What We Do for Love

Chapter 4

I wake up around noon, feeling refreshed from being able to sleep in. I didn't have any dreadful dreams. I did have this one about Eric and I, though.

It began in this modern living room. It was gorgeous. Hardwood floors with a pine finish. The walls were tan, with an organic green accent. The green made the room family friendly.

I could see myself walking through the garage door with my first born bundled in my arms. I could hear the doorbell ring signaling that my child's best friend is here to play. I can taste the Oreo cookies Eric got me for my birthday. I would sit on the couch, cuddled up with him, not sharing any.

A leather sectional couch framed the living room, begging for a family to have a Marvel marathon on. The couch seeping all of the leftover popcorn kernels into the crevices between the cushions. The parents wiping up the spilled soda on the surface with paper towels. It will all be worth it though, because the day would end with family fun and laughter. It would bond them closer.

Adjacent the couch is a flat screen above a brick fireplace. I imagine stockings hanging off the mantle during Christmas. The TV playing "A Charlie Brown Christmas".

A rug lies on the floor, ready to be rolled around on. The dog would gently play tug-of-war with the young boy. The laughter would bring delight to the whole house. When, and only if, the boy won, the dog would jump into his lap and cover his face with kisses.

In the dream though, the rug didn't have the young boy playing tug-of-war. Instead, there was a man sitting in basketball shorts and a Life Is Good t-shirt. I don't see his face, but I notice he is strong due to his muscular back. He is playing Barbies with a girl. She looks to be about eight years old. The smile never leaves her face.

The handsome man plays with a Ken doll, who keeps suspiciously crawling over to the girl and tickling her side. She squeals with laughter. She jumps up and starts to run toward me.

"Mommy! Help me! Daddy has been possessed by the tickle monster!" the precious girl cried.

She runs behind me, hiding her face in my back. The man chuckles and gets up. My breath gets caught in my throat. It's Eric. He jogs over and gives me a quick peck on the lips and an 'I love you', before swiftly dodging me and picking up the girl.

Her laughter fades out of my mind. That was the last my brain can remember. A smile spreads across my face against my will.

I notice I have been in this pile of pillows and blankets for too long. I sit up and take in a refreshing breath. I climb out of bed, heading in the direction of the closet with physical activity on my mind.

I walk into the training room with a towel draped around my neck and a water bottle in hand. I walk over to a bench to place my stuff. I wipe the condensation off my hands on my yoga pants, creating a damp blotch in the fabric.

I sit down on a nearby mat, pulling my feet toward me. I lean over, dragging my feet with me. I relish in the burn the stretching creates. It feels amazing, knowing something so simple can change your life for the better.

I slowly release my limbs, returning to the Indian style. I stand up, placing my right foot in front of me and my left, behind. I drop forward, bending the knee before me, stretching my left quadricep.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see something glimmer in the florescent light. I stand up out of my stance, and walk over. I bend down and see a piercing: without the body.

I study it closer and see blood covering the back. I raise my eyes to study my surroundings for anything else out of the ordinary. I see blood. That isn't odd. The thing that makes it odd is due to the amount. It looks as if someone was beaten unconscious; the person didn't stop after their victim's eyes lost their life.

I drag my focus to the piercing. It looks like it belongs in an eyebrow, due to the eyebrow hairs attached in the rim. The hair is blonde. The gem is black, shaped into a heptagon. It's unique, just like Eric.

I sprint into the cafeteria, shuffling through the crowd. I was a fish swimming upstream, going against the tides. The water roaring at me, protesting against my rebellion.

The sound of the doors reverberate against the rock walls when slammed open by my sweaty palms. All conversation ceases to coexist with my frantic breathing. All attention refocuses on my delirious eyes darting around the cafeteria in search of Eric.

I don't see him anywhere. He isn't with the leaders discussing inter-faction laws and the newest uprising. I don't see him with the drunks betting on who will bed the most women this week. I am so desperate I slide my eyes across the crowd to my friends. He isn't bickering with them.

My heart drops. It falls with the water in the chasm, exploring the dark abyss. All of my sanity has finally gone down the drain. The haunting thoughts that stalk me at night return with frightening strength. They tear at my brain tissue, burrowing deep within, poisoning me.

I feel a hand land on my shoulder. I scream; I jump out of my skin. I am on edge, being held together by strings. Something finally happened to Eric.

My eyes latch on to Tobias'. His face shows concern, but I see triumph and dominance laced deep within his soul. I detect his mouth moving, but I hear nothing.

He pulls on my arm. I wrench my hand free and run into the hallway, fishing my phone out of my sports bra. My fingers shake violently; an earthquake rumbling through my body. My heart blocking the nerves from communicating with my brain.

I can see Tobias come out of the cafeteria in my peripheral vision, but I couldn't care less. My fingers successfully call Eric's number. I listen to the rings while tears stream down my face.

"Eric, please pick up. Eric, please...," I mumble through my sobs.

I keep hitting voice mail. I look up into Tobias' face expecting to see shock that I'm begging for the leader. I feel betrayed when I see guilt in its place. It clicks instantly.

Tobias was the one who hurt Eric: my Eric. I twist around and sprint toward the infirmary. I hear Tobias call after me in the distance, but I can't stand to listen to the voice that hurt the love of my life.

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