The Road Between

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Chapter 5: Waking Up

Aviana's POV

I woke up in an actual bed alone, I couldn't remember the last time that had happened. If it hadn't been for the throbbing pain I would have thought I was dreaming, or was finally dead.

I slowly opened my eyes wondering why I was on my stomach, but was quickly distracted by a wave of nausea brought on by the sun shining brightly through the big window next to me. I groaned softly before biting my tongue.

I silently chastised myself, I knew better than to make noise when I was in a strange place. The less attention I drew the better.

"Oh good, you're awake." A man's voice came from across the room, the opposite side of the bed from the window.

I rolled quickly onto my back.

I had to bite my lip hard to stifle a cry of pain as I was suddenly reminded of why I had been on my stomach. Damn two rookie mistakes already, why was I so foggy.

"No, please stay still." The man who had clearly been sitting in the chair by the door, if the open book and glass of water was any indication, was now walking towards me.

His arms were slightly outstretched and his expression was one of deep concern.

I ignored him fighting my aching body into a standing position.

"They said you were stubborn,'' he said running his dark almond colored hand over his face. He had jet black dreadlocks pulled back into a messy half bun.

I stood gasping for a second. Then I straightened crossing my arms, knuckles cracking.

Now that I saw him I knew him, I had seen him with my father.

He reached out maybe to try to steady me, maybe something else but I wouldn't take that chance.

I jerk away from him, fear flooding my chest. I felt like I couldn't breath. If I was back with Dan, he would kill me.

"You're okay." The man said, seeming to read my thoughts, "You're at the Bly's, You are safe here."

"I'm not stupid, you work for Dan. Why would you be at the Reapers house." I snapped, trying to hide the terror growing in my gut.

I couldn't decide whether I would be in more or less danger at the Reapers as opposed to Dans. I felt light headed as I realized my chances of survival at either place was slim. I had been through hell but I wasn't ready to die. I fought for the life I wanted, and this wasn't it. I could feel myself swaying and my stomach clenched angrily, always a bad sign.

"I'm a negotiator. I work with smaller gangs but always for Liam. I heard some of the things they were doing to you and I negotiated the deal to get you out of there." He explained calmly.

"What am I supposed to thank you?" I spat as the room swayed almost going parallel again.

He reached out, his hand brushing my shoulder.

Even with the ground shifting under my feet I took a shaky step backwards and hissed, "Don't touch me."

He dropped his hands with a concerned sigh.

"I'll let Liam know you're up." He said, taking a slow step back before turning and walking out the door.

I sat on the edge of the bed groaning at the pain in my back. After stacking pillows against the headboard I gingerly leaned back against them and hugged my knees up to my chest. With a pained sigh I took a moment to assess my surroundings as well as my current condition.

First I glanced around the large bright room. The walls were a pale blue which looked nice with the slightly darker blue bed set. There were two large windows that had blinded me earlier to my left and the door was to my right. On the far wall was a large dark wood dresser with a mirror hanging over it. The dark dresser matched the frame of the bed I was on as well as the night stand to my left and two large wooden chairs and a coffee table between to my right. On the table there was an empty beer can, two glasses of water, and a deck of cards. In the corner on the far wall near the windows there was another door that was open showing a sliver of what was most likely a bathroom.

Deciding there was no current threat to my well being it was time for my self assessment. I closed my eyes, laying my forehead on my knees, and slowly flexed each muscle in my body evaluating what was hurt, and how badly. I immediately noticed that the bandages complicated this. I wasn't used to ever getting proper wrappings for my injuries. My back and left wrist were both wrapped expertly. Other than those I was pleased to realize my injuries were mostly superficial. I had had worse.

"I'll survive this. Just like at Dans I'll make it through." I sighed, opening my eyes again and glancing around the room again. Everything seemed blurred and I suddenly realized I had tears in my eyes. Whether they were caused by fear, pain, or stress it didn't matter because right then I noticed something else as well. I was no longer alone.

A tall man, with bright blonde hair, stood just inside the doorway watching me with a sad intensity that made me uneasy. He had the brightest blue eyes I had ever seen and tan lines on his biceps from wearing t-shirts in the sun to long. Now he was wearing blue jeans and a white tank top that hugged his well tone abs.

Despite his good looks I couldn't help but imagine how badly those huge hands could hurt me. My heart was racing as I wiped my eyes and stood quickly on the opposite side of the bed, bracing myself.

"No need to get up sweetheart." His voice was filled with mocking concern, making me tense more crossing my arms defensively. Then suddenly he looked serious again. "Now take off your shirt."

"No!" While I had intended to sound fierce, my voice came out as a squeak highlighting my fear for all to see.

"What Liam, my idiot nephew, is trying to say is, Hello I'm Dr. Jason Bly and I need to check the stitches in your back." A much older man said drawing my attention to him. He was a few inches shorter than Liam, his hair a few shades lighter, and his eyes were pale brown. Despite the differences it was obvious that they were related.

Jason's hair was buzzed military style as opposed to his nephew's wild and shaggy hair. The biggest difference by far though, he didn't seem threatening.

"I'm fine, thank you." I spoke directly to Jason, avoiding Liam's irritated gaze.

"You almost bled to death Monday and I'm not saving your ass again if you refuse our help." Liam snapped, earning a furious glare from his uncle.

"I've survived worse, and you could just say yesterday." I glowered back at him, refusing to back down.

"I would but it's Friday. You've been unconscious for four days princess." Liam smirked knowingly. He had caught me off guard and thrown me off balance, and he knew it.

I froze taking in the information. I was suddenly dizzy. I knew I couldn't keep up the facade. The whole world was spinning, and it seemed to have left me behind.

After everything this loss of time was more than I could handle. I was hyperventilating.

"Breathe.." A calm soft voice said as two firm but gentle hands were suddenly on my shoulders easing me back against the bed. I forced myself to take one shuddering breath, as the huge hands suddenly held mine loosely. I looked up seeing two piercing blue eyes. Liam's breathing was slow and even and I fought to match it.

In that moment I was unable to think about how close we were or how vulnerable a position I was in.

All of the sudden though it hit me and I flinched away pulling my hands out of his and tensing again. He was too close. I had to fight not to shove him away, but I didn't want to see him angry.

"Let us help you." Liam's voice sounded pleading, but I knew that couldn't be real. He was probably just waiting for me to drop my guard, he had to be mad because I had pulled away.

"Don't touch me." While I was supposed to sound threatening, it of course sounded like I was just waiting to be hit or kicked. "Please..."

"I'm not going to hurt you Ana." Liam said quietly, still crouching in front of me by the bed.

I flinched at Dan's nickname for me, "Don't call me that." I shuddered, squeezing my eyes shut.

"What's your name then?" Jay asked walking up behind Liam.

"Avi," I responded then took a deep breath looking back and forth between the two men and added, "Aviana Johnson."
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