5 | Calm Before the Storm
It’s late when Lawrence calls to tell me that Beth is not where we left her and neither is the evidence of our ambush. It looks as though nothing has taken place.
After Lawrence tells me he’s going home I hang up, deciding it’s best to tell Blythe that her sister is no longer stranded. It’s late, anyway, and I want to shower and catch some shut-eye. I’m already aware Blythe will not be receptive to sharing the bed with me. But it’s either my bed or Spencer’s.
I shut off all the lights and make my way to my bedroom. Before I grab the doorknob I run my hand down my face, feeling tense, unable to predict if Blythe has a trick up her sleeve or not. I don’t want to harm her to prevent her from harming me.
I’m cautious as I twist the handle and push the door open, standing back in case she decides to leap at me like a feral cat. But she doesn’t. Instead I see she is curled in the fetal position in the middle of the bed, her back to me, immersed by the moonlight that seeps in through the window that hangs above her. She looks so delicate and I resist the urge to retract and leave her in peace.
The moment I step into the room she stirs, sitting up with. Her long honey curls are matted from her laying on them and I notice she’s removed her jacket. She wears a short-sleeved shirt that reveals her slender arms. I remember all the times she’s wrapped them around me in introduction and farewell and I feel a burst of anger when I realize she may never be so warm towards me again.
She runs a hand through her hair and I close the door behind me. It clicks, echoing like an unrepressed gunshot, and I notice the way she jumps at the sound. She sits there, stiff, unsure what move to make next. She knows she can’t run, but she also doesn’t want to make herself at home. Staying still seems like the perfect balance.
I break the silence.
“You sister isn’t there anymore.”
Blythe sits up a little straighter.
“D-do—” her voice croaks and she clears her throat. She still sounds hoarse when she speaks next. “—You know where she is?”
“No,” I admit. “But I’m assuming she was picked up by a tow-truck. Her car isn’t there, either.”
Blythe nods before dropping her chin to her chest.
“Which one of your brothers hit her in the face with the gun?”
Her question confuses me but I answer it anyway.
Her answer confuses me even more. She sounds apathetic but it’s only because she knows she can’t repair what has happened.
"Okay," She says.
“Are you okay?” I ask her, already knowing the answer.
“We will be sharing my bed, Blythe,” I say. Her nickname seems inappropriate at this time.
This causes her to turn around and look at me. I can tell her eyes are wide by the way they gloss in the moonlight. She shakes her head slowly.
“We will be sharing my bed, Blythe,” I repeat, slowing my words. “First I’m going to shower, then I’m going to come lay down next to you.”
“No,” she blurts, shaking her head. Her curls intrude on her face and she doesn’t bother brushing them away. “Y-you can’t.”
I quirk a brow at her.
My response leaves her dumbfounded. She blinks once or twice, recalibrating, then pleads.
“I...don’t...please. Please, no. I don’t want to share the bed with you. I want...I want to go home, Terrence. I want to go home. I’m so scared and I just want to go home.”
“You know that I am not taking you home, Sunshine.”
“You were married to my sister,” she breathes, spinning around to face me completely. She sits on her knees with her hands on her thighs. I glance at her slender fingers and imagine them lacing with my own or even cupping the back of my head. “Does this not seem...morbid to you? This is so, so wrong. Everything about this is wrong! How does this not feel wrong to you?!”
“Because you are everything I’ve ever wanted, Blythe, and nothing about you feels wrong to me,” as I say this her shoulders slump and it looks as though she’s about to melt. “I would lose it all for you just to make it feel right.”
She sets her chin and moves slowly, gracefully, and I feel my cock harden as she steps off the bed and begins to approach me. Devastation deceives her of her beauty but I’ve never felt so enamored by her. She nears, stoic and unforgiving, and stops no less than a foot away from me. She says nothing immediately.
“I don’t know what I’m supposed to do,” she begins conversationally. “I’m scared to do anything.”
“Then don’t do anything.”
A tear leaks from her eye and rolls down her cheek, dripping onto her collarbone. She tenses her neck and purses her lips. It looks as though she wants to say something but is afraid to say the wrong thing. She glances down at the ground then looks up at me again. A certain calm washes over her face but then shatters.
She screams and closes the distance.
"How dare you!" Blythe shrieks and I feel a hand strike my cheek. It stings and for a moment I’m stunned by the strength she yields in her palm. She utilizes this moment and pummels my chest and shoulders. As I try to grab at her wrists I have to dodge her knees. She’s nimble and incessant, hard to restrain, methodical in her attack.
Once I manage to grab her wrists it’s game over and I begin dragging her back to the bed. She screams bloody murder and drops to the ground, deadweight, scraping her heels against the ground to further inhibit me but it does all but nothing.
“No, no, no!” she repeats.
Once next to the bed I lift her to her feet and push her onto the mattress. She begins crawling away but I grab her ankle and pounce, forcing myself in between her legs as I hover over her. I take her jaw in my hand, a little too roughly to be careful, while suppressing her flailing arms with my other. This thrusts her further into panic and I don’t bother trying to soothe her. I talk over her madness.
“I am going to go shower and if you leave this room you will be greeted by Spencer who will be all too happy to bring you right back and keep you company until I get out. When I get out I am going to sleep in my bed and you are going to sleep next to me. I will not touch you and I will not try anything. You may shower in the morning when you awake. I know right now you are not in the right mindset to do anything and I will not hold that against you. But tomorrow everything will begin to resume and you, Sunshine, will have to resume too.”
“I would rather sleep on the floor,” she cries hysterically.
She continues to speak but it’s incoherent through her sobbing. I stand and stare down at her as she drops her legs to the side and covers her face with her hands. It’s a disturbing image, like staring down at a dying animal, and my gait is of shame as I grab a pair of boxers and make my way into the bathroom. I close the door, undress, and step into a cold shower. The water is so cold that it feels hot but I take it for as long as I can.
She cries for the longest time and then, suddenly, goes silent.
I step out of the bathroom and see Blythe with her back pressed against the headboard. I can see the rosiness in her face, emphasized by the moonlight, and she stares at me with no fear. I cannot identify the language that her eyes speak but if I had to assume I’d say it’s bitterly close to hatred. She hates me. I do not blame her.
“How was your shower?” she asks without sincerity.
“It was fine,” I answer tentatively.
“Good,” she says, grimacing before turning away.
It’s difficult to approach the bed, now. I stand rooted as though my feet have become lead. I cannot move and I have no urge to. I almost want to exit the room and flee yet my feet do not give me permission to do that either. In this moment she wields power over me and makes me subordinate to her. My throat is dry. I’ve never felt so insignificant.
She holds no sympathy.
“Are you going to stand there all night?”
“I might have to,” I confess. “I can’t move.”
She nods, uninterested, and that is how we stay for the longest time. I cannot tear my eyes away from her and guilt plagues my thoughts, planting seeds and taking over. I stay in the same position for so long I nearly fall asleep standing tall.
I do not remember making my way over to the bed and resting on top of the covers. I lay on my back, staring up at the ceiling, listening to Blythe’s soft breathing from beside me. She is far from calm but she knows now is not the time to strike. I know she is not done fighting against what I have planned for her but tonight she surrenders.
“I want to ask you something,” she announces.
“If you had a daughter who was in my predicament wouldn’t you want more than anything for her to be liberated and safe?”
“You are safe with me—”
“That doesn’t answer my question,” she reminds me gently. “yes or no, please.”
I clench my jaw, cornered.
"I am someone’s daughter.”
And she steps off of the bed and lies down on the floor, true to her word. I close my eyes, disheveled, tail tucked in between my legs as she humbles me with her questions. But although I am selfish I am not cruel, refusing to fall asleep until I hear her fall asleep first. As soon as her breathing lowers and slows I know she’s out for the count. I still play it safe and wait a few minutes, however, in the case she stirs herself awake to remain alert. But she doesn’t. Her guard is completely down. Stress has exhausted her energy reserves.
I step out of the bed and pull the covers down. I walk around the side and stare down at Blythe who, once again, has curled herself into the fetal position to find comfort. Her eyebrows are furrowed and a look of distress is still evident on her face. I bend down and unfurl her. She groans, rustled, but remains asleep as I slip my arms under her knees and waist and lift her onto the mattress. She curves her back into a bridge, revealing a slip of her flat stomach, before rolling onto her side.
I pull the covers up to her chin and brush a stray curl from her face. I want nothing more than to lay beside her and hold her, even to just lay beside her without holding her, but I cannot compel myself to get back into the bed. Instead I take her place on the floor, loyal to my new spot like a dog, and I remain there for the night.
This is the only night I will be so compassionate.