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Chapter 6- The Dream

The following morning, I wake with a start. The sun is barely up, but my heart is racing remember the dream that haunted me.

It was my last year of high school. I wasn’t anyone special, I was just the shy girl that stuck to herself. Until that year, I suffered horribly with acne and never made much effort to look nice, most of the boys made fun of me for that. However, senior year, the acne went away, and I made a little bit of effort. Fed up with the teasing, and name calling.

It was a Friday when one of the cuter guys named Mike in school asked me out on a date. I was beyond excited and told him yes. We planned to go to a party that was being thrown. I’ve never been to a party so I was nervous, but ready to experience normal high school things.

I was mesmerized by the time we got there. All of the people crowded into the house, the loud music. It sent a rush of adrenaline through me, making me feel high as my body began to buzz. Mike was all for the dancing, pulling me close to him as we moved to the music, our bodied all by melting into each other.

We danced and drank for what felt like hours before I yelled over the music that I was going to use the bathroom. He nodded, turning to continue dancing with another girl. A sharp pain flew through me at his actions but I shrugged it off. After my bathroom break I looked all over for him, only to find him in a bedroom with the girl he turned too.

I felt betrayed, hurt, but also humiliated. Before I could run away, an arm was going around my shoulders, guiding me away from the scene in front of me. My eyes were blurry but I was able to make out my adoptive brother, Conner. He was leading me out of the party, walking me back home.

I let him keep his arm around me because I didn’t think that I could walk without falling down if it wasn’t for his support. Conner didn’t speak until we could see our house. It was the only house on the strip, away from prying eyes and neighbors. He turned to me, “Are you okay, Abby?”

He was holding both of my shoulders, facing me with a look I couldn’t understand on his face. I wiped at my eyes, which was pointless because the tears were still falling. “Y-yeah. Thank you, Conner.” He gave me a soft smile. I’ve never really looked at him before. But now that he stood so close in front of me, I could see the reason girls flocked to him. He had those baby blue eyes that could melt your insides and long curly brown hair. He was fit, mainly caused by his many sports he participated in. Conner also had this amazing smile.

But I never saw him as anything other than my brother. Well, adoptive brother. I knew we weren’t related but I always wanted a protective older brother, and I finally had that. Conner had protected me tonight. It wasn’t until his lips touched mine that I realized he was so close. The smell of strong liquor invaded my senses as I pushed him away.

“What the hell, Conner? I know you are drunk but you’re my brother. Thanks for the help, really appreciated it.” I mumbled before turning and stomping to the house. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe he was just so trashed he forgot who I was for a moment. I can’t hold that against him. I’ve also been into the alcohol but I’m in control enough to know what the hell is going on around me.

Before I could get too far away from him, he was grabbing my elbow. Spinning me around and pushing me into the woods, and up against a tree. I tried to let out a scream but his lips clamped down on my own. Hushing any pleas or calls for help. He was kissing me so forcefully that I could barely breathe.

When he finally pulled back to suck in some air, he began assaulting my neck. “Mmm, Abby. You taste so fucking good. I can’t wait to taste the rest of you.” I struggled to get out of his grasp, kicking and pushing him away with my arms, but he was stronger than I was.

Tears were still falling, when I heard the unmistakable sound of my shirt being ripped in half. Conner was pressing his lower body against mine so hard that the tree behind me was cutting into my back. I could feel the blood trickling down. I knew what happens next, and I was terrified what was to follow.

I was breathing heavily. Hoping to avoid the panic attack that always followed a dream like that. A dream that wasn’t even a dream at all. A dream that was really a memory. Pushing myself off the bed, I head for the shower, praying that I would feel better afterwards.

It did help. I felt better, less jumpy. I dress for work, pulling my hair into two French-braids, before applying some concealer to hide the dark circles under my eyes. I apply some light makeup over that and make my way down to the kitchen to eat a fast breakfast. I haven’t seen Cassy yet this morning, but I was glad. I don’t think I am ready to talk, but I’m certain she saw that I had a nightmare.

Once at work, it progressed like normal. I complete all the morning duties before the morning rush, then I start preparing for the lunch time. Rubbing my eyes with the back of my hand, I let out a little yawn. Only a few more hours and my shift will be over.

“Hey.” A deep voice calls out to me. Looking up, I’m surprised when I see Arden. He has his hands in his pockets, as he looks at me patiently. Clearing my throat, I move to pour his coffee in a to go cup. Before I could, he places a hand on mine with the coffee cup in it. “Uh, actually, I was going to dine in.”

Dumbfounded, I nod. “Oh. Okay, sure. Take a seat, I’ll be with you in a moment.” Putting the cup back, I finish wiping down the counter before placing a menu in front of him. I know he likes his coffee black so I grab a mug and pour it for him, sliding it gently in front of him.

After a few minutes, I return to him. “Have you picked out what you want to eat?” I pull out my notepad, searching my apron for my pen. When my fingers enclose around it, I look up to see Arden watching me with amusement. Cocking my head to the side, I question him. “What? What’s so funny?”

He smirks, before chewing on his lip. “You. You’re fascinating.” I raise an eyebrow at him, trying to appear cool and calm but in reality I am trying to fight the blush that wants to appear.

Smiling softly, I point to the menu. “Okay, Casanova. What do you want to eat?” His grin widens, before he tells me his order. Once I put it in, I went back to filling the ketchups. Arden has his arms crossed on the counter, just watching me work. Biting my lip, I turn slightly to him, so he knew I was talking to him. “You know, it’s not polite to stare.”

He chuckles lowly, his eyes sparkling. “Well, what else are you supposed to do with a work of art in front of you?” Laughter bubbles out of me before I could stop it. I set down the container before turning completely to him.

“Really? How many women has that line actually worked on?” I rolled my eyes. The bell from the kitchen dings to tell me that food was ready to be served. Bringing his breakfast back to him, I top off his coffee.

“Well, that line has never been used before so you tell me. Did it work?” I meet his eyes, before my lips lifted on their own accord. He grins in acknowledgement, before reaching over the counter, holding his hand out. “I don’t think we have properly met. My name is Arden. Arden West.”

I bit my lip, trying to act like I didn’t already know his name, before placing my hand in his. “Abby, Abby Wilson.” He pulls my hand across the counter and places a gently kiss on the back of it. It reminds me of something from the old days, when a gentleman meets a lady. However, I was no lady and I know he can’t be the perfect gentleman.

Still not releasing my hand, he locked eyes with me. His honey brown eyes hypnotizing me. “I want to say I’m sorry about yesterday. Please forgive me?” He states, instead of asks. Which is crazy, but what is even crazier. is I reply with a simple,


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