Her Chosen Love

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Chapter 21

Layla's pov

I never knew how destructive memories could be. I never knew that they had the power to renew pain and bring about the feeling of hopelessness that you believed you had forgotten forever. I had wished for my memories back, and that is what I got. I just never imagined that I had something so dark in my past that I would wake up gasping for breath, fresh from the nightmares I call memories.

Every night I stare up at the ceiling too scared to go to sleep - too scared I would wake up in the darkest place in my mind where my cruelest memories reside. My appearance has started to show my many sleepless nights. And I can tell everyone is getting worried about me.

I want to tell them that I am fine - that I will get better - but to be honest, I truly don't know. I remember feeling mostly fine when it first happened, but I guess the memories coming to me all at once brought all the feelings at once also. All the pain, fear, and desperation I felt during those times hit me, and all I could do was watch as the walls behind my composure broke down and showed everyone what I hid from the world.

It was again one of those sleepless nights, and I had already counted the ceiling tiles three times to keep myself awake. The only thing really keeping me awake was a whip or a flash of a blade every time I closed my eyes. I used to hate coffee, but now it has become my best friend. It saves me from the pain I dread late at night.

I knew that I would have to learn to cope. I knew sooner or later my memories would drag me into the abyss they call depression if I didn't overcome them. But how can you overcome a fear you are too terrified to confront? How do you cope with something you are too afraid to face? I wanted to be stronger - stronger than my past, stronger than all the cruel things that happened to me - but I didn't know how to get there, and that is what broke me the most.

Maybe I didn't know how to be strong. Maybe I was just meant to be one of those small, frightened woman that hid behind everyone. I didn't necessarily want to be like them, but I knew that was inevitable if I continued the way I have been.

Suddenly a knock at my door jolted me out of my thoughts, and I quickly checked my face for tears and put my coffee mug under the bed. Only after doing this, I realized the time. I had finally made it through the night, and I now knew I would not be left alone. Every day I was never left alone, and I was glad they actually cared. It made me feel a little less alone.

"Sis," Liam called through the door. "I was wondering if you want to join us for breakfast or have me bring something up?"

Usually I would say something along the lines of I'm not hungry, but I knew by doing that, I would continue hurting the people that I care about. Taking a deep breath, I walked to the door cracking it open and smiled at Liam. It hurt seeing this simple act shock my brother, but I knew I deserved it.

"Give me time to shower, and I will be right down." As I said this, his eyes shined with joy, and he quickly nodded.

With one last smile, I closed the door and began to look for something to wear. I needed something that said I was alright, but didn't overdue it. After looking through my wardrobe, I decided on a pair of shorts and a simple t-shirt.

I slowly made my way to the kitchen where I knew everyone would be gathered, but hesitated at the door. By the pause in the other room, I knew that my presence was known, which cause my breathing to become labored.

I knew I had to be brave so I took a deep breath and put on a brave face. I opened the door and gave everyone my most convincing smile. They seemed shocked at first but soon gave me a smile in return. I grabbed an apple from the fruit basket and sat down on the couch.

Everyone began to resume what they were doing, and I relaxed as I let the easy chatter surround me. I didn't want to be apart of any conversation. I just wanted to listen to the voices of the friends and family I have left. I enjoyed listening to them and I was content to just hear their voices.

Suddenly someone tapped my shoulder, sending the long lost sparks through my body. I looked up and gave Adrian a smile. He smiled back and slowly sat beside me. I was upset that his movements around me have gotten so hesitant, but I knew that it was to be expected. After so long in my room everyone would be cautious around me. I hated the awkwardness that now surrounded us, especially the tension that could be felt between Adrian and myself, and I wish it would just go away.

I wanted everything go back to normal. I wanted to wake up next to Adrian and know that I was safe. I wanted to say I still had a mother that I could visit any time. I wanted to go back when I knew who held my heart. I always loved Adrian, but someone how Aaron snuck his way in. When I was in a rough spot he was there to help me. He made me feel alive when I didn't want to move at all, and now I didn't know if I would ever see him again, let alone him be the guy I fell in love with.

Not being able to stand it anymore, I stood up and lied through my teeth. "I'll be right back. I left something in my room."

I walked as quickly as I could out the room without looking suspicious. I didn't want them thinking that I was going back to the way I was. I wanted them to know that I was trying. Just as I made it to my room, arms wrapped around and I sunk into the warm, tingly embrace.

"It's okay, love. I have you."

Adrian's pov

I was again holding her as she cried and it broke me as it did the first time. I never wanted her to hurt like she does. She shouldn't have to go through this pain, and yet here she was crying again.

Every time something like this happened, I rethink my decision of bringing her into this world. I think about how if I would have just let here live her life she would be at home with her family and friends still happy. No nightmares to come to her at night, no fear of being targeted, just happiness and freedom from pain and hurt.

As I felt her breaths even out, I picked her up and carried her to my room. I gently set her on the bed and I crawled in beside her, causing her to cuddle into my side. Stroking her hair, I fell to sleep next to my mate.

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