The only thing I cared about was feeling Alex beside me. His breath in my hair, the beating of his heart, the lifting of his chest with each breath, the way he smelled. That was all i wanted, all I needed. He was all I needed and I was terrified he’d leave. But I didn’t dwell on that. I had him for the moment and I knew we had a lot to talk about, but I wanted nothing more than to be in his arms.
I drifted to sleep. A sleep without demons. Well without my dark demons. I still drifted into my own personal little hell. My sub-consious taking me back to being five. To the white room with white floors and the only color was the painting on the wall and the blocks in their bins.
I built towers that spelt Monster no matter what block I put down. The wind whispered monster. I was a monster. My mother thought so. And someday I believed her. But in my dreams my fears were always present.
I felt the air shift as another joined me. I could smell him in the room. I didn’t need to see him to know he was my Mushu – Alex I told myself. His name was Alex. I wondered if the name mattered now, Garrett wasn’t in my dream, but I didn’t know, didn’t understand the way of dream walkers. Alex might know more, but I was afraid to ask him.
I turned to see Alex in another body. Someone famous for sure, but I didn’t care, I knew it was him. I smiled at him. I missed him in my dreams. I didn’t remember him, but I knew who he was. It was still very confusing.
I held out my hand for him to join me. Alex hesitated only a moment before he took it and I pulled him down next to me. I could change to be me, but Alex hadn’t come as himself, so he’d have to deal with the child I felt like. So lost and alone, crushed by unspeakable doubts. Alex knelt down beside me and I handed him a block.
He didn’t take it so I asked, “Don’t you want to play?” We could relive old times. Make a memory I’d remember. But it was childish.
Alex shook his head, “No. I missed you.”
I was glad he missed me, even five year old me, but I was always here, in this room, dreaming of him. “I never went anywhere.” I said.
Alex growled at me softly, “You just disappeared after the night you didn’t come to the club like you were supposed to.”
I didn’t quite understand. But I remember that he had stopped coming to my dreams. “It’s one decision I regret, but don’t regret. It’s such a hard decision to think about.” I said. Saving my father versus meeting Alex plagued me even now. What would life look like if I’d met Alex instead. My father would be dead… I wasn’t sure I could live with that.
But Alex was angrier, “What decision? Whether or not to stand me up?”
I didn’t stand him up. I….I decided to just say it to tell him. “No. I didn… My dad got hurt. I didn’t know him then. I could have let him die and gone to see you. But instead I chose to save him. I sent Jace to bring you to me.” I said. But it hurt to think about it and I was already in tears. I was so fucking broken. “Jace told me you didn’t show up.” I added as I rubbed the tears away.
“He told me you didn’t want to see me.” Alex sounded as pained as I was.
I nodded, “Doesn’t surprise me.”
“Why don’t you grow up?” He asked. “You know you aren’t this kid anymore.”
I shrugged. “I’m always this scared little kid. Everything comes down to this.” I flipped over seven blocks to show the letters face up. M to R “This is me.” A monster.
Alex asked, “Do you mean that costume you usually wear?”
I shook my head and scattered the blocks across the floor with a swipe of my hand. “No. I’m a monster.” And in that moment I could feel the world outside my dream but inside it still, but outside my room, the rain poured down and the thunder crashed. My emotions mimicked in the world outside that window. I was a monster and now Alex knew what I thought of myself.
But he denied it even as he pulled me into his lap to hold me, “You are not a monster, Nox.” Fuck! the tears fell faster with someone caring about me.
I knew that. I could feel the tears falling. I wasn’t sobbing, I hurt like every other time I thought about those words my mother had uttered. “I know that logically,” I said softly through the tears, “I know I’m not what my mother called me. But it never goes away. She hated me.” All my issues boiled down to one epic thing. My mother hated the thing I was.
I was home in his arms. I was myself with Alex – and in the dream it became literal. I was me – the real me. Not five, not a guise, me. Alex held me and I could stay like this until the end of time. My Alex…
My alarm sounded in the real world and I tried to ignore it but it yanked me from the dream and I felt lost even with my body wrapped around Alex. I reached across Alex to grab my phone and swipe the alarm off.
Alex grumbled, “What time is it?”
“Four.” I said curling back up with him, “Go back to sleep.”
And just as I laid my head on Alex’s shoulder he shoved me away from him. “Last time you slept in we had a fight.”
I groaned and laid staring at the ceiling. I knew he was right. I knew if I stayed in bed things could potentially go wrong, but it was a price I was willing to pay. But Alex didn’t need to see another break down. I told myself I wouldn’t do it again in front of him, but I knew it would happen. I can’t hide who I am. Or the way I react to over stimulation. I sighed and rolled out of bed on the other side and pulled off my jeans and t-shirt – it was all I had to wear and I started doing yoga off to one side of the room.
“What are you doing?” Alex asked as I was moving into Downward dog.
“Downward Dog right now. Something wrong?”
Alex smirked. “You’re going to do Yoga in my hotel room?”
“Where do you want me to do it?” I asked as I sat back on my heels and looked at him through the dim lights.
“Why do you want to do it here?” He asked.
“I didn’t want to leave.” I sighed. He didn’t want me to disturb him. Fine, I stood up smoothly, “But I’ll go find some place else.”
I hadn’t even made it a few steps before Alex was up and out of bed and grabbing my arm, “No. I just… Don’t go,” He stammered out. “It’s fine. I was just surprised.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. I didn’t want to go, but I would I only wanted to keep Alex happy.
He nodded and pressed a kiss to my lips and I couldn’t help the moan that escaped when his lush lips met mine. “I could watch you bend over anytime,” he whispered as he headed back to the bed.
I could easily have followed him. But routine was my way through this. I needed some routine because I sure as fuck wasn’t home.