Forgiven

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Safe Haven

Chapter 24:

It was almost dawn when they finally got back home. Alec silently hung his coat and attempted to excuse himself and go to his room. Lesly simply nodded as she watched him step into his room and close the door behind him. Perhaps it was better to talk to him after he had woken up. He seemed exhausted. She managed to get two hours of sleep the day before, but he did not sleep at all. She did not recall that he ate anything either. Maybe she could offer him something to eat now before she went to bed herself. The problem was, however, was it possible to prepare a warm meal for him before he surrendered to deep slumber? More importantly, was he going to agree to come out of his room and sit with her? It seemed unlikely.

Lesly walked into her room with the intention to slip into something comfortable and go to bed. However, by the time she had changed into a pair of shorts and a tank top, she decided to go knock on his door and check on him. If he was asleep, she would leave him alone. If not, she would ask him to eat something before he went to bed.

Alec was relieved that he was finally alone. He was sure Lesly had noticed that he was extremely distressed over the events of last night. If possible, he did not want to reveal any more than what he had already shown. That was why it was vital that he stayed alone until he managed to calm himself down. He took his clothes off and slipped into the grey sweatpants that were thrown on his bed. Then he went into the bathroom and tried to cool down by splashing cold water on his face. He shut his eyes, followed the breathing exercises he was given and hoped that they would work this time.

Violent graphic images flashed in his mind one after another. They were reminders of the hell he had experienced in captivity five years ago. His eyes opened when the excruciating pain of a knife tearing into his side got so real. It was soon joined by the agonizing sensation every scar in his reflection in the mirror brought back to life. It all felt so authentic that he could barely breath through the pain. His hands gripped the sides of the sink forcefully as he tried to reason with himself that it was all in his head. This thought did little to ease his pain, though, or even calm him down. It was unavoidable. He had to take a tranquilizer now before things got worse.

Alec opened the medicine cabinet and started looking for the bottle of pills that were prescribed for him. It had been a while since he experienced the need to use them. He made sure to get a refill every single time, but he tried his hardest not to resort to them no matter what. There was no way he could avoid that solution now. His hands shook as he held the bottle, opened the cap and got two pills out on his palm. Then he swallowed them, shut his eyes and hoped that they would relieve him of the wretched state he was currently in.

For the next couple of minutes, nothing of the sort happened. The pain got more intense with every passing second. He could feel his world shifting. It grew darker and darker until it matched the humid bleak basement he was incarcerated in for weeks. The cold feeling of rusty metal against his wrists, the scent of cigarettes and burning flesh, the taste of blood inside his mouth, they were all so real that he could not shake them. He could hear it now. The ominous sound of footsteps approaching the door. It clicked and creaked open. Nothing was there, except for the faint echo of an element that was foreign to his surroundings. It was different from anything he remembered. He remained focused on it in the hopes of identifying what it was. It grew louder the more he paid attention to it.

“Alec?”

Alec was immediately jolted out of the distressing episode his brain was sadistically orchestrating. He did not know he was holding his breath until a violent gasp broke out of his lungs. This was followed by an incessant demand for air that caused him to pant. He gave himself a minute to compose himself and to comprehend what was happening. Another knock called for his attention. He stared in the direction of the bedroom and realized that it was Lesly knocking on his door.

Alec placed the bottle he was holding back inside the medicine cabinet and left the bathroom to see what Lesly wanted. He opened the door and found her standing there with concern written all over her face.

“You’re not asleep yet. Good.”

“Why is that?” He asked dryly.

“I was wondering if you wanted to eat something before you went to bed.”

“I’m not hungry.”

She did not leave. She stood there and stared at him. Her look of concern deepened when she noticed the state he was in. He looked pale. The short strands of hair surrounding his face were wet. There was a slight tremor in his hands that was barely discernible. On top of that, his breathing appeared labored. The visible scars on his bare chest that she was noticing for the first time did little to ease her worry.

“Are you alright?” Lesly finally asked.

“In a way.” He answered with a straight face. “I’m sorry, Lesly, I want to be left alone.”

She took one step closer to him and inspected his face before she whispered.

“You can talk to me you know.”

Alec contemplated the matter for a bit. His eyes never left hers the entire time. He eventually walked back inside his bedroom and leaned against the wall facing the door. Lesly followed him. She waited for him to say something because it seemed like he was struggling to put his thoughts into words. He finally spoke, but it was not an explanation that he chose to give her. It was a question.

“How do you do it?”

Lesly was confused. She gave him a questioning look and waited for him to clarify.

“How do you deal with this sort of thing every single day after everything that happened to you?”

Lesly did not know how to answer him. The question was perfectly clear, but the reasons behind asking it were not. It was obvious that he was distressed over the matter that they had to deal with last night. The problem was that she did not know why it bothered him this much. She wanted to ask him, but judging by the way he looked, it was perhaps better to leave the matter for another time. He needed assurance now, but how was she to provide it if she did not know what was eating him exactly?

“It’s not every single day.” She shrugged.

“Still.”

“Ben is fine, Alec.” Lesly tried to assure him once more.

“You were there. What if you weren’t?”

Alec realized that he had told her so much only after he had blurted out the question. She might have assumed that it was about Ben, but it was not entirely about the boy, it was about him, too. He thought he was entirely over the incident, but every once in a while, something like this would come along and jolt him into the reality that he would never entirely overcome that experience, the death of his best friend and the mess that followed. How did Lesly do it? How did she put up with a job that brought her constant reminders of everything that had happened to her on regular basis? He might have been confined for a longer period of time, but she definitely suffered more than he did.

Lesly walked over to where he was standing. She held his face in her hands and stroked the dark stubble in his cheeks.

“You’re gonna be okay.” She whispered as she stared deep into his eyes.

He stared back into her grey eyes. Those were the exact same words she said to him that day when she found him in that burning building.

So many different emotions overwhelmed him that instant. He did not know how to process them or what to do with them. Without warning, Alec roughly pulled her towards him and savagely covered her mouth with his before she could speak another word. Whatever that was left of his reason told him to go easy, but he could not heed any rational thought at that moment. He would stop if she pushed him away. It would surely kill him if she did, but he would do it. Thankfully, she didn’t. She wrapped her arms around him and tried to give him as much as he gave her. This pushed him to take things one step further. He released her mouth against her silent pleas to keep going and turned her around so that her back was pressed against the wall. Then he picked her up and spoke to her in a gruff voice.

“Wrap your legs around me, sweetheart.”

She would have instinctively done that even if he hadn’t asked her. His mouth viciously claimed hers again. His kisses became more aggressive as they kept on going. His mouth was hot against hers. It nibbled, sucked and ate at her lower lip before his tongue stroked hers possessively. His hands caressed the bare thighs that were coiled intimately around his waist before they cupped her backside. From there they found their way to her tiny waist and went up to her breasts. He stroked her nipples over her thin cotton top and heard her muffled moan as his mouth continued to make love to hers.

Lesly was driven mad by all the things he was doing to her. She felt herself trembling with need as his hands caressed her body intimately. Her kisses grew just as aggressive as his. She bit his lips, nibbled on them playfully before her tongue passionately dueled with his. His groan of desire told her that he wanted more and she gave it to him.

When Alec pulled back, they were both gasping for breath. His eyes examined her hungrily. Her lips were red and swollen. Her grey eyes were cloudy with passion. The straps of her tank top had fallen over her arms revealing her creamy shoulders. He could now confirm that she did not have a bra on, not only because there were no straps, but also because he could see and feel her hardened nipples through her thin cotton top. His mind took visualizing all the erotic things he could to her to a whole new level. What would happen if she knew what was going on inside his head right now? Would she urge him to keep going or would she demand putting an end to their intimate moment? He could not figure an answer to that question because of the way she was touching him right now. Her delicate fingers were stroking his neck and his bare shoulder. They lingered over a massive scar that extended from his right shoulder all the way to his chest. Then they went back to his lips. He opened his mouth and began nibbling at her finger, but she did not let him do it for too long. She eventually leaned down and kissed him passionately. Alec pulled back and began trailing light kisses on her neck all the way to her ear. The rough stubble on his cheek tickled her and made her shiver. He began talking to her in a gruff whisper when he heard her moan.

“You’re not making this easy.”

“I could say the same thing about you.” She gasped loudly when he began tugging at her earlobe with his teeth.

“Have you changed your mind about us?” He asked as he began to nibble on her neck.

“No.” She whispered breathlessly.

Alec pulled back. He shut his eyes, placed his forehead against hers and spoke to her in a hoarse voice. “I swear one of those days you’re gonna kill me.”

“You’ll be fine.” She said softly before she kissed him on the forehead and wiggled out of his tight hold on her. Alec put her down and watched her as she readjusted the straps on her tank top. She looked so damn kissable right now that he barely kept himself from pulling her towards him. He smiled at her before he turned around and started digging in one of the drawers of the dresser.

She watched him with curiosity and asked. “You still don’t have an appetite?”

“I have a different sort of appetite now.”

Lesly was thankful his back was turned to her because she was sure her face had turned crimson. She tried to keep her tone casual as she continued to address him. “I can make some French toast, or would you rather we have scrambled eggs?”

“Whatever you want, sweetheart.”

She was thrown off by the term of endearment. Her eyes watched him as he dug some clothes from the dresser, and then marched in the opposite direction of the living room.

“Where are you going?” She asked in confusion.

“Cold shower.”

Lesly could feel the blood rushing to her cheeks. She marched out of his bedroom in a hurry and went towards the kitchen to find something to distract herself. The fridge was well-stocked and had everything they needed thankfully. Lesly turned on the coffee machine, put the slices of toast in the toaster and began preparing the scrambled eggs. The task should have been easy enough. She had done it many times in the past. Unfortunately, she was so distracted at the moment that she barely managed to get the consistency right. She hoped that she ended up with something edible at the very least.

By the time she was done preparing breakfast and assembling the plates on the kitchen counter, Alec came out to join her. He had a white plain t-shirt and a pair of blue cotton shorts on. He asked her if she needed any help. When she told him she didn’t, he sat opposite to her on the kitchen counter. Lesly brought two mugs of coffee over and told him to dig in. The two consumed their meal in silence, but chose to stay for another cup of coffee after they were done with the food. Alec got up, brought the coffee pot over, and refilled their mugs before he sat down.

“Did Michaela contact you lately?” He asked in an attempt to start a casual conversation.

“She did. We talk all the time.”

“Did she tell you when she’s coming back?”

“Later tonight actually.”

“Are you going back to her place?”

Lesly stroked the coffee mug in front of her as she contemplated the question. “Do you think it’s better if I go back?”

“I’d rather you stay here.”

“Are you sure?”

“It would put my mind at ease if you’re here. Plus, I don’t want to sleep on that couch ever again.”

Lesly laughed. She knew how much of a torture sleeping on that couch was because she had slept on it a couple of times whenever she crashed with her friend.

“To tell you the truth,” Lesly began hesitantly, “I’m worried something bad might happen to her if I stay with her.”

“I’m not gonna lie to you. It’s possible.”

“I’m worried about you, too.” She spoke softly. Her eyes told him how anxious she was.

“You shouldn’t.” He tried to assure her. “You’ve seen how secure this building is. There’s no way he can get in.”

“What if he tries to get to you someplace else?”

Alec shrugged before he answered her with a straight face. “It would certainly make finding him easier if he did.”

“I’m serious, Alec.” Lesly’s voice was soft. Her grip on the mug tightened.

Alec noticed that his dismissive attitude was not helping in easing her worry. He reached for her hand and gently pried her fingers away from the handle before he gave her hand a gentle squeeze. He kept his eyes locked with hers and spoke to her in his deep assuring voice.

“It’s highly unlikely that he would attack me. If he is foolish enough to attempt it, I can take care of myself. Don’t worry about it.”

She smiled weakly at him and he knew then that she was not entirely convinced. This caused him to rush to change the direction of their discussion in an attempt to distract her before she got even more worried.

“By the way, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you?”

“What is it?”

“How long have you and Michaela known each other?”

“Since we were young. Why?”

“No reason really. It’s just that she paid me a visit in my office once to discuss what I was planning to do regarding your case, and she intimidated one of the guys I work with.”

“Who? Young Kyle?” Lesly asked with an amused look on her face before she took a sip of coffee.

“He’s not that young, and yes, how did you know?”

“He finds me intimidating as well.” She shrugged as if she was stating the obvious. “Every time I see him in court, he gets nervous, musters up an excuse and runs away. Is he like that around others as well?”

“I’ve only seen him like that around you two.” Alec answered with an impish grin. “Poor bastard.”

“Is there something you’re trying to say?” Lesly arched an eyebrow. Her smile mirrored his.

“Not really. I just find it amusing when I visualize the two of you terrorizing helpless kids around the neighborhood since you were little.”

“That’s an image I wouldn’t mind maintaining to tell you the truth.” She laughed.

Lesly began piling the dishes on the counter over one another before she stood up and took them to the sink.

“I’ll do the dishes.” Alec spoke before he followed her.

“It’s alright. Just go get some rest.”

“I insist.”

Lesly stepped aside and allowed him to get to the task. She grabbed her mug and tried to finish what remained of her coffee.

“Do you have plans tonight?” She finally asked hesitantly.

“I doubt it. I’m going to be too exhausted to do anything.”

“Not even dinner?”

“What do you have in mind?” He inquired before he placed one clean dish on the rack.

“I was hoping I would cook for you. You know, as a thank you for everything you did last night.”

“You don’t have to thank me for that. I’m glad I could help.”

“So that’s a no?” She asked playfully.

“Hell no, I’m there.” He said enthusiastically. “What are you thinking of making?”

“I was thinking fettuccine alfredo.” Lesly took one look at him before she reconsidered her decision. “Unless you have some healthier option in mind.”

“Sounds good.”

“Well then, I’ll see you tonight. I hope you get a good rest.” She said softly to him before she went to her room.

“You too.”

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