gotten since you? Even despite this shit weighing on me.”