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Whisper

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Summary

Nathan: Willow I love you. I need that to be enough for you to WANT to heal. Because I love you! Now the question is; are YOU going to take it or leave it? Willow: But what if I don`t wanna be fixed? This novel follows the story of teenage loner Willow in her everyday routine of fighting the demons that live in her mind. she thinks all hope is lost.... until she meets Nathan... who challenges her to believe, and to fight back, and to have faith for a brighter tomorrow....

Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
1
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
13+

Untitled chapter

Whisper

By

Aobakwe Jasmine Lingiwe Diteko

+267 77600291

Foreword

I liken this novel to Clementine Von Radics``For Teenage Girls With Wild Hearts And Trembling Ambitions` because it is my way of saying to young women out there that they are not alone. Not in this battle, and to let them know, wherever they are and whoever they are that the battle with depression is not yours, it`s the Lord`s… so give it to Him and rest and trust in Him with all your heart. He did it for me, He can and will most definitely do it for you too! And know that it`s OK that you don`t know how to explain your sadness, with depression you never do, you just have a body that wants to survive with a mind that wants to die… No one should ever make you feel that you`re being unreasonable, just because you can`t point to where the pain is for diagnosis, just hold on to hope. And never give in... Keep swimming… you`re a warrior… Keep swimming… Don`t ever drown… Keep swimming!

Preface

Apparently we hold on to our demons because they held us when no-one else would. Having been through a battle with depression through most of my life I can relate to that, I did relate to that. Because on nights so viciously lonely and tormenting there was no one else there but hurt, sadness, memories and this self-taunting image in my head of things getting better one day.

It seemed to always strike on nights where I was alone, or early in the morning at 7am when I would want to do nothing but disappear, not die, just stop exiting. Sometimes just breathing was good enough, but there were those days where it hurt when I breathed. Where I would have to fight from collapsing on the floor and retching until I felt better, where I would happily welcome a shower because the water running down would mask my own tears running down. Where the corner was my best friend, because I felt safe there, out of sight, invisible.

I always felt that I wasn`t alive, just here, not fine, barley breathing, on the outside of my life looking in. the worst part of my existence was that I did not even what the cause of my darkness was. What the bane of my existence was. I felt it was something so long repressed that I could never bear to face it. So my pain stayed silent, my existence stayed a whisper, I became a whisper…

CHAPTER 1

DEAR DIARY ENTRY: #1

She walked through the school halls with dread big enough to cause it to rain. `Here we go again` she though, as she looked at myriad of college students bubbling with fresh anticipation of the new semester after the long school vacation.

As usual she wore inconspicuous get-up with her hair covering half of her face. She used it as a veil to shield herself from the rest of the world, and it never failed her. As was her wont she walked with her head bent down, admiring her shoes at times to be honest and at other times daydreaming about being home already. She turned the corner and raised her head in time to stop herself from walking right into a dream in broad daylight.

Willow could neither avert her eyes nor remind herself to breathe as she stared into the most beautiful eyes since all of creation. The beauty of it was that the eyes were also looking intently into her own. It felt as if their souls were connecting, communicating, speaking through their eyes. She felt like a grenade about to go off.

“Nathan”

“Huh?”

“My name is Nathan”

“Oh, uuh… I’m Willow. Hi.”

They shook hands and Willow was embarrassed at how clammy and sweaty her palm felt. Crap?! They stood there for a bit longer starring into each other`s eyes. Neither one of them wanting to be the one to break the spell. But they had to, willow forced herself to come back down to mother Earth as alas, she stepped back and shifted to the side so he could pass. Seeing that he had no intention of resuming mobility she started to walk past him. Which was hard because her feet kept wanting to go back in reverse and stay plastered right in front of him forever. She still felt his eyes bring heart-shaped holes in the back of her head as she walked away. All day long she kept thinking back and wondering whether it had really happened or if she`d just imagined it… was it possible that, for once, someone looked at her, not through her and saw HER? And saw a creature worthy of loving emotions? `Don`t kid yourself`, said the ocean of darkness within her. `Ah, there you are! ` She thought to herself as she stopped looking at herself in the bathroom mirror and went back to crawl up into a ball in the corner of self-loathe in her head.

As she was walking across the parking lot on her way home, she saw him again, at a farther distance this time. She starred at him again, mesmerised. He too stared at her and in that moment it was plain obvious that there was something there, something between them. Something that needed not be acknowledged by mouth, just by heart. He waved at her and she waved back, both of them wondering why they couldn`t break free from whatever hold was there between them. Nathan`s guy friends came and bombarded him with fists, bumps and high-fives just as he`d decided to muster up the courage to go up to Willow and snatch her off the ground and claim her. He did not know why but he had an innate primal need to have her as his, to love her in a way no other man had ever loved any other woman. At this point Willow was certain that Nathan did not see the same darkness and brokenness she saw when he looked at her. The spell was broken but the fairy-tale had just begun.

They didn`t see each other for a while after those two encounters, but they were in each other`s thoughts… and hearts… gnawing for their own individual attention. Willow slumped into her bedroom desk chair late Tuesday evening and went online. Upon opening her Facebook account she found an inbox that read, simply;

`Hi`

Before she could reply she checked first who it was because she didn`t usually get inboxes from people she did not know. She went through the sender`s profile only for her heart to skip a beat when she saw who it was.

On the other side of the interface he sat, half anticipating and half dreading her response. He had taken a risk in hunting her profile down and inboxing her out of the blue but he had to. He couldn`t stop thinking about her and he didn`t want to either. Finding her had been difficult, the girl lied off the radar for goodness` sake! But it had not deterred him, Nathan was a 100% sure that whatever he had to do he would do to get her… He started praying inwardly for God to let her be his.

Willow replied the inbox with a similar text…

“So uhm, do you know who this is?” Came the reply to her own…

“Yes, I do”

“So how are you?”

“Good, you?”

“Great! I wanna get to know you. Will you let me?’

“Yeah sure”

“Goodnight then, sweet dreams”

“Night”

After the chat Willow logged into another, more private and grown-up site.

“Hi, I’ve been waiting for you… Weeping Willow” Came the message. After reading the pop-up Willow replied with a

“Let`s just get down to business” as she turned on her web-cam and started slowly and erotically taking her clothing off for the face on the other end of the computer screen. After the timed session the face on the other side commended her with

“Nice. You outdid yourself tonight. You`ll get a bonus on top of the usual fee, are you sure you still don`t want to come for a visit? We could make every move practical and not just digital” With a perverted smirk on his face. Willow logged off without a reply or a goodbye and went to bed. As usual. Feeling dead to the world.

Willow woke up at the crack of dawn, something she never did because her body had long taken sanctuary in sleep. There she didn`t feel anything, didn`t remember anything, and didn`t fear a thing. But today her mind was anxious to resume consciousness because today she would meet up with Nathan. This would be the Friday that made or broke the rest of the semester for her. She chided herself inwardly for being so anxious about seeing a guy she didn`t even know. For all she knew he could be a fraud, an animal, just like the rest. But this time her heart begged her mind to disregard the past, to give this one the benefit of the doubt. She wanted to keep this one…

Nathan also woke up at around the same time. The sounds of birds chirping and the sweet smell of flora being kissed good-morning by sunlight made him hopeful that the day would turn out to be great. Even if he couldn`t have her forever at the end of the day, he would at least have her for this one day. And he would have to convince him heart that that would have to be enough. Though he wanted to have this one. She stepped into the shower and as the water ran down her back, she pictured it as liquid life… giving her breathe and purpose. As he stepped into the shower and the water ran down back he pictured it as strength in liquid form… filling him within and without like a proud pat on the back before a big game. The game of life… and love.

She got to school after two hours and a half as usual and the first place she thought of going was to her sanctuary, her safe place. She got there and sat – cross-legged – and pondered on her life, her past, present and her future. It was a ritual she was accustomed to, thinking so much that it got loud in her head. She checked her inboxes to see if Nathan had said anything in the mean. She found a text asking when to meet and she replied saying she was available to meet in the afternoon after her lessons were over. They sat the time and place.

Nathan on the other hand could not wait for lessons to be over. He felt that Willow was a breath of fresh air, a beautiful word, the first sun ray in the morning, petrichor! He could tell she was hiding herself away from the rest of the world. Whether to protect the said world from herself or to protect herself from the world he knew not yet. He could see it on the faces of the other students at school that they feared her. Maybe they feared the fact that she didn`t need anyone, or that she was complete all by herself. But Nathan didn`t fear her or anything about her, he just wanted simply wanted her. And that, was the beginning and the end of everything.

Six hours later, he sat, anticipated, waited. Though the appointed time had not yet lapsed he felt like he`d been there for all of eternity. Then he saw her, like usual with half of her face hidden and her body clad loosely in black baggy clothing. She walked through field and sat placidly on the bleacher a few centimetres away from him.

“Hi”, He said

“Hi” She said back

Then came a silence loud enough to break their eardrums. Just to break the silence Nathan started;

“So uhm, Willow…”

“Yes?”

“What is your favourite animal?”

“”black panther”

Silence…

”Yours?” Willow asked

“Uuh, monkey… what is… your favourite colour?”

She pointed at the colour of her clothes

“Ah, why black though?”

“It`s… colourful to me”

“Uh, sorry?

She chuckled unintentionally at the look of confusion on Nathan`s face in reaction to her answer. For the first time he saw emotion on her face, it was as though the Heavens had just opened.

“Black is beautiful to me, black is the only colour that stands… that remains... that speaks for itself… it sort of sings with its sight. It`s like poetry to me, if you were to imagine a poet, would you think of any colour?

“No, I guess it would have to be the colour black…”

“exactly, it`s the one colour that I feel a connection to”

“Huh… ohk…”

With that one reply Willow realized that she`d just blabbed about what she thinks as though Nathan were a page she was writing on… without any self-control she`d just let a piece of her fall right onto his lap and now he`d picked it up and was examining it, examining her. What was wrong with her?! She thought.

“What’s YOUR favourite colour?” she asked him, just to mask the irritation on herself for being so… open!

“Well, mine is red”

“Why red?”

“Because, for me it represents freedom, through my salvation, when Christ died for us… and sanctification every time I come before Him repentant, He cleanses me anew… and I’m grateful for His blood. For the chance His perfect sacrifice gave us, all of humanity”

“Hmm… “ Willow replied both thoughtfully and thoughtlessly.

She`s never actually believed in any Christ or any cross… she didn`t consider herself atheist or agnostic either. She let everyone else believe in whatever they wanted to because they had the right to. While she on the hand… had only one thing which she believed in, which was pain. It was the one constant and at times tangible ever-existing thing she had ever known in her life. She also believed in solitude, and in looking out for number because no one had proved willing to. She believed both from experience and from a foretelling that came in the same package as the former that people, whenever and wherever given the chance will screw you over. They will tear you apart and walk away without even staying to watch where the pieces lay.

“OK, uhm, so what do you love?”

“Nothing” said Willow

With that one word Nathan heard a meal door being slammed shut and dead-bolted somewhere inside Willow. He perceived that it was a sensitive issue judging by how her eyes went black with resistance as if they somehow closed. To lighten the mood he asked with a grin on his face;

“So how old are you really? Because you look like a 6 year old but act like and walk like a 60 year old””

“I`m 23 going on 40” Willow said with the same grin.

Now that the ice had been broken, re-frozen then melted again, Nathan knew not to get too personal so he respected that line and didn`t cross it again for the rest of their conversing. They sat there talking about everything and nothing at all for the 4 hours that they spent together. When it was time to go Nathan by now knew that there was a great struggle within Willow. A battle that she was fighting which she wanted no one to see. Not even her battle scars.

Willow had at this point come to know that there was some sort of light within Nathan. Some purity that threatened to rescue her and cleanse her of the night she`d come to know as life. She was not totally sure that it could be done, or that she wanted it to be done in the first place. I mean, what if she didn`t want to be saved right? But what she was sure of though was that she wanted his sun, she was tiring of her own moon.

They felt both filled and emptied up at the same time when it was time to go. Wanting to stay but then needing to go. They both had so much left to say but there just weren’t enough in the day. In farewell Nathan said

“OK I don`t know how to say this without sounding weird but, I`m drawn to you… I don`t know why but I just am… and I pray to God that you feel the same because I can`t feel this alone. I never thought that I would say this but I feel like this must be what love feels like. And I want to love you, if you`ll let me. For the rest of our lives and beyond. Because I see something that I want INSIDE you. Can I get to know more of you?”

“See you tomorrow” Willow said a bit out of breathe. And without another word or breath she was gone.

She got home and slumped down on the bed. Recalling and re-assessing Nathan`s parting words. She thought about how choked up and empty she had been of words. Panicking and legging it out of the track and field stadium was the option she finally resorted to after 10 seconds of deliberating on what to do. Thinking about it now she realized that she hadn`t actually been afraid of being loved by him. She had always feared love because history had taught her that love had a tendency to turn very sour very fast when the other person wasn`t feeling satisfied. Everything Nathan had said to her she had felt for him herself. She wanted this one. How light could ever want to mix with the darkness called her she wondered.

She actually found it hard to believe. The idea sent shivers down her spine, trying to convince herself that she could be loved felt like a storm. Lighting and thunder leaped out of her throat and eyes as she sobbed into her pillow. Willing herself to believe that for once, she COULD actually be worth it. That maybe out of the chaos of her existence had come someone who could actually want her and not what she could do for him in return for his show of affection. She shuddered at the vile imagery that leapt into her head like a tongue of burning dried grass.

Nathan was certain now that the shadows he saw in Willow`s eyes weren’t those of hate but those of pain. He could almost taste her sadness when she talked. He wondered who it was that had broken her into such a scared and fragile creature. He could not help but love her more because he wanted to show her how it feels to be lived, truly adored. He would have to show her all the words she needed to hear until the steel armour she has had been chipped away. He dozed off while still thinking of her.

They met up the next day, and every other day after that. Each time making each other`s hearts skip a beat at the sight of the other. After a couple of months of knowing each other and loving each other Nathan broached waters that both of them wanted to dive into but yet neither one of them wanted to even go near.

“So…”

“So?” asked Willow with a smile that she had now grown accustomed to making without even thinking of it…

“We`ve known each other well for almost half a year now…”`

“Yes..?”

“Well… I really do love you, and I’m sure of that that now. And I’m also sure that I’ve been all up in your face every day for you to ATLEAST like me now…”

“Haha! Yeah?”

A pregnant silence ensued when at last Nathan said

“Will you go out with me Willow? Be my girlfriend?”

Willow`s breath caught in her throat. She wanted him, so bad, but was she ready to be his?

“Uhm… Nate… I …. Uuh… I –“

“It`s OK. If you`re not ready you don`t have to reply right now. You can tell me when you`re ready”

“Thing is that I don`t know if I will ever BE ready. I just have something within me that won`t let me rise. That won`t let me heal. I have damage inside of me. I break everything I touch… or it breaks me instead…”

When Willow said those words Nathan felt like the Heavens had opened up again… but this time it was raining.

“What do you mean?”

He paused. Looking for the right words to utter, something to let her see herself through his eyes.

“Will` you`re so beautiful. I want you to understand that, I NEED you to understand just how breath-taking you are. That is why I couldn`t and STILL can`t stay away from you. That`s what I see when I look at you, not damage. Baby… you`re a poem in a world that is still learning the alphabet. How do you not see that?”

“Because Nate… before, long before you came… some people told me something totally different about myself. And I just switch it off and not see myself like that, `cause what you believe, no matter how poisonous it is, you can`t just STOP believing it”

She tucked her head between her knees and took a deep breath. A routine she had long mastered to do when emotions threatened to drown her. She continued

“There`s this poem I like that goes; A long time ago, before I even met you…

Someone replaced my chest with a broken record…

For years it has been stammering through the same old tune…”

“Well…” Nathan said after an eon of thought “there’s this other poem that I once read, I didn`t understand it then because I didn`t feel what I feel for you right now, but now I get it… it goes `I know sometimes it`s still hard for you to let me see you in all your cracked perfection…

But please know that whether it is the days you burn more brilliant than the sun…

Or the nights you collapse into my lap, your body broken into a thousand questions…

You are still the most beautiful thing I have ever seen…

I will love you when you are a still day, I will love you when you are a hurricane`.”

Willow looked at him with the most pleading, unsure and greatly cautious eyes he had ever seen then, he kissed her on the forehead, held her tight and whispered into her ear that that was his promise to her, for the rest of his life.

After that day Willow tried to keep her distance form Nathan. She felt like everything was happening too quick but then again not soon enough. She wanted to let him in. but the problem she was facing was that she didn`t know where she had long since thrown the key to that door after she closed it shut. After a single day without Nathan Willow couldn`t take it anymore. She burned to be next to him. And out of those ashes arose a rebellious determination within her to not let her past bad experiences ruin something that could very well be the best experience of her life. She switched her phone on, which had been off for the past 24 hours and found tons of missed calls and even more text messages from Nathan.

“Hey” Once again they were seated in their favourite spot at school… Out of earshot and the curiosity of prying eyes.
“Hey Nate”

“How are you?”

“Now… I`m good”

“And before today? How were you?”

“Confused”

“Why? About what Will`?”

“I just… I don`t know what love feels like. It`s foreign to me. It scares me, you scare me”

“Will` what do I have to do? Tell me, how I get you to understand that this is beyond me, I have no choice but to love you. And some say that love is a choice, in that case I choose to love you beyond my heart`s capacity”

“I don`t know Nate, I’d tell you to not give up and keep loving me until I believe it but I don`t think that`s a possibility anymore. `Cause I believed in love once, and love failed me”

Lying in bed later that night looking up at the ceiling, Nathan wondered what it was he would have to do to show Willow that what he felt for her was real, true and pure. He got down on his knees. He had a conversation with the only being who he trusted had the way and answer to all of his life`s problems.

After resuming their usual routine of spending most of their free time together, Willow decided that it was time she gave Nathan the benefit of the doubt and open up yet another door to her heart and break down one more wall.

“Meet me at the school entrance, usual time” she whispered to Nathan when they passed each other in the school hall.

“So… we`re not going to our usual chill spot today?” Nathan said as he bounced up to Willow later that afternoon. Gosh, how she loved his walk!

“Nope” Willow said with a maniacal grin.

“But are we going to hang still?”

“Yup!” she said with the same grin still plastered on her face as she grabbed him by the hand and dragged him off to a destination only she knew.

They arrived at their destination a little below an hour later. Willow dragged Nathan through an entry that had been cut out through a chain-link fence. They jumped over and hunched beneath rusted debris of old buildings until they came to a clearing right at the yard`s core.

“It`s an abandoned carnival spot” Willow said rhetorically and needlessly.

“How…”

“How did I find it?” asked Willow, finishing Nathan`s question for him, who was still gaping at the sight with a look of shock on his face.

“Let`s just say that I have my own version of beauty. And I’ve made it my life`s mission to go looking for places like this. Places that have a beauty so raw, deep and hidden that not everyone sees it. Plus this is where I used to run away to as a kid… but that`s a conversation for another time, come on!”

They rode some of the rides that could still work in the ghost carnival. Nathan felt like he was getting to know Willow all over again in that one afternoon. But a different version of her, a bright, colourful dauntless side of her, and the girl that she probably was before she got broken. He loved this side of her. He found himself reaching over to her and placing his lips on her forehead without even thinking about it from time to time. She giggled the most beautiful mellifluous sound he had ever heard. He was home.

They parted ways when the sun was nearing dusk. Both of them were equally heartbroken to have to see the other leave. Nathan comforted himself with the thought one day they won`t ever have to say goodbye, only goodnight. She looked up at him before they went their separate ways; lost for words… he thanked her yet again for letting him in. to which she replied

“It was the easiest thing I`ve ever had to do” They embraced for a while… and let go before they wouldn`t be able to.

When she got home at around eight that night, Willow went straight to her bathroom, her war-room. She stared long and hard at the face looking back at her in the mirror, until it didn`t look like a face anymore, but more like something crooked, something wrong. She replayed the events of the day over and over, how much carefree they had both been. As expected he came, silently and slithered up to her behind the mirror.

“This one is for real, he is true and pure and he loves ME!” She said to him with unwavering conviction.

“That`s how they all seem at the beginning, remember…” He whispered in his usual slow hiss.

“”No! You`re lying! He says he loves me and I believe him”

“Well, that`s what they all say” he snickered “Just look at yourself.. Little weeping Willow… who could EVER love a thing as broken and unattractive as you? You`re the trash that life forgot to take out”

“No! NO!” Willow started screaming and crying at the hideous face behind her in the mirror.

“Yessss….”” He hissed again…

Willow grabbed a bottle nearest to her and hurled it at the mirror in front of her just to make the hissing stop. She opened her after the sound of glass breaking and shattering had stopped as it fell. She saw pieces of razor-sharp shards in the basin.

“Go ahead. Take one. You know you want to” the hissing continued. She reached for a piece of glass and slowly started lowering her pants in defeat. She bit her tongue as the room started smelling of blood... and copper… and a battle lost.

It dripped out of her like strength and life leaving a dying animal. She pictured him standing over her, looking at her, leering, smiling and darting his tongue in and out in victory as she closed her eyes and gave into the abyss of self-loathe.

“Fine, you win…” she whispered as tears of hatred slid down her cheeks. As she once again gave into the monster called depression. She lost consciousness and laid on her liquid crimson carpet half-alive, half-wanting-to-die. And wondering how to get rid of the monster which wasn`t under her bed, but in her head.

Nathan felt the change in Willow long before he saw it when they met the next day at school. He sensed that somehow some of the walls inside of her that had been brought down had been resurrected. He knew it from the way she walked up to him, forlorn, defeated, out of energy, just like the first times when they had just met. The light he had seen shine through her was gone.

“Hey, what`s wrong?” he asked her with concern enough to melt an ice-berg.

“Nothing… I`m fine.”

“That phrase said by a female usually implies that something IS wrong.”

“Or more specifically, that whatever it is, we`re NOT talking about it” Willow said with a cautioning voice.

“OK, let`s go home”

“To your house?”

“No, to a midget`s house actually”

“That`s neither funny nor am I in the mood for such”

“Forgive me my lady, for tactless riposte” Nathan said as he pulled Willow towards the general direction of his abode.

When they got to his house he opened the front door and magnanimously ushered her in, then he went ahead of her to get them refreshments. Afterwards Nathan bounded up the stairs and down the hallway towards and again ushered Willow in with a gesture, in lieu of a verbal welcoming. After settling the beverages atop the desk he plopped himself by the window settee and waited for her to come in. she came in gingerly and sat herself on the desk chair.

“I won`t bite Willow”

“That`s what they all say”

“They who?”

“No one. Nothing”

“Will you tell me what`s wrong?”

“Nothing is…”

They sat in absolute silence for a while until Willow said

“This is the part where you get to have your way with me”

“What?! Willow I’m not like that!” exclaimed Nathan in shock

“Really?! Said Willow as she got up and started unbuttoning her blouse.

“Willow no!” he reached out and grabbed her hands.

“Why the hell not?!” it`s every guy has ever deemed me good enough for! I bet you do too. Or what you`re the type that likes to take it by force?! You get off on that?!” She shrieked at him.

“What are you mad at ME for?!” he shouted back at her. “What wrong did I ever do to you except show you that I don`t see damage when I look at you! You`re mad at ME, because I’m trying to show you that I’m not like those other people who broke your heart and broke your spirit. And I know for a FACT that if I HAD acted like them and took you to bed, right here! Right now! You would STILL be pissed at ME! What do you want from me?”

“Just let me go” she whispered… “Let me go… I’m darkness, a consuming plague, a toxic energy. You can`t save someone who`s convinced that they should burn. Let me go and go give your heart to someone who`s own heart is still pumping red blood and not vile smut like mine.”

“No, Willow no, I don`t care if I have to love you enough for the both of us. I`m not letting you go. Haven`t you ever wondered why can`t stay away from me no matter how hard you try? Even with your skill of self-control your heart defies your will to not let me in. because we`re meant to baby can`t you see that. I know I make you question everything you`ve ever believed about love, that`s `cause you do the same to me! Yesterday at that abandoned carnival yard, I knew you`d finally got it”

”Got what?”

“That you are so… SO beautiful, that you`re so perfect. That even in a ballroom full of the most beautiful belles in the land, the only one I’m going to have eyes for you, the only one that my hands would ache to touch, and my heart yearn to be near… has always, since the moment I laid eyes on you, and will always be you Will`”

She let herself collapse against his chest. They were on the floor at this point with his hands holding her like brass that had been moulded in that shape for that very purpose since the beginning of time. She let it out, she let it all out. She let out every evil thing that had presented itself a hurdle and had made a chasm between her and her happiness. Willow cried until she felt throwing up, until her tear ducts were dry and her heart empty of emotion. Both positive and negative emotion. And all throughout, Nathan clung to her; he neither shifted nor grew impatient because he understood that she had to let it all out.

After that Nathan took her home. Willow lived on the outskirts of town. In response to Nathan`s questioning look as to why she lived so far away, Willow chuckled lightly and said

”where the wild things are”

She invited him into house in like manner as he had at his house. The house was practically barren of furniture and drained of color. There were a few basic necessities but apart from that was a large sea of wooden floors and dark walls, with an even darker ceiling. Unsure of where to sit, Nathan just stood in the middle of the room oblivious to the fact that he looked like a beautiful word come alive out of a children`s fairy-tale book. Like a ray of color in a dark room… literally.

After settling themselves comfortably in Willow`s room, - which Nathan was relieved to discover was much more homey and alive than the rest of the dead house – Willow gave out a deep sigh and said

“I`m sorry about earlier”

“Why? What do you have to be sorry for?”

“About off-loading on you like that”

“No I`m the one who`s sorry” He said as he came closer to her and embraced her “ I`m sorry that you`ve been let down so much and so hard that you can`t trust anyone anymore”

She sighed once again and leaned into him and her nostrils tingled with happiness as she smelled the scent if him; masculine, fresh, trustworthy.

“So are you going to ask me the million dollar question?”

”I`m pretty sure I have more than one question in my head my love. But I don`t want you to feel pressured into opening up to me… I’ll wait””

“I don`t mind. Really… so… what do you want to know first?”

“Well, first of all. What`s up with the spook-house?”” he asked as he gestured around the house

“It`s been in my family for generations. I grew up here. And I came back to live here after my parents passed away”

“Came back? You`d left?”

“Yes. I ran away from home when I was 15”

“Why?” he asked the question but wasn’t sure he was ready to hear the answer.

“My parents were monsters. And even THAT is an understatement. They drank to the point of blacking out every night. Never cared if I had food to eat, never cared about my academics or whole life for that matter. Then this one time a relative visited, he waited until they were passed out on the couch. I was 8 at the time. I was asleep, then I heard a rustling, and felt the bed move as he got in… I told my parents about it the next morning… and instead of reporting him, or chasing him out… they told me I’d wanted it. That`s why I hadn`t screamed. But I hadn`t known what to do”

Nathan embraced Willow tighter as she continued to re-tell her tale of horror.

“I started to resent them, to hate them, to loathe them even. For the next couple of years I spent most of my energy trying to make myself forget it. In the end I believed that I actually had deserved it. That it was my fault, I mean it to be right? So I uhm… became reckless. I was so broken, my skin cut like sharp edges of a knife. I shut everything and everyone out. Every day it felt like I was drowning but I could see everyone else around me breathing just fine. Then towards my teenage hood I got better. Whether I was healing or had gotten used to the pain I don`t know. Then I started making friends…. Slowly… started living… got into relationships. Then one night I was out my boyfriend at the time, we got drunk and I blacked out. I don`t remember most of the night but I remember him pulling my underwear off me at one of the points where I came to before passing out again. Then darkness…. I remember lying on the bed… darkness… him inside of me… darkness… I don`t even know if I told him to stop. I felt used… again… like trash…. Again… worthless… again. And all of this just released a flood of emotion. Dark emotion.”

“I resented my parents even more for not being there for me… I wanted to die, I wanted to kill every single male on the face of this planet. My emotions rose to a point where they exploded and imploded. I ran away from home” He held her even tighter.

“I shut down somehow, I became numb. To the extent where when it happened again a few years later I couldn`t be bothered to feel a thing. I wasn`t even a victim anymore. I was void of any emotion. So I accepted that that was what I would always be, an object. An inanimate sex toy, they had all dragged me down to their level until there wasn`t any fear left in me, any will at all. I still remember every single time, especially the third… I just lay there and told myself that it wasn`t me he was on top of, it was just a shell that I used to occupy at one point in time. Because I had long died, and no one had even cared enough to come to my funeral.” He held her tighter still. Tighter than it was possible to hold someone. He held her with his arms, with his heart, with his soul and entire being!

“oh baby…” was all that could be uttered by him. He choked on words. He was mad at every single man that had ever laid a hand on Willow, welcome or not, he had to force himself tom calm down. This was not his story of offense, it was hers.

“baby, I`m so so sorry”

“It`s not your fault”

“God now I understand why you never let me touch you at first. I understand so much more of you now”

“Yeah, and you can still run for dear life. You don`t have to be stuck with me and my sob story”

“Willow will you stop! Please! For once just believe that I’m here to stay. Will` even If I wanted to could never stay away from you!”

Just then Willow’s PC pinged as a new message came in. Nathan, who was facing the PC at the time read the pop-up, Willow felt it before she heard it that Nathan had just become privy of her erotic escapades. Nathan read the pop-up out loud in disbelief

“`Weeping Willow, babe, you know I don`t like waiting. I and the little man want to start dancing. You wearing that little red nothing tonight? My eyes are hungry’? Willow, what? Why?”

“I don`t wanna talk about it”

“Willow! No! We HAVE to talk about this! Is it for money? `cause I can help you with that”

“No! it turns out that, despite how dead-beat they were, my parents had opened up a trust fund for me.”

“Then why?” the hurt look on Nathan`s face broke Willow`s resolve to shut him out.

“For the feeling of it ok! I feel wanted, useful!”

”Willow the man sounds like a pervert1 which is probably the only reason he is on such a site anyway”

“Oh trust me he looks way worse than he sounds” Willow replied with a nonchalant grin.

“Willow be serious! This is NOT something to take so lightly and joke about!”

“Look Nathan this is me alright! This is among the many messed up things I do, because I’m messed up. I mess everything up! THIS is what`s beneath the whole façade! Take it or leave it! You`ll probably wanna leave it though just like many before you did when they realised that I’m just brokenness and questions. They left me for something solid so I won`t blame you for doing the same. It was nice knowing you”

She said this as she spun on her heel and started to storm off. He reached out to stop her, he grabbed her, pulled her back towards him and kissed her. All the passionate emotion he`d long had towards her and all the heated emotion of that one evening he poured into her. He kissed her how every girl wants to be kissed, until they were both short of breath. He broke the kiss and they both came back down to Mother Earth.

“Willow, I don`t judge you.”

“Really? Cause I was just about o demand you not stand in pious judgement of the bonds I must untie.”

“I get it OK, some of it anyway. And I won`t condescend you by trying to tell you how to heal. Won`t give you the `someone out there has it worse` speech ot whatever. I`m willing to stand by you. To hold your hand when necessary and to let you do things your own way when need be. Willow I love you. I need that to be enough for you to WANT to heal. Because I love you!” he held her to him “now the question is; are YOU going to take it or leave it?”

“But what if I don`t wanna be fixed?”

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