I was afraid to fall asleep, afraid I would scream and wake Adrian from where he lay on the floor by my sofa. He had bought vending machine food and found some blankets to set up in his office. The sofa was more comfortable than expected, but I would have given anything to have Aaliyah with me.
I comforted myself that she was safe, protected, and asleep. That however did little to help with the crippling anxiety caused by her absence.
Despite all of that though I soon felt my eyelids grow heavy as I drifted off to sleep.
“Where is she?!” I screamed though it hurt to do so.
Aaliyah was two days old and I wasn’t even close to healed yet. I felt hollow and sick all the time. I didn’t know yet that I had gotten a severe infection that was slowly spreading throughout my abdomen.
“Where’s my baby?!” I winced in pain as the cry tore through my body.
Charlie chuckled maliciously, “You brought this on yourself. You embarrassed me again. Even after, I was nice enough to give you a day off.”
I hadn’t been fast enough while serving drinks to him and his friends. I tried to stand straight, show I was strong, maybe even a threat . He had taken my daughter, and I would do anything to get her back..
“She’s only two days old!” I screamed, feeling dizzy and nauseous. “Give me my daughter, she needs me!”
“You know,” He smirked, “I never wanted a daughter.”
I flinched away as he brushed his fingers across my cheek. I knew that look and I didn’t know if I could survive this.
“However, I like you begging.” He smiled triumphantly.
Through everything I had been through I had always fought back. I never begged for anything.
“Tell me where she is.” I said as loudly as I could manage.
Black spots swam in my vision and I was suddenly sure I was going to faint.
“Oh, come now princess. Where would the fun be in that?” I could feel his cold lips on my ear now and I wished more than anything that somebody could help me.
“No, please.” I could hear myself and knew I was coming out of the dream, but I still couldn’t tell where I was.
“Jess, wake up. It’s just me.” I felt a large hand brush my cheek, just how Charlie’s had seemingly moments before.
“NO!” I screamed, swinging my fist as I sat up.
The motion, while hitting nothing but air, knocked me promptly onto the floor. I hugged my knees tightly to my chest squeezing my eyes shut. I fought to stop shaking and was all too aware of Adrians presence as I sobbed.
Suddenly two strong arms lifted me onto his lap and held me tightly to his chest. My first instinct was to fight but as I slowly allowed him to comfort me I realized it was exactly what I needed.
I cried into Adrians chest while he held me until I fell back asleep. When I woke the next morning I felt refreshed and more awake than I had in a very long time.
While I longed to remain in his embrace forever, I knew I had to call Drew and I had to get home to Aaliyah. I sighed knowing she would be confused and maybe even scared.
I slid out of Adrians embrace, glad that he managed to remain asleep. I fought to ignore the embarrassment I felt for the night before. I wondered what I had said in my sleep, knowing I often talk and cry out. I vaguely remembered the memory I had dreamt of, and wondered if I had cried for Aaliyah. I surprised myself by hoping maybe I did, because then Adrian would ask and I would answer honestly.
“Where the hell have you been Jess? I was scared shitless. Are you okay?” Drew demanded after only one ring.
“I’m okay, we stopped by Adrian’s work and got snowed in. I called at least twenty times. Is Ally with you? Is she okay?” I responded in the same forceful tone.
“She misses you. I just told her you would be back soon and not to worry.” His voice was still concerned but not as harsh as he added, “so you are still with him?”
“Yeah, he’s still asleep. We will head that way soon. I’m sure we can get out soon.” I said hopefully.
“I’m glad he’s with you. He’s a good guy, good family too.”
This surprised me. How did Drew know Adrian’s family?
“Anyway, let me know when you’re on your way.” Then the line went dead.
“Okay, that was weird.” I said before looking down to realize my phone was dead. “Great.”
I slid the now useless object into my pocket then sighed running my fingers through my hair.
“Are you anxious to get going?” Adrians voice made me jump and nearly fall on my face.
“Um, y-yeah I guess so.” I say awkwardly, again wondering what I said only hours before.
“We’ll then let’s go check the doors, I’m sure the lot has been cleaned up by now.” He stood folding the blanket onto the arm of the couch before offering his hand.
I took it willingly. I was learning to love the feeling of his warm strong fingers wrapping securely around my own much smaller fragile fingers.