Cole and I were sitting with Charles in the living room.
It was quiet without Marlene’s and Charles’s bickering or Suzie screaming around the house. Marlene was out doing shopping while Suzie was at preschool.
I was too anxious to talk to Charles as we all stayed quiet on the couch. Can he help me find my parents? I was getting squirmy. I couldn’t hold still. Sensing my mood, Cole wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me close. I molded myself against his side, basking in his comfort.
With Cole’s silent encouragement, I finally spoke.
“Can you please tell me how you know my dad?” I tried to ask confidently and mentally patted myself on the back for not stuttering. I knew I did well when Cole squeezed my waist.
Charles smiled and had a faraway look in his eyes.
“Twenty years ago, I went camping in the woods. During the night, I heard some struggling and I ran to see if I could help. Before I could see anything, I was hit on the back of the head and blacked out. I was mistaken as a Somnia by a group of Nightmares-”
“Nightmares? Who are those?” Cole cut in with interest. I can see the gears turning in Cole’s head, sensing his unease, hurt, and confusion. I knew then this was the first time Charles had mentioned this to his own son. I didn’t blame Cole for feeling hurt at being left out.
“To simplify it, Nightmares are a rebellion of Dream Walkers. You can say that they are the ‘bad guys’ of our kind.” I say quickly and gesture for Charles to continue.
“I was dragged to a prison area and tortured for information. Of course, I had no idea what they were talking about, and eventually, they realized their mistake,” Charles shook his head, a scowl forming on his features. “But I knew too much. So they decided to just keep me there as a trainee. If I didn’t follow through...things would’ve been bad for me,” Charles looked at me with a sad smile. “Your father saved me and the other prisoners. I was able to give information on the Nightmares and we became close friends ever since. A couple months later, Henry introduced me to your mother and two years later I was married and had a newborn son. I wouldn’t have gotten this life if it weren’t for your father. I am forever grateful for him.”
I processed all this information. Dad never told me about this or even mentioned Charles. Cole was the first to respond.
“Why have I never heard this story until now?” he asked, his tone traced with hurt.
“You never asked.” Charles laughed. Cole didn’t look amused and Charles frowned. “I’m sorry I never told you, but we didn’t want you to worry. Besides, you never would have believed us if we told you.”
“Wait is Mom...one of them?” After the look I gave him, he quickly corrects himself. “I mean, if Rochelle’s dad introduced you to mom...she could be a part of the Somnials, right?”
“Somnia.” Charles and I corrected. Cole rolled his eyes but smiled apologetically at me.
“And yes, your mother is one of them. Because I’m human, we didn’t know if you would get the genes to be part of the Somnian people. We thought it was better to keep it from you since it wasn’t an important part of your life.” Charles said slowly, hoping Cole would understand.
“This sounds too cliche to be true.” Cole groaned as he pulled me closer to calm himself. I felt him breathe into the crook of my neck and relaxed against my frame.
“Can you contact my father for me?” I ask hopefully as Cole’s breathing starts to deepen.
Charles smiled softly. “Of course. I’ll do it right now.”
Once he left, Cole turned to me.
“You know, you never told me why you and Derrick are together-”
"Were together. No way I’m going back to him.” I said in distaste. Cole nodded in satisfaction.
“But still-why were you guys together?” Cole said as I saw a bit of hurt flash through his eyes.
I sighed and shut my eyes tight. I hated to think about it.
Cole tilted my chin up so I can look at him.
“You don’t have to tell me. I can wait.” he murmured, blue orbs looking intensely into my eyes.
“No, I need to tell you this,” I say as I tried to find the right words.
I decided to tell him because he deserves to know. I have a feeling I’m going to cause him a lot of trouble in the future. I should at least give him some insight about this issue, right? I took a deep breath and started my story.
“Well....it started a year ago...”
One year earlier......
“Kyle! Give me back my phone!” I shouted at my older brother. I swear, I’m the oldest in this family. He acts like a five-year-old.
“Not until you give me back my keys.” he bargained, his hand outstretched
“Uh, fine.” I pout and toss him his keys. He gives me a smirk, tossing my phone back as I glared at him.
"Are you happy n-?”
“NIGHTMARES SPOTTED AT THE BORDER!” A man shouted from the woods.
Kyle and I tensed before we ran back to the house. Kyle grabs my hand as we race to the office and saw our dad.
“Dad, what is going on?” I asked panicked.
“There’s a Nightmare that came for a visit. We don’t know what he wants so stay cautious. We’re not going to grab him yet.” Dad warns.
Ugh. I hate Nightmares. They are twisted Somnia that like to cause a hella lot of trouble. They cause chaos for the humans and we always need to keep them in check. Why would only one Nightmare show up here where they are vulnerable? It doesn’t add up.
Kyle and I nodded as we waited for the Nightmare to make an appearance. Suddenly, the door burst open revealing a brown haired male. He seemed around my age, maybe a bit older. I would say he was attractive if he didn’t have a cold stare and smirk on his face.
“What do you want here, Nightmare?” My father says in his commanding tone. The man showed mock hurt, placing his hand over his heart.
“Hey! This nightmare has a name. My name is Derrick. How are you doing old man?” Derrick smirked. I narrowed my eyes at the disrespect towards my father. He better watch his mouth before I shut it for him.
“I asked you a question, Derrick. What are you doing here?” Dad says, calmer this time.
“Well, you see, I need something from you guys and I plan to take it.” He said nonchalantly, putting his hands in his pockets.
“And what would that be?” Kyle growled, holding my hand even tighter.
Derrick turned and looked at me.
“Your lovely sister of course. I need to make her mine. I hope you will be generous and hand her over peacefully.” He cooed as he stepped closer.
I gasped while Dad and Kyle roared with rage.
“Like hell you will! Grab him!” Dad roared.
Derrick looked at me and grinned.
“Just wait, Rochelle. You will be mine and fate will give us our glorious victory.” With that, he ran out of the office.
We searched everywhere for him, but there was no trace of him. Dad ordered guards to watch me every day and night. I protested, but my mom tried to convince me it was the only way to stay safe. Reluctantly, I agreed.
For two months, there were no signs of Derrick. We didn’t understand why he needed me, but the idea of taking their leader’s daughter drove every Somnia into an uproar. I started getting paranoid. I wasn’t as carefree because I was too scared of being taken away.
One night, I was getting ready to go to bed when I heard a knock on my window. I knew something was wrong, I could sense it. Unfortunately, I became naive thinking I was safe. Being the curious girl I am, I went to investigate.
Ever heard the saying curiosity killed the cat? Well, the cat was killed brutally...
The window smashed and hands grabbed my arms. I went to scream, but another person cupped my mouth, blocking my screams and making sure I couldn’t bite their fingers off.
They dragged me out of my bedroom window, making the chilly night hit my body, goosebumps spreading on my arms. They took me to a black van. I was thrown in the back and saw the driver through the rearview mirror. Fear petrified me when it was none other than Derrick.
“Told you, didn’t I? You’re mine now baby.”
Once we got deeper into the woods, he forced me out. The men gathered in a circle, two of them holding my arms so I wouldn’t escape. The men started an incantation and my eyes widened when I recognized the chant. Derrick stepped in front of me with a smirk.
“I, Derrick Thompson, accept Rochelle Smith as my bounded.”
I gasped at the pull I felt. I continued to struggle in the men’s arms. Derrick gripped my chin and forced me to look into his eyes.
“Finish the vows,” he ordered. I kept my mouth shut, refusing to say the words that wanted to pour out of my mouth. The ritual has started, demanding for it to finish.
Derrick gripped my chin harder and I cried out in pain.
“Say. It.” Derrick growled.
I couldn’t stop myself. My body and soul was being tied to him. I couldn’t resist the pull any longer.
“I, Rochelle Smith, accept Derrick Thompson as my bounded.”
And he sealed it with a harsh kiss.
For eight months, he kept me imprisoned with him, using a fake bond to make sure I never ran away. I never had any access to contact anyone. We moved place to place so my family couldn’t find me.
It was terrible. I stopped smiling, laughing, and felt so numb inside. I was a shell of myself.
Until now. Now I have a chance.
I didn’t even know I was crying until Cole started wiping his thumbs under my eyes. He brought me to him and hugged me tightly.
“It’s over now. I’m here. No one is taking you away again. I promise.” he whispered to me.
“How do you know that?” I sniffled. He smiled at me.
“A promise is a promise, right?” I nodded and smiled back, remembering when I asked him that when he was playing with Suzie.
“Then you have nothing to fear.” He whispered, leaning in closer.
His proximity was becoming too much. I couldn’t help myself this time.
He was being too sweet. I leaned in and softly pressed my lips to his.
Fire flowed throughout my body.
I was on fire.
I never felt like this with a simple peck. Not with Derrick. In fact, it was way better than Derrick.
Cole tensed at first but soon started moving his lips against mine.