Earthquakes and Chills

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Chapter 8

Saturday was a mess of a day to get through, but I was glad it was over. I could barely keep my eyes open when we made it back into the elevator. I accidentally found myself leaning on Nolan, but he didn’t seem bothered. Instead, he looked overwhelmed and was utterly withdrawn in his own thoughts.

He held my arm as he guided me to the door. I was half awake, half asleep in a zombie-like state. I just wanted sleep.

“Can you help me unzip?” I asked after he closed the door, “it’s annoying, and I kept getting it caught when I was doing the thing, the zippy thing, you know, this morning.”

I moved my hair and stood, waiting for him to put down his keys. I could feel his warmth as he approached me. I was tired, but I felt like even without turning around, I could feel where he was.

“Dare?” he asked, moving the zipper.

“It’s too late, and I’m super tired. Ask me in the morning,” I yawned, but Nolan began zipping me back up. “Fine,” I said breathed, “come on. Zipper down.”

“Okay, I dare you to forget this feeling,” he said.

“What feeling?”

He turned me around and pressed his lips against mine. His fingers wound themselves in the hair at the nape of my neck as he deepened the kiss.

I couldn’t help the moan that escaped, but he caught it with his mouth and teased me with his tongue. I felt the dress fall, and his hands moved around my back leisurely, drawing out my gasps.

“That feeling,” he said almost breathlessly as he broke the kiss suddenly and went up the stairs to his room.

“ASSHOLE!” I yelled after him.

I picked up my dress and felt slightly ridiculous. I didn’t altogether believe that that had happened. I refused to think about it. I had been dared to forget, but I could feel warmth building between my thighs, which made it almost impossible.

I took a deep breath and thought of Owen.

If anything could help me forget what had just happened, it would be him. Only because instead of feeling lust, I began to feel anger. I remembered how he hurt me.

I’ll never forget Miles’ face when he came to pick me up. He literally had to pick me up off of the floor and take me back to his hotel. Even though I made him promise not to, he still told our Mom how he had found me.

She made me file charges and a restraining order- it was horrifying. Owen and his family had money, so when I went to court for the restraining order, I was overwhelmed when I saw his attorney. It was hard enough going through everything but looking over, I could see his sneering smile throughout the entire process.

I felt alone and scared… I didn’t know what to do, so I dropped the restraining order. I was terrified. The judge offered me the opportunity to come back and file another restraining order. The moment I could leave, I ran from the courtroom.

I had spent three years of my life with Owen. We met in college, fell in love, and even moved in together. I thought we would stay together when we graduated and moved back to California, but he didn’t want to. So instead, he tried to move on.

My response was simple: I get it, it’s okay; if you’re ready to move on, then I’ll support you. I mean, you can’t make someone love you.

What I didn’t expect was that he would put our dog down in the process of moving. Spirit was a beautiful dog; she was incredibly anxious and aggressive. I would’ve taken her with me, but my Mom had a dog at the time, and Spirit was dog aggressive.

Owen’s resolution was to put her down.

He, himself, was aggressive and sometimes abusive. Oddly enough, the physical abuse didn’t happen until we actually broke up. After that, he would find reasons to meet with me, talk about money, or take my things out of the place we had together.

It didn’t take much for me to forget the moment I had with Nolan. I just had to remember my past. It was easy for me to pretend like nothing happened because that’s how I lived most of my life. Acting like nothing had ever happened to me.

I hadn’t even seen Owen since we had both moved back. I knew where he lived, but I never really told him where my Mom lived. I was grateful that I never had said anything to him about her.

I turned on my phone and saw that all of my texts had doubled, and my voicemail was almost full again. I debated on checking the messages from my Mom but settled on checking the messages that Miles had sent me:

-WHERE ARE YOU!? –

-WHY AREN’T YOU ANSWERING!? –

-IF YOU DON’T RESPOND, WE WILL FILE A MISSING PERSON’S REPORT! Just so you know, we can track you down by your damn phone, and if I find that you are anywhere near Owen, I swear I drag you out myself. -

I was glad I checked my messages. Then, I turned off my phone. I didn’t want to go back home. That place where I was living with my Mom wasn’t home. It hadn’t been anywhere near feeling like home since my father passed away. Now that I was out, I wasn’t looking to head back any time soon.

I closed my eyes and hoped that sleep would come easy. Thankfully it did.

When I woke up, I threw my phone on the floor. I wished for one moment that my life wasn’t the mess that it was. I let myself have a moment of self-pity, and I allowed myself to cry.

I picked up my phone. Damn, the thing was durable. The screen was cracked, but it still seemingly worked. Turned on and everything. I turned it back off and tossed it in the trashcan in the kitchen.

I took a breath and started cooking breakfast.

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