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Chapter 13

Everly

"Did I say something wrong?" Erik just stared at me. I covered my mouth and wondering if I had overstepped or said something stupid.

Finally, Erik's facial expression changed from spaced out to a full-on widespread smile. His sexy dimples appeared.

"Say something?" I touched his lap with my nails.

"Sorry, I just wasn't expecting you to say that." His hands covered mine.

"Erik, when I'm with you, you give me this sense of 'okayness' like as long as your near, I'll be ok. I'm not used to feeling that way, especially when things are different or unplanned. But you are making it feel better."

"Everly, you don't need me for you to be okay, cause look what you have been through in the last 24 hours. You were so brave lost in the woods, and you were not completely freaked out. You have overcome a lot, but that has been all you."

He was so sweet, but it's him who I held onto when I was locked in that trunk. It was him who I called out for when I was scared in that dark, creepy basement. It was him that I wanted to see when I first got up yesterday.

It was him that I thought about while I slept out in the open exposed to Nature.

It's him I want to be around as much as possible, and I know that's unrealistic with our jobs and lives. But he makes me happy. And happy makes me feel good. And I want to feel more of that.

"Erik, I like you, and I don't want to scare you, but I feel just better when you are around."

"I feel the same about you, Everly. I felt lost without you. I felt unwell and physically ill without you. I've never felt this way about a person."

I can't believe this. I know he's been with other women who made him happy.

Could I keep him happy?

His head was facing forward, but his eyes diverted from the road briefly to gaze over at me.

"So none of the girls you've been with you felt this way for?"

He shook his head. "Never. You're just so bright, and you draw me in." He winked at me.

I had this ankling to crawl over and sit on his lap. But I know to be unbuckled is terrible and also distracting someone while driving, it is a bad thing too. But he made me want to test boundaries.

I just wanted to be near.

I unbuckled and turned in my seat on my knees and slid my leg over his lap.

"What are you doing?" He smiled at me.

"I just needed to feel you." I laid my head on his shoulder and brushed my hand over the side of his face.

His one arm buckled around me like a safety belt, and he kissed my neck. "I'm never losing you again. You hear me." He talked to against the side of my neck.

I leaned out and moved off his lap. He stopped at a red light, leaned over and kissed me while he tugged on my seat belt and made sure I was securely belted. "Thank you." I skimmed my fingers along with his neck.

"Just don't want to see you hurt." He kissed me again, sending my stomach into a fluttering frenzy.

"I'm ok."

The light turned green, and Erik proceeded on.

Erik

We arrived at her parent's place. Her dad was sitting on the porch. He stood up slowly. He had a sling on his shoulder. Everly was out of her seat and running up the stairs. She hugged him.

I stayed back nervous, to be honest. Scared that I may not be welcomed here after all Everly has been through.

Everly waved me over. I stepped out of my car and walked up the steps. Karl nodded at me and outstretched his hand and shook it.

"Thank you for finding her." Karl lightly shook my hand and pulled me in, patting my back in a friendly greeting. It was unexpected. I was expecting yelling, swearing, threats, a bullet in my head. You name it, anything to keep me away from his precious daughter. Maybe it's just my guilt of how things unfolded, and I felt powerless I felt unable to help her.

"If it wasn't for the wolf, she may have still been out there." I give credit where credit is due, to the wolf.

"Boy, you have my full respect. You stayed level headed, and you didn't stop until she was found." He did sound sincere.

"I just felt helpless in both circumstances, but I am glad she's back. How are you feeling?"

"I'll be ok. Just some resting, but I should be back to normal in a few days."

Luanna looked lovingly at her husband that sweet affection was all over her face.

The girls hugged, and I could see the tears both her parents were holding back.

"Erik, can I get you a drink? water, iced tea, coffee, soda?" Luanna offers.

"Iced tea would be great, thank you." I send her a smile of thanks.

"Karl? Everly?"

"Love, all have a sprite." Karl smiled at Luanna.

"I'll get it, mom? Why don't you sit, all get everyone's drinks?" Everly offered kindly, she took my hand and dragged me along inside the house.

I follow her to the kitchen. I was still in partial shock from all the uproar that has happened. I stayed close to Everly, not wanting to be too far away.

She brought everyone a drink. She looked exhausted, but like she was trying to look brave for her dad. Showing him, she's ok, so he doesn't worry. Like she realizes the severity of the situation. Being kidnapped wasn't her fault but walking off having people concern she was feeling bad; she was seeing how her actions caused people to worry.

Everly, they kept letting out heaving breaths. You know the ones that you let out cause you are either upset or having something weighing heavily on your mind, but you do it uncontrolled.

She finally came and sat beside me on the couch again, letting out this heavy shutter of a sigh. I leaned over and whispered. "You ok?" I ask.

Everly looked over, and she rolled her shoulders in an unsure way. I'm sure she's still got to be feeling things from the kidnapping.

"I'm tired." She said softly.

"Want to lie down?" I ask.

She nodded her head.

"Why don't you lie down?" I can see your eyes look tired. I can see the fatigue on her face.

"Will you come with me?" She asks.

I stand up, not saying a word, and nod towards her parents; they smiled at me. They nodded back.

I let Everly lead me to her room. Once she closed the door, she took me over to her bed. I took a seat. I pulled her down, so she was sitting on my lap.

She held on to me to catch her balance.

"I'm so bad, " she mumbled over and over.

"You are, not bad Everly," I say cautiously.

She bit her quivering lip and sucked in a sharp inhale.

"I made a bad mistake." She laid back on her bed.

"Everly, no one is mad at you. We are all happy you are safe."

"But bad things could have happened."

I laid down beside her. "Everly, don't feel bad." My fingers delicately swipe over her cheek.

She buried her face into her pillow. She was taking this hard. Maybe everything was just hitting her how real it was and how dangerous it was.

I curled up behind her. "It's ok, Everly. You are safe now." I spoke softly close to her ear, stroking her hair.

She turned her head to look at me. "It feels like a nightmare. I see those masks and the darkness. It makes me feel this big heavy doom like what bad thing is going to happen next."

I just listened to her, letting her get out what she needed. I strummed my fingers tips along her cheek then down her arm. "You are safe now," I say in a gentle tone. But I can see in her eyes there's still fear and worry.

"What if it happens again?" She let out a quiet whimper.

"It won't." I try to reassure her.

"Will you sleep with me?"

I nodded my head. I help her get under the blankets, and I slid in behind the contours of her incredible body. I tried to be a gentleman and hold back my hardness, but she was making it too damn hard.

I didn't try for anything as I felt her relax into me and her breath deepened, and I could tell she was asleep. I kissed her cheek and watched her sleep. Pure beauty she is. And she's mine.

.

.

.

I woke up startled by a nightmare. Everly was still lost in my dream, and it had been months with no sign from her. Then I got a call from her dad that they had found her body in the river. I woke up shaking and breathing at a high rate; I felt dizzy.

Seeing her sleeping beside me made me relieved. I needed to wash my face that was covered in sweat. I stood up and took shaky steps to the door and walked out and found the bathroom.

I washed my face and just stared at myself.

She's ok; she's alive, she's here.

I said this over and over until my racing heartbeat tempered down.

I ran my hands over my head. I heard a scream, a heart-shattering cry. I raced out and headed down the hallway to Everly's room.

I found her in the corner of her room, mumbling to herself. I moved in slowly and whispered, not wanting to scare her.

"Everly, you're ok?" I get up behind her. She's clawing at the wall, she muttering to herself over and over.

"Darkness bad." She jumped nearly sky high like she just realized I was here. She spun around and jumped into my arms. I steady myself as I wasn't prepared for this.

I talk against her neck. "I got you."

She shook in my arms. Her breathing was fast. I take her to the bed and kneel at her feet. "Slow breathing. In and out," I instructed her. My hand stayed in hers. I brought my other hand up and touched the side of her face.

Her eyes were blinking a lot, her legs bouncing rapidly off the floor. Tears filled her eyes.

"Everly you're safe, you're ok," I repeat over and over again until she brought her breathing down. It was quite a task.

"I can see the darkness; I can see their masks. I can't 'un-feel' this uneasiness, this fear." Her lips trembled as she spoke.

My heart collapsed for her. She was a fright I wasn't sure what to do. I felt powerless. All I wanted to do is take all her fears away. I placed my hands on her thighs and rubbed them. Her hands came up, and she put then on my face. Her eyes trickled with tears.

"Look at me, Everly." She wouldn't look at me. I touched her face and tilted it up, so our eyes locked in place. "Why don't we go downstairs and put some music on. Or we could do a puzzle or play a game."

She nodded her head, and she let me lead her downstairs. I watched her mouth move as she counted each step walking down the stairs. It was cute.

She pulled out a puzzle, and we sat at the dining room table. Her dad came over and hugged her. He said he had to go out for a bit, but he would be back in a bit. He said he would pick up some pizza on the way home. I pulled out a 100 dollar bill and passed it to him.

He shook his head. "I got this." He walked out with Luanna. She smiled at me.

Everly was very focused on the puzzle. I could see she was calming down. She was very particular about how she put the puzzle together. She did the edges first and then did similar colours in sections.

"Everly?" She didn't respond. I repeat her name. "Every." I touched her hand very lightly, and she jumped up off her chair like I was the boogie man.

"S-sorry, " she stuttered.

"Everly how about a movie?"

"E.T.?" She smiled.

"Sounds good." I take a seat beside her. She gripped my shirt as she watched the movie. Not from fear but not wanting to let go. To be touching, to feel something real.

She lay against my chest. I ran my hands through her hair. She looked up at me and smiled. Her pitter-patter heartbeat is beautifully next to mine.

I combed my fingers through her hair and leaned in close and whispered. "Can I kiss you?"

I needed thi; II needed her.

"Yes." She spoke softly.

I met her smooth seams and brushed them with mine. Her hands ran over my chest. I pulled her onto my lap with one arm. Our lips fit together again. I breathe in her scent and feel the touch of her I tongue that brushed softly over mine.

My phone rings, and I check it briefly and see it's work. I answered it.

Erik: "Hello?"

Tanya: "Sorry to bug your, Sir, but I've been going through the books, and it seems the numbers don't match up. I believe someone has been stealing."

Honestly, I didn't even care. If I lost my business, I didn't care.

Erik: "I'll check in tomorrow; thank you for letting me know."

Tanya: "You're welcome."

Tanya: "Will you need my services?"

Erik: "No."

Tanya: "I can be there in 15 minutes."

Erik: "I said no."

Tanya: "Well, see you tomorrow."

Erik: "Right. Good night."

I hang up, hearing Tanya still trying to get me to take her up on her offer.

I'll have to make things clear that it's over.

"Who was that?" Every asked.

"That was my assistant."

"Is everything ok?" She looked at me in concern.

"I just need to check my books. She said some money is missing," I say.

"Oh, no. Someone is stealing?"

"Apparently." I nodded.

"Does your assistant help you with other personal things other than work?"

"Everly, I'm going to be straight with you. We were physical together."

"Like sex?" She whispered.

I nodded.

"Are you going to keep doing physical things with her?" She moved off of me and sat on the far end of the couch.

"Everly, since I met you, I haven't been doing anything with her; I only want you."

"Does she know this, or is she expecting things to pick up where you left off?"

"I will need to talk to her, so she understands I am with you." I need Everly to trust me.

"Are you sure you want to be with me?"

Her eyelashes fluttered, her eyes sparkled. I moved over and leaned in. "Everly, I only want you. I am very sure about that." She smiled, but I could tell she was still unsure. I will have to prove that things are finalized between Tanya and me. And that Everly is my number 1.

She moved off the couch and started making something in the kitchen. I walked over. "Everly, are you upset?"

"I don't know how to do this relationship stuff. What if I fail and you want to go back to your assistant?"

"I don't want you not to trust me. She means nothing to me. You make me so happy, Everly."

"But every time we are together, something goes wrong, or I freak out."

"We just need to spend more time together. Get back to our regular routines."

"I don't want to work. I can't." She was shaking again.

"Everly, if you need more time off, take more time off. If you want, you could come to work with me."

"You mean at your office?"

"Yes." I slid my hands around her hips.

"So I could help you, or would you be my babysitter?" She slides her hands around my neck. Then she ran her hands over the back of my neck.

"You could help me. You could bake in the work kitchen. I know the workers would love that."

I saw her eyes; they shined with excitement. "You're serious?" She looks at me with an intensity in her eyes.

"I am very serious."

I am not going to lie the thought of her not with me scares me, so I am offering this to her, but it's just as much for me.

I'm not trying to he possessive, but I am still freaking out that something might happen again. This will ease my anxieties for now.

Her dad and mom came back; they brought pizza and pop. We all sat around eating. Everly used a unique plate and enjoyed her spinach, prosciutto and feta pizza. She was acting like her usual happy self. Her dad was so sweet to her.

I went out to talk to Ottis and Jordan. I was checking in on them. I said I would be staying the night with Everly. I also let them know about the possible theft in our company.

I also asked if they would be ok with Everly coming to work. I said she would be baking us treats; they were totally in. They asked what I was going to do about Tanya as they know she can get clingy and overbearing sometimes.

They said I need to be completely upfront and tell her how it is now.

So let's hope she is as accepting of me declining her offerings. Cause I don't need drama.

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