VI : Dreamless sleep
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” We all shout, happily to Dicarius. Gray eyes go to each one of us, he looks at me and I send him a cheeky wink.
The party dances on for a couple of hours, I talk to Kylie and Atlas shortly, the happy couples and the brooding brother. My exhaustion slaps me in the face as I lean against the ring, observing once more. Social confrontation isn’t really my thing, it usually ends with me being a stuttering mess or I flip someone off and storm away. Haha, look an unsocial bookworm. Never seen that before, I roll my eyes at myself.
Suddenly the ropes of the ring dip under my back and I look to the left and see none other than Steele smirking at me. I hold my gag and roll my eyes, turning away from the manwhore.
Granted, I’ve only talked to him twice. He still pisses me off by just being him. He had the audacity to flirt with me.
“So Rachel,” He says and I take a long drag of my drink, someone please help. “You look nice tonight.”
I choke on my drink, I start laughing. Oh, it’s too much, Steele Winters thinks he can hit me and then kick me to the curb. Hysterical laughter bubbles within me as I look to him with teary eyes, I shake my head and give him a look.
“You find me funny?” He smirks.
“No, I find you stupid.” I smirk right back, “It’s Reign you dumbass, and the answer is no.” I start to walk away, “I won’t ever sleep with you so get that through your thick skull.”
“Make me.” I hear him say but I pretend as if I don’t.
With that, I walk away and say my goodbyes. I feel Steele’s burning gaze in the back of my head but I ignore it. Vienna is fine without me, I might need her but I can’t drag her down. I can’t drag them down. No matter what people say or what people do, I’ll keep walking. I’ll take their punches and I’ll laugh in the face of hard work because even after it all... I’m still standing.
No one—no one, will ever bring me down.
Something stirs and yells in the night.
Something grips my waist and screams in my neck.
Something murmurs “no please no” over and over again.
That something is Steele.
I twist over in pain and face Steele. His arms still secure around my waist. I look to his face and see it scrunching in pain.
“No, no, no, no, no.” Steele rambles, I shift closer and move tighter into his arms. “Not her, no, no, no, please.”
I move my bruised hands to his face. I stroke his cheek and hush him like I do with my brother. But Steele isn’t him. He continues to scream and thrash but his arms never leave my body.
“Steele!” I yell, I push myself closer and place my hands on either side of his face.
“No, no, not her.” Steele screams.
“Steele! Steele! Hey, come back to me. Steele.” I yell again. Steele’s icy tired eyes shoot open and he gulps. I see small tears run down his skin. “Steele.” I whisper.
I’m afraid I’ll break him if I let go. I don’t want to let go.
“Angel?” He whispers back, his large hands hold my waist. Steele drags me even closer and he pushes my head to his chest.
“It’s alright, Steele.”
I keep my hands on his cheeks and then pull a hand into his hair. I run my hand down and massage the back of his head. My heart beats rapidly at our closeness when he groans.
“It’s just a nightmare. I’m-I’m right here.” I whisper.
Steele whimpers and then pulls his head into my neck. He shakes his head and murmurs something that’s not english.
“Reign.” Steele whispers over and over again, I hold him tight. Nightmares, I used to have them too.
“Steele, I’m right here. Go to sleep.” I drift my hands from his hair to his arms. So much for not touching him. Whoops, drastic changes call for drastic measures.
He comes back up from my neck and looks into my eyes. My face is flushed and confused. Why is he looking at me like that?
“Sleep, Steele.” I whisper boldly.
“I can’t, I can’t.” Steele closes his eyes and shakes his head. Reaching for his face, my hand finds his lightly stubbled jaw.
“Please. For me.” I bite my tongue as I whisper. How could I know? I don’t even know Steele Winters.
“Okay, angel for you.” He smiles softly at me and my gut twists. Steele nestles back into my neck and flips me over onto his chest. I inhale and my nose meets the send of pine. Steele hands rests gently on my body as I drift to another deep sleep. But I heard him, I heard Steele Winters say it one more time.
I feel movement slosh in my stomach, I dig my face deeper into the pillow with a grimace. Everything shudders in pain, suddenly the urge to throw up rises in my throat. I sit up gasping, throwing the covers off my body. Steele’s arms falling off me, leaving the warmth I limp to the bathroom. Banging my hip on a dresser, I curse a little too loudly. The sheets rustle as I hop to the bathroom, I feel sick. I feel digusting, I feel like I’m going to puke my guts out. Oh boy. I fiddle with the door knob holding in my cry, uh oh.
I hear Steele’s frantic voice, but I’m halfway into the bathroom. Choking, I lunge for the toilet and throw the past three meals I’ve had into the bowl. Ew, oh god. Gasping, I grip the counter, thundering footsteps follow me as I throw up again with the worst gargling noise leaving my throat. Coughing fits don’t subsided as Steele picks my hair off from my shoulders. A large hand rubs my back, gently. My ribs shake in pain, as my grip slips on the counter, “Steele—”
I fall back onto the floor but Steele’s arms catch me, “It hurts, Steele. It hurts so bad.” I cry, the splintering shattering pain that my father caused hurts. Remembering each punch and kick, each word and each scream. I shudder into Steele’s arms as he hushes me and whispers in my ear. But I don’t hear him as the ringing in my ears grow louder, groaning I turn to him.
“Steele, it hurts.” I say as he wipes the tears off my face. Ice blue eyes stare at me intensely and he sighs with a small grimace.
“I know, angel. I know.” Steele says, loosely wrapping his arms across my torso, Steele picks me up as if I weigh nothing. My mind is a haze as my limbs give way.
I don’t exactly know what I’m saying, all I know is that it hurts. “Why did they hurt me, Steele? I never did anything wrong.”
I whine over and over again as he lays me gently in the bed, “I’m good, I don’t want to lie Steele. I promise.”
“I know, angel, I know.” Steele simply says again.
The bed dips as he comes next to me, my fingers wrap around his wrist and I look up at him. Everything hurts but he makes it feel better, strange.
“I’m not bad.” I whisper, I don’t want to lie. I don’t want to do all of the things I’ve done ever again. I was only trying to survive, the concrete jungle of our world is more viscous than ever. But the people are crueler, and nothing comes without a price.
“I know, angel. You’re not bad, not at all.” He brushes the hair from my eyes. My hands tremble on his wrist as I meekly sob, it hurts so bad that I don’t know what I’m doing.
“You’re not bad, Steele.” I whisper, my head falling into the pillow next to his large muscled arm. “Not bad.”
I hear Steele inhale sharply as the pain walks under the darkness of the room. Steele pushes me closer into him and I let him—I let him. I look up at Steele one more time and wonder how I ever got myself into this position. I wonder how I managed to be in the same bed as the manwhore named Steele Winters.
“Thank you, Steele.” I close my eyes and drift into the sleep but my mind is on one thing.
Why does Steele care so much, and why do I care too?