“I can’t look.”
She still looked, clearly drawn to the story. He was busy watching her rather than the television screen.
When it got to a particularly scary part, she dove toward his side. Henry was so shocked, he tensed up. After several seconds passed he forced himself to relax against her touch.
He held her close as she jumped after each scary scene. Closing his eyes, he pressed his nose against her hair, breathing her in.
“How can you not be afraid?” she asked.
“I’ve seen it a thousand times.” It wasn’t much of a lie. Scary movies never bothered him.
Holding her close, he simply basked in the feel of her against him.
This is what he loved more than anything, being able to hold her.
Staring at his hand on her arm, he felt possessive. She was so much smaller than him.
Swallowing past the lump in his throat, he watched the remainder of the movie.
“You owe me a good movie now,” she said, pointing at him.
“Okay, I’ll watch one of your chick flicks but you’ve got to do something for me.”
“You’ve got to stay with me, cuddled up against me.”
She frowned at him, looking confused. “Why?”
“I want you to.”
“And you’ll watch a chick flick.”
“What if I don’t?”
“Then I go to bed.” He hoped she didn’t call his bluff.
“Okay,” she said, settling back. “I can do that.”
He climbed off the sofa, changed the DVD then settled back beside her. The first few seconds of the movie were tense, but April finally relaxed against him.
Within the hour she fell asleep against him. Her face rested against his chest.
Henry stayed for the whole of the film, using the time to stroke her hair and bask in knowing she trusted him enough to fall asleep.
Don’t get too ahead of yourself.
Using the remote, he turned the television set off then worked his body so that April slept on the sofa. Once he was standing, he tucked his arms around her body, fitting her against him. He lifted her up, loving the feel of her in his arms.
Reluctantly, he took her to her bedroom, tucking her into bed. She didn’t wake or stir once.
He sat on the edge of the bed, looking down at her. She was so utterly beautiful, riveting to him.
“I’m going to take good care of you.”
Turning off the light, he left her room before making his way toward his own bedroom. He rested his head on the door, wishing there was something he could do to stop these feelings rushing through him. They were driving him insane.
He didn’t know how long he was going to last before he finally claimed April as his own.
Two months later
April stared down at her free leg without any cast. There were no signs on her body that she’d even been in a car crash that cost her best friend’s life. No lasting marks or visible memories on her body to remind her of all she’d lost.
Touching her leg, she winced even though there was no pain. Her leg had healed fine. She didn’t need crutches or to worry about falling over. April hadn’t told Henry about her doctor’s appointment or getting the cast removed.
She placed both of her legs onto the coffee table wondering what to make of them. Nothing stood out. It was like the car crash hadn’t taken place.
Standing up, she made her way toward the kitchen about to start dinner. The apartment was spotless once again. She never did anything to make it dirty.
Walking without the aid of the crutches felt strange to her. She didn’t realize how much she’d come to rely on those two simple sticks.
I’ve got to go home now.
She left the fridge and made her way into the bedroom. With tears in her eyes she packed away her few possessions wishing there was a way for her to stay. She loved Henry’s apartment, cooking for him, sharing meals, watching television. It had all become part of her routine, and she loved it.
Yanking her bags toward the door, she took a seat on the sofa and simply waited for Henry to come home.
At five o’clock he walked through the door. “What the fuck?” he said, growling the words out.
Looking up, she saw him walking toward her. “What the fuck are your suitcases doing packed in the hallway?” He dropped his briefcase to the floor without taking his eyes off her.
“It’s time for me to go.”
“April, I’m not going to argue with you about—” He stopped speaking as she stood up. Tucking some hair behind her ear she smiled at him. “Your cast?”
“Yeah, I went to the doctor’s today. It’s awesome. They said it was time for the cast to be off.” She gave him a twirl. “What do you think?”