The Road Between

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Chapter 18: Scars

Aviana's POV

Later I laid on my stomach facing away from him just savoring the feeling of his fingers brushing across the bare skin of my back. Until suddenly I noticed he was tracing the scars there.

I sighed, squeezing my eyes closed and wishing for the millionth time I could make them disappear.

I wondered absently if he saw the same ugly weakness in them that I did. If he looked and saw my shame and vulnerability mapped out across my skin for everyone to see.

Tears pricked my eyes and I buried my face in the pillow wishing I could pull the blanket over myself.

The problem with that though was if we were going to have a family I had to get used to him seeing me naked.

"Did Dan do this?" He asked in a low guarded voice.

Absently I wondered why he hadn't asked me when I first woke up all those months ago. Then I quickly decided even then he had respected my space more than to ask such a personal question.

"No. It was a farewell gift from Jacob." I shuddered at the memory. "He was pissed Dan was, in his mind, letting me go."

I turned my head to read his pain and fury clear in his expression. When he met my gaze though I was suddenly flooded with shame again.

"You are beautiful." He stated calmly.

I met his gaze prepared for a mocking smile but he looked sincere.

His eyebrows were slightly furrowed showing a hint of his frustration at something but he smiled warmly at me, eyes sparkling like sapphires.

I shrugged blushing as I avoided his gaze.

"Why won't you look at me?" He asked after a long silence. "Please tell me what you're thinking."

"Just about the scars, what they resemble. How weak and ashamed I feel seeing them." I shuddered snuggling closer.

"You want to know what I see?" He asked after a moment.

I nodded not sure enough to speak the words.

"I see immense strength. I see a girl who, even having every reason to give up, never did." He ran his fingers through my hair. "I see bravery. The way you stood up for yourself and fought for years instead of submitting. I see a survivor. You are a survivor."

I smiled blushing deeply.

Then I remembered something and sighed, meeting his gaze.

"I haven't survived yet, he's still coming for me." My voice was barely above a whisper and I shuddered at the thought.

Liam stiffened next to me and I heard her teeth clench. His arms wrapped around me as he pulled me protectively into his chest.

I nuzzled closer, breathing in his comforting scent.

"I'm going to kill him, you know that right?" He said seriously.

"I know. It was your plan all along right? To take them all out of the equation." I said, looking up knowingly.

"Yes, my plan has worked better than even I expected." He was pensive for a second before he grinned down at me. "However I did not plan on you being so..." He trailed off thinking.

"Stubborn, broken, irritating." I offered.

He rolled his eyes then said instead, "Strong independent, perfect." Then he grinned playfully at me. "Stubborn."

I stuck my tongue out at him and he chuckled lightly burying his face in my neck again with a deep sigh.

"Seriously though." I said reluctantly. "Be careful. He's smarter than you think, don't underestimate him. Maybe I could help."

He chuckled humorlessly as he pulled back to look at me. "Let me get this straight. In a single conversation you tell me you are pregnant, that this job is extremely dangerous, and that you want to come? No way."

I sighed, wrapping my arms around myself. I knew he was right, but I still didn't like the idea of him facing off with Jacob.

If I thought Jacob would fight fair that would be fine, but I knew he wouldn't.

"When?" I asked, frowning as I sat back up and placed my chin on my knees.

"Three weeks." He smiled relieved that I wasn't fighting with him.

"He has four guard dogs. They are trained to kill, and sound the alarm." I whispered

"We know." He responded just as quietly as he smirked at me running his fingers across my back again. "I order a lot of recon before planning any form of attack."

I pulled away slightly, frowning at him.

"Oh so you know where all the spare weapons are hidden? And the key to the basement and cells? Of course you would know that." I flinched slightly at the thought of that basement, but was quickly able to remind myself I never had to see it again.

"Okay point taken." His eyebrows furrowed. "Do you want to come help with the planning?"

"Absolutely." I said standing up, or trying to but he pulled me into his lap.

"Not now. Now I want to be alone with you." He whispered into my ear before kissing my neck.

I gave in easily snuggling into his chest. I sighed content as his arms tightened around me holding me closer.

He chuckled, "I'll take that as a yes."
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